Question: What do lab tracking, new patient calls, treatment presentation and supply ordering have in common?
Answer: If there aren’t rock solid systems in place and being properly followed, major breakdowns can occur.
Some offices like to “wing it” and trust that team members will follow their intuition to make the right call, but the best offices I have visited have created and implemented well thought-out policies and systems. It begs the questions: How important do YOU think great systems are and how does one best design them?
There are a couple of ideas that one needs to think about when it comes to developing exceptional processes in an office; the design, the people and the method.
First, you have to design the systems. Start by thinking about what you really want and how you plan on getting there. Think of the process from the very first step until the very last one. However, keep yourself and your team from designing the policy around the most rare of contingencies. For instance, don’t worry about what would happen if, say, a snowstorm delayed lab cases from delivering, unless that’s a common occurrence. The rule of thumb suggested by most consultants is that if it doesn’t happen more than 10% of the time, don’t worry about it.
Next, you need to design the systems independent of the people. Just because you currently have an amazingly organized assistant doesn’t mean that you can leave things to chance or dump more on his/her plate because they are capable of handling it. Assume that you have the generic team member to implement the system. When I went through a year management course 20 years ago, it was made clear to me that while I could develop the systems in a vacuum at home without the team, it was they who needed to implement them, so it was suggested I include them in the process.
Last, you need to consider how you want people to see the system to learn it and where it’s stored. Do you want it to be a video of how to do things or rather, a written system. Do you store it on your server or do you store it on a shared cloud folder? The choice is yours, but be clear and make sure it’s shareable and viewable by all.
No matter where you practice, big or small, rural or urban, 3 employees or 25, you need effective systems and implementation to run effectively. How you do it is up to you but remember that while it may seem like a lot of work to develop these systems, it will be worth it in the end. Keep in mind that one system created once a week leads to roughly 50 systems a year. That’s huge and will take your team and your practice to new heights while reducing your stress.
Wishing you all the best!!!
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GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.