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Systems? What are they and Why do we need them?

August 7, 2018

Filed under: Communication,Marketing,Systems,Teams — Tags: , , , , , , , — Laci Phillips @ 11:09 pm

If you have worked outside the dental industry in a business setting, chances are you are familiar with the term Systems. However, in the dental world, the term and the concept are not used as readily. But they should be. Think of systems as a set of organized instructions forming an entire network of how to. Or as one client put it “If I was hit by a bus tomorrow, this is how you do everything in the office!” We know systems and protocols are important and we know we should have them in place.  And yet this seems to be one of the biggest area’s we are lacking. For us creating effective systems in a dental office is a vital step in the process of obtaining consistent results that reflect the practice vision.

Your documented systems are your building blocks for delivering the care and experience you envisioned when you opened your practice.  When well-organized systems meet excellent customer service you have a recipe for success.  They ensure that new team members have clear guidelines on how to deliver results and existing team members know what expectations they are living up to within your vision.  Every practice is different, and every practice is ever-changing which means the systems need to change with your growing business.  These documents should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

We find that most offices have some systems documented but not organized. Most of them may even be in your head. Finding a place to start is usually the hardest part of this process. We start by assigning categories such as Ownership, Administrative, Business, Clinical, Hygiene, and Marketing. Next, if you don’t have systems in place currently start by outlining the ones that may be needed. A nice organized checklist could be the easiest to gather your thoughts.  If you do have some in place, review them and see what’s missing or what needs to be changed or updated.

Here is a good partial list to get you thinking but remember they should reflect the practice, the vision and the systems already in place.

Accounts Receivable Scheduling Patient Retention
Posting Payments Blocked Scheduling Recare System
Posting Insurance Confirmations Correspondence
Patient Billing Open Time Mgmt. Scripting
Insurance Management Emergency Time Broken Appointments
Fee Schedule Mgmt. Office Communication Clinical Team
Verification Team Meetings Tray Setup
Claim Mgmt. Morning Huddles Supply Ordering
New Patient Daily Communication Lab Case Management
Phone Scripts Hygiene Department Clinical Notes
Scheduling Appointment Protocol X-ray Protocol
Patient Handoffs Perio Protocol Procedural Guidelines
Arrival Same Day Treatment Day End Procedures
Chairside Open Time Emergency Patients
Dismissal X-Ray Protocol Software Protocol

These are just a few items that are key to your team understanding how you expect your practice to function. Some systems will be detailed and lengthy. Others may be as simple as a checklist that needs to be accomplished each day.  The systems you create do not need to adhere to a standard format in the beginning, they just need to be clear and concise.  If at some point you want to create and implement a systems manual it will be easier to accomplish once you have the initial steps in place.

 

Now that you understand systems a bit more, you probably also realize you have some in place right now. They may not be organized and documented, but you have them. Now is the time to take those policies out of your head and put them into a workable space. It is easy to get bogged down in the details and overwhelmed by where to start. Start with your category breakdown, then your checklist. The next step is to start documenting, then formatting. It can seem like a huge project, but we promise it is needed, appreciated by the team and well worth the time and effort.

As always, the team at Practice Dynamics is here to help you accomplish Balance Driven Success by utilizing Systems Teams and Technology. Reach out with any questions you may have. We are excited to hear about your successes!

 

 

Dynamic Tuesday 07/2018

July 31, 2018

Internal & External Marketing

Marketing, like many other things in dentistry, has changed greatly in in the last five years. Where the words “Marketing and Sales” were once taboo, they are now expected and even in demand in our world. Many of us have jumped on the social media bus, but there are other factors to marketing we cannot forget.  First and foremost, make sure you have a marketing budget that is part of your yearly planning.  Once you have the budget then it’s important to target the right areas. There are two physical aspects that often get overlooked once in business.

Let’s start with the physical aspect of external marketing. When was the last time you drove to your office a different direction than your normal route? How is your signage? Can it be seen from multiple directions? Is it congruent with your brand? Make sure you also do an outside inspection of your building, the parking lot, as well as your entry way. Keeping those outside appearances is just as important as how the inside of your office looks.

https://mailchi.mp/8df9f2f1d497/internal-external-marketing?e=d6b1ffa36a

 

 

 

Strategic Thinking: Blue or Red?

September 22, 2016

Strategic Thinking: Blue or Red?

 

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I spent a large part of my dental career in the corporate environment, 23 of my 28 years. Strategy and strategic thinking were constant companions. Strategy sessions were always exhilarating and scary at the same time. Planning, creative thinking and organizing are all things I love but predicting the future can be challenging.

When is the last time you lead a strategic discussion about your dental office? If you find yourself resisting being strategic because it sounds like the fast track to irrelevance you are probably not alone. We survive in the day to day activities of our dental office and our tendency is to deal with what is right in front of us because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if we get stuck in that habit we can put our office’s success at risk. While we concentrate on the navigation of our daily business we can miss excellent opportunities that will propel us to the future.

I love a quote by Jack Welch, well respected past CEO of GE and business executive, which speaks to this very subject. It’s a bit long but it captures what I’m speaking about.

