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Dental Scheduling Coordinator Training 

The team relies on a full and accurate schedule each day. Dental office scheduling includes more than understanding how to schedule a patient. A deeper understanding of scheduling includes its various components, such as how to get patients to schedule and actually show up for their appointments, handling cancellations and managing both the doctor and hygiene schedules.

Dental Scheduling Coordinator Foundation Course Outline

The schedule dictates the entire day in the dental office. We will teach your dental scheduling coordinator how to meet daily production goals, how to confirm appointments two days in advance to reduce last-minute cancellations and no-shows and have them develop a plan to fill any openings in the schedule. The dental schedule is a game and the scheduling coordinator is running the plays with the goal of winning the day, week and month! View our scheduling course outline here. 

Dental Scheduling Coordinator Mastery Program

The mastery program is included with the client’s monthly subscription and is designed to provide a deeper dive into the role and function of the scheduler. Mastery consists of approximately 5-6 hours of video training + chapter quizzes and homework activities to support the program. Mastery can be assigned to the scheduler in the office and the scheduler’s back up to ensure continuity throughout the front office and team. View our scheduling course outline here.

Dental Scheduling Coordinator Documents

Where can you turn for scheduling documents and resource help (do you know how to conduct a time study)? We can help with our scheduling coordinator document library, policies, forms and more. Turn here for our Patients Running Late Policy or Recare Policy – use them as is or use them as a starting point to write your own in our scheduling coordinator’s dream library. View document templates for the scheduler. 

Dental Scheduling Coordinator Webinars

The scheduling coordinator foundation courses are where you start, but join us monthly as we focus on streamlining your schedule, boosting your practice’s productivity and increasing revenue during our wildly popular webinar series. This is LIVE with Laura Hatch – your chance to train with her personally. Check out the latest Scheduling Webinars. 

Get Access Now

Start your online training today. Click the enroll button below and gain access to hundreds of training videos and critical resources. 

““The schedule is the backbone of the entire dental office and the dental scheduler is the primary team member to ensure it runs as smoothly and productively as possible.  The dental office scheduler or person in charge of the schedule should be trained to build a productive, well-run schedule and handle the multitude of things that come up during the day.  The schedule is the most important system in the entire dental office because it impacts everyone; the dentist, hygienists, assistants, front office team and the patients.” 

TOP 6 DOCUMENTS TO REDUCE CANCELLATIONS

The first step on the path to fixing the problem with no shows and cancellations is to understand why it is happening, and then we can examine the detailed reasons behind a canceled or missed visit for each type of appointment.

Fixing issues in the schedule can be solved with understanding how to communicate with patients.

Ultimately the schedule is yours to run and we’ll give you the tools to optimize the dental office schedule. 

Please note you must be logged in to access these documents

[mepr-active memberships=”629,630″]  8-HOUR DAY OUTLINE [/mepr-active] [mepr-show if=”loggedout”] 8-Hour Day Outline [/mepr-show]

use these forms to break your day into manageable pieces and what to do with each allotment.

[mepr-active memberships=”629,630″] RECARE CALL POLICY  [/mepr-active] [mepr-show if=”loggedout”] Recare Call Policy [/mepr-show]

Stop tracking down your patients to get them scheduled for recare. Learn how to get every patient to leave with an appointment.

[mepr-active memberships=”629,630″] BLOCK SCHEDULING [/mepr-active] [mepr-show if=”loggedout”] Block Scheduling [/mepr-show]

Learn the importance of how to block schedule and what happens when you don’t.

[mepr-active memberships=”629,630″]  HOW TO OFFER AN APPOINTMENT [/mepr-active] [mepr-show if=”loggedout”] How to Offer an Appointment [/mepr-show]

How to offer an appointment to a patient that fits their schedule, but ultimately fills the needs of the office schedule.

[mepr-active memberships=”629,630″]  DOCTOR SCHEDULE VS HYGIENE SCHEDULE  [/mepr-active] [mepr-show if=”loggedout”] Doctor Schedule vs Hygiene Schedule [/mepr-show]

When learning how to schedule, you need to look at it from two different perspectives:  The doctor’s schedule and the hygiene schedule.

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[mepr-active memberships=”629,630″]  SCHEDULER DAILY DUTIES  [/mepr-active] [mepr-show if=”loggedout”] Scheduler Daily Duties [/mepr-show]

Use this Scheduler Daily Duties list to stay on track and ahead of the day.

Fix Your Patient Schedule!

How often does the schedule ever run the way it looked in the morning?

