You and your team have begun to feel more comfortable in your next normal. At the beginning of the pandemic closing I wrote about the systems in your office and the idea of returning to work is a good time to make some changes. If you feel that your team is comfortable in their new surroundings, then now is the time to make these changes. There are three steps that are necessary in changing any process.
First, you need to have an awareness of any system that is not working for you or your practice. It could something as simple as some verbiage that you just don’t like how it sounds when it is said to patients or as complicated as overhauling your hygiene department. Communicate with your team that you are wanting to change something in the office, listen to their input as they may have something useful to consider. If their idea doesn’t follow your thinking let them know that you will add this idea into your consideration for the final decision.
Second, be very deliberate in your practice of the new system. You will want to focus a lot of effort into the specific area that you want to improve. Having team “buy in” will increase the likelihood that your new system will be successful. Having accountability involved for everyone using the new system will help measure your success.
Third, like anything in life that involves change, the new systems need to become habit. A new habit/system can take anywhere from one to three months to feel comfortable with, depending on the frequency of using the system to. Ensure that your success with the system can be measured.
Some of the systems that you may want to think about changing may include:
- Your internal hygiene systems are always a good place to look. You will want to see how many of your patients are coming in for their hygiene appointments more than three weeks past their due dates. How much open time is there in your schedule (make sure you include the hours that your hygienists come in late or leave early)? Are 80% of your patients participating in your hygiene program? These are multifaceted systems to change and one item at a time should be changed to ensure that you have one habit in place before you start another one.
- Your Comprehensive Treatment Acceptance should be at least 75%. Are you measuring this metric currently or are you going on a gut feeling that your diagnoses are being accepted by most patients? You want to ensure that you aren’t talking about the same treatment over and over, again and again with the same patients.
- Is your schedule falling apart at the last minute with cancellations or no shows? This may indicate that your booking/confirmation protocols and verbiage surrounding these systems may need to change.
- When a perspective new patient calls the office, what is the acceptance rate of booking that patient into the office? What is your conversion rate from an emergency patient into a full complete exam patient? What is your new patient treatment acceptance rate? What is your new patient retention rate twelve months after they start coming to your office? If any of these numbers are below 90% then you may want to look at changing these systems as well.
If you can feel a headache starting just by reading this post and not wanting to answer or deal with any of these systems, then you know that you are ready for an assessment and some change.