In a 30-year ongoing study of top 10% producing orthodontic practices, Levin Group has identified that one of the major reasons for their success is that they have high levels of efficiency. Efficiency has many benefits that can be utilized by any orthodontic practice. Here are a few of the key advantages of cultivating an efficient office along with a recommendation on how you can streamline your schedule to be more efficient, handle more volume, and enable you to enjoy your day.
Efficiency allows you to maximize the number of patients that can be seen. Highly successful practices have a high volume of patients and need to be predictable, or total chaos will ensue. These practices have protocols for scheduling and patient management that allow them to move through their days seeing a high volume of patients without continual breakdown. When systems don’t work properly, the frustration and tension eventually lead to a higher level of stress which has negative affects ranging from customer service issues to staff turnover.
Efficiency encourages predictability. Script out certain information about your practice that lets the caller know they will receive excellent value as a patient in your practice. Talk about the orthodontist, the years and experience of the practice, the caring and compassion of the orthodontic team, the fun activities for kids, and even the advanced technologies or speed of treatment. Any and all of these communicate value to the caller and begin to differentiate your practice, ultimately helping to make you the practice of choice.
Efficiency creates a high level of customer service. Customer service can only thrive in an exceptionally efficienc environment. Breakdowns from inefficiency cause stress that is often noticed by (or taken out on) patients.
Efficiency leads to higher practice production. The financial model for an orthodontic practice isn’t complicated. When you increase patient visits, gain new patients, improve case acceptance, and complete cases promptly, production will continue to grow, and the practice will remain successful.
How to Increase and Enhance Efficiency
Practice success lives and dies by the schedule. However, most schedules are based on habits that were established long ago. We suggest you "reboot" your schedule and begin with a procedural time study for every type of orthodontic appointment including new patient appointments, start appointments, check appointments, and debond appointments. Do a time study of 10 of each of these types of appointments and look at the mathematical average. Don’t be surprised if you find that you’re using more time than should be necessary for many appointments. Redesign the schedule to reflect the amount of time that is actually needed.
Another way to improve efficiency is your use of chairs. For example, an overflow chair is where late patients should be placed to avoid disrupting the remainder of the schedule. The same is true for emergencies. Additionally, look at the schedule you have built and determine if it will allow the practice to hit the annual production goal. This is what efficiency can do for your practice.