Various issues come up – patients run behind, we run behind, emergencies call to schedule, we work through lunch and leave work late – that feels like our normal.

We can all agree the schedule in a dental office can make or break a day. It is also the most stressful topic of discussion between departments and between team members, because it affects everyone.

Have a Morning Huddle

Ask any well-running, productive office if they have a morning huddle, and I’m willing to bet most of them (if not all) do.

Why is this meeting so important?  

Because this is where you get the team on the same page. This is the time and place to review things that may not go well during the day and plan for them accordingly.

Our documents allow for customization for your office, we have video checklists so you can assign training to each team member, and we have our team available from 8am-8pm EST on live chat to give your answers when they need it most.

 THE MOST COMMON

SCHEDULE PROBLEMS

DENTAL TEAMS FACE

We recommend watching all the video modules in each unit if you want to master your schedule, but when your in a bind, these quick tips will help your team get answers now…

How Can I Improve Scheduling?

For the management team, I would start...

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By examining your current schedule first.  There are so many factors that go into building a great schedule, and so many things that can and do happen on a daily basis to wreak havoc on it.  If your office does not have a scheduling policy in place or good control over your schedule, I suggest training for both! Start by doing a time study to ensure your time slots are accurate. Once you know how long an appointment will take – adjust the appointment slots in your dental office scheduling software. Next, we would recommend watching the basics of how to schedule for production by using the goal tracking sheets.  Have a team huddle regarding the schedule and watch basics of building a productive schedule webinar as a team. Discuss the webinar with your team and identify what type of scheduling issues pertain to your office and create a scheduling policy for those common obstacles.

Whether a patient is scheduled for a filling, a perio procedure, or a crown, the patient’s commitment to getting the work done is based on your recommendation and their trust in you as a dental professional. Or, in some cases, the patient scheduled the work that you recommended just to get out of the office, because they weren’t sure they were really on board with the treatment plan but didn’t want to say so.

We can reduce cancellations by having a game plan. It’s impossible to 100% reduce cancellations. They’re going to happen, but you can reduce them through communication. Find out the real reason why someone is cancelling their appointment. The key is to identify which specific patients are likely to cancel or no-show, so that you can appropriately address it at the right moment, whether that’s in the initial visit, while scheduling maintenance appointments, and when patients call in to ask for schedule changes. By planning ahead and getting your team on the same page about how to handle these common issues, your office will have the upper hand when it comes to reducing the frequency of no-shows and cancelled visits.

It mostly comes down to the patient wasn’t onboard with the treatment or they don’t have the money to pay.  We recorded a webinar on top 10 ways to decrease last minute cancellations and no-shows, because this is such a hot topic in the dental industry.

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For your front office team, we recommend...

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Talking with your team about the importance of the schedule and understanding your scheduling policy. It’s important for your team to understand why certain steps are taken, like confirmation calls and how an appointment is offered – and how they impact the overall schedule as well as how to put blocks in the schedule.

Having a morning huddle every day to get the team on the same page is crucial.  This is the time and place to review things that may present an obstacle. Ensure your team has a block for lunch. Discuss how to handle emergencies and what qualifies as an emergency. Of course you want to get emergency patients into the office and take care of their needs, but you should bring them in at a time that works for your schedule. During the morning huddle, ask the dental assistants to identify the best times to schedule possible emergencies. The key is to keep a list of scheduling issues as they arise so you can identify which need a written policy.

Stop leaving your schedule to chance and start implementing a system that’s going to get  your patients to show up for their appointments. It starts with the how your staff handled the first phone call, how your staff is trained, how the initial consultation was handled, giving your staff a reason behind their actions, and practicing the checkout process.

Identify who your treatment coordinator is and who your financial coordinator is. We understand that not every office has one person that fully handles this role, and this role alone. If your Front Office staff are pulling double duty – these modules will help.

It’s our job to help the patient fully understand the treatment plan, their insurance benefits, and that the office will work with them to maximize those benefits, but that the ultimate goal is to get them and keep them healthy.  And, this comes down to our communication skills, Scheduling Course, Module 3 – How to handle cancellations.

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Our office is closed on Fridays. We confirm Monday appointments on Thursday, but we still get a lot of Monday cancellations. What do you recommend?

Monday is a popular day for cancellations...

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Thank you for the great question. Monday is a popular day for cancellations, for sure but it is not because of your confirmations – it is because the patient is not being held accountable.  These patients would probably cancel even if you confirmed them on Friday.

