NOTE: You may have read my article: “Is Running Behind Really A Big Deal?”….if you have not I suggest you do before you read it!
If running behind is an ongoing problem for you perhaps begin to implement some of the tips listed below. Disclaimer: before you decide if it’s a problem or not please ask your team vs. relying on your own subjective opinion.
I was at a conference where the dentists and teams split up into groups. I vividly recall a dentist touting her own horn and aggressively sharing tips and tricks with all of us specifically on how to stay on time. We were all writing these down….we all thought she had it all figured out based on the way she was confidently presenting it…..that is until the instructor of the team members break out session (happens to be a close friend of mine) told me that her (the dentist sharing the tips) team is all ready to quit….when I asked why? She said, “She runs behind daily and they are all tired of the stress and impact its having on their departure time from the office”…..I couldn’t help but LOL, and share with him what she was teaching the dentists in our breakout…..anyway we are all guilty of a) lack of self awareness at times b) over confidence in our abilities and c) lack of execution (not practicing what we are preaching) so no judgement on my end, simply reporting here
Don’t be that doc….seek your teams opinion….after all, better self-awareness leads to better choices and ultimately better results.
Lets assume running behind whether chronically or acutely from time to time is an issue….which IMO it is for most dentists. What can we do about it?
Firstly, identify it’s a problem and begin recording down the root cause. Once we can identify this we apply systems and train in areas to reach our desired result.
For example: if the dentist is doing a 50 minute crown prep (all dentist time) we can train them how to do it in 10 minutes or less without compromising quality. After-all the longer it takes the more “surgical trauma” to the tooth and the more likely the patient with need endo. Fast and good are not mutually exclusive. If you think they are that is mindset issue. You must believe you can produce high quality outcomes efficiently before you will ever get there.
If you don’t believe that, my question for you is why? Do you feel you have sub-par clinical skills compared to the dentists that are able to do this? Do you not believe in your own capabilities? I don’t know, you need to answer this question for yourself.
Here is how we help our Teams on time:
Training in the following areas:
- treatment planning (comprehensive diagnosis efficiently)
- treatment presentation (simple and efficient communication with patients)
- efficiency training: where can you “cut corners” without compromising treatment outcomes (example: fewer burs)
- Review your schedule weekly if not 2x per week and ensure you identify any areas in which there may be bottlenecks (inadequate appt. length, double booked, too much time in an appt. etc.)
- Schedule for productivity (i.e. Target BPH and build the schedule accordingly)
- Morning huddle: Identify: same day treatment, bottlenecks in the schedule, unscheduled treatment and much more (we have a detailed checklist that you should review)
- Armamentarium and tray set up
- Diagnosis, treatment planning and case presentation
- Auxiliary skills that allow you to exit the operatory while treatment continues: cord, temps, checking fit of crowns prior to cementation, matrix band placement, etching and bonding etc. (anything within their scope of practice)
- New patient exam protocols (allow your team to do as much as possible and simply be the second opinion)
- Scheduling for productivity (how do we build a schedule that works: knowing your doctors capabilities and scheduling for production/targets)
- Collaborative team work and delegation
- Utilize Anesthetic delivery techniques that have faster onset times
- Complete more treatment in one sitting (example: multiple crowns in one quad vs. just one at a time)
***Granted efficiency comes with practice. But be careful here. Don’t make the mistake of thinking practice alone will help you get faster. It is practice with the intention to get faster each time that will be helpful. You must as yourself each day: how could I have done that procedure quicker?
In my opinion Pace is determined by: a) personality and mindset b) confidence in delivery c) practice
Lets talk about Schedule Management, Forecasting, and meetings:
2) On-Boarding and Ongoing Training for your team:
Bottom line: train, measure, and hold everyone accountable including yourself!
What happens if we are cognisant of pace and time? We typically begin running early! This gives us time to do same day treatment, connect with our teams, reset ourselves, and catch up with notes. The overall effect is a team and office dynamic that is fun, low stress and highly productive. As well our patients are so appreciative of the shorter treatment times and zero wait times. In this world of instant gratification if you don’t give someone what they want now OR you waste their time, they will consider going elsewhere.