Orthodontic practices are volume–based businesses which means they can handle many patients flowing through the practice daily. Assuming that the schedule has been properly constructed, the other two keys to success are training and delegation with the orthodontic team.
Let’s begin with delegation because it is a subject that many leaders don’t understand. Delegation refers to assigning others with responsibilities or authority. And while this may sound scary, it’s a good thing. For the orthodontist it means handing off a significant percentage of the treatment process to their team, which allows the doctor to see more patients and handle the higher-level clinical procedures. To ensure successful delegation, orthodontic associates should be trained to the highest possible level and the orthodontist should regularly decide what tasks can be handled by them. One way to approach this is to determine what tasks are legally allowable for the team to do and whether the orthodontist is currently performing those tasks. If it’s legal for the team to perform and the orthodontist is still performing that task, then it is simply a matter of delegation.
One of the reasons that orthodontists don’t often delegate is that they don’t think their staff members have the skill, capability, or training to perform the task at the same level as them. This mindset causes orthodontists to hold on to tasks, which in turn limits the number of patients that they can see and treat daily. This behavior adds up to literally millions of dollars of lost production over the course of a career.
Orthodontists that train their team can avoid this mindset and gain confidence in their team. Fortunately, there is training available for almost every activity that occurs in an orthodontic practice, from answering the telephone all the way to handling a specific clinical technique. If it is legally allowed, the team should be trained at the highest level. This will help increase practice productivity and profitability, generate a smoother daily flow of patients and treatment, and create a high level of customer service, low stress, and more fun.
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Levin Group is the leading ortho practice management and marketing consulting firm in dentistry. Their mission is to improve the lives of dentists.
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