Synchronization is an appropriate description. It has big-time application to improving your dental practice back-office workflows.
First, let’s clarify (for this discussion) who the back-office is. The primary focus here is your clinical team – your dental assistants, your dental hygienists, any other clinical support personnel, and of course, you, the dentist.
Back to synchronization…
Perhaps the biggest key to back-office workflow success is having your team in-sync. Before we unpack that, it’s important to see the other side of the equation.
A day in the life of an out-of-synch team
You can feel it, can’t you? And it’s not just a Monday-post-weekend vibe. Worse, it’s that downer feeling you get arriving at your office.
Sure, you’re looking at a full schedule. But the burden comes when you face having to work alongside team members that, to be honest, don’t play-well-together.
Out of sync, lack of unity, inability to anticipate next steps – call it what it is. However you experience it daily or occasionally it’s tanking your workflows.
Even more concerning – your patients feel it!
The struggle is real.
- Hygienists vs. assistants
- Dentists vs. hygienists
- Assistants vs. dentists
Why can’t we all just get along? You can!
It’s time to re-energize your back-office team and do the hard work of getting them working together as the proverbial “well-oiled-machine” you know they can be.
“If you take out the team in teamwork, it’s just work. Now who wants that?” – Matthew Woodring Stover 
The wonder of an in-sync back-office dental team (workflows included)
It goes without saying that your overall dental practice workflows have a major impact on your standard of care. Those same workflows also drive your team’s efficiency, clarifies their individual roles, and enhances cross-department communication.
That communication factor is a leading influence on team synchronization. So, let’s begin there and cover some additional back-office workflow improvements.
Create clear, consistent communication channels
Where you communicate is on-par with what and how you communicate. For example, team communication happens in a variety of settings within your practice.
- In morning huddles
- In routine team meetings
- In departmental meetings
- Through inner office bulletins, memos, and virtual channels
- Via inner-office headsets and intercoms
Add that mix to your practice management software platform. At a glance your clinical team is notified about patient treatment and procedural data via “flags,” color codes, and patient notes.
This isn’t news to you. But it serves to remind you how complex your back-office team communication can become the more patients you treat day in and day out.
Confirm that communication is clear across each channel. Ask team members to confirm their understanding rather than assuming a meaning or intention behind a “flag” or note.
This is the value of the morning huddle. Renew and use it to daily firm up all communication around your schedule, a patient’s treatment details, who’s involved in the procedure(s), etc.
Expand team member skills with cross-training
Cross-trained team members do more than take up the slack. Sure, that’s a benefit but it also expands ownership in creating the patient experience.
- Cross-train to improve appointment flow
- Cross-train for potential bottle-necks when a procedure requires more time or team energy
- Cross-train to instill trust in your team member’s capacity for growth and skill development
You might also experience less friction when team members feel a sense of ownership in the overall production. Everyone pulling together overcomes team inertia.
Network all departments to improve the patient experience
Patients will notice and “feel” a unified practice culture. The last thing you want is a patient walking up on, overhearing, or experiencing tension between team members.
In essence, a well networked team brings their unique role and skills to each patient’s appointment. From front-desk to clinical/back-office it’s vital to establish your “hand-offs.”
Quality handoffs affect financials, scheduling, referrals, and more. Keep your team care network in consistent communication and cohesive.
The “flow” portion of your dental practice workflows will remain open and productive with the right technology in place.
- Upgrade to a cloud-based practice management platform.
- Transition to paperless systems
- Automate to conserve team energy around billing, appointment reminders and follow-up, patient surveys, scheduling, etc.
- Use patient-facing innovations such as online scheduling, contactless check-in, teledentistry, and digital payment portals.
Technology should enhance patient convenience and team productivity. Evaluate your current technology and determine if it accomplishes both.
Positive results emerge from effective and efficient back-office workflows.
Workflow enhancements like the cloud-based Denticon Dental Practice Management Software Platform and dashboards are a good foundation. The above mentioned contactless, digital technologies merge perfectly with them.
Get an inside look at how Denticon works.
Contact us for more information about how our patient care systems can produce better dental practice workflows, increase your production, and exceed patient expectations.