Dental Practice Consulting: Always Putting Out Fires?
Does your management consist of always putting out fires? The reason why you’re always trying to solve things frantically today may lie in how you do your dental office meetings in the morning.
Often morning huddles are being done but the dentist is solely running the meetings, and they are always just talking about what is being done today. And here lies two mistakes in doing it this way.
The dentist must never run the morning huddle. Now I didn’t say not to have one at all; I just said not to RUN it.
What the dentist should do is have each staff member talk about his/her individual areas and how they will contribute to the overall office production for that day, week or month. Each person needs to run the show for his or her area.
The hygienist for example would look at all the charts of the patients coming in today and look at all the treatment plans that have not yet been done for these patients, any teeth or situations that were questionable the last time they were in and watch to see if it progressed at all and what she is planning on doing. She would explain this to the rest of the staff and the doctor so that everyone is coordinated.
The front desk should look at least five to six working days ahead and say how many openings there are and then when Mrs. Johnson comes in and has number 14 that still needs to be fixed, then everyone knows there is a slot for her. The hygienists or the doctor can help the front desk fill these slots.
What you are trying to achieve by having your staff members talk briefly about their areas is to have each staff member take ownership for their positions.
The best offices look into the future, and they are handling the problems today that can potentially develop into bigger problems tomorrow and beyond. And this is accomplished not by you running things but by each employee taking ownership for their area. A good place to start is in your morning huddle.
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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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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