Advice about stress tends to focus on how you can cope with the stress that is present in your life?exercise more, get adequate sleep, change your perspective?but what if you could eliminate one of the main sources of stress altogether?
Orthodontists and their staff often believe that the daily pressure they feel comes from patients and their parents when, in fact, it is the lack of effective practice management systems that creates most problems. You’ve probably heard the term “systems” before, but you may not know what makes a system successful at reducing stress. A system is a documented, step-by-step process that helps an orthodontic practice run smoothly. Systems should be implemented in the following areas:
- Scheduling – Avoid the after school crunch, along with other peaks, valleys, and gaps in the schedule, for a more productive day.
- Case presentation – Give the treatment coordinator scripts and a system to present treatment persuasively to parents and increase case acceptance.
- Financial policies – Be familiar with the payment options available for parents, and explain them consistently.
- Patient financial management – Reach practice collections targets by adhering to follow-up protocols.
- Customer service – Use scripting to ensure that each patient and parent has the best experience at every appointment.
- Budgeting – Follow procedures to avoid unnecessary or unexpected costs that keep you up at night.
With strong systems as the foundation, your office will reach its potential with less stress for you, your staff, and your patients. In a tight economy, offices need to operate as efficiently as possible. The most productive orthodontic practices tend to have the lowest stress because they are built on high-performance systems.
Need a practice boost? See Dr. Levin in 2015. Dates and locations for his all-new “Building the Superior Ortho Practice” seminar have been posted here.