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    How to locate the pain points in your practice

    Streamlining your practice is all about locating the areas that are holding you back.

    As dentists, we are a pretty lucky group. Every day of our professional lives we get to apply our knowledge to help people. Oftentimes, those moments with patients are impactful for them when they come into our offices in pain and leave comfortable. While those moments don’t always make a big impact on us as doctors (after all, that’s what we do), they can make a tremendous impact on the patients we’ve helped. I mean, let’s face it, who really wants to be in pain?

    So, for this month, I’d like for you to envision your office as you would a patient. Every office has some areas that need improvement. However, frequently when we are in the thick of our businesses, we don’t notice those things, even though we should.

    Think about where your pain points are when it comes to your office and how it runs.

    More from Dr. Flucke: Using apps to improve efficiency and security in the dental practice

    Business processes

    This category is probably the area that, hands down, most practices need help with. We receive incredible training on how to deal with the clinical part of our jobs, but we receive very little training on how to actually run a business. 

    The good news with this problem is that many of the software packages running our offices provide solid reports and information. However, in today’s current business environment we are now dealing with things that are outside the realm of standard accounting.

    What I’m talking about here is patient engagement, reputation management, search engine optimization, social media, marketing tracking, etc. These are all things that were not a big priority just a few years back but can now have a large impact on the business end of a practice.

    The days of designating a staff member to deal with these situations are over. It is simply too complicated and time-consuming in today’s environment. There are many companies out there that can help you with pieces of this, but a great one-stop shop for this type of help is MMG Fusion. The MMG in their name stands for “Manage, Market and Grow” and their software is designed to do just that for your practice. They are a two-time Cellerant Best of Class winner and can help move your practice to the next level in today’s business environment. Check out MMGFusion.com. You’ll sleep better and your practice will benefit from their help.

    However, maybe this year is the year you finally begin to offer patient financing or some new type of treatment. Things like Invisalign, endo or implants can increase patient demand while also boosting your profitability. Or how about focusing on something as easy as recommending whitening to more of your patients?

    Trending article: Why it's critical to design with the future in mind

    Non-digital processes

    This category can be a pretty broad one, including processes from getting rid of paper and going more digital to a firm commitment to finally having that morning huddle. With those thoughts in mind, how about combining those two?

    I highly recommend a daily organizational meeting — but without the paper. In my office, we meet in the conference room where the day’s schedule is projected on the screen and we go over every appointment as a team. This ensures that everything flows smoothly, all cases are on site for delivery, patients are seated promptly and the details are paid attention to. For those of you who don’t have a conference room, you can have this type of meeting anywhere there is a computer monitor. The front desk is often a great place to meet as a group.

    For help in locating these types of problem areas, a staff meeting can be a huge help. I have found that asking each department to meet separately and then come to a staff meeting with problems, solutions and recommendations not only empowers the team but also helps the doctor to see things from a perspective he or she frequently does not have. You’d be surprised how badly your team wants to be involved and help in the success of your practice. Problem solving staff meetings where you actually focus on solving problems and not just complaining about them can be a tremendous way to engage your team in your success and bring everyone together to create a common goal. Give it a try!

    Often, a very dedicated team will struggle along in some areas because they don’t want to bother anyone with a problem, but in reality it’s those types of things that frequently create bottlenecks or inefficiencies. By giving them the opportunity to bring these problems to the doctor’s attention, everyone benefits.


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    Dr. John Flucke
    Dr. John Flucke is in private practice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. He also serves as technology editor for Dental Products Report magazine and ...


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