The Best Way to Use a Quick Fill / Short Call List
Every type of dental scheduling software has some form of a quick fill list or short call list. This is basically a list of patient appointments that have been cancelled and/or patients who have said they want a call if an appointment opens up at a certain time or on a certain day. The purpose of this list is to be a quick reference when you want to find a patient that you can call to “QUICKLY FILL” an appointment.
The problem is in most offices the quick fill list is not being used appropriately. Most software will dump appointments into this list if the appointment gets cancelled out of the schedule but not rescheduled at a new day and time. The intention is that the appointment does not get deleted and lost forever. Based on this reasoning, a lot of broken appointments end up on this list and it becomes a dumping ground for all appointments. This happens if the person deleting the appointment is not trained to know what to do with a canceled appointment or if that person is moving too fast to pay attention to the software prompts.
As soon as the quick fill list turns into a dump zone, it will quickly become outdated, too full, and not at all useful. In fact, I would venture to say that most dental offices are not managing this list very well and some might even have people on this list that cancelled appointments years ago.
Another important note about this problem is that the patients on this list may not even still have dental work that needs to be scheduled. That’s because there is a chance that these patients DID get rescheduled but their name didn’t get pulled from the quick fill list at the same time. This can be solved by using the software the way it is meant to be used. Typically, the software is going to let you know if the appointment you just made is the same as the one in the quick fill list and then you’ll have the option of deleting the quick fill entry. The staff doing the scheduling should be trained to watch for this and act as prompted.
The lesson here is the software is designed to help you do your job more efficiently and more effectively, but it only works that way if you make sure you are using the software correctly. Don’t let your quick fill list get so filled and out of date that it is useless. Train your staff on how to use this part of your software and direct them to slow down and read the pop-ups that the software gives them, so they can be sure to select the appropriate option. When used to its full potential, the software can really be a true asset in helping you quickly fill any openings that you have in the schedule. But when it comes to quick fills and any other situation that arises in the dental office, the software is only as effective as the person using it. As with everything in dentistry, good training is the key to success!
Need help on how to offer an appointment? We have a free video available on our website.