How To Fill Your Empty Appointments Slots
By Dr. Greg Grillo
Whether an operatory produces $300 an hour or $600 an hour, an empty chair drains your bottom line. In the wake of COVID-19, the average dental office has returned to 75% of pre-pandemic patient volume. With a stretch of pre-set appointments for fall not getting scheduled when offices were closed for several weeks in the spring, keeping appointment slots full has never been more critical than in 2020.
All of the Legwork tools work together to keep a steady flow of patients happily moving through your office. But here are three ways Legwork fast-tracks filling your schedule:
1. Remove barriers to making an appointment.
Consumers use OpenTable to make restaurant reservations online, and Expedia to set up hotel reservations. Think about it: how often do you call Holiday Express to set up an overnight stay? It’s not the way the world operates, and your office shouldn’t either.
As we emerge from COVID-19, patient expectations continue to change. In the first quarter of 2020, patients using telemedicine rose by 33% over 2019. Additionally, over 80% of patients expect to use telemedicine after the pandemic. And nearly half of patients report that online scheduling encourages them to book appointments.
Healthcare often trails other industries when it comes to adopting new technologies. But removing barriers to scheduling makes it easy for patients to fit you into their calendars.
Legwork Online Appointment Booking helps keep your chairs full. Patients enjoy the convenience of booking appointments through a fully customizable module on your website. Rather than try to call between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, they can jump online after the kids are in bed and choose times your team makes available.
2. Nurture patients towards care
People have many demands on their time and more on their minds than ever. A CDC survey showed 31% of respondents reporting anxiety or depression in recent months. Many people know they need to take care of their oral health, but it may not be top-of-mind. Preventive dental care and other elective services slip further down people’s priority list when preoccupied with life stressors.
In the realm of healthcare, your patients likely see you more frequently than any other provider. As a dental team, you enjoy a unique opportunity to educate, motivate, and guide your patients towards wellness.
Your office deals with hundreds of patients, and finding ways to keep treatment recommendations in front of them after they leave your office presents a challenge. Your patient charts contain tens of thousands of dollars of unfinished treatment. Converting even 25% of those plans into appointments can mark the difference between profitability and breaking even. A systematic approach that moves recommendations into real care helps keep your schedule full.
Legwork Treatment Opportunities takes a strategic approach to help patients move towards treatment. Their patient-centric content delivers with a pre-written workflow that gently guides patients towards treatment. Our talented writers address price, convenience, trust, and cost concerns without overwhelming details.
Plus, patients can click in any of the workflows to access convenient scheduling options. By combining with Legwork Online Booking , they can move seamlessly to time available on your schedule with a few clicks.
3. Salvage short-notice cancellations
Your team works hard to orchestrate a productive schedule and keep chairs full. Nothing frustrates them more than a same-day cancellation that leaves an empty operatory. And often, multiple tasks absorb time and energy. Filling a sudden opening creates extra stress.
On average, dental offices deal with a 10% cancellation rate. And that could cost you up to $100,000 or more every year. The best way to counter this dilemma involves good communication that reinforces the value of care. Make dialogue with patients include phrases like, “Dr. Smith reserves an hour just for you, so let’s make sure it’s a time-slot that you can commit to.” Brainstorm other ways your team can reduce schedule bombs with thoughtful communication skills.
Appointment reminder software that delivers custom messages in the patient’s preferred format can significantly reduce no-shows. Plus, your staff saves time. They can focus on taking care of today’s patients instead of making reminder phone calls.
Regardless of your techniques, you’ll always deal with changes that disrupt the daily schedule. Dentistry’s techniques for chasing down same-day patients have remained the same for years.
Legwork Fast-Fill provides busy teams with the most innovative advancement in productivity software in years. Their proprietary program integrates with your practice management software’s ASAP list and begins notifying them when an appointment opens on your schedule. Your team spends a few seconds picking the open slot, indicating text or email delivery, and hitting SEND.
Once someone responds and accepts the slot, the rest of your list automatically gets notified. Your staff receives patient details to confirm the booking, and the day continues.
Keeping a productive, satisfying schedule takes an integrated approach from your team. Building value, communicating effectively, and utilizing smart technology can help you reduce short-notice cancellations by 50% or more. Life still happens, but a recovery plan can add thousands of dollars to your bottom line. Legwork can help you do just that.