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Dental Consultant Advice: NLRB, Cell Phones & Texting
Based on a 2015 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling, office manuals or handbooks can't have overly broad prohibitions on employee use of cell phones. Besides which, if you feel you can't treat your staff like adults, that's a bigger problem.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with issuing a simple and sane cell phone policy just as you might do for a dress code, calling in sick, vacations, PTO, etc. If you feel you need a cell phone policy here is my recommendation:
Cell phone use (including texting, checking Facebook, etc.) should only occur during breaks or meal periods and never in front of patients as it can give patients the impression they are not important. It can also cause you to be distracted causing inaccurate documentation, incorrect data entry, etc.
TEXTING PRACTICE OWNER OR OFFICE MANAGER
Staff are prohibited from texting the dentist or office manager for any reason including “texting in sick”. This also removes any potential violation of a patient’s privacy.
The office phones are our main means of scheduling patients and conducting business. Therefore, we ask that you not use the office phones for personal use except to receive an emergency call from a family member, etc.
OFFICE COMPUTER USE
Office computers are never to be used for personal use. Period. The reasons for this are obvious including the possibility of infecting the office computer system with a virus. Doing so can result in immediate termination
Note: Our office computers are set up with software to monitor all Internet activity. E-mail messages and other use of office computers is not confidential, and even though you may be issued a private password or other private access code to log in to the computer, you should have no expectation of privacy with regard to your use of the system.
Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at
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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices.
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Daily and Weekly Checklists
General Policy Manual
What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.
What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply.
Questions To Ask
Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.
If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant
My name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's CEO and Senior Consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner. Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.
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