How can you and your dental team become better problem solvers? Consider three of the tips offered in the most recent edition of Inc. magazine.
Be wary of any problem that has only one definition. For example, frequent patient cancellations may have multiple causes: the dentist and team are not building enough value for the appointment, qualifying language is used with patients such as “it’s just a cleaning” or “it’s just a little decay” which greatly diminishes the need for the visit, or your team makes it too easy for patients to reschedule so they cancel out of convenience. Dig deeper into the problem to define it appropriately.
Then consider multiple solutions, especially ideas that are implementable right away. Dental practices can cut down on cancellations by deciding today to make it more inconvenient for patients to reschedule. If patients call to cancel with less than 48 hours notice, tell the patient it will be a month before you can get them rescheduled. Many will keep their appointment. Longer term solutions such as building more value chair-side are just as important, and the team needs to understand how those steps will be taken as well.
Finally, ideas are not worth much unless someone is assigned the responsibility for implementation. Get buy-in from your hygienist and make her responsible for discussing the value of continuing care with each patient. Make your front team responsible for how patients are rescheduled. And commit to leading by example by eliminating qualifying language from your treatment presentation vocabulary.
The best dental teams are not just good with patient care; they are also effective problem solvers. Make your dental practice even stronger by challenging your entire team to sharpen their problem-solving skills.