Does your pediatric dental practice adjust to the season? Most of us have come to recognize the rhythm to the year, but many practices don’t adjust to make the most of the season. With summer on its way, what changes should we expect, and how can we adapt to get the most out of summer production?
Sound planning requires accurate projections for your revenue. While general dentists often experience a slowdown in July, for pediatric dentists the summer is often the busiest time of the year. The same is true for oral surgeons and orthodontists (bonus points if you check multiple boxes there).
Most of the kids are out of school, making it easier for parents to schedule appointments. There’s also going to be an end-of-summer rush just before school starts. A pediatric practice that plans for seasonal production is better positioned to profit from summer months.
Five Tips to Maximize Summer Production
1.Schedule Around August
Come August, everyone is going to want an appointment. Just like we often get an end-of-year rush due to insurance, we see a spike of new patients before school starts. If you’re unable to see new patients soon, they are likely to go somewhere else. Schedule established patients, orthodontics, and large cases for earlier in the summer and leave room to grow in August.
2. Expand Hygiene
Pediatric practices can benefit from extra oral hygiene chairs during busy summer months. Getting new patients into the production stream right now is vital, so make sure you have the capacity to schedule them promptly. You don’t necessarily want a hygiene department that’s full—you want a hygiene department that’s growing.
3. Expand Practice Hours
Opening the practice on Saturdays or extending hours into the early evening might be an untapped opportunity for pediatric dentists wanting to grow. Some families simply can’t get away during normal business hours, so flexible scheduling is a blessing for them. Practices with an associate doctor on board can significantly bump production this way.
4. Team Scheduling
We’d rather not have team members out on vacation during busy times, so if it needs to happen, plan time off well in advance. Aim to have enough flexibility in manpower that you can offer additional hours to team members to cover down for their coworkers. If you lack the personnel to do this, your team could be overextended. Consider offering part-time positions, at least for the summer.
5. Disciplined Scheduling
Great dental teams seem to be choreographed—they have their systems down, they’re organized, and they know exactly how long procedures take. Keep a close eye on production to identify your bottlenecks, and eliminate them. Keep a daily production goal and schedule strategically to meet it. Finally, cancellations and no-shows can be frequent during the summer, so stay on top of scheduling with patient reminders/calls.
Make Sure Your Patients’ Summer Plans Include You
The summer can be an enjoyable, productive season that adds to the bottom line of your dental practice every year, or it can leave you feeling overextended and drained by September. Preparation means that you’ll be able to provide the best care for your patients without sacrificing quality of life for yourself or your team. A highly skilled and cross-trained team is a flexible team. The PDTA is here to help your pediatric dental practice grow by helping dental assistants reach their potential. Find out what training opportunities are available for your team by clicking the box below.
~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth