Think Like a Doctor, Part 2: How to Get Staff Involved in Shaping the Future of Your Practice

 

In Part 1 of this 10-part series, we talked about how many Periodontists make the mistake of asking staff for input in moving the practice forward. You might think of it as a way of spurring engagement and getting staff to feel at home in their role, but it actually has the opposite effect. 

Remember, once most dental staff learn their trade, they typically won't change how they do things. They fear change and learning new things because they don’t want to seem incompetent, and worry they won't have the training to achieve it.  They also think (and rightfully so) "Why would I want to fix something that doesn't seem broken and has gotten me by just fine for so many years?"

Asking an employee for their input when they haven’t gained many new insights into new technology and industry advancements in the last 10 years is a recipe for disaster.  In addition, you may be thinking they know what's best for them and since they are the ones using...

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Think Like a Doctor, Part 1: How to Share Your Vision to Improve Staff Engagement

 

As a periodontist, you have plans for your career. You have a vision of what you want your practice to look and function like. And, you expect your staff to roll along with your ideas and expectations (because that’s their job, right?). 

You probably know by now it’s not quite that easy. Your staff doesn’t think at the same level you do, nor can they read your mind. That’s why it’s essential to first think like your staff and connect with them on their level. You’ll have a much better chance of helping them to think the way you do if you can speak to their experiences in their language. 

In this 10-part series, we’re diving into how to get your staff to think like you so they can better serve your patients and provide the ongoing support you need from them. 

But before they can get on your level of thinking, they need to be tuned into their role, your expectations, and what exactly they’re working toward in the long...

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How Do You Build Loyalty with the Staff (and Do You Really Need To)?

I recently attended a class on leadership and the instructor presented me with a pretty powerful idea about how to build loyalty: 

“People will do anything for those that encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and throw rocks at their enemies.” 

Or, to put another way, people will do anything for those they are loyal to. 

So I want to know, what are you doing in your Periodontal practice to build loyalty with your staff? And perhaps more importantly, do you feel like you really need their loyalty? 

Let’s start with the latter and work our way backward.

Loyalty Should Be a Priority

Why do you need employee loyalty in the first place? Isn’t it enough that you gave your team members the job they have and keep them employed? The quick and easy answer is that loyalty is the key to long-term success. 

Loyal employees mean less turnover, higher productivity, and a more stable work...

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Peri-implantitis (Inflammation in the peri-implant mucosa together with progressive loss of supporting bone)

Peri-implantitis is a hot topic in implant dentistry nowadays. Some estimates report as many as 1 in 10 implants experiencing peri-implantitis. Dental implants have clearly transformed how we go about treatment planning our patients. Modern planning is more open to extractions as a treatment option now that we have a simple, predictable and reliable tooth replacement alternative. Long-term success rates for dental implants have been shown to be excellent in many studies. If peri-implantitis substantially reduces those success rates, we will need to rethink our treatment strategies with important consequences for both completed and future patients. This article will look at inflammation in the peri-implant mucosa. 

So what causes Peri-implantitis? We can divide the causes into patient associated and implant-associated. Under patient causes, we include all the factors for Periodontitis including Genetics; Diabetes; Smoking and of course Dental Plaque. A good history and control...

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3 Easy Ways to Nurture Periodontist Referral Sources

A good referral source can be the best form of advertising (and the cheapest, too!). Periodontist referrals are the lifeblood of your practice, and they’re too important to leave to chance. 

Here’s how you can nurture the connections you make with referring partners and grow your practice:

#1 - Treat Every Referral with Care

When a dentist refers their patient to you, they’re putting their reputation on the line. In their eyes, you’re effectively an extension of their practice, so make sure you treat their patients with the highest level of care and professionalism. The last thing you want is for patients to tell the referring doctor about their bad experience at your practice, which could quickly dry up the referral well.

#2 - Thank Them for Referrals

Thank you’s can be powerful tools in the referral business. It shows that you not only acknowledge that someone sent you business, but also that you appreciate it. Send them a card in the mail...

