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Increasing speed will increase production, without raising your stress

Aug. 15, 2022
As dentistry continues to evolve, one way to significantly increase production is to up your practice speed. Here's a look at three ways to accomplish that.

No dentist wants to hear “work faster.” Those words typically create the image of rushing, stress, and even mistakes. However, as dentistry continues to evolve, one way to significantly increase production is to up your practice speed. There are many ways to increase the speed and flow of a typical day, but one of the best is to simply up the speed of the doctor or team members. 

Enhancing skills increases speed

Large businesses understand they must provide significant training for their employees. Some companies even have the equivalent of training universities in their organization, with many types of courses and skill set developments designed to advance employee quality and efficiency. Most dental practices are small businesses that don’t have the advantage of a training university. But they can still enhance overall practice speed by identifying a specific skill set enhancement that will enable team members and doctors to work faster.

Keep in mind, avoid stress, rushing, or anxiety when upping your speed. The idea is to increase the speed of performance through advanced training rather than simply trying to work faster. Here are three ways to improve the speed of doctors and team members. 

1. Engage in continuing education and training

Identify continuing education or advanced training that will allow everyone to do their job faster and more efficiently. A great example of this is to identify skills that dental assistants have not yet mastered. Advanced training for the assistants would allow the doctor to delegate more tasks to them. This helps doctors move between rooms more efficiently by using an accelerated scheduling model while increasing the number of patients seen and the number of procedures performed per day.

2. Use technology to your advantage

Technology can also increase speed. A good example is that many practices use text message confirmations rather than phone calls. Texting rather than calling to confirm at two weeks, two days, and two hours before appointments has a better chance of decreasing last-minute cancellations and no-shows. There are other workflow technologies that can also improve practice speed but be sure to carefully evaluate them before using. 

3. Develop a schedule based on reaching a daily production goal

Your schedule can be mathematically calculated to ensure that treating the right volume of patients on any given day will achieve the daily production goal. For practices that operate far below their production potential, simply reevaluating and mathematically recalculating the schedule will allow them to comfortably increase production. 

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Speed counts

In any business, speed counts. For example, manufacturing companies work hard to find ways to increase the output of their products. Often, suggestions from workers are what lead to increased speed, therefore, dentists should be comfortable asking team members for their ideas. You can also talk to colleagues about how they’re performing certain procedures to determine if they take less time. 

One of the fundamental challenges we see in many practices is the impact of existing habits. If a crown prep appointment has always been 90 minutes, it will continue to be 90 minutes if no one ever stops to think that it could be 80 minutes. Breaking your habit of spending 90 minutes on a crown prep to save 10 minutes on each of these treatments throughout a year adds up to a significant number of days of extra production. 

Speed is important for many reasons. Use the recommendations here to help increase the speed in your office and you’ll start seeing an increase in production as well.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the August 2022 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

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