Receive Knowledge for a Practice’s Lifetime
You probably have all heard the saying: “Give a man a fish; feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; feed him for a lifetime.” Lao Tzu was the founder of Taoism, the mystical “way” or “path” that can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions. He became known for many sayings besides this one, which is renowned. I believe this is a wonderful analogy for today’s modern world of management. It is similar to the fact that one article or seminar can feed you some of the knowledge you need to run your practice for a day, but if you learn how to manage your practice, you will receive the knowledge to be productive for the practice’s lifetime.
The year is coming to a close, and as a practice management expert I am often asked by practice owners: “What can I do to change my hygiene productivity?” or “What can I do to improve my hygienist?” While I could easily give them a quick answer and it might fix the challenges he/she faces for a day, it surely won’t build on the strengths of the hygienist working in the practice, nor will it identify all the opportunities that lie within that hygienist or department/practice.
When we accept a new client, we begin by asking the doctor the following questions: What type of practice do you want to have? What kind of dentistry do you want to practice? What types of patients do you want to have? After they answer those questions, we ask what is holding them back; do they have a plan to get the practice they want? The plan must have specific strategies and accountability. They need a road map.
Asking for the following reports from their Practice Management Software allows us to complete a “deep dive” into the current reality of their hygiene department. All reports are for the last 12 months.
From these reports, we are able to uncover the strengths, weaknesses, opportunity, and threats (SWOT) that exist within the hygiene department and practice as an entity. Reports tell a partial story, a story not just about hygiene but many of the systems that help you monitor your practice, thus enabling you to receive some of the knowledge to be productive for a day/week/month in the practice. However, with proper diagnosis of those reports and direction on how to uncover SWOT and implement change, you are able to learn how to use the knowledge to be productive for a practice’s lifetime.
For an example within the hygiene department, let’s go a little deeper into SOME reasons why a practice isn’t diagnosing or treating periodontal disease.
Most practices we work with are competent and try to keep the patient’s best interest as the first priority, yet still some practices can relate to the 5 reasons above. Competency can be broken down into 4 categories.
Unconscious Incompetence - You don’t know what you don’t know. Example: Hygiene production should represent 33% of total practice production; periodontal production should represent 33% of total hygiene production.
Conscious Incompetence - Know that you don’t know. Example: Hygienist may know that the ADA recommends full mouth radiographs every 3-5 yrs but doesn’t know what the doctor’s philosophy is within the practice.
Conscious Competence - Know and have to apply conscious effort. Example: You know the doctor’s philosophy is that all patients have a complete periodontal exam at every visit, to co-diagnose what is present in the mouth before he/she comes in for periodic exam.
Unconscious Competence - Do without thinking. Example: Bite-wing x-rays every year on all patients with teeth based on the ADA guidelines.
So let’s think about Conscious Competence. We know that the surgeon general and CDC say approximately 60%-75% of American adults have periodontal disease and the majority don’t know it because it is usually painless and silent in the early stages. Yet if we were to complete a chart audit in 100 dental offices, 97 of them would not have a full 6-point periodontal probing on each patient in that chart every year. You go into Conscious Incompetence mode knowing that you don’t complete it regularly, but justify “why” with the 5 reasons mentioned above and many more.So as another year comes close to ending, allow us to “teach you to fish so your practice can flourish for a lifetime.” Accept our gift of thanksgiving by requesting a complimentary Practice Assessment today.
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