Delegation of Duties to the Right Staff Members
One of the hardest things for a dentist (and business owner) to do is to hand duties off to someone else. For someone who has built a practice from the ground up, delegation of duties does not always come easy. Even if it does, there are sometimes certain procedures or skills that the dentist isn’t willing to let go of-and prefers doing it themselves rather than training a staff member to do it the way they have in mind.
Cleanings, Sealants, and Bleaching Treatments
Are you still completing hygiene services when you have patients needing to get in for restorative care? If you don’t already have a hygienist, now is the time to hire one. Yes, it can be a struggle to turn your patient over to another provider in the practice, but it will make your business more productive and give you time for more important procedures (like crowns or root canals.)
Is your hygienist licensed to administer local anesthetic? Unfortunately some states still do not allow this, but many do. If yours is, ask that he or she be the one to numb your patients when possible, so that you do not have to step away from your other operatory as often as before.
Invest in Your Assistants
Encourage your assistants to receive adjunctive service training, like trimming and placing temporary crowns, so that you don’t have to. If your state allows, have your assistants become certified in placing sealants or coronal polishing. This doesn’t take away from your hygienist’s responsibilities - it makes your hygienist’s time more effective as well, by handing off the “finishing touches” to the assistant, while you move on to the next patient.
Cross Train Your Front Desk
It can be beneficial to hire front office staff that are certified dental assistants or have been cross-trained to perform duties like taking x-rays or impressions. When duties trickle down, it allows the dentist and other staff to focus on the “big ticket” items that nobody else is equipped to handle.
Keep Up With State Laws
As already mentioned, some state dental boards allow for specific types of services to be completed by specific providers from state to state. If your jurisdiction allows for delegation of specific types of procedures, it is beneficial to take advantage of such opportunities.
Have Patients Scheduled Accordingly
Even if you’re ready to start delegating procedures to other people in the office, it can be easy to slip back into the old way of doing things. Make sure that the entire office is on board - including the people scheduling patients. That way all future appointments that might have otherwise been booked on the dentist’s side can be moved as appropriate.
As difficult as it can be to “let go” of some things, it won’t take long for you to start to see how it impacts the daily production numbers. If you’re not confident in the skills of your staff, then consider times delegated specifically for training to enhance their skills and techniques. Remember, if every dentist continued to do things themselves just because they could do it best, the staff would never learn, and the office would never grow. Learning pains are normal.