Look after emergencies

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Dr Mark HassedIn busy practices it’s very easy to get swamped.

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.

A win-win.

3 thoughts on “Look after emergencies

    davidmoffet said:
    May 21, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Excellent advice Mark. All dental practices need to be available for both their own patient emergencies as well as new patient emergencies.

      Sam H said:
      May 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      I’ve always done whatever I can to see emergencies and cringe whenever I hear a dentist say “their dental neglect over the past X years isn’t my problem”.

      What about the issues with waiting? When I have a free chair I get the waiting emergency into a treatment room as quickly as possible, but this isn’t always done in a timely fashion. A collegue has his emergencies sit on standby in the waiting room for when he has a spare 10 minutes. The optics of having a patient, whether new or returning, writhing in pain can’t be a practice builder.

        Dr Mark Hassed responded:
        May 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

        Right you are Sam. I’d hope that you have enough free treatment rooms that they don’t have to sit in the waiting room. Dentists need to have enough rooms to accommodate emergencies. Many dentists try to skimp on rooms and equipment and stifle their practice by doing so.

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