When Patients Cancel Appointments

October 17, 2018 Pankey Gram

How you schedule in your dental practice can significantly impact productivity. If patients are arriving late, not showing up at all, or moving their appointments a lot, you may have a minor crisis on your hands.

There’s no reason to stress when efficiency is only a few simples changes away:

Efficient Practice Scheduling

Scheduling effectively is largely determined by how much patients value your services. Are you and your dental team doing your part to make patients feel respected, cared for, and treated with the highest level of attention possible? Do your patients understand what services are provided during a hygiene appointment? Do they value oral healthcare or know how it can affect the entire body? Do they understand their individual risk factors and how routine care supports managing and minimizing these risks?

All of these are questions you should ask before going out and searching for answers to a mysterious lack of practice growth. Also, you should consider how you set up the daily schedule. Are you moving more intensive cases to the beginning of the day when you and your team are fresh? Do you have enough energy, are you arriving late to the operatory, are you running behind? If patients feel like you aren’t respectful of their time they may not be respectful of yours.

The simple change is to engage your team more. Are your hygienists and dental assistants taking the reigns as much as they can for procedures and managing the schedule? Are they an integral part of developing patient relationships, creating ownership and building an atmosphere where patients want to keep their appointments? The team is also a key component of schedule flow. Are they being utilized effectively to complete clinical procedures? This can be a key to maximizing your productivity without chronically running behind.

Have your hygienists complete their assessments at the beginning of appointments so you can drop in whenever it’s most convenient. That way patients aren’t waiting for you if you get trapped in a complex situation. All of the above are ways in which your schedule could be improved.

How do you maintain steady growth and increased productivity on a yearly basis? Please let us know your favorite tips or recent changes! Also, we have a feeling you’ll love this blog on setting splint therapy fees … 

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Improving at “The Business” of Dentistry

September 18, 2017 Mark Murphy DDS

Making better business decisions for your dental practice comes down to four key goals: (1) doing more dentistry patients need, (2) helping patients have healthier mouths, (3) making more money and (4) stressing less.

Improving your success in any one of these areas will affect the others, which is why you should think of these various elements comprehensively rather than separately.

How to Do More Dentistry

If you feel that you’re not making enough or treating enough patients, the problem likely isn’t economic downturn. The truth is, if you have a strong system in place, external economic factors shouldn’t have a huge effect on how many patients return for basic treatments such as hygiene.

One of the most common issues practices face is the efficacy of their systems. You may be seeing plenty of patients but without a clear system for setting new appointments, you may not have a full schedule.

Retention is all about measurements. What this means is that when you track or record data, you’re more likely to pay attention to it. A great way to increase the number of hygiene appointments you have is to track how many your are scheduling and how many patients are showing up for.

Simply by measuring this information, you will be more likely to ensure appointments are made. The same goes for your staff who actually carry out scheduling and encourage patients to return. This will also help you better understand what appointment scheduling methods you should offer. Different people like to be reminded differently. Some prefer an email, some prefer a text, some prefer the date and time written on a piece of paper, and some prefer a call.

The lesson of retention illustrates a thought process that can be applied to all areas of your business. Essentially, remember that one size does not fit all and simply paying more attention can improve your success.

What do you think is the hardest part of running a dental practice? 

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Mark Murphy DDS

Mark is the Lead Faculty for Clinical Education at ProSomnus Sleep Technologies, Principal of Funktional Consulting, serves on the Guest Faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and is a Regular Presenter on Business Development, Practice Management and Leadership at The Pankey Institute. He has served on the Boards of Directors of The Pankey Institute, National Association of Dental Laboratories, the Identalloy Council, the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology, St. Vincent DePaul's Dental Center and the Dental Advisor. He lectures internationally on Leadership, Practice Management, Communication, Case Acceptance, Planning, Occlusion, Sleep and TMD. He has a knack for presenting pertinent information in an entertaining manner. mtmurphydds@gmail.com

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