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February 20, 2017
4 Tips For A More Efficient OfficeBy: Staff
Looking to reduce stress in your dental practice? We did some research and wanted to share some terrific time-saving and productive tips for you. You are busy dealing with patients, your first priority, of course, but behind the scenes, implementing these four suggestions from Dental Economics.
1. Know how long procedures really take. You can save time by doing this for two weeks: keep track of the “real time” it takes to perform a procedure, from the moment the patient sits down to the time you are finished. You may be surprised that a 30 minute dental appointment is, in reality, really forty-five minutes. It is a good exercise to do!
2.Train assistants in as many duties as possible. The most wasteful time in any dental office is the time when the dentist performs procedures that, by law, an auxiliary could perform. The best dental assistants are generally happiest when they are allowed to perform all tasks that the law allows. Take the time to train your assistants, even though it may seem more time-consuming. The benefits will pay off by maximizing everyone’s skill set.
3. Be sure you are seeing your office as a global paradigm, versus a myopic one. A global paradigm means you are aware of all the patients in the clinical area and have the ability to understand clinical time management for everyone. This may mean having the office manager periodically walk around and help direct traffic to keep things moving. It may mean you have an assistant place a matrix and etch while he or she either checks a hygiene patient or numbs the next patient on the schedule. Too many dental teams are myopic - they only see what is going on in their own chair. They don’t think about how the entire clinical area is moving patients in and out.
Have a staff meeting to discuss a global paradigm of clinical time management. Find a person who will volunteer to get this started. Have everyone agree to listen to the “traffic controller.” Come back together in a staff meeting to make any adjustments or to rotate the person who serves as the traffic director.
4. Have the hygienist ready for exams - ASAP. Unfortunately, many hygienists have a “clean the teeth” paradigm. The first five to 15 minutes of the dental hygiene appointment should be focused on assessment of the patient’s condition. All of the following should be completed and ready for the dentist’s exam ASAP:
- Medical history update
- Oral cancer screening
- Periodontal screening
- Restorative screening, including intraoral camera pictures; review as a co-diagnosis with the patient
- Appropriate radiographs to add to the dentist’s ability to diagnose the patient’s condition(s)
- Home care evaluation
Often, a dentist walks into an exam room and the hygienist has not yet taken a radiograph or an intraoral camera picture of a problem tooth (identified by the patient or hygienist). So, the hygienist must take the radiograph, and the patient must wait for the results or, worse yet, a team member must call the patient at a later time to give the patient the results.
Create your own assessment checklist of what needs to be completed at the beginning of the hygiene appointment. Discuss how the assessments will be communicated to the dentist - i.e., in a talk over the patient, a check sheet for the dentist to view, or a conversation in the hall.
By implementing these four efficiency tips, you can reduce stress and improve productivity in the office. Try putting one into place a month and reassess in four months time to see if, indeed, you see a difference in the clinical efficiency of your practice.
Linda Drevenstedt is president of Drevenstedt Consulting, LLC, and has developed a process to assist dental practices in reaching their potential. She has been a practice-management consultant for more than 20 years, has been published in numerous professional journals, and lectures at several major conferences annually. She is a member of the National Speakers Association, the Institute of Management Consultants, and the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration.
Article source: http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-97/issue-3/features/8-ways-to-increase-efficiency-and-reduce-stress.html