Approaching Efficiency in a Practice Efficiency in the practice will be important in the future as a result of society’s shifting focus toward prolonged health and the realization that oral health is a significant factor in overall health. Once this preventative mindset is instilled in patients, they will demand practices that offer a consistently effective, streamlined standard of care with accurate diagnostic recordkeeping and patient information that can be quickly and easily shared among everyone involved in their treatment.
An efficient internal support team has commitment to the process and will work diligently to reinforce the new paradigm through repeated opportunities as more patients are processed with a focus of closing the gap between scientific research and patient care delivery. They also will consistently demonstrate a “zero tolerance” in every step to ensure continuity of use of all supporting technology that will enhance the quality of their dentistry. This is usually measured by every practice’s profitability margin. The internal support team’s motive to step- up mastering efficiency in functioning each day will be equal to their individual desire for purpose and autonomy in their job. Many will undergo creative training and development particular to working in these types of practices, and they understand that effective and efficient communication is the core of being a part of an excellent the multi-disciplinary care team.
The ability to record, save, and instantly share information with all involved team members provides the ability for everyone to collaborate. This facilitates the best practice approach to care based on screening, prevention, education/behavior modification, routine care, serious care, chronic illness/pain management, or restorative care. This means that patients can be treated as efficiently as possible, which in some cases may be important to their immediate health.
To become efficient there are basic steps a practice can complete. First, be sure to have large capacity people as your internal support team able to understand and function in a multidisciplinary setting. Secondly, an eco-system for all processes, from hello to good-bye, is necessary. Establish in-service training and education to make sure practice management software and all charting, notes, and documentation protocol penetrate the soul of the practice for excellent risk management and maximized outcome in communication with all specialists on the care team. Then, assess what the patient experience is like in your practice—from their perspective.
Ask yourself if you are providing a thorough risk assessment of each patient’s case, a comprehensive evaluation, case synopsis, and treatment strategy. Always engage the patient in the decisions about their dentistry and health based on a clear vision of “why” they want what they want. The practice culture dictates what experiences the patient will have and how the patient interrupts those experiences throughout their care sequence. The key to efficiency in this aspect is making certain that the patient is heard, engaged, encouraged, comfortable, and that the planned care sequence will provide the outcome that shouts, an “extraordinary” experience. This will increase the relationship equity built with the patient, thereby increasing value proposition and increased referrals based on they felt. Lastly, the impetus behind the efficiency mindset—the supporting technology—must be fully utilized within a multi-disciplinary care setting. This is because, at times, a multi-disciplinary care team member may be at a remote location; utilizing a mobile device puts them “in the same room” with the patient or other team members.
Rhonda Gonano Mullins is the CEO and Managing Partner of Dentrepreneur Solutions, an Atlanta based design consulting firm for Dental Entrepreneurs. Her contribution to Solo, Multi and Large Group practices nationally has been, and continues to be, a passion with great persistence in impact and innovative solutions for this industry and it’s providers.