There are a number of reasons we fall behind, some in our control and others out of our control. I believe most of us understand the stress and chaos this can cause.
The piercing looks from team members, the passive aggressive behavior, the palpable anxiety and stress are all to familiar!
If your a dentist and your thinking:
……I’m not stressed when I’m running behind…
This is a matter of perspective and awareness and I encourage you to read on!
Maybe your perspective or internal dialogue sounds something like this:
……I know there is a good reason for it and I am simply delivering the highest quality dentistry in this moment
……I’m the doctor so they can wait for me if they want my help
……My patients don’t mind waiting for me, they like me and don’t want to see anyone else
……Its not me its my team
Perhaps you are not paying attention to the stress this causes you team. Perhaps you are aware and your either ignoring it or minimizing it with thoughts or internal dialogues that sound something like this:
…..they don’t know what it takes to do work at my level
….we are ONLY 10 minutes behind no big deal
….he/she is just being dramatic/un-reasonable because they don’t want to work hard to catch up
I am not sure what your opinion on the topic is but I can tell you with great certainty what most of your team members and patients are thinking/feeling!
If your running behind your team is no doubt stressed out and unable to perform at their best. This means anxiety, frustration, poor morale, and compromised patient experiences.
Think about it this way…..would you be ok with your RDA, FE or RDH showing up 15 minutes late each day? The answer is obviously NO! Why? b/c you expect them to be there when they should be there. The flip side of that is they expect to be out on time also. They have friends, family members, and other commitments that expect them to be on time.
Running behind causes stress in the day, compromised patient experiences and robs your team of time they could be spending with their families, friends and re-fueling for the next work day. Your team members must be finished on time, they we appreciate you for it!
In this world of instant gratification I can assure you the majority of your patients are thinking:
…..this guy/girl is always behind
…..this person doesn’t respect my time
…..the team seems frustrated (you don’t think they notice?)
…..doctor seems rushed, am I going get the best treatment
…..I am definitely not showing up on time for my next appointment
…..I’m going to find a new dentist
Aside: if you are compensating on an hourly basis your overhead is rising while your productivity remains the same as if you were running on time. So if for no other reason think about the profitability of your practice.
If your still not sold that running on time will be a game changer for your practice let me ask you these questions:
a) What is your teams level of engagement at the office
b) What is your team turnover rate
c)What is your current patient attrition rate
d)How satisfied are your patients with your level of service
e)How many internal referrals do you receive from satisfied patients
Are you aware of these indicators practice health? Are you tracking them and keeping a pulse on this stuff? If not please start…they will help you make objective decisions vs subjective.
Lets get into what factors contribute to us running behind day to day:
Factors mainly out of our control:
-patient shows up late or on time but do not fill out their forms on time or use the washroom etc.
-a un-expected complication occurs mid-treatment that requires you to extend your appt. length
-patient management issues mid-treatment (we all know what I am talking about here)
***Note: you can’t control these 100% but you can influence them and minimize the risk of it occurring. Example: appt. confirmations, cancel patient appointments after a certain cut off (example: 15 minutes late), inform patients you can only do limited treatment today due to the fact they showed up late, maintain equipment regularly, have extra ops available for use in the event equipment does fail, get to know your patients before treatment is initiated and anticipate mgmt. issues (book longer appts. or sedate them), work on your clinical skills and take CE to minimize the risk of complications etc.
Factors mainly in our control:
-Team member or doctor doesn’t show up on time
-Operatory not completely set up prior to the initiation of a procedure
-Prolonged case planning and presentation whether NP or recall (talking to much, TMI, indecision etc.)
-Schedule design/considerations (production, appt. length, blocks, staggering treatment, same day treatment/emergencies etc.)
-in efficient delivery of dental treatment (not systematized)
-searching for lab cases or lab case not delivered on time (if it’s a lab thing that’s persistent find a new lab)
-doctor not entering operatory on time and sitting in the back or trying to squeeze in too much “non-clinical” work during clinical time
-Dr. micro-managing the team and putting out fires when they should have their foot on a rheostat
As you can see almost everything is in our control. We must recognize what the root cause of the problem is. Why are we running behind constantly? And implement a system that will allow you to correct that root cause.
***You can influence and optimize each of these if you so chose…..begin today without delay!