A dentist, like any business leader, is a visionary. Every practice owner has a dream of where they want their business to go. And in order to achieve this dream, it’s important not to rush the process and to take it one step at a time. Each step, if taken correctly, will work with the other steps like puzzle pieces to make that vision a successful reality. 

One step may include taking the time to put together a good marketing plan. Another may be ensuring everyone on the practice’s team is working together efficiently and getting along well. The list goes on, and there are limitless steps to take that will each boost the productivity of a dental practice. And, with time and effort, a practice owner can combine these puzzle pieces to unlock growth and increase profitability.

However, not all strategies are as fast-acting as others. Some can give a practice owner results more quickly. That’s why, for this week’s article, we’re giving you three steps you can take to instantly boost the productivity of your practice.

1. Make daily goals into broader (yet specific and measurable) long-term goals.

A dentist cannot expand their business and open up a second practice before developing a solid foundation for their first. You might want a second practice next week, but that timeframe is unrealistic. When it comes to any business, it’s more practical to think of fast growth happening over the course of a few years.

That’s why you can’t judge your practice’s growth by gauging the productivity of each individual business day. Some days are better than others, and such short-term fluctuations don’t reflect productivity in the long-run. So, that’s why a practice owner should consider setting weekly, monthly, or yearly goals that are both specific and measurable. That way, they’re able to measure their growth through a more wide-ranging, realistic lens that captures the bigger picture.

2. Ditch paper routing slips (or any paper document, for that matter).

Let’s face it: in this day and age, using paper for our clinical documents is really old school. There’s no need to keep paper routing slips, for example, when we can easily switch to digital documentation. You might be hesitant to implement this step to boosting productivity because, in the past, technology crashed on you. But, how many times have you lost a slip of paper? Or spent way too much time sifting through documents when you could have found it in a fraction of the time with a search bar?

Converting all of your documents to digital is a much better option, overall, than keeping everything in filing cabinets. This step can be taken beyond replacing routing slips and extend to all forms of documentation. Paper is easy to lose, and when you’ve lost it, it’s nearly irretrievable. It creates a hassle that takes up a lot of time that could be better spent on treating patients instead. Going digital will make data much more accessible and efficient, freeing up your schedule to fit in more productive tasks.

On top of that, filing cabinets take up much-needed space. Dental practices aren’t known for being super roomy. Ditch the filing cabinet and put a shelf of dental instruments there instead. Or clear out that room you’ve designated to store documents and put another chair in there.

3. Schedule your way to more productivity.

Many dentists use strategies like dental block scheduling to fill their days up with an agenda. They have blocks of time allotted for procedures, emergency appointments, and new patients. For some dentists, having that strict schedule can be really helpful and keep them engaged in a good routine. 

But for others, forgoing block scheduling can be a game-changer in regards to the productivity of their practice. Block scheduling isn't very flexible, and when one patient cancels then it oftentimes leads to a time slot not being occupied by anyone at all. Everyone is scheduled around each other and openings are hard to quickly refill. If patients cancel often, a lot of money is flying out the backdoor and productivity is being lost.

Whether you choose to use block scheduling or not, however, getting a scheduler for your team can do wonders for increasing productivity. If you can’t afford to hire someone new to take that role, then perhaps you can delegate the role to one of the members of your front desk team. Give them the task of managing your schedule and filling it with a productive stream of patients each day.

What are you doing to boost the productivity of your dental practice?

Productivity is directly correlated with your profitability, growth, and impact on the lives of your patients. The more patients you treat, the more money you make and the more lives you improve. So why not at least try one, two, or all three of these strategies out?

If you want to connect with other dental professionals and discuss ways to improve the productivity of your dental practice, then join the Trapped in an OP Facebook community where dental professionals are working together to support each other in business and in life.