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Dawson Quick Tip: Scheduling Emergency Patients Successfully

Hello, everybody. What I want to talk about in this quick tips is, how do we deal with the emergency patient? There's nothing more frustrating than getting a really busy, productive day, and then getting inundated with emergencies, or maybe having the feeling that you put emergencies at the end of the day. And if you get a bunch of them, all of a sudden, you're leaving an hour-and-a-half or two hours after you're supposed to close. That's not good for the moral of the practice. Staff doesn't like it, and I know from personal experience, my wife wasn't very happy when I would come in missing dinner as well.

So one of the things that we implemented very early in our practice was the concept of not holding emergency time, but during our morning huddle, look at our day. And if I had looked at the schedule in advance, picked a few places - maybe three or four places - where we could tuck in an emergency patient, that has worked beautifully.

Because again, if I've got a larger case in the morning, I have a sense about the time that I might be finishing with my preps. Maybe we're making indirect-type provisionals, or I know where there'll be a gap, I can tell the front desk that if somebody calls, put them right there. You pick three or four places for an emergency patient to go. All of a sudden, they get worked into your schedule in a way that you'll still get done at a reasonable time, on time, so everybody can be going out the door when they should.

I'll tell you the other thing that we noticed, is that often, if you start doing that, you not only have agood time for an emergency, but you often have time to fix the problem in a way that doesn't disrupt the office schedule. That means that you're going to be working in dentistry that will possibly affect the bottom line of what you're doing.

A great to trend to look at in your practice is how much dentistry have you treatment planned at the beginning of the day, and how much production-wise, and then how much do you actually finish with. When you start knowing that you are doing this in a very effective way, you'll start noticing that your production is greater at the end of the day than what you started with.

What I'll tell you is for a lot of us, if we're feeling like emergencies are a big pain in the neck, usually it's because we're not scheduling it properly. If we take a proactive approach and look at the beginning of the day, and customize the schedule to best be able to meet the needs of those emergency patients, that becomes hugely beneficial and an opportunity, not only for the practice, but to really create trust and benefits for the patient as well.

Until next time, I hope you've enjoyed this little quick tip. I'm John Cranham, and I'll see you again.

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John Cranham, DDS is the clinical director of The Dawson Academy, where he teaches many of the lectures and hands-on courses. Dr. Cranham owns and operates an esthetic-oriented practice in Chesapeake, Virginia. Dr. Cranham is an internationally recognized speaker with 25 years of experience.