office staff
By Roger P. Levin, DDS

Many orthodontists experience frustration because they work hard every day yet their practices are flat or declining. Even if they brought in more patients, where would they find the time to treat them? The answer is delegation.

Invariably, overworked orthodontists in underperforming practices are handling many tasks they should be delegating to staff members. Doctors do this for different reasons—a sense of obligation, perfectionism, lack of trust, or tendency to micromanage—but the result is always the same. They spend too much time on administrative and financial matters and not enough providing clinical care.

Rather than trying to do it all, severely limiting their practices’ growth potential, orthodontists should:

  • Identify all tasks to be delegated. If it is not clinical, not top-level decision-making, not legally required, delegate it. This includes all day-to-day administrative, financial, and marketing activities, most communications, and even many lower-level clinical tasks.
  • Assign tasks to properly trained staff members. Decide who should do what, train them to perform efficiently, and delegate responsibilities to them.
  • Establish performance targets, and monitor them regularly. Rather than looking over everyone’s shoulder or intervening, establish clear, measurable performance targets and compare results with them.
  • If targets are not being met, find out why and fix the system. When actual numbers fall short of targets, work with the responsible staff member to figure out how to alter protocols to achieve better results.

Orthodontists accustomed to doing it all will have difficulty letting go. To avoid reverting to the old way of working, practices must quickly refill their orthodontists’ personal schedules with direct patient care. The results will be greater satisfaction for both doctor and staff, as well as superior patient care, more production, and increased income.


levin Go to to learn about the Treatment Coordinator Online Study Club™, a free educational resource created by Levin Group to promote the professional growth of TCs and their effectiveness at influencing patients and parents to accept ortho treatment. You can connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (Levin_Group) to learn strategies and share ideas.