How dental practices can win the battle against open time in their schedules

January 13, 2016
Kevin Henry
Kevin Henry

Kevin Henry is the group editorial director for Advanstar Dental Media and has more than 15 years of experience in the dental publications field. He can be reached by email at khenry@advanstar.com. Also, you can follow him on Twitter (@kgh23).

What's the right amount of open time in a schedule? How can you make sure patients aren't making your schedule look like Swiss cheese? We asked the founder of Inspired Hygiene for her thoughts.

As she travels around the country speaking to dental practices, one of the biggest concerns Rachel Wall, RDH, BS, hears is the issue of open time in a dental practice’s schedule.

Wall, the founder of Inspired Hygiene, recently sat down with me to talk about the issues of open time and how dental practices can combat the problem that plagues way too many of these businesses across the country.

“Part of the reason for open time is just the change in our culture,” Wall said. “People used to go to work, have a dental appointment at 3 o’clock, leave for the appointment, and then come back to work after that. Now our patients are bombarded by so much thanks to their cell phones and personal demands that they might not place as high a value on their dental appointment as they used to.”

More from Rachel Wall: 3 things to consider about dental codes D4341 and D4342

While those cell phones may distract our patients, Wall believes they are also a good way for dental practices to reach out and ensure patients understand the importance of their appointment.

“There are a lot of scheduling reminder functions available with today’s practice management software,” Wall said. “It’s a matter of talking to patients and asking them what works for them as far as a reminder. Sometimes we need those reminders to sort through the clutter we face on a daily basis.”

RELATED: 6 ways to reduce cancellations and no-shows in 2016

In our interview below, Wall talks about ways to lower your open time in your schedule and what the realistic percentage of open time really looks like. Click below to watch our exclusive chat.