By Roger P. Levin, DDS

Most doctors believe that adding an associate to the team will eliminate the practice’s scheduling stress while facilitating an increase in productivity. This belief can be realized, but only if the orthodontic practice is properly prepared. The process of hiring an associate orthodontist requires an analysis of Production, Scheduling, and Team Building—three of Levin Group’s 9 Areas of Ortho Practice Expertise.

Production: Before a new doctor joins, the orthodontist needs to decide what the production targets will be for the practice overall and the associate specifically. Clearly communicating these measures will empower the new doctor to contribute to the team from day one. Adjustments may need to be made, so it’s crucial for the practice owner to check with the associate each month to review targets and make any needed modifications.

Scheduling: Before hiring an associate, orthodontists need to ensure that their scheduling system is mathematically constructed to make the most out of every working hour. This means scheduling in 10-minute increments instead of 15 and using time studies that determine how long each procedure actually takes. Practices should anticipate that an associate learning the ropes and getting to know patients may need more time than an established doctor.

Team Building: Finding someone who has the right qualifications and personality to fit into the team only goes so far?you also need to have the right management systems in place. Associates are typically young, inexperienced, and untrained in business. Like any new team member, an associate will need to learn how to use the practice’s systems. Well-organized, documented systems will quickly put a new associate on the path to success.

Evaluating these three areas of ortho practice expertise and correcting any weak links will create a work environment in which a new associate will thrive?along with the ortho practice.

Need a practice boost? See Dr. Levin in 2015. Go here to see dates and locations for his all-new “Building the Superior Ortho Practice” seminar.