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a blog by Chris Barrow

Zoning the appointment book

You recommended zoning of appointment book.

Could you advise further as regards implementation of this?

I understand the need to achieve certain financial goals in a day as regards turnover/takings but how is this to be achieved through zoning?

Zoning has been about setting aside sessions when you are doing the work you want to do, with the people you want to see. It’s also about making sure the patient who has agreed to more complex treatment can be seen in a reasonable period of time.

Commonly, I see:

1. In mixed practice, zones for NHS versus private patients;

2. In general practice, zones for check-ups versus delivery of treatment.

The key issue being that patients are far less concerned about waiting for a check up than they are about waiting for treatment.

Zoning usually occurs when I hear the private dentist say that the book is bursting and there is no room to deliver treatment – the dentist then has to “get it” that the queue for check ups can be allowed to steadily lengthen, so long as the queue for treatment is well managed.

Add that to the use of the Chris Barrow Patient Journey (welcome packs, menus and all that jazz) and the queue for treatment gets longer as well!

Good news is that allows prices to steadily rise.

Obviously, an existing (busy) appointment book will take some time to phase in a new appointment system — the sooner you start the better!

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