Why Avoid Block Scheduling?

Posted on May 5, 2016 by Sandy Pardue

Woman with a telephone headset

Block scheduling was first talked about back in the 1980’s BEFORE computer scheduling and before the concept of scheduling to a production target.. The reason was to try to control the staff actions so that doctor wasn’t running around and producing little. One day would be great, the following day not so great. Production and collections were on a roller coaster ride. Block scheduling was put in place and the doctor would determine where large procedures would go. I can recall being taught the system. “Crowns go in the morning, while doctor is fresh.”

The practice I managed at this time was a smaller practice with 4 staff. Once I started managing a practice with 5000 patients and 18 employees, I found block scheduling only slowed us down and put patients off in the future which caused a whole new set of problems.

As I started going into more and more practices, I observed that practices that did block scheduling had more broken appointments in doctor’s chair and having to put them off in the future probably contributed to that. If someone needs a crown and you have to put them off two, three or more weeks because your schedule is blocked off, that’s not a good thing.

All you need to do is:
1) Name a monetary production target. Share it with your staff. Make sure your scheduler knows it and it rolls off her tongue quickly when asked.

2) Appoint someone to be over the schedule. This doesn’t mean no one else can schedule, it means someone ‘s job is to make it go right and you don’t have to worry about it. You do the dentistry and they create your day. This person is responsible for making sure your schedule is full and productive. They know your daily production target [they know the target for every provider]. They create the day for you. That is the goal of the scheduler. They make sure all finances are handled, they make sure everyone is confirmed and they show up.

3) Have the scheduler give you the production dollars scheduled for that day, the following day and three days out at the morning huddle.

It can be done successfully. I train these people all the time and see the results. You can do this one thing and change your income level forever. It’s what I do to help practices everyday.