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3 Things that Harm the Patient Experience

Some periodontal practices work diligently to improve the patient experience, but the majority tend to think of it as an afterthought. The patient experience isn’t just about the quality of care the patient receives. Rather, it’s more about their overall impression and interactions with your practice, from the moment they call to schedule an appointment until they’re back in their general dentist’s chair for a follow-up. 

In an upcoming blog article, I’ll discuss the specific roles the patient plays in building your referral business with dental professionals. But for now I want to dial in on some specific things you might be doing that can negatively impact patient perceptions and what you can do to fix them:

#1 - Inattentive Staff

Your staff plays a major role in how your patients feel about your practice. They’re the first ones to greet the patient to make them feel welcome and comfortable which sets the tone for their visit. 

But...

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Skills Can Be Taught, but There’s Something More Important to Prioritize When Hiring

When you’re adding team members to your practice, a stunning resume can go a long way. If you’re lucky to find someone who was top of their class, has experience in a Periodontal office, and is excellent with patients, why wouldn’t you hire them? 

Believe it or not, skills aren’t always the biggest hiring qualifier that you should look at. Instead, you also need to prioritize how well the candidate will fit within your existing office ecosystem. 

For example, are you using modern technology or software in your practice (like PANDA Perio)? If so, your hires will need to be technologically savvy with basic computer skills, or at least willing and able to learn. Is your practice focused on education with the goal of growth? If so, you probably won’t want to hire someone set in their ways with several years of experience and has worked in five other offices in the last year because all they care about is a paycheck. 

They key is to ask them...

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How to Prepare Staff for Changes in the Practice

Change can be downright scary, especially in industries like Periodontics where things tend to relatively stay the same (including the office furniture!). If you’re like most practices, the mere mention of changing something is enough to send staff members into a frenzy. You can rest assured they’ll have an opinion about it, even they are not comfortable enough to tell you what it is. 

As the Periodontist, you’re ultimately in charge of deciding when change is necessary. But the reality is that you still need to earn staff buy-in if whatever it is you’re changing is to be effective. 

Whether you’re changing the scheduling process or something that saves you numerous hours per week like adding PANDA Perio to your operations, you can put the following tips into practice to get your staff prepared, and maybe even excited:

#1 - Announce Changes Before You Roll Out

Moving right into a major change without warning is setting your staff up for...

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What Makes You Different as a Periodontist?

The job of today’s Periodontist looks strikingly different than it did just a decade ago. It’s becoming tougher to stand out in the market, especially since many dental practices are opting to keep periodontal cases in-house. 

As a Periodontist, you know this is a bad idea (we covered this in a previous blog post). But even if dentists weren’t treating their own patients, you still need to prove yourself as a viable option in your community.

Why would a referrer send a patient to you vs. another practice? Take a look at a few of the most competitive points that can seal your success:

Reputation

As a Periodontal practice, your reputation will be the single most important factor in your success. 

Patients don’t want to choose a provider that doesn’t come recommended by others. In addition, referring doctors will not want to send their patients to you because their patients’ experience is ultimately an extension of their practice. If...

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3 Best Practices for Improving Employee Relationships

There’s one thing that affects your practice’s success the most, and it has nothing to do with marketing, referrals, or even patient satisfaction. 

Rather, it’s the effectiveness of your internal culture. 

It would be foolish to assume that putting five to fifteen people together in an office would never result in any type of conflict. And when there’s conflict, the patient experience ultimately suffers. 

Practice owners must understand how to mitigate their effects quickly to avoid any delays in your achievements. 

Take a look at our three best practices for improving employee relations to maintain a professional, productive environment:

#1 - Understand Time Spent vs Time Wasted

Doctors have a lot of knowledge, but very little time to share it. When you do take time to train or work with your staff, you view it as an investment. 

And, as a general rule, you expect an ROI on that investment. 

But this investment becomes a...

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