I would change your thought process to targeting the patients and why are they cancelling.
  • Are they college kids that can’t get up early after a weekend of fun – well don’t give them another appointment on a Monday
  • Are they a patient that has cancelled a lot in the past – why keep rescheduling them – make them call for same day appointments in future
  • Are they a patient that is not really great with their schedule – remind them when confirming them that this appointment is on Monday – after two days off – and make them commit that they will be there.
  • Are they a patient in the schedule for treatment, make them put down a deposit or prepay for the appointment so they have the motivation to show up.
  • Are they a patient that needs a last minute reminder, call them Monday morning and remind them of their appointment.
  • Are they a patient that has cancelled a lot in the past and you only left them a confirmation voicemail on Thursday – call them again back on Friday and make sure in your messages  you tell them they need to call back to confirm they are coming.
There are many reasons why patients try to cancel – so make sure you are addressing the patient and getting them re-trained not to cancel in the future, versus focusing too much on when you make the confirmation calls.
I hope that this helps

I am going to list out a few things that come to mind that I think are important to help you achieve what you are looking for:

1) Have a financial agreement with the patient that spells out what you offer and how they intend to pay. Make sure it gets filled out by your team, the patient signs it and then have it scanned into their chart. Always make sure to name it the same thing so everyone on the team knows what to look for when they need it.

2) Make sure your team is putting in excellent notes… Notes are so vital to making sure everyone on the team knows what is going on with the patient. We have our treatment coordinators print out the schedule each day and circle the appointments that they handled the treatment plan presentation as the day goes on. Before they leave at night, they have to make sure they have put in their consultation notes, to include the financial agreement information for the patient and the schedules are then turned into our Junior office manager, who reviews them the next day to make sure the arrangements are ok and that there are no red flags that need to be handled.

3) We have our insurance notes and our treatment plan notes in different colors so that when you are scanning notes, they are easy to see.

4) We try to keep our adult family members separated into different accounts so it does not get too confusing. Many times the kid’s accounts are not hard to figure out but the adult ones are the accounts that are confusing. They get more work done at larger amounts of money and if they are both getting the treatment done at the same time, it becomes hard to figure out the balance when their payments and the insurance payments are all coming in at different times for different procedures. It makes it much easier to have them separate because at least you know that you are narrowing down the balance for one of them specifically and not both.

5) We recently started outsourcing out insurance part of the practice which has helped a ton. We work now with a company called eAssist and they handle all of the insurance from submitting the insurance claim, to making sure that we get paid correctly and in a timely manner all the way through to entering the insurance checks and balancing the account. I was getting so frustrated with this area of the practice and decided to out-source it to them because this is their core competency and it allowed my employees to spend more time in the office with the patients and off the phone with insurance companies. They enter all the checks and call on all of our open claims and then put in notes that are in the exact same order each time with all the information my team needs to accurately discuss the balance with the patients. We are thrilled that we moved to this – let me know if you want information about them.

6) We do what I call “next day reviewer” and I teach on Front Office Rocks. Part of the problem about figuring out the balance is that the team waits until the day the patient has an appointment or sometimes even as the patient is walking up at the end of their appointment. That makes it very stressful for the employee and many times they just take a guess at where the balance is coming from. The patient ends up usually not thrilled with the answer and then leaves many times without paying because they tell the employee to let them know when they figure it out and they will pay then. As you know, it is better to get the patient to pay while they are in the office, versus letting them leave because the chance of that patient paying the bill goes way down and then patients come in sometimes for multiple visits without paying, which is never good. I would prefer that the team review all of the accounts the day prior to them coming in for two reasons: 1) it gives them time in a not stressful environment to review the account and figure out the balance and 2) it gives the employee time to call the insurance company if needed to find out status of an outstanding claim before the patient comes in. This allows the educated employee to be able to clearly talk with the patient about the balance which gives your office a much higher chance of collecting on that balance. Also, this employee that figures out the balance, needs to put in clear notes and the entire team needs to be trained at where those notes are so in case someone else checks the patient out, they can also inform the patient on what those notes say and collect.

7) The huddle is also huge in the process of getting your team on the same page. Every patient should be checked out by the front desk before they leave no matter what but there should be specific discussions with everyone on the team when a patient has a balance and that it is very important that the team brings them to the front desk so they have to collect on that balance.

I hope that this helped… if your office is anything like mine, there are different people in the accounts and so many moving parts… there definitely is not one right answer but with training and follow through to make sure the right systems are in place, this issue can definitely get under control.

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