All management systems, including the most efficient, eventually suffer from bottlenecks. These breakdowns and stumbling blocks show up when there are changes in paperwork requirements, communication options, practice software, staff capability, and dozens of other factors that affect day-to-day operations.
You can't prevent bottlenecks, but you can prevent them from undercutting productivity and creating stress. With vigilance, you and your entire staff can spot a new bottleneck early and figure out how to revamp the affected system before significant harm has been done.
Make debottlenecking a team effort. The first person to notice a glitch in an administrative system will be the staff member who uses it every day. By asking for reports of any such issues at each monthly meeting, you'll be able to spot emerging problems quickly. This will also make everyone aware of what's going on so that team brainstorming for solutions will be more productive. Not incidentally, such an approach will also build team spirit.
Don't underestimate the impact of a bottleneck. Many of your practice systems are interdependent, so when a bottleneck makes one of them less efficient, it usually has a negative impact on everything and everyone. The longer you wait to address the problem, the more you'll lose.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit www.levingroup.com/gpseminars.
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