Dental practice production consists entirely of the chairside care you and your hygiene department provide. Yet most of the administrative tasks performed at your office have a direct bearing on practice productivity. If the step-by-step systems for carrying out such tasks are well-conceived and used consistently, your production potential increases accordingly.
Here’s a proven process for implementing high-performance systems:
Create a set of specific, measurable targets. Analyze your vision of practice success and you’ll quickly realize that it can be quantified… number of new patients, percentage of cases accepted, collection rate, average per-patient production, etc. These metrics become the targets that will drive performance. They should be challenging yet realistic, easy to measure, and assigned deadlines. They’ll serve as motivators and… because you’ll monitor them regularly… benchmarks by which to judge the effectiveness of the relevant systems.
Design management systems to reach the targets. Review all administrative protocols, looking for ways to improve and streamline operations, facilitate teamwork, ease stress and—ultimately—achieve the performance goals you’ve set. Define each step in every management process, document these procedures, and assign responsibilities for team members.
Provide all necessary scripts and training. Using the step-by-step system documentation as a starting point, write scripting for team members to master and follow in their interactions with patients and others you want to influence. In comprehensive training programs as well as informal role-playing sessions at staff meetings, your team members will learn how to use scripts effectively… implementing practice objectives in their own words. With excellent scripting, you’ll reach your performance targets consistently while maintaining peak operational efficiency.
Monitor actual performance in comparison with targets. With results-driven systems, the true test is in how well they facilitate hitting your targets. Monitor results daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually so you’ll see early warning signs of the need for systems modifications or more training.
Plan on reviewing and upgrading systems periodically. As your practice goes through changes—new staff, technologies, financial and insurance conditions, marketing challenges, etc.—even the best systems will develop bottlenecks and deficiencies. To maintain the highest levels of productivity and profitability, you should reexamine practice systems at least every two or three years.
By using this proven process to create high-performance systems, you’ll be positioned to increase production while decreasing “busy-ness” and stress.