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The Economics of Efficiency

Part 3 - The eight keys to high production and stree free

Dr. Chris Griffin, DDS
Dr. Griffin reviews the eight key strategies to creating high production in a stress free environment.

The big question of the day. How are we going to be twice as productive in our practice, and then find ways to have more fun on the free time that we have off okay. So I’m going to share with you eight keys to a high production but stress-free practice. Eights keys to high production but stress free. These are things I’ve learned over the last 14 years and after observing all these other dentists and coaching other dentists I really believe these eight keys are just universal. So here we go. First, you have staff effectiveness. I’m just going to go briefly. We’re going to talk about in depth but briefly, staff effectiveness, the number one thing. I think that’s the first thing you have to cure. If you have trouble in the staff, you have to fix that. No. 2 clinical excellence. Now I’m not abandoning clinical excellence just because we’re doing a lot of dentistry. We’re not abandoning that. We’re staying with it and we want our dentistry to just stand up to scrutiny. We want to be very very good. Stress free systems. Those systems we talked about. You got to create them. You got to coach them. And once you get them in place though it kind of runs your practice on autopilot. Doctor efficiency and focus. Now that’s a tricky one. As the doctor we have never been forced to look inward and see where we might be inefficient and where we might like focus. And maybe there are things that we’re asking ourselves to do in a practice that are just not possible for a doctor or not likely to be successful. We got to find a way to get that practice bigger with new patient acquisition. Really focus on those referrals. Referrals are so much more powerful than anything else you can do for your practice to get new patients. You have to find a good staff communication protocol. Cause when you finally do get busy, you’re going to find there are a lot of miscommunications that go on the office during the day. Like I said back staff, front staff. We have found a lot of ways to make them work together and communicate in ways that they don’t have the trouble they used to. You need to find a good competitive advantage above all other practices in your area. And I’ll let you decide what that’s going to be. It could be a lot of stuff. You might be the only implant guy around. You might be the only brace guy around. But I think one of the most powerful things you can do that also simultaneously builds that general dentistry base which I’m all for doing things simultaneously. I love to do two things in one time that’s me is same day dentistry. That’s a very overlooked niche. Same day dentistry is walk in through your day every single day, through hygiene, through emergency patients, new patient exams. People are coming in and they’re leaving your practice without doing dentistry many times just because you never thought to offer it or your staff didn’t encourage you to do it. This is what we’re going to each you. We’re going to show you how that’s very powerful. Some practices and I even include my practice in this, many month we produce as much as same day dentistry as we did dentistry that was already on the schedule. And that’s just the way it is. And finally we all got to have that good life balance. Doctor life balance cause if we’re not balance at home, balance between practice, business, family, religion we’re never going to go as well as we could. And everybody if we go down, the ship is going to down with us guys cause we have the license. We got to take care of everybody else by taking care of ourselves. Now let me tell you what the dilemma is. A lot of times the dentist actually gets in the way. Now let me tell you what I mean by that. We’re a fixer by nature. We want to fix everything. So we come in and we come in to a situation and we try to do it all. I used to try to do it all. I didn’t want to delegate. But let me tell you what we’re not. We’re really not by nature we’re not managers. We’re not assistants. We’re not supervisors. We’re not really a boss. We are the boss. But is that really our best skill set? We’re not marketers. That’s for sure. We’re not marketers. You should send the dentist marketing they send me during my coaching program. We’re not marketers, guys. We’re not secretaries. A lot of dentists try to have a telephone in one ear while they’re working. I mean come on. Really and truly we’re not anything but the dentist. Now that’s okay. Being the dentist is great. We’re the highest producing, revenue enhancing guy in the whole practice. The practice revolves around us. In fact, your staff should be coached to treat you like a superstar. You should be like rock star walking in every single day to your practice. But that’s all you should be. Realistically you should be able to walk in, plug into the day, do your thing as a dentist, let the system take care of everything else, and just unplug and go home at the end of that day. Everything has got to support you, everything in the practice. And to me when I talk about efficient dentistry and efficient doctors it’s all about having