Can We Talk?A McKenzie Management Case Study
Dr. Matthew Fox – Case Study #256
Dr. Fox was not unique in his daily challenges of managing an efficient and productive office. Also not unique were the obvious struggles that the team had in regard to the same challenges.
Guess what?...the doctor and the team had no idea how to solve any of the issues they faced because there was no effective communication taking place among anyone!
Dr. Fox’s concerns:
Business Staff’s concerns:
As I observed the activities throughout the day during my first two days of my visit, it was obvious to me what was causing such “mass confusion” between the doctor and the staff. There was NO communication taking place that was effectively resolving the issues of the day. There were also no tools for doing so. In other words, no one really knew how to talk to one another!
Morning meetings – Dr. Fox and his clinical team would gather in the hall while the hygiene patients were being walked between them to briefly “chat” about the day. The meeting was non-productive and did not completely cover the areas that needed to be covered in order to have an efficient and productive day.
In conjunction with the morning meeting, the hygienists and assistants should have access to their patients’ records for the next day by lunch-time in order to have time to review the information prior to the morning huddle.
Monthly Meetings – There was some form of monthly meetings held but it was felt by the staff that they were not productive. They were held during lunch without an agenda and no “old business” was discussed from the previous meeting. Monthly meetings should include the following:
Trends should be noted by the doctor (up or down) and discuss with the team
“Walkie Talkies” could be used by all team members and doctors to improve inter-office communication. Staff members were running around the office like “chickens with their heads cut off” trying to find other staff members to ask questions or share information to. Team members were constantly playing “hide and seek” with the doctor or each other.
New Patient Time to make an accurate treatment plan is a necessity in order to have continuity of information between the doctor, the clinical staff and the business team. Everyone must be on the same page regarding the patient’s treatment, the fees, how the appointments need to be scheduled and how much time is needed for each appointment. This would eliminate many of the questions for the doctor throughout the day regarding patients’ treatment.
There is “talking” to make noise and there is “talking” for a purpose. Communication must be clear and concise between the doctor and the staff. If the staff does not completely understand what the doctor is saying,…ask for clarification. Some doctors communicate more clearly than others. Dr. Fox was a friendly and very likeable doctor, but he did not always communicate his thoughts clearly and with a definitive conclusion.
It takes practice to improve communication in an office. By implementing the tools listed above, the practice day will be more productive and less hectic. Everyone will be aware of the “page” that the practice is on for the day. Start the day on the right foot and it will continue to march on efficiently until it’s time to go home.
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