Call Lists: An essential way to keep schedules full

We’re all fighting the same dragon – holes in schedules. Do you sometimes feel that this never-ending battle is going to get the best of you? Not if you have a battle plan! A major part of this plan is the call list. With the right call list, you have the ability to fill your schedule and move on to the million other items on your To Do list.

Here are the call lists we maintain:

  • ASAP
  • Primetime (people that prefer evenings and weekends)
  • Unscheduled treatment
  • Monthly recall
  • Yearly recall

The ASAP list is a great one in Dentrix. Just ask your scheduled patient ‘If we have a change in schedule, would you like us to call you?’ – and you can easily add him to the ASAP list. Then, if you get a hole in the schedule – this is your first choice for a call list.

Since we’re open til 7pm through the week and Saturday mornings, we offer these hours on a first-come, first-served basis. So, we created an excel spreadsheet of the patient name, phone number & the type of appointment they want along with the time needed and the day/provider they prefer. One of the great options for the patients in a group practice is that they can find a combination of hygienist/dentist they really like. The challenge for our secretary team is when this same patient only wants to come in an evening – and that hygienist/dentist only work one evening/week together! That’s where the detail on this list makes the job easy.

To protect these primetime hours to be scheduled only from the call list, we created a series of events to block the schedules from 4-7pm on weekdays and all Saturday morning. That reminds everyone on the team that the schedule is reserved for these patients. These events are cleared out after we’ve worked the primetime list, so the schedules can be filled as needed.

Unscheduled treatment (I’ve talked about before), we run a report weekly to find patients that have treatment planned, but are not scheduled – and we call them! We also add any outstanding PTEs to the bottom of this call list to make sure we’re staying on top of them as well.

Since we don’t pre-book, our monthly and yearly recall lists are created based on the patient’s continuing care date. Thanks to DemandForce for sending an automated email to these folks first, then my secretary team makes a call to schedule the patients afterward. We keep track of our success on each page – and we save past lists so we can always have more people to call to fill the holes in schedules.

With all these call lists, our team knows just what to do when a hole in the schedule pops up. I wish I could say that we solve every one, but that dragon sometimes wins for an hour here and there. Here’s to you slaying the scheduling dragon in your office!

For more ideas to improve the business-side of your dental practice:

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
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