And, when you get swamped, the natural thing is for your front desk person to shut down and start putting off emergency patients. But, that's very bad PR and “burns” that patient and their family forever.
A while ago I wrote about looking after emergencies and here's a further strategy so you can look after more emergencies than you ever thought possible.
Use a hygienist as a triage nurse.
That's right. Even if you only see 2 emergencies per day you will find that you generate more revenue from a hygienist used in this way than if she did a full day of hygiene.
Her ability to get the work-up done with tests and x-rays is a great time saver. You then take a minute or two to reach a diagnosis. The hygienist then explains the treatment options, does informed consent and when you return the room the patient is numbed up and ready to go. If the treatment is a root filling then the rubber dam is on and the chair reclined!
In this way you can fit an emergency into a full schedule with totally minimal time disruption. For example, an extirpation handled in this way may only need 5 minutes of your time in total.
Once you finish the hygienist cleans up and debriefs the patient and makes the next appointment.
Great for the patient and great for your practice. Also, if you look at your hourly rate you will find it has been spectacular.