Does Too Busy = Hiring an Associate?A McKenzie Management Case Study
Dr. Jim Wilkins – Case Study #63
“My schedule is out of control! We are always working into lunch, patients are waiting and we work late. I have to work out of three operatories and I am conducting exams in two hygiene rooms. It makes me tired just thinking about it. I need an associate!”
Dr. Wilkins’ practice facts:
Dr. Wilkins, indicated that he is considering an associate or maybe even a partner, even though it was never his plan to work with another dentist. He felt that sharing the workload would reduce his stress and allow for improved customer service to his patients.
“Dr. Wilkins, it’s important to know that you do have options. You have numerous business systems that need to be repaired in order to get the practice working properly. Let’s refurbish your systems first and then see where you are.’
Dr. Wilkins is assuming that seeing the symptom of being booked out far in advance in his schedule would automatically mean an associate. However, areas such as scheduling and utilization of an assistant, by state law, has to be taken into consideration.
Patients should be overlapped on the schedule according to what the assistant can do without a doctor and captured doctor time. The doctor must not be scheduled in more than one treatment room at any given time.
Daily production goals must be established for the doctor and the hygienists based on the practice overhead. By scheduling to a specific goal each day, it reduces the roller coaster effect and allows for productive days every day.
New Patients must be scheduled within one week for good customer service.
The Orthodontic patients should be scheduled together for time efficiency. Evaluate the amount of time that is taken per week for ortho and then condense this time into blocks of 1/2 day segments at diversified times and days. This eliminates the continual interruptions during the day.
The hygienists need to notify Dr. Wilkins as soon as they have taken x-rays or completed their visual assessment so he can perform his exam anytime while the patient is in the hygiene room. (Please check your state law.) Waiting until the end of the hygiene appointment is not good time management.
Extend his morning schedule until 1:00 to allow for more production prior to breaking for lunch. In many cases, the daily goal can be met prior to lunch. This allows the afternoon to be scheduled with non-productive appointments. However, customer service is the priority should the patient not be able to come in the morning.
Two hour monthly meetings gives everyone the opportunity to understand the “mechanics” of the practice. Practice statistics are discussed, such as production, collections, adjustments, outstanding insurance claims, accounts receivables, lab and dental supply expenses and the overall practice overhead for the month. Team members want to be informed of how the practice is doing.
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