Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2019 01 Communication 1

Avoiding communication breakdowns in your dental practice

Jan. 18, 2019
Communication is key to a dental practice operating efficiently. These 3 easy tips can help make it better and more efficient.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, CEO and Founder, Levin Group

Everyone knows that no relationship, whether personal or business, will survive without good communication. As a dental practice, your efficiency absolutely relies on having excellent communication among all team members. Learning how to avoid communication breakdowns will help ensure that you are operating a well-run dental practice.

Many offices never think about or discuss how they will communicate, often feeling like there's just not time to. Unfortunately, this leads to high levels of stress, breakdowns, and inefficiency. Think of the chaos that can result when a hygienist doesn’t know that a patient is 30 minutes past their appointment time. Or if the front desk isn’t told that a patient must be rescheduled because the lab case didn't come back properly. There are many versions of these issues that can happen at any time, and communication is the key to turning these problems into solutions.

These three tips can help ensure smoother communication among your team.

1. Make the most of your huddle

This 10-minute meeting is a key element of practice efficiency. There should be a 15-point agenda that includes topics such as production goal yesterday, production goal today, new patients today, emergencies today, case presentations being given today, and crunch time in the schedule today. By following this short, focused agenda every morning, you’ll answer 50% of the questions that will inevitably come up during the day. This is also the time when the doctor and team can communicate about any special cases or unique scenarios so that everyone is fully prepared.

2. Keep it to the point

Quick communication between staff members and the doctors should take place throughout the day. A quick question can often help avoid breakdowns, disruption, and patient dissatisfaction. For example, the doctor and team must know when a patient has been kept waiting or if a laboratory case was not performed properly. Just be sure to communicate these issues quickly and talk in quick headlines. News headlines are crisp, brief, and to the point. Likewise, when you give an answer it should be concise. This creates a more efficient atmosphere.

You might also be interested in: How high-performance dental teams communicate

3. Do a monthly business review

The monthly business review is a review of performance during the month in three major steps—first, a review of all key targets and whether they were achieved for that month. This is followed by a review of 10 annual goals that every practice should establish and measure monthly. Finally, the meeting should conclude with an overview of the practice vision statement. If you don’t have a vision statement, write one. This statement briefly details where you want your practice to be in five years. The monthly business review should also include a segment on improvements that will be made in the practice during the next 30 days. Generally, practices can handle only one major change at a time, or about one per month. If you make 12 significant improvements every year in your practice, you will be far ahead of the curve.

Editor's note: Originally posted in 2019 and updated regularly