Dental Practice Consulting: Why Policy?
Can you imagine baseball without any rules? Or, driving in rush hour traffic with no laws or guidelines governing what to do when the lights turn green or red?
The obvious result would be confusion and chaos. This same logic applies to every organization.
If there are no guidelines and rules for employees to follow they will not know what is expected of them. Frustration, confusion and unnecessary disagreements then happen.
For these reasons, it is vital that you have both a general policy manual as well as individual manuals for each position in your dental practice.
In addition to achieving your goal of improving your patient’s dental health you want to maintain a comfortable and fun environment. This can only happen if everyone knows the specific expectations and procedures for their jobs.
Policies should cover such things as staff bonuses, time off, uniforms, benefits, etc. You may decide to change these policies as necessary in the future. If a change occurs your staff should be notified in writing of the policy amendment or cancellation. If you or your staff discover no policy exists to cover a specific situation you or one of your staff should propose a policy to cover that particular situation. Any proposed policies should be provided in writing to the office manager or doctor who will review and then forward (when appropriate) the proposal to the doctor for consideration.
Concerns regarding a specific policy should be taken up with the office manager or doctor for clarification. If a policy is not understood, the employee needs to get it clarified.
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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New Patient Experience and Patient Education
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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