If you have worked outside the dental industry in a business setting, chances are you are familiar with the term Systems. However, in the dental world, the term and the concept are not used as readily. But they should be. Think of systems as a set of organized instructions forming an entire network of how to. Or as one client put it “If I was hit by a bus tomorrow, this is how you do everything in the office!” We know systems and protocols are important and we know we should have them in place. And yet this seems to be one of the biggest area’s we are lacking. For us creating effective systems in a dental office is a vital step in the process of obtaining consistent results that reflect the practice vision.
Your documented systems are your building blocks for delivering the care and experience you envisioned when you opened your practice. When well-organized systems meet excellent customer service you have a recipe for success. They ensure that new team members have clear guidelines on how to deliver results and existing team members know what expectations they are living up to within your vision. Every practice is different, and every practice is ever-changing which means the systems need to change with your growing business. These documents should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
We find that most offices have some systems documented but not organized. Most of them may even be in your head. Finding a place to start is usually the hardest part of this process. We start by assigning categories such as Ownership, Administrative, Business, Clinical, Hygiene, and Marketing. Next, if you don’t have systems in place currently start by outlining the ones that may be needed. A nice organized checklist could be the easiest to gather your thoughts. If you do have some in place, review them and see what’s missing or what needs to be changed or updated.
Here is a good partial list to get you thinking but remember they should reflect the practice, the vision and the systems already in place.