We just went through security at the SJO airport here in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was interesting because the person running the one working bag X-ray machine was also the person who investigated suspicious items he saw when the bags were scanned. While being cost efficient – one person doing both jobs – and also allowing the X-ray machine operator to maintain total control, it certainly was not operationally efficient. Of course this reminded me of the typical orthodontic office and since I had plenty of time on my hands waiting to get through security, I thought I’d share my thoughts with all of you!
We have discussed before that the doctor is almost always the bottleneck in any given orthodontic office. The average orthodontist is much like the guy running the X-ray machine here at SJO. I’m sure that one has to have some sort of qualification or license to run the machine and interpret images just like you have to have a dental license but I’m also certain the training level for the position of bag checker requires much less in terms of training and qualifications (if any) just like the position of chairside assistant relative to the orthodontist. I’m not saying that either job or either person is less important than the other – both are vital to the operation of airport security and an orthodontic office. I’m saying that sometimes we orthodontists act in silly ways in the name of control but really it’s just our ego getting in the way. When we do this, our customers and our businesses suffer. And can you seriously say that only you can tie in a wire or write up what was done properly??
Doctor, do the things that ONLY YOU can do and delegate the rest. If you do so you’ll run on time, patients will be more comfortable, you’ll render better service and your business will prosper. You’ll probably finish your cases faster too because you’ll have all the time you need at each and every appointment if you run on time. If you do this, your patients will thank you, your team will thank you and your bank account will thank you. White coat syndrome is a real thing. You make patients, especially kids, uncomfortable and the vast majority of patients much prefer to deal with your team members instead of you despite what you think. I know you believe otherwise and will point to the outlier patient who only wants to deal with you as proof but think about what I’m suggesting and consider how often you run behind before raising the traditional objections!
Have a great weekend!

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