Patient Scheduling and Consent for Care
How should appointments be scheduled?
Appointment scheduling will depend on the number of chairs and providers you have. A day is usually divided into 10 or 15-minute blocks. Appointments are scheduled for the appropriate number of these blocks to accommodate procedures. Clinicians can estimate the number of blocks needed per procedure or visit, including the time needed to set up, clean and disinfect the dental operatory.
As the number of chairs and providers increases, the complexity of scheduling also increases. An efficient appointment system will keep all of the chairs filled during the day, without making patients wait or staff rush. This balance can be difficult to achieve. Because there is no single best answer for how to schedule appointments, you may want to consult with a practice management specialist or use the expertise of experienced staff to set up your system.
With increasing complexity, many clinics have decided to go to Dental Practice Management Software Packages to manage the appointment system. The section on Dental Office Technology, later in this chapter, has information that will help you decide which package may be appropriate for your practice.
See an appointment template used by a community dental center in New Mexico.