- Your staff are all busy—but some of the things you want to get done aren’t getting done.
- Nobody seems to notice when there’s a problem (holes in the schedule, patients leaving without accepting treatment or scheduling, etc.) until it’s too late.
- You’re interrupted regularly throughout the day while working on patients with questions from various team members, or
- The doctor and/or Office Manager (if you have one) feel like they have to keep an eye on everything to make sure things get done.
For most doctors, the basic nature of owning a dental practice can be a tough job. Specifically, you’re both the primary producer for the business AND the executive in charge of running/managing it.
Imagine the CEO of Ford Motor Company, who in addition to their normal duties was also required to work on the assembly line seven to eight hours a day!
Nonetheless, as the dentist/owner, both jobs need to be done. And while the majority of your time normally defaults to patient care – as it should be – your practice won’t run properly without your vision and leadership.
This is why DELEGATION and ORGANIZATION are required components of a successful practice. You need these to be able to accomplish both aspects of your job description (patient care and management) without ending up overworked and burned out.
And with that in mind, we have a few tips to help you improve in these areas.
(Related: 4 Profitability Killers in a Dental Practice)
And keep in mind, there’s a there is a lot more to know about these topics. And this is why we (MGE) specialize in practice management education for dentists and their teams, from the team training on our on-demand video training platform, DDS Success to the more intense executive and management training on the MGE Power Program. And I’d recommend you check these out.
With that said, let’s look at a few things you can improve on an immediate basis.
1. Set aside uninterrupted time each week for your executive “hat.”
So, when you’re being a clinician, be a clinician. And just like you’ve scheduled your “doctor” time, schedule time to do your executive duties, allowing for maximum focus while you do them.
This doesn’t need to take long. It could be just two hours per week when you can review the business side of things undistracted and create a plan. Our Senior Consultant, Chris Menkhaus, wrote a fantastic article called Making Time for the “Business Side” of Dentistry that lays out how to do this.
2. Add these two meetings into your schedule
These two meetings are essential:
- Weekly Doctor & Office Manager Meeting. This is where you can review everything (practice statistics, schedule, financial and HR matters, etc) and create a plan for the coming week and month. This plan should include the tasks your staff should be doing and specific targets you want them to meet.This video from our COO, Jeff Blumberg, lays out exactly how these meetings should go.
- Daily Morning Production Meetings (Morning Huddles). At MGE, we have a different morning huddle format than the norm. Read our format here. This is your chance to coordinate with the team and ensure you make your production goals for the week.
3. Pass the baton to your Office Manager while you are seeing patients
After you’ve created a plan in Weekly Doctor & Office Manager Meeting, it’s now simply a matter of executing it.
The person who does that is your Office Manager—the other executive in your business.
Ultimately, as the practice owner, you’re the CEO and leader, but during production time you pass that role over to the Office Manager while you wear your “doctor” hat. They have the schedule for the day and the plan for the week, and they run it while you focus on taking great care of your patients.
Think of it like a pilot and copilot. When the pilot needs to step away, the copilot becomes the pilot. And then when the pilot comes back, they re-assume that role.
While you’re chairside, the Office Manager “pilots” the practice.
If your Office Manager is well educated as a manager and executive, interruptions during clinical time should be rare. Most day-to-day matters can be handled by the Office Manager and anything else can be addressed during your weekly meeting.
The Office Manager should follow up with individual staff members throughout the day to find out if they need anything and monitor their progress. They’ll be able to see if there are any problems or things that aren’t getting done and fix it.
Then you just need to check in with the Office Manager once or twice a day for a couple of minutes to get a report on how things are going.
This doesn’t mean that you never need to worry about the business and organizational side of things and the Office Manager just handles everything without you. It doesn’t mean that don’t need to know how to be a great executive and manage the practice. It just means that you’re separating your two roles and utilizing your office manager to implement your plans while you are chairside.
When a client signs up for the MGE Power Program training, both the Doctor and Office Manager receive a management and executive education. They are a team that works together to build an efficient and successful practice. In the past, as we developed our program, we tried training either or and found it didn’t work. Having the doctor and OM on the same page is a fundamental building block of a sustainably expanding dental practice.
4. The Office Manager also needs to delegate duties that they don’t need to be doing themselves
If the Office Manager is so busy scheduling appointments, making financial arrangements with patients, answering the phone, etc…then they will also be so busy that they can’t do their executive job.
But if they don’t give up these tasks, and train others to do them well, the practice will never grow. You’ll only ever be as productive as the individual job load of one person this way.
So you may need to sit down with the Office Manager and go through every single task that they do throughout the day and determine if it’s absolutely necessary to do it themselves. If another team member could and should be doing it, then turn over that task to them.
And if this staff member isn’t good at it, then train them up! (Shameless plug here: on DDS Success we provide fantastic training on just about every front office function.)
Ultimately, you’ll help more people and the practice will grow more when everybody is contributing and the Office Manager is freed up to do their real job—manage.
I hope this helps! You can find more about all of this in both our blog and YouTube Channel. And if you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or request a free consultation here.