Scheduling for the Sleep Apnea Practice
For several years I had the great pleasure of working for a dentist who saw only sleep apnea patients. That’s right – ONLY patients who were having sleep apnea appliances done. We were a small office in coastal Georgia and we were open five days a week with a full schedule of four operatories. In additional to the dentist, our office manager and myself there were two full time clinical assistants who saw patients in their own blocks. To further add to your disbelief…we were participating with every major medical insurance. That’s right – we operated completely on ALLOWABLES.
Sleep apnea treatment is a goal for many dentists. It’s an enjoyable field and gives you the opportunity to really impact your patient’s on both a short-term and long-term level. Most dentists struggle with scheduling structure though. Fitting in titration appointments with regular dentistry and new consults for appliances.
What most dentists don’t realize is that assistants, when properly trained, can accomplish most of a titration visit. Uploading pulse ox data, reviewing it, adjusting the appliance for comfort and adjusting the advancement of the appliance can all (in most states) be done under the supervision of a dentist.
To maximize your chair time schedule new patient consults stagger with titration appointments. Have two assistants, one to help with the new patient, and a more experienced assistant to run the operatory with the titration appointments. The provider can then see the patient for a few minutes face to face to check any adjustments made by the assistant but save the prep time to go through a consult with a new patient. If possible it is advisable to have a “sleep day” or at least partial day in your practice. You will find your schedule is much more efficient when you are not having to switch gears back and forth between dentistry and sleep medicine.