Team Huddle The Staff

Tips from experts on The Staff

Dec. 18, 2013

Beginning in 2012, Dentistry IQ has periodically offered its readers the chance to explore tips from practice management experts that cover all areas of the dental practice, from patient relationships to the staff to financial concerns to front office matters to marketing strategies.

Whatever your role in the dental practice — whether you're a dentist, hygienist, front office worker, or even a consultant — there's sure to be something in this collection of tips that will help you as you continually commit to your job and practice.

The two previous incarnations of the 100 Tips articles have been big hits on the Dentistry IQ website — the original version still ranks as one of the top-read articles on our website. This fall, the Dentistry IQ editors decided to gather another round of tips. Due to a slight decrease in the number of tips we received this time around, and to increase clickability, we've decided to post each category of tips as a separate article. The separate articles will make it easier for readers to read only the tips that benefit them, although we urge you to read as many as you can!


Here are the top seven tips on the staff from practice management experts:

Supercharge your hygienist’s schedule by hiring a part-time (nine hours per week) re-care coordinator whose role is to ensure that there is someone in your hygienist’s chair every single hour of his or her working day. By calling people and reminding them to get back into the system, your re-care coordinator should be able to enroll at least five patients a day for hygiene appointments during the three or four hours a day he or she works. Pay this individual $10 an hour, and an additional $1 for each patient who makes an appointment and shows up.

Gary Kadi

NextLevel Practice

Too often we believe that we have no control over how our day, week, month, or year turns out. If we operate with that belief, it’s easy to blame others for our unhappiness. We have the choice to not put off happiness by changing what we focus on. Choose to focus on the positives: what does work versus what’s not working and how good your day actually is. Use the Losada Prinicple: three positive thoughts to one negative.

Happiness is an internal attitude, not an external situation.

Fran Pangakis, RDH, CPVC, CPBA

Front office team members need continuing education too. They are a key part of the dental practice experience, and they need to be trained and constantly exposed to ways to improve their skills like every other team member. Scheduling, telephone skills, and great people skills are a must for every front office team member. Why not train your team to be the best at what they do? Training benefits the practice by giving these team members the tools to help the practice meet and exceed the patient's expectations. It also shows the front office team that they are valued members of the practice.

Lisa Marie Spradley

"Front Desk Lady"

TCB Dental Consulting

[email protected]

The #1 goal of any meeting is to decide and commit. When each person is fully engaged, fully inspired, and fully committed to practice, team, and self-improvement, amazing things happen. Here’s how they do it:

· A vision-inspired agenda.

· Starting/ending on time.

· A note taker (not a transcriptionist).

· Creative learning component

· Action items with accountability

· Rotating leadership

What’s on the agenda is up to you; what we know to be true is that the more informed your team is about the health of the business, the better decisions they can make in service to your patients.

Robyn Reis

ACT Dental Practice Coaching

Ask yourself, “Are you a real team player?” While consulting at a practice, it became apparent that team members had their territories mapped out. They were not assisting coworkers during downtime. Do you offer to lend a hand when a last-minute cancellation occurs? Do you start unscheduled treatment in the operatory before signed financial arrangements are completed? Do you take the time to review tomorrow’s charts to see who’s due for an FMX or other relevant procedures? Do not take advantage of your current position. A “real” team player helps coworkers where/when needed; is mindful of office overhead, collections, production; and minimizes unnecessary overtime. Step up to the plate and become a valued “team player.”

Robin Besotes

Hiring the right people to assist the dentist in running his or her business is one of the "Aha" moments in the journey to a successful business. The people you hire have to be congruent with the beliefs of the dentist and the philosophy of the practice to create success. Hiring staff members who would be patients of the practice even if they were not employed by the practice speaks to the true nature of those who should be in our employ.

George E Bambara, DMD

[email protected]

I hear it from teams often: “We aren’t paid what we are worth.” Of course, the doctor logically justifies the pay rate. How’s that working for you? Instead, go emotional. Living exclusively in logic with your team is not a realistic option. Appreciating, respecting, and valuing the individuals who work for you is a much more logical choice. I believe the real message from your “underpaid” team is “If you won’t love and appreciate me, you’re going to have to pay me!” Choose wisely!

Ross Vera

Pride Institute

To read more tips from practice management experts, click on the following links:

Clinical I Communication I Financial I Front Office I Having a Vision I Greatest Threat to Dentistry

Scheduling I Patient Relationships I The Staff I Practice Management I Leadership I Marketing