Success in your orthodontic practice starts with the schedule. It manages patient flow, guides your team, and controls your day. Operating with an outdated schedule is like tying 20-pound weights around the ankles of your team members. It slows everyone down, creates backups, and leads to increased tension. Here are three steps to help you get the most out of your schedule.

1) Design your perfect day.

Each day should have a similar structure. As much as possible, mornings should be reserved for longer procedures, such as records appointments, bandings, and debonds. Get the longer appointments out of way in the morning and save the afternoon for adjustments and emergencies.

2) Tie production to the schedule.

Your schedule is a record of daily, monthly, and annual production. Levin Group recommends that each year you set the goal of having production be approximately 10% to 15% higher than the previous year. A practice growing less than 10% a year is in danger of flattening out. Once you set your annual goal, divide that figure by the number of days you will be in operation. This will give you your daily production goal.

3) Make room for new patients.

By reserving specific time slots in the schedule, practices can accommodate new patients quickly and efficiently. Once new patients or parents have contacted the practice, they should be scheduled for consults within 7 days, while their motivation is still high. This will help prevent patients and parents from delaying treatment or dropping out altogether.

Left in place for years, an inefficient schedule could end costing an ortho practice hundreds of thousands of dollars. Don’t let that happen to your practice! Use these principles to build a high-powered schedule.

—Roger P. Levin, DDS