the ‘They Don’t Get It’ Barrier
If you find yourself shaking your head
and lamenting that members of your team will “never get it,”
maybe it’s time to consider the very real possibility that
they don’t “get it” because you haven’t
given “it” to them. Make sense? Let me explain. Often
in the busyness of today’s dental practices doctors are so
consumed with addressing the urgency of treating the patients they
don’t take the time and energy or have the experience
to maximize their teams.
the doctor does have a practice vision, often it’s not shared
with the team. Staff members frequently do not see any relationship
between their roles and practice goals. What’s more,
team members in these practices are typically found fumbling along,
trying to guess what their job responsibilities are and what the
doctor’s expectations might be. Meanwhile the doctor “just
wants to do the dentistry.”
reality, dentists want far more than to just “do the dentistry.”
You want a comfortable and reliable income. You want your patients
to keep returning. You want to pay your bills in a timely fashion.
You want patients to invest in your quality care. And you don’t
want any more stress chipping away at your days...and nights. To
achieve that you need team members who, at a minimum, are playing
in the same ball park you’re in. How do you get them there?
Start with the job descriptions for each employee.
the dentist has the final say in each employee’s responsibilities,
input from the team members is particularly beneficial in encouraging
individual ownership and responsibility. Ask each member of the
team to list the tasks currently within their job. Provide an example
description such as the following:
the job. Treatment Coordinator. Informs patients
what treatment is required, the benefits of completing treatment,
financial obligations and options available, schedules first appointment.
Welcomes new patients to the practice and builds rapport with
new and existing patients.
Spell out specifically what skills are necessary for the
position. Articulate, well organized, good listener,
sensitive to patient concerns and objectives, ability to understand
and clearly explain dental procedures. Ability to work with computer
systems and dental software. Enjoys working with and helping others.
Can handle rejection.
the specific duties and responsibilities of the job.
Discuss treatment plans with doctor prior to meeting with
patients. Prepare predeterminations. Conduct case presentations.
Measure results using an established system and report regularly
on results to the team. Monitor case acceptance. Enter patient
treatment into computer system. Serve as a liaison with insurance
companies regarding patient financial arrangements. Serve as communication
liaison to the team and regularly report on concerns raised by
patients to enable staff and doctor to address those issues. Provide
other assistance as needed, including appointment confirmation,
patient processing, and front desk and clinical assistance.
descriptions are the cornerstone for virtually every system in the
practice. I guarantee that putting employee duties/responsibilities
in writing will have an immediate positive impact on your productivity,
your stress level, and the overall quality of your team. So what
are you waiting for?
a listing of “business” job descriptions go to the September-December
2002 issues of the Monthly e-motivator newsletter on our web-site.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Computing - Part 12
More Patient WOW
Last week [see
article],I discussed three more commitments to our patients
when you implement computer systems into the treatment rooms. This
week, we are going to continue examining two more patient commitments
in greater detail.
patient of ours will appreciate and UNDERSTAND a 15” digital
image of an xray vs. the doctor holding a 1 x 1 xray up to a light
box 6 feet away.
If you read these each week, you are sensing a theme by now. How
and what you do with our treatment room computers can have a profound
impact on the patient understanding and “owning” their
problem. Having a patient “own” their problem is the
first successful step to improved acceptance. One of the more obvious
benefits to digital x-rays is the ability to present a radiograph
much, much larger than life. If you have ever pinned traditional
film to the light box and drawn the patient’s attention to
it, wait until you can show them on a 15”, 17”, or 19”
flat panel monitor! The software you use with your digital x-rays
will also be able to focus in on a particular area of the radiograph.
Some software calls this feature “zooming in” and others
have made it look like a “flashlight”. Basically, it’s
like pointing at a tiny spot on a 1”x1” film with your
finger. With digital radiography though, the patient can actually
see what you are referring to! When they actually see it rather
than just taking your word for it, they will be more prone to “own”
their problem and seek your solution.
A patient of ours should expect us to be able to email (or
print) their treatment plan for their spouse (significant other).
You have heard me say before that 80% of the healthcare decisions
in this country are made by females. Our culture over the last generation
has shifted to two breadwinner families as the norm. The females
and males in these two breadwinner families are busy – very
busy. Their lives are packed with other “stuff”. They
want to quickly and accurately assess the need, the want, and be
able to visualize the outcome. They also want to know the
cost in time and money. They do not want to dwell on this decision.
