Patients often don’t want to come into the office, but feel they have no choice, and when they’re there they want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Likewise, many doctors would love to trim down the amount of time patients spend in the chair. How do you keep someone from taking up unnecessary staff or chair time?
Here are our top tips for lowering chair time or even eliminating it completely. Your staff will appreciate the time they save and so will your patients.
- Send forms ahead of time. Send forms digitally and ask patients to fill them out before they come to the office. This cuts down on the amount of time patients spend even in the waiting room.
- Use digital scans. Using digital scans to prepare for crowns is faster and gives you more accurate results than those messy impression materials, plus the crowns fit better. Some dentists are even starting to create their own crowns and prosthetics using 3D printers. These can be installed the same day, so the patient doesn’t have to come back.
- Maximize your staff. Make sure you know what the laws are in your state regarding what services different staff can give. For example, when possible, have a certified dental assistant give kids fluoride treatments instead of the hygienist. Have your scheduling person keep the dentist and hygienist scheduled effectively, but not too heavily.
- Setup. The treatment room should be set up so you and your assistant can easily reach everything you might need during a session. Make sure it’s ergonomically arranged.
- Cassettes. A great way to eliminate time spent getting up during treatment is using a cassette-based instrument management system. These let you keep every instrument you might need in arm’s reach. Cassettes also eliminate manual scrubbing, sorting, and pouching. A Pacific Dental Services study had dental offices replace their usual routine with one using cassettes. Those offices spent an average of 8 minutes less for reprocessing per visit.
- Anesthesia. If you’re only working on one or two teeth, single-tooth anesthesia is faster than waiting for a block to take effect.
- Software. This is how you can completely eliminate some of those appointments: use a remote dentistry app like the one from In Hand Dental. Patients that simply have questions can ask them through the app instead of coming in for an appointment and using staff and chair time. For treatments that require regular checks to make sure everything looks okay, the app allows patients to upload photos so you can see the details you need to check. And it can be used for a variety of treatments from aligners to sleep apnea to teeth whitening.
Keep your patients happy by becoming known as the office that gives excellent care without taking up half the afternoon. People enjoy walking out of an office sooner than they expected, and they love it even more when they don’t have to come in at all. Take care of them remotely, so chair time can be used only for people who really need a hands-on appointment.
Want to learn more about In Hand Dental? Go to our Contact Page and set up a time to book a free demo today!