Tips for Better Time Management in the Office
The ACP Private Practice Committee is pleased to introduce a new series of articles for members in practice -- written by prosthodontists, for prosthodontists.
These articles are intended to share tips and wisdom that members have picked up from their experience in practice -- with useful ideas for prosthodontists new in practice and those who are further into their careers.
Contributed by: Dr. Elaine Torres-Melendez
- Always begin your day on time. When you arrive at the office at least thirty minutes before the first patient is scheduled, there is time to transition, call patients as needed, speak with a colleague, hold a morning huddle with staff, wash hands properly, and don protective gear.
- New patients are invited to download and complete the medical history forms online from the practice website. This way, the patient will have completed their medical history form and medication information before the first appointment. Many polypharmacy patients do not carry a complete list of medications. This list should include OTC supplements. When the patient visits the office and this information is correct and complete, we save valuable chairside time. Also, when these forms are then reviewed chairside, other medical issues are discovered that the patient never thought to write down on the medical history form. Medical history updates for active patients can be reviewed by the patient immediately upon arrival. This too saves time chairside. Medical histories should be reviewed often, even during active treatment.
- When I present a prosthodontic treatment plan, information regarding the different procedures and Informed Consent forms are sent home along with the Estimate of Fees. This ensures the patient is not pressured to read and sign the Informed Consent Form on the day that procedures are scheduled to begin. This protocol puts patients at ease because they are empowered with information and have already have the time to review and digest the document they have to sign. We also encourage the patient to call the office ahead of the appointment if they have any questions.
- Interruptions during the course of a patient treatment day can set one behind and some patients may resent the interruptions during their treatment time. I use encrypted emails frequently and consistently and document these with radiographs and photos to reduce the number of conversations with other dentists during the time that I have patients scheduled for treatment. Other specialists that we are working with are kept updated and informed about the progress of the mutual patient's prosthodontic treatment.
- Review the patient's record before the next visit at your office. Preferably do this the previous day or two days before. It is important that you are well-informed and refresh your memory about the details of ongoing or past treatment before you see the patient in the chair.
- Regarding laboratory work, we schedule a return date two days before the patient visit. If there is a delay in the delivery of the work, you have a buffer of time that can prevent having to reschedule your patient.
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