Implementing systems within your dental practice and staff accountability

By Karen Ergus

When it comes to dental offices that fail, one of my main observations, and a common pattern, is the failing of systems that are in place.

Either the systems themselves are not efficient, or the systems are not being properly enforced or communicated to the team. Be consistent in enforcing these systems and hold staff accountable. If your staff are not following the guidelines and rules you put in place further steps needs to be taken.

Creating and implementing systems

In the early stages of establishing your practice, create a clear plan of what your procedural methods and systems will be. When it comes down to things like the actual dental procedures and emergency protocol. You need to adhere to laws and guidelines in accordance with your region and country. You must also adhere to what is recommended by your dental association. Your dental association’s official website is a good place for you to start your research.

Other aspects of your practice such as; mission statement, office etiquette, expectations and organizational methods are up to you to come up with and tailor to your own personal business goals. Ask yourself the right questions, “What will make my team more efficient?” and “What measures can I put in place to ensure that my staff is happy?”

All of your systems, procedures, rules and expectations should be clearly outlined and explained in a detailed office manual. Staff of all levels should have easy access to the manual, both physically and digitally. The online resource Dental Clinic Manual offers a helpful, free template that you can refer to when putting together your manual.

Accountability for performance

Take notice in your practice when there is a drop in client retention. This is a sign that your systems are failing for some reason. Likely a result of your systems being outdated and no longer practical for the level your practice. It may also mean that your staff members are not fulfilling their required tasks in an efficient manner.

A way to track staff performance is with DenTyme, Dolphin Development Group’s revolutionary virtual assistant app. As discussed in the previous blog post, the app includes a procedure log feature that allows staff to log every procedure they do. Taking note of the type of procedure, steps, length of time, etc.

When you review these logs, look for any discrepancies between what is noted and what you’ve outlined in your procedure guidelines. If certain staff members are in fact cutting corners or not following the requirements, you must hold them accountable. Communicate the issue with them and choose the appropriate measures to fix the problem.

This may consist of further training, re-assigning roles or, if the problem is severe, terminating their position. At the end of the day, it is up to you to make it clear what you expect. And to do what is best to maintain a successful, efficient and positive work environment.

For more insight on bettering your practice, check out DenTyme – our virtual chairside assistant developed by professionals for professionals.


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