How Systems Can Upgrade Your Dental Practice

Roger P. Levin, DDS
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Every dentist and practice owner has heard about implementing excellent business systems. It’s one of those often talked about dental concepts that everyone agrees with, but most practices have not followed through on it.

Business systems for dental practices can make the difference in achieving high levels of success. We’ve seen practices in the same geographic area, of the same size, with the same number of staff and similar insurance profiles, yet one practice is double the size of the other.

In observing these comparisons, we’ve often found that the main difference seems to be the quality of the systems. Here are the basics of business systems for dental practices.

Systems Are Designed for Maximum Efficiency

When a practice implements step-by-step documented business systems, it’s the beginning of a process of moving all operations to the highest level of performance.

Systems are designed to influence and motivate patients to take a certain action. It may be to schedule their next appointment, accept treatment, or pay their bill.

When systems are properly designed, any practice will improve performance, and most patients become extremely cooperative and will follow through on these actions.

Systems Are Designed for Speed

One factor that most dentists don’t think about is that business systems for dental practices are designed for speed and efficiency. Each system is analyzed to identify bottlenecks. If you think about a bottle, the neck determines how quickly you can pour the liquid out.

For a dental office, bottlenecks are the points of congestion in the systems. By constantly monitoring, designing, and analyzing where the bottlenecks are in systems, dental practices can remove them and significantly increase speed. Here’s an example of how powerful that can be.

Levin Group has now successfully demonstrated through procedural time studies that almost all practices can save 10 minutes per hour of doctor time. In a four-day-a-week practice, this literally adds 32 days per year of doctor time, which is the equivalent of two months of production time.

Drawing the example further, if a dentist has a 36-year career, that dentist will add six entire years of doctor production time without working any additional hours. This is a windfall for any doctor or practice. It’s also a clear example of how a bottleneck, when expanded, can result in dramatic improvements in practice performance and practice production.

Systems Train the Team

It’s a fallacy to believe that you can simply direct the team day to day and they become trained. Most practices, unlike large companies, don’t have training departments and expert trainers who focus on adding to employee skill sets.

The best way to train a dental team is by implementing systems and asking them to follow the systems with the team members understanding the specific measurements relative to the goals that need to be achieved. This can all be done in an extremely positive manner focusing on excellent results.

When team members follow the systems, just like an elite athlete, they’ve become trained in those systems. If those systems are excellent, then the team members will be excellent and able to reach their true potential.

We have found that most team members have a strong desire to be excellent in their positions and continue to grow and learn with a feeling that they are contributing to the practice. Without question, implementing systems and having the team follow them is the single best way to train team members in all facets of their job.

Your Turn

Systems are the key to achieving and maintaining success for any dental practice. As a small business, the dental practice has limited resources and must focus those resources on day-to-day operations, excellence in patient care, and moving toward a vision for the future.

Team members can excel in their positions if, and only if, they know exactly what they’re supposed to do and have the systems behind them that allow them to achieve their daily and ongoing objectives.

By implementing systems, any dental team can rise to a higher level, which will help the practice increase practice production, referrals, case acceptance, and positive reviews. These are the hallmarks of an excellent practice.

Dr. Levin is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written more than 60 books and more than 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the United States and around the world. To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit levingroup.com or email rlevin@levingroup.com

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