You’ve got to eat while you dream. You’ve got to deliver on short-range commitments while you develop a long-range strategy and vision and implement it. The success of doing both. Walking and chewing gum if you will. Getting it done in the short-range and delivering a long-range plan, and executing on that.

* Jack Welch –

We are entering into the fall months and summer is behind us. Now is the time to start thinking and planning for our strategic sessions that will set the tone for the future of the office. Get all your data ready and make sure you have the historical successes. Then start preparing your research and thinking about changes and additions to dentistry on the horizon.

In addition, do some research on strategy and planning. There is no shortage of books on this subject out there. I recently finished reading “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renne Mauborgne. The book discusses the competitive marketplace and the difference between a red ocean and a blue ocean. In a red ocean environment you compete for the same patients and you’re a battling with other offices for the same set of patients. Too many sharks in the water if you will. If you find and develop a blue ocean strategy you’re competing in an

untapped space with unique offerings that set you apart. Finding these opportunities in your community for your practice is what will set you apart and open up your pool of patients.

Start researching, start thinking and set goals to lay out your blue ocean strategy for your dental office.

Happy planning,

Bonnie

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Great Leaders Compliment Their Team

July 6, 2016

MARK TWAIN ONCE SAID, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” While this statement may be impractical, we can understand the profound truth that the renowned author was emphasizing: there is power in a compliment.

As the leader of your practice, you are in a position to either positively or negatively affect your team. One of the most efficient ways to bring out the best in your team is by giving frequent, heartfelt praise. Whether your practice is big or small, you’ll find that sincere compliments have the power to increase productivity, performance and morale.

Tips On How To Compliment (And Why It Makes All The Difference)

A simple compliment is great, but well-thought-out praise is even better. So, how can you make your compliments more meaningful?

Recognize your team’s efforts. The first step to complimenting is taking an active role in trying to see how well your team is doing. Watch for things your employees do to help you, another teammate, a patient, or the practice as a whole. If you start noticing someone going above and beyond on a repetitive basis, don’t let it go unnoticed, reward them for it! While it doesn’t have to be after every procedure or patient, verbal appreciation should happen on a daily basis.

Know your audience. The key to complimenting is knowing who you’re complimenting and how they’re going to receive it. Some personalities enjoy being complimented in public, like in a morning huddle, while other personalities may appreciate more privacy, without any attention brought to themselves.

Make your compliments specific. Saying, “Thank you!” to your team as you walk out the door at the end of the day is great, but it isn’t enough to reap the positive benefits of giving genuine, personalized praise. For example, something like, “I noticed that you really took care of Mrs. Brown today. I appreciate you doing that, it really helped me out,” or, “My schedule looked amazing today. We were on time and it made all the difference in my day. Thank you!”

Go out of your comfort zone. We understand that some people may not be comfortable giving compliments or recognize the need for them, but giving praise is an important responsibility for any effective leader. If offering compliments is difficult for you, lean into the uncomfortable and look outside yourself to your team and their needs.

The Benefits: Heartfelt Praise Cultivates Ownership Mentality

The number one thing we’ve had dentists say to us is that they want a team with “ownership mentality.” Ownership mentality means that while employees may have no ownership stake in the practice, they are still invested in the company’s success and their work reflects that attitude.

If you start appreciating your team and the job that they do both publicly and privately, they are going to have your back. They’re going to want the practice to succeed, the patients to be healthy, and they’ll support and respect you as their leader. By recognizing your team’s hard work and making an effort to compliment them, you will empower them with ownership mentality and reap the benefits that come from having satisfied, engaged employees.

Helping You Build Your Business, One Step At A Time

There is no denying that a lot goes into building a successful practice. Recognizing and praising your team along the way is an important aspect to that success. If you’re wondering how to better incorporate the art of complimenting into your practice or have any additional questions, contact us today or leave a comment below! We’re here to to help you build your business, one step at a time.

We’re grateful for our awesome clients!

Get Your Ears On

June 15, 2016

art-of-listening

Get Your Ears On

Perhaps you have heard the expression that you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen two times more than you talk. However, how many of us fall short of that 2:1 ratio? Sit back and watch different conversations around you and we bet you will find, each one of us falls short of that ratio. Why? It’s part of human nature to be a poor listener. Our brains can process information 3-5 times faster than we can speak. That gives us all sorts of extra time to think about other stuff while someone else is talking. Usually, we use the extra time to think about what we are going to say in response. How many times have you had your reply ready before the other person is finished with their sentence? Other times intrusive thoughts come in because we are rushed, worried about something, daydreaming, or simply not interested. In the dental office, problems might arise when you think that you’ve “heard it all before” so you cut off a patient or a coworker before they had a chance to finish their comments. A good trick to stay completely in the moment is to repeat back what the person is saying in your head. It’s a bit obnoxious at first, but it keeps you focused on the content and context of the message. Then, ask a follow-up question to check your understanding. Asking a question or two will show the speaker that you are interested in interpreting him or her accurately. Think of how many mistakes and misunderstandings could be avoided if people actively and completely listened to each other. The dental office would be much more efficient if we listened carefully the FIRST time, would you agree? In addition, listening has a positive, symbolic effect. When you FULLY listen to someone, you are saying, “I care about you.” So get your ears on, and give your patients and co-workers the gift of listening!

Jayne

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