stress-free, happy and effective staff, stress-free satisfied patients. They’re well cared for, getting great dentistry, stress-free dentist. If we’re not stress free that’s not good for anybody. And it’s all design for one purpose and that is to have a practice that treats the patients well, treats the staff well, gives them a great lifestyle and income, and gives the doctor great lifestyle and income. So ultimately we want the practice to run itself. So let’s go into some details about some of the eight keys we talked about. Staff effectiveness. The first thing that comes to mind is environment. Now let me tell you what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about global warming. I’m talking about you have to put your staff in the right environment to let them succeed. We’re not talking about beautiful environment for your staff. We’re talking ways to make their life easier, make their life a no-brainer. Make things so easy that they don’t even have to think about their job guys. They can just focus on the patients. That’s what they’re supposed to be focusing on anyway. The job is so easy. It says right there for them. So let’s go over a few of the things we’re doing in our practice to make the staff environment what it needs to be. Now if you look at the picture we’re going to flash up, on the far left hand side, this is my lovely clinical team leader, Lupita. She’s my head of clinical assistant and she’s setting up for, it looks like a crown prep. So we got all the stuff that goes with the crown prep set up and we’re sitting on a counter. And on the counter we’ve actually laid down this color coded template. It’s a thin piece of plastic that’s color coded and it show exactly everything for the procedure that needs to go there. Right in the middle you have the picture of our set up area. Each row of color coded bins represents a different procedure. So in our practice if she wants to set up for that crown prep, the template she lays down to set the instruments on is yellow. In the set up room, she gets a tub and in that tub she goes down the yellow row and she pulls one supply of each tub so that’s nothing and that’s easy. You don’t even have to think about what you’re getting. You just grab one supply or one instrument out of each tub. And then when you get one thing out of each yellow tub you have everything you need for a crown prep. To the far right, there’s our sterilization area. We’ve got a very good flow system going where you bring the dirty stuff in and it goes through sort of a circular pattern. And it goes from dirty to clean very efficiently. These are systems that we set up for our staff. Now a lot of dentists do it exactly our way. Some dentists take my ideas and they modify them. But whatever you do, the principal behind all this is you have to figure out a way to make your assistant’s job so brain dead easy that no matter how busy it gets during the day, there’s still going to be able to say, you’re going to say, “Hey, Lupita. We need to set up for a crown prep ASAP.” And she’s going to be able to go into a room in a very hectic busy day, grab all the staff she needs and have that room perfectly set up and I mean perfect. And when I say perfect I mean the doctor doesn’t have to get up and move. The assistant never has to get up and move. It’s all right there. She’s going to have that ready in five or six minutes. Now that is very important if you’re going to do same day dentistry and keep it stress free. That’s what you have to do for your staff. Here’s the picture of one of the templates that we develop. Now this is one for I think inter-proximal resins. I think it’s orange. We have different colors for every procedure that we do primarily in the office. We’re going to have for procedure of course but the ones we do 80% of the time those things we all have a color coded template for each procedure in our office. It took me a long time to develop this and you can look at it and see it’s not rocket science, right. But what it does it takes all the memory. So look at this one. I don’t know how many there are on there. Let’s say there are 30 different blocks for a procedure. Where your assistant had remember all 30 items, had to go get them from around the office. Who knows where you put these things. You might have Septocaine here and you might have hemostat here or something. I mean now you go to a row that’s color coded to match this template, get them out of each thing, go back to the room, place it on here. The assistant really can just match color to color. Kind of like they’re playing in kindergarten and they never have to think about. So guess what else they can do. The whole time they’re doing their things they’ can be chatting it up with Mrs. Jones and building a relationship and making things better and building those referrals from the patients. These are things that are very important if you’re going to build that base bigger like we talk about. In the set up room, these are shots of our rows. I think black is cementation. Orange is inter-proximal resin. Yellow is crown prep. Every procedure we do a lot of has its own row in our set up room. Now in your practice, you may want to modify this. You may want to do something very similar. You just have to find a good wall somewhere to put this on.