Technology=Training=Synergy=SuccessCreating the Best Team
Computer software technology is here to stay because it efficiently and accurately manages clinical and business data. However, learning how to use this technology differs from one team member to another and can cause costly and unfortunate turnover when there is a judgment placed on how quickly team members should learn the software, digital x-rays, intra-oral devices or any other types of technology. Consistency has been shown to be very important to the patients’ experience in the dental office. Patients do not like to see constant change in staff in their dental office. According to Dr. Howard Farran from his article “The Gifted Boss”, January 2007 issue of DentalTown, he has witnessed and recorded for years that “the dental offices pulling in over $1,000,000 per year has had the average staff member for more than six years while the dentist netting only $80,000 per year has a staff averaging two years.”
Patient attrition due to constant staff turnover can be significant because patients will wonder what happened to the popular staff member that they had come to trust. The new computer software technology has forced us to measure our team member’s skill level much like we measure their ability to collect money or to make temporary crowns. Before dismissing a valued team member, ask yourself if diligent training would solve the problem. The two following stories are true; the names have been changed, and demonstrate common phenomena.
Staff, patients and doctors found Elise, the dental hygienist, to be a supportive team player that was excellent at promoting dental care. However her tone was sad as she said to me, “Belle, I just got fired from my Friday job because I am not fast enough on the computer. They said that I was great with the patients and the staff liked me but I was too slow a learner. My other job on Monday and Wednesday is great and they are now requiring me to schedule on the computer, but they have allowed me to learn at my own pace, however, it still hurts that I was fired.”
Dental Assistant, Marty, training to be an Office Manager said “ I had worked as a temporary employee for a number of years because I have a difficult time learning the computer software. I was let go from a couple of jobs because I was not fast enough on the computer. I found a position with a doctor that is taking the extra time to train me and I am doing great. I finally have been given the chance to succeed.”
Learning the dental software program requires training and practice to master. Some people will learn quicker than others. It is important to write down the steps necessary to achieve the tasks for staff that are slower learners or part-time staff that don’t have the opportunity to use the system daily. The computer software needs to be mastered quickly so that mistakes are not made on a continual basis and the focus can be put on patient care and practice growth. Have the trainees practice on demo systems before turning them loose on patients. Your software provider has training and support packages available. Support should be called whenever you are stuck and need help. Before you call support, write down what you want to achieve. For instance, if you want to know how many patients you have on a certain insurance plan ask how you can create that report and then write down the pathway to get there. You will not remember after a couple of days if you don’t write it down. Creating your own computer software-training manual will make it easier to train staff. Create a “team centered” training program in your office and designate those team members that have mastered the system to act as trainers or support to slow learners. You will not be able to create the synergy to move your practice to a higher level of production unless you take the necessary steps to support your team with training in all areas necessary for the success of your practice. Long-term, dedicated team members are developed and nurtured over time. The latest and the greatest technology are only as good as the people who use it correctly. The Advanced Training Courses offered at McKenzie Management show you how to combine dental systems with modern technology to achieve a productive and prosperous dental practice.
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