As a dentist, one of the most frustrating and challenging aspects of running your practice is managing the details. Billing, scheduling, following up with patients, training staff—the list goes on and on, and sometimes it may seem like you barely spend any time actually seeing patients.
And while view dentists enjoy managing an endless list of details, the reality is that failure to do so will lead to disaster. It’s essential to get the details right if you hope to build a profitable practice.
It may seem like a “Catch-22” – you want to spend time seeing patients, but if you want to keep the patients happy and the practice growing, you need to devote time and energy to other tasks.
Fortunately, there is a solution. These two simple steps can make a world of difference:
1) Systemize. Are you reinventing the wheel each day? When it comes to tasks like billing, ordering supplies, and training employees, we have found that many dentists have no “system” in place. The reality is that, if you can identify the most efficient and effective way of performing a given task, you can save a great deal of time each day. For instance, the next time you train an employee to perform a new function, take the time to create a training manual highlighting all important processes and information. It will take you time to create it—but once you are done, you will find that training employees in the future is much easier. You may even consider creating brief videos or audio recordings which accompany your manual—which would mean that you could simply answer questions at the end, instead of spending your time training each and every employee. This is just an example, but you get the point. Look for opportunities to systemize and automate your everyday tasks as much as you possible can.
2) Delegate. Take a few moments and create a list of the various activities you perform in a given work day. Now, look through that list and highlight the tasks that you alone have the ability to perform. (These will be things like performing fillings, etc). If you are like many dentists we work with, you’ll see that you spend a great deal of time on tasks that could be performed by members of your staff. It is important that you delegate these tasks, rather than continuing to perform them. The most common reason dentists don’t do this is because it sometimes seems like more work to train an employee than it would be to simply continue doing it. This may be true in the short run, but over the long run, training your team to manage as many tasks as possible will pay huge dividends.
As a dentist, your time is best spent seeing patients. That’s what your best at, that’s what makes you money, and that’s what you enjoy. Don’t let the details of managing a practice on a daily basis slow you down!