If You Schedule It, They Will Come
In a previous article, Practice Dentistry without a Net?, I talked about the importance of really challenging yourself from time to time by taking away the safety nets that can become easy to rely on.
Here’s an example of a very common practice issue that illustrates what I mean:
Just about every dentist I know would like to do more of the kind of dentistry that is fulfilling for them and transformative for the patient. But even when a case like that comes along, it often gets scheduled days out (into that danger zone where patients can start reconsidering).
Why does this happen? It’s because most practices operate on a simple first-come, first-served scheduling protocol. Dentists tend to populate their appointment books with whatever comes in, as it comes in. In most cases, this is going to be routine tooth-based dentistry, so this is the kind of work that ends up filling your days. You do it that way because it’s the safest way to ensure no down time in the schedule.
But what if you reserved time in the schedule every week for doing more complex cases? That way, those patients with important needs are seen in a timelier manner, and you have a better balance of cases in your life.
Sure, it requires a leap of faith to leave that slot empty while scheduling patients around it, but it is not as risky as it sounds. First of all, the point of removing safety nets is to concentrate your focus. Once you start reserving this time and get your team to prioritize it in the right way, you’ll be surprised how consistently you find the right cases to fill it. And if it really comes down to it you can use a 48-hour escape clause. If the reserved block isn’t filled two days beforehand you can open it up for other patients. You usually don’t have to look far to find patients who are willing to take a “tomorrow” opening.
So if you’re serious about doing more meaningful dentistry for additional patients more often, I suggest you make an appointment to do just that.