Do you ever wish you could squeeze a few more minutes into each day to give you a little more time to get everything done? I know I do!
Scheduling appointments is a task that you’re constantly doing throughout the day in your dental office, so making that task as time efficient as possible is critical to help your day run smoothly.
There are tools in Dentrix that can help you streamline your daily tasks, so they take less time each day and give you the extra time you need to get other work done.
Here are some simple settings that will help you to schedule appointments quickly, efficiently, and with as few mouse clicks as possible.
Set Default Appointment Times for Procedures
If you find you’re constantly adjusting the length of appointments, be sure and set the default appointment length for procedures in the Procedure Code Editor. This can often be an issue with hygiene appointments. For example, an office may always allow one hour for an established patient prophy and exam, regardless of if they are also taking X-rays during that appointment. If the procedure time for bitewing X-rays is set for one time unit, whenever that procedure code is added to an appointment, the overall appointment length will be extended by one time unit. You would then have to adjust the appointment length back down to an hour, costing you time. Instead, adjust the procedure time in the Procedure Code Editor for that procedure code to 0; that way no additional time is added to the appointment whenever you add that code to an appointment.
While you’re in the Procedure Code Editor adjusting the default procedure times, you may also want to double-check the Appointment Time Pattern assignments for provider, assistant, and chair time. These time unit assignments allow you to schedule efficiently for a productive schedule but can also be irritating if they haven’t been set up to meet the scheduling needs of your office. When scheduling, you may receive a warning message that the provider you are trying to schedule is already double scheduled and another scheduling is not permitted. In these cases you should take a closer look at the time unit assignments. You can set the default time unit assignments in the Procedure Code Editor to avoid receiving the warning and having to adjust each individual appointment.
Assign a Default Hygienist
When setting up continuing care for a patient, you can assign a specific hygienist for that continuing care type. That way, when you schedule the continuing care appointment, instead of defaulting to the patient’s primary provider in their Family File (which in most cases would be the doctor), Dentrix will automatically select the assigned hygienist. This will save you the time of having to go back into the appointment window and change the appointment provider.
Set Up Flip Tabs
Flip tabs can be set up to take you to a specific date in the Appointment Book in relation to today’s date. For example, you can jump ahead in the Appointment Book six months from today just by clicking a tab you’ve created in the Appointment Book. This is particularly helpful when scheduling a patient’s next appointment. You can set up flip tabs to help you schedule continuing care patients at three-, four-, and six-month intervals. Or you can set up flip tabs that jump two weeks, three weeks, and four weeks in the future to schedule patients that need to return to the office for crown seats, denture try-ins, and Invisalign refinements.
Saving a few seconds every time you schedule an appointment can add up to several minutes by the end of each day. That would give you a little more time to check another task off of your to-do list!
For additional information, read the following:
- Setting Procedure Times
- Changing an Appointment’s Provider or Assistant Time
- Assigning a Preferred Provider for Continuing Care
- Customizing Appointment Book Flip Tabs
By Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer