It’s that time of year. The holidays are everywhere we look. Holiday music plays in your favorite stores. Holiday décor is in full swing. For those of us with young children in our lives, this means a busy time of year between holiday recitals, practices and programs. Even though we find our personal selves with a multitude of distractions and commitments, one thing remains constant in our dental business – high quality practice management with a special focus on patient efficiency.

A growing trend in practice efficiency is scheduling the patient’s next appointment chairside by the clinician or dental assistant. In many instances, the clinical team is the first to know the next needed appointment for the patient. In addition to knowing what services to schedule, the clinical team also has the first insight to knowing how much time to give the appointment, what services to attach to the appointment and when the patient should return. Having this knowledge first-hand and taking the few simple steps to create the next appointment can really go a long way to speed up the check out process.

Dental practices are finding greater benefit in practice work flow efficiency and improved patient-clinician interaction and relations when the next appointment is created by the clinician. Of course, there will be instances when patient financial readiness raises questions about the clinician creating the next appointment. The need to review insurance benefits, payment arrangements for treatment or other financial dealings may require a conversation with the treatment coordinator before the next appointment is scheduled. It is in these situations where the treatment coordinator or front desk staff may take on the task of making the next appointment once financial readiness is confirmed.

So the next time your team considers a change in work flow, remember that scheduling the patient’s next appointment chairside is simple and easy. Making that next appointment involves a quick tool, which is located just inside of your patient’s appointment on today’s schedule. The tool which will save valuable time for both your team and your patient is a tool that everyone should know – Schedule Next.

Schedule Next Appointment: A Simple How-To Guide

  1. Locate today’s appointment on the schedule and double-click to open the Appointment Information dialog box.
  2. Click the Schd. Next button to open a new Appointment Information dialog box.
  3. Within the new Appointment Information dialog box, make all applicable selections for the patient’s next visit (provider, reason(s), length, status, type, operatory, date, time). Pay special attention to the following sections (boxed in blue in the image below):
    • Provider – the provider will default to the Prov1 listed int the patient’s file
    • Schedule – the schedule selection will carry over from the original appointment. For example, if your patient was on the ASAP list for today’s appointment, the Schedule field will default to ASAP in your new appointment.
    • Op/Date/Time – Easy Dental will default the Op, Date, and Time to the very next appointment opportunity on today’s schedule. To avoid scheduling a second appointment on today’s schedule, simply move to step 4 below by clicking the Clipboard button.
  4. Once your appointment details are set, click the Clipboard button to place the appointment on your clipboard for easy scheduling on the day of your choosing.

David Broom is Senior Director of Product and Business Development. David has a master’s degree in Information Technology (IT) from the University of Texas in Dallas and has more than 35 years of experience from many global companies such as Hitachi Vantara, Methode Electronics, and Keane, Inc. In his current role, he is responsible for all aspects of the product management and field service teams at Henry Schein TechCentral, which identifies the ideal advanced technologies to meet the unique needs of the dental market and ensure that dental offices are using the right IT to be more efficient and effective.