Let’s assume most of your patients cannot make a $5,000 purchase
decision without first consulting their spouse or significant other.
Now ask yourself, what additional service do you provide your patients
that will help them to “sell” their spouse (assuming
the spouse wasn’t present at the treatment plan consult)?
If your answer is “very little”, or, “nothing
at all”, you just put the burden of selling your treatment
on the back of your poor patient. It is now out of your control.
You are at the mercy of your patient’s ability to communicate
the value of your dentistry. Not exactly the best case scenario.
What you “could” do is prepare (either printed or electronically
transferable) a Word document or PowerPoint presentation and get
it in your patient’s (or their spouse) hands. Make sure to
include radiographs. Draw a circle around an area to draw
their attention. You should definitely include a digital
“before and after” as well. If the clinical team is
using your digital camera on a routine basis, creating an impressive
before and after is a snap.
practice management systems automatically create Word or PowerPoint
presentations. Ask your software representative to show you how
your system can prepare a transportable treatment plan.
With everything, you look for a return on investment. If you already
have digital radiographs and digital camera pictures in the patient
record, creating a professionally done transportable treatment plan
presentation should take no more than two to three minutes. Taking
the pressure and burden off your patient’s shoulders is exceptional
customer service. Having both spouses involved in the decision
will increase case acceptance and cut down on those case start “no
show appointments” that leave your team wondering.
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using
Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec.
10th in La Jolla. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-877-900-5775
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
week’s column is dedicated to the Dental Team.
with doctors, dentist, lawyers, and business executives around the
country, I am
familiar with the types of behaviors that manifest in the office
workplace. Many of the recent columns have been addressing the issue
of the executive, the dentist, the doctor, and the business owners
who find themselves a little short on reasoning when it comes to
solving problems of their own lives as well as
those of the interactions with the staff and coping with the interactions
within the team.
I consider the business owner to have certain inalienable rights
which very often he or she does not see for themselves. It is often
a surprise to a business owner when they learned that you can tell
people the truth and tell people what they want and such
an act will not be perceived as the coming of the next great world-hating
it must also be said that these shy nearsighted executives will
also hire staff within their own model of perceived inadequacy and
perceived negativity. They do this to recreate the same
abusive environment in the workplace that they recognize
in other aspects of their lives. There is no choice here.
Thus, it can be said that the business owner contributes their own
brand of pain and disappointment by handpicking a staff for their
negativity and personal sense of inadequacy. Such a pattern
leads to a chronic office culture of chaos, emotional abuse,
financial catastrophe, and the absence and impossibility of achieving
work place harmony and tranquility.
seedling decisions and behaviors contribute to the blooming of uncontrolled
office specific politics. Once office politics begin, then the competition
for power and influence over the wounded business owner
falls into a structure that defeats the business owner’s intent
which is to make money and feel independent.
column is addressed to those staffers who do not want to be part
of the negativity or participate in drama of office politics but
would rather find the harmony and tranquility of the moral and ethical
high road of the daily work routine.
the next several weeks, I will discuss questions and principles
which you can ask yourself and answer honestly in order to discover
if you are truly on the right side of the political line.
Every day when you come to work, are you absolutely sure
that your presence matters to the owner of the business,
as well as the people with whom you work. Are you absolutely sure
that your presence is recognized and acknowledged. One of the ways
you can tell if you matter is whether people smile when they first
see you. Another way you can tell if you matter is if the owner
of the company periodically takes a moment to find
out how you are feeling and how your family is doing.
The owner of the business, in order to be an effective leader, must
recognize that every individual has a life outside of the
office, and he or she must acknowledge that life if they
are to gain and maintain the respect of the staff. In addition,
every staff member is obliged to recognize the importance of every
other staff member, because they are working together in the trenches
to make sure that everything is in place for the office product
to be delivered to the customer.
is not enough to say you matter, and it is not enough to feel like
you matter. You can feel a feeling and it feels right, but
that does not mean the feeling is correct for the circumstances,
although it may still be correct from your personal history. For
example, if you are accustomed to being funny to break up the tension
in your family, then you will tend to be funny in the office when
you sense the tension. When people laugh, you feel safe again, but
the truth is that you distracted everyone from the issue at hand
to suit your own need for security and this is simply inappropriate.
