By Bridget Burris
Running on time is the most important practice and team value that we have in our office. We consider it a sign of respect to see the patients when they are scheduled and get them out of the office in the promised time frame or even before. We also choose to allow the team to go to lunch on time and definitely walk out the door at 5:00pm at the end of the day. Sure, there are times that we don’t succeed in reaching that standard but these times are few and far between. Although I have always been on the administrative side of the practice and have little to no clinical experience I have noticed something while training our new team: Specific tips on how to be efficient with your time while you are not sitting in the chair. Here are 3 simple tips I can share having observed out team members in action for many years:
- Always check the chart before getting your patient from the reception or on deck area. Obviously the appointment type will give you an idea of what you are doing but by checking the details you will be prepared for anything additional you may need at the chair before seating the patient and avoid having to get up several times for an item that is not in chair side station. Your goal is to never leave the chair once you sit down and start working on the patient. Getting up several times wastes lots of time and is usually the result of poor planning.
- While bringing your patient to the chair, start talking to them right away about how it is going orthodontically speaking. Do they have anything broken? Any wires poking them? Any concerns they may have? This saves time instead of seating them and THEN asking these questions.
- Start giving the patient instructions while you are tying the wires in. Whether you are talking about brushing, elastic wear, no-no list etc., don’t wait until you are done to give them these instructions
By utilizing these tips, you have just saved approximately 3 minutes. Doesn’t sound like much but if you ordinarily see 100 patients per day that is 300 minutes per day or a total of 5 hours per day saved. That’s 5/8 of one full time employee and can be the difference in happy patients/parents vs running behind and getting blistered on social media by upset people who are having to wait on you.
Time is money! Yes, it really is because when your patients are seen on time they will feel like referring!