Steppin’ Out!

Remember Tetris? You know, that video game with those block pieces that you have to fit together? Well, that’s  been a favorite game of mine since I first played it.  I love organizing those pieces so that there aren’t any holes left on the screen. I have to admit, I get a cheap thrill when I fill a line completely, it disappears, and the remaining pieces drop down. Of course, the best way to get a high score on that game is to look at the piece that’s listed next and consider that shape when making your current move.

As office manager in our practice, I get to play real life Tetris all day long!

Here’s what I mean…

I am always looking ahead to see what I could be doing now that will help out my office later on in the day. For example, our office has a quick meeting every morning. I go through each patient and remind staff about specifics relating to that patient or to treatment so that everyone is on the same page. I know a lot of offices do this, and that’s great, but I like to take the whole meeting to the next step. In the same way I study the next puzzle piece, I study the schedule and plan ahead for things.

So, if I see that we are going to take impressions on Mrs. Baker at 9:00a.m., then I assign a person to get the alginate, stone, and water measured out ahead of time. If I know we are going to be sending a case out to a lab at 10:ooa.m., I delegate an employee to get a lab box, lab slip, and shipping label out before we even start the day. These small tasks are usually MUCH easier to do before the day officially starts than to try to do with an office full of patients. Of  course these are two short examples of my point, there are plenty of things that can be ironed out at a morning meeting to save time during a busy time.

I also use that huddle time as a way to PREVENT problems. If on a rare occasion, I see  that there is not a patient scheduled at 11:00a.m., then I assign specific office duties to specific people during that time slot. I do not wait until 11:00 to say something, because by then I may be on a long phone call,  and may not have time to gather the troops and give them something to do. I don’t like that reactive approach. I would rather be more efficient by laying it all out ONCE in the morning and then let everyone do their job and additional tasks without me chasing them around all day. I don’t have time for that!

Maybe I’m not normal, but my brain is always considering what I have NEXT to do. Everyday, I wonder what else can I possibly do NOW that will make my life easier LATER? You should see my own calendar. I meal plan every week on it, and have all my obligations, all my bills, and personal events listed. That kind of forethought takes time and effort, but my life is better for it.

So, what does this have to do with Next Step Dental Resource? All of the systems I’ve designed have to do with looking ahead and solving a problem BEFORE it happens. I fill in the pieces of the puzzle all day long!

I want doctors to have practices FILLED with employees who keep pushing the day along by thinking ahead and being proactive. The doctors want this too! It’s not practical to expect a doctor to think about managing patients and treatment AND to do all of the thinking for his/her staff.

I want assistants, hygienists, and front desk to know what needs to be done BEFORE it needs to be done, and to take the initiative to DO those things to save time later. Nothing will tick off an office manager more than seeing staff hang around, chatting, and not doing anything productive. There’s ALWAYS something that can be done in a dental office. In fact, we have a list hanging up in our office called, “When the Dust Has Settled“, that reminds employees of things that can be done during down time. Feel free to download it, use it, make changes, or make one specific to your own office. There’s NEVER an excuse to not be doing SOMETHING productive!

That’s it for now! Time to make lunches, choose clothing, and plan dinners for the week!










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