Archive | March, 2014

Hygienist FAQ #1

31 Mar

I only have an hour for a new patient visit.  How do we have enough time to take pictures?


Today’s Challenge:

In the beginning, it’s tough to let go of old systems, as well as procedures that will now take place later in the patient flow process.  As a result, the new patient hygiene visit is being conducted as it always has, trying to pile the photos, study models, questions and planning appointment invitation on top.  This can definitely put stress on your schedule and cause you to run behind.  Prioritizing these things can help you organize the appointment so that you can stay on time.


Here are the MOST IMPORTANT things that ought to take place…


  1. Give them what they want, ie: clean their teeth.
  2. Further establish their goals/wants.
  3. Take photos/x-rays
  4. Invite them back for a planning appointment


We are not skipping anything, just simply changing the order.  The comprehensive exam ought to take place at the planning appointment.  The full periodontal charting can be accomplished at the planning appointment or even at the start of treatment when they have been anesthetized.

Putting the team before ‘me’.

27 Mar

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” ~ Andrew Carnegie


Today’s Challenge: Seek to learn something new today, outside of your role.  This month has been all about making YOUR job easier at the front desk.  If you’ve paid attention, you have better control over your ‘plates’ than you did at the beginning of the month, making space for real synergy to happen.

Dental Team Training! Dallas – May 2nd!

26 Mar

Let it go!

26 Mar

“The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit for doing them.” ~ Benjamin Jowett


Today’s Challenge: Create a list of tasks that can always be addressed at the front desk – next time a team member shows up to ‘hang out’ at the front because they have some downtime, hand them the list rather than engaging in conversation that hinders your flow.

Are You Wasting Your Precious Time?

25 Mar

“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.” ~ Peter Drucker

Today’s Challenge: Is there a duplication of efforts in the practice? A job that two people might be seeking to accomplish? As I worked with some practices this month in establishing systems ‘manuals’ for their role, it was amazing how different positions in the practices are realizing they are doing the same thing. If you don’t know, journal your day and write out a role ‘description’, sharing with your team the tasks that you strive to accomplish each day. Don’t get me wrong – there should be cross-training and support in these systems – that’s not what I’m talking about here. You want to identify time-wasters.

Save time at the Front Desk!

24 Mar

“Technology is like a fish. The longer it stays on the shelf, the less desirable it becomes.” ~ Andrew Heller

Today’s Challenge: Contact your patient relations software today (Smile Reminder, Lighthouse, Demand Force, etc.) and make certain you are fully utilizing the services you are paying for.  If you are spending time chasing confirmations, trying to fill last minute appointment holes, etc., the few minutes that you take time to get trained with pay dividends.

So You Say You’re Too Busy…

20 Mar

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein!”

Today’s Challenge: Offer a prepayment incentive to every patient that schedules restorative treatment today.  Being ‘too busy’ is not an excuse.  You are too busy not to!  Even if only one patient today takes you up on your offer, that is one less insurance claim you have to chase and one less statement you have to send.

Do you have ‘secret’ systems?

19 Mar

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere.” ~ Ronald Reagan

 It’s extremely dangerous when there a systems in the practice that only one person knows.  There are huge benefits in written systems and cross-training – consistency, effective use of time, no duplication of efforts, etc.  
Today’s Challenge: Make note of the messages left for you today by other team members that answered the phone.  Make a list of those things that others did not feel equipped to handle and put on your agenda next time you have the opportunity to lead a team meeting.  It may take a few sessions, but taking time to train other team members to handle those calls gets rid of one of your ‘plates’.

How well does your ‘away’ message portray your vision?

18 Mar

The greatest gift you can give anyone is your undivided attention.”
~ Will Schwalbe

Today’s Challenge:  The patient in front of you takes priority over a ringing phone.  Don’t ever interrupt a live interaction with a patient to answer a call.  You’ll only have to put that patient on hold anyway, which can be frustrating to both parties, and create stress for you.  Listen to your away message – is it up to date?  Is it short and sweet?  Are you enthusiastic?  Do you welcome new patients?  Do you promise to return missed calls within an hour? If you can say yes to all of these questions, then let the phone go to voice mail.

Distractions – The Enemy of Progress

13 Mar

“Winning teams have the least amount of distractions. They have a really tight group of people working towards the same common goal.” ~ Larry Dixon

Today’s Challenge:  Keep a ‘to do’ list or action plan.  The older I get, the more scattered my thought process becomes.  It’s harder and harder to stay on track and keep a productive flow going during my work day with out a list of items that need my attention.  This is different from the day–to-day schedule I follow – it contains those one-time miscellaneous tasks that seem to fall through the cracks if I fail to write them down.