Thus, when people laugh at you, you feel like your presence matters,
because your family relied on you to break the tension at home...but
this is business!!!
am very very specific on this point. Do people smile at you when
they see you? Does the owner of the company take a moment periodically
to find out how your life is going outside the office? It is only
when these types of behaviors, and there are others, occur that
you can be certain that you matter.
At any point during the day, are your words, thoughts, and
actions taken seriously? At meetings, do the other staffers
listen to you? At these meetings, does the business owner not only
listen to you but demonstrates the importance of your contribution
by asking questions about what you have just offered to the group.
Can you recall a time where you said “no” and everything
is essential that you understand that everyone's job description
is very specific for a reason. Your job description creates the
boundaries around which your domain of control is an inalienable
right within the office. By this, I mean that your job description
is exactly the same as the boundary on your house or the desire
not to have anyone dent your car by accident. Your job description
is a very sacred label or identifier of your purpose and importance.
Therefore, when you are within the domain of your job description
and you attempt to express yourself about a necessary observation
or caution, are you taken seriously.
can actually feel when you are being taken seriously, because people
tend to not smile at you and your eyes tend to hold their visual
gaze as they listen intently to every word. When people
listen, your brain can feel the presence of commanding
power. Many people are afraid of this power that they possess, because
it was not permitted or encouraged in their family; however, I am
trying to tell you that this power is inherent in your job description
and you are expected to feel powerful within the role that you play
within the office, and therefore, you are entitled to be taken seriously.
week, I will continue with this political self-assessment.
your issues answered? Ask the email@example.com.
miss The Coach’s workshops on Dec 6th, Office
Politics ... The Enemy Within. For more information
or call 1-877-900-5775
You're Not Satisfied with Your Practice's Performance …
9 out of 10 practices have staff turnover every 15 months.
76% of dental practices have hygiene departments producing
less than 33% of practice production.
85% of dental practices grow less than 10% a year.
72% of practices' employee costs are more than 25% of revenues.
23 Performing Days Left to
Year End Goal
are you waiting for?
easy and effective method to measure your dental employee’s
employee performance is a dreaded task for most dentists.
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measurements that are specifically designed for the dental
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you measure an employee's performance based on their:
to follow instructions
Performance Measurements kit includes an extensive workbook
with copy-ready appraisal forms and measurement graphs to
use for each employee. In addition, you will learn how to
determine the number of employees needed for a successful
practice, how to design results-oriented job descriptions
for all business and clinical staff, use performance charting
to objectively measure your employees, and make sound hiring
and firing decisions.
Subscriber Price this week ... $57
for the TREES?
Management has been helping Dentists see a CLEAR PATH to
their desired future for over 23 years.
“Plain and simple...
we listen, we understand
and we’ll get you there.”
- Sally McKenzie
President & CEO
CALL US TODAY AND LET US SHOW YOU A PATH FULL OF POSSIBILITIES
My BIG problem is new patients and broken or cancelled appointments
even after they have been confirmed the day before.
My “new” staff has been informing patients during the
confirmation call one day prior to appointment whether on voice
mail or speaking to the person, that there will be a charge if 24
hours notice is not given.
So far not one patient has paid the BA fee, however I have noticed
they are not returning for treatment and do not return calls.
is a losing battle. Any advice ?
The symptoms you have stated, i.e., patients not returning for treatment
and not returning phone calls indicates that your approach is not
working and should be stopped. I can’t help but focus on your
comment of "new staff". Not knowing the socio-economics
of your patient base, I would give an educated guess that the new
staff is not trained to protocol of establishing the importance
of keeping their appointment at the time the appointment is made.
Something that is happening internally is causing these patients
not to return. It could be a myriad of things from fees, to parking,
to hours, to feeling you are over recommending treatment. While
you also mention above that the symptoms are coming from New Patients,
this is more than likely caused by what is being said to them when
they initially call. For example, they are asking to get their teeth
cleaned and an untrained New Staff person is saying, “no”,
you have to come in for exam and consultation and it's going to
cost $195 and you have to pay cash when you come in. Something is
turning them off. An analysis of your systems would uncover what
is actually causing the symptoms you are having. The bottom line
is that if you allow these symptoms to continue, the growth of your
business will stagnate or decline.
YOUR HYGIENE DEPARTMENT PRODUCING 33% OF THE PRACTICE'S PRODUCTIONS?
Hygiene Clinical Consultant for
CAN HELP YOU
develop a profitable
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037
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