Orthodontists need not settle for being simply good. Even in today’s challenging new economy, it is possible to build a great ortho practice.
Documented systems are the building blocks of long-term success. To help orthodontists redesign their systems for maximum efficiency, I recommend a four-step process:
1) Collect the Data

Critical to any data collection effort are Key Performance Expanders (KPEs), which provide a statistical snapshot of the practice’s essential functions. In an orthodontic practice, components include starts, patients in observation, debands, and the treatment coordinator’s case acceptance ratio. Evaluating KPEs every week allows for rapid identification of any major or minor performance changes.
2) Benchmark Best Practices
To learn their strengths and weaknesses, orthodontists should gauge their practice performance against a “best” model. While the best model never perfectly fits any practice, it does allow an orthodontist to understand what can be achieved based on data gathered from thousands of other orthodontic practices. Dental organizations (such as the AAO and ADA) and consulting firms that specialize in the unique needs of ortho practices can provide this information.
3) Customize the Model
Models offer direct comparisons to where an orthodontic practice is today. However, all models have to be customized for a particular ortho practice. While there are some common characteristics among orthodontic practices, there are differences in the number of staff, adult/child patient ratio, and the type of technologies used. Thus, each of these differences necessitates a variation of the ideal model.
4) Implement Necessary Change
Addressing a point here or a piece of the process there is ineffective. A comprehensive approach to improving the practice creates a strong foundation that propels long-term success.
Successful practice change requires specific systems and documentation in all areas of operations. For orthodontic practice to reach their practice potential, changes should be comprehensive and consistently implemented by the entire team.

—Roger P. Levin, DDS
Orthodontic Products’ readers are entitled to receive a 20% courtesy on the Total Ortho Success™ Seminar scheduled for January 28 to 29 in Las Vegas. To receive this courtesy, call (888) 973-0000 and mention “Ortho Products” or e-mail [email protected] with “Ortho Products” in the subject line.