Priority – Precedence, especially established by order of importance or urgency.
Systemize – Bring order to or into; arrange according to a system.
Maximize – To increase or make as great as possible.
I’ve written many times about the importance of systems. SOP manuals. Training. Accountability. Responsibility. Job Descriptions and expectations. I also know that these systems and SOP manuals can be a hefty investment but I am here to tell you how they pay off many, many, many times over.
Priority – Everyone on your team needs to be aware of their positions & expectations and be able to act on their individual priority in a timely, consistent manner. The patients and the schedule (and keeping it full) are always priority number one. Period. Yet within each position this means something different; this is where systems come in!
Systems – What areas in your practice are currently defined as challenging? Empty schedule? Past due accounts? Insurance aging backlogged? Never having clean instruments? Room set-ups not correct or completed in a timely manner? Inventory and ordering system more like a fly-by night operation?
Having well-defined SOP manuals for each area of your practice not only streamline main functions of the practice, but assist with accountability and position ownership. Everyone on your team knows what is expected of them, as it is clearly outlined, by when and how each task is to be completed. No more hearing “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that”.
If your schedule is empty – who is responsible for filling it, and how? Are calls being actively made? Tracking of calls and responses? Chart auditing letters done with follow-up calls? How often should these things be done, and how often are they actually being done? Nothing drives me more batty than to hear “there is no one to call” and yet when you pull a past due recare list there are more than 200 names on it! Does it mean you’ll get all 200 of those patients to schedule? No, but it does mean someone is actively taking a role in owning the schedule and their position while protecting your time and money.
If you have insurance or account aging backlog – Why? Shouldn’t there be a system in place where these tasks are attacked on a consistent basis? Shouldn’t there be a system in place to collect the patients portion at the time of service so you don’t have to worry about aging? The list goes on and on but I think you get the point that every task, every expectation needs to be clearly outlined for maximum results and success.
LACK OF SYSTEMS = LACK OF RESULTS
Maximize – When you have your priorities (goals) and systems outlined and in place, it takes the guess-work out of everything! Your team will know, if this happens then this needs to be done. Systems help support your team in maximizing every opportunity that presents itself throughout the day! Book review is HUGE and yet hardly any practices are doing it! How can you make the most of opportunity if you have no idea what is walking in your door today!? Being prepared with the knowledge is the key to success; From knowing what undone treatment a patient has prior to their appointment and having pre-appointment financials prepared to having clearly outlined expectations of which patients you will share your care to share cards with and ask for referrals. It’s all about being prepared!
New employees? What a time saving, training device SOP manuals are!! Step by step directions for every task that their position is accountable for. Genius isn’t it? How can you throw someone into a position and expect magnificent results when they don’t know half the tasks out there?? Are you new employees standing around half the time? It’s because they don’t have a clue, a checklist, expectations to follow! Help them succeed!
Let me ask, would you purchase a thousands of dollar piece of new dental equipment without getting an instruction manual? No right? Why would you invest into hiring a new employee without supplying them with the tools (an instruction manual for their position) needed to succeed?
Need to know how to run a credit card payment? Look it up! Need to know how to set up for a posterior composite filling? The SOP manual has pictures, outlines, everything that your employees need for their success within your practice! SOP manuals are tools for success – for you, your practice and your team members!
The Perpetual State of Preparedness. It’s a great, and profitable place to be!!!
Here’s to you in making the changes you want to see today! One SOP system at a time!