Most practice owners say they are concerned with how to increase the efficiency and production of their practices. Actually, most business people of any kind want the same thing. So what is so mysterious or tricky about having a totally efficient practice?
Let’s answer that first and then it will open the door as to what to do about it.
Let’s say you get your day all planned out and it seems very logical and practical and all you have to do is just coast through. And then the x-factor known as “Randomness” sneaks in the back door and throws your perfect plan off kilter. It could be an unexpected call that your bank account has been infiltrated and you need to run to the bank and handle it. Or a few unplanned emergency patients call in or drop in and there goes your perfect schedule. Or maybe a key staff member is sick and at home and you are then short staffed.
Expect the unexpected
Can you control these unexpected factors? Not necessarily. Can you plan for them? Yes.
Plan everything that you can
Teach your staff how to book Ideal Days where you have various time slots set up for the different types of procedures you do. For instance, new patient exams on the morning of Tuesday and Thursday before starting treatments for the day.
At the same time, make sure to leave a 15 minute opening in the morning and another in the afternoon – these will usually get filled with emergencies, but if not, there is a little management time for you to take advantage of! Additionally, you can always use your lunch hour (10 minutes to eat – bring food you can eat cold LOL) to do catch up.
Finish What You Start
A huge inefficiency source is letting interruptions pull you off of finishing the thing you were in the middle of handling or doing. Unless the interjection of some random thing needs “immediate” handling distracts you, do NOT let yourself be diverted off completing the task you are on.
For example, you are writing a difficult letter to a difficult patient and really concentrating, and someone comes along and asks you to help them with a newsletter they are designing. If you drop the letter you were doing, you will have to come back to it later and get back in the headspace you were in, in order to complete it. Additionally, it will be stuck on your mind not to forget to go back and finish it. Having a number of those incomplete actions sticking in your mind like mental yellow sticky notes can slow down your mental swiftness.
This one cannot be understated: Have all your files, tools, supplies and other things you need to put your hands on instantly in order to move at full speed should be set up in such a way that you can do exactly that. Leaving tools about the place randomly where you have to go searching for them is definitely a slow-down factor. A place for every tool and every tool in its place.
Additionally, you should have a system for logging any supplies or materials you and your staff notice getting low so that ordering can be done systematically and BEFORE you run out of necessary items.
Get yourself and your staff on an efficiency kick for a week and log and fix all the sources of inefficiencies. Enter the important ones in your policy manual so all staff follow the new protocols, and new staff can be quickly brought up to speed when you hire them by having them read the manual.