Evaluate the effectiveness of your current systems. Practice systems have a shelf life of about three years before they become gunked up with bottlenecks. Why? Your practice is constantly evolving through the addition of new technology, services, procedures, software, personnel, etc. Over time, all these changes -- much like the effect of cholesterol on arteries -- slow down practice operations. If your office has older systems, talk with your team about inefficiencies, work-arounds, and breakdowns. The longer the list of problems, the greater the need for new systems.
Don't discount high stress. The leading cause of high practice stress is outdated systems. When you have bad systems, chaos reigns. Upset patients yell at the front desk and then storm out of the practice. The clinical team hurries from patient to patient, but can never catch up because there's always another late patient to see. If your practice is constantly experiencing high stress, it's a message from your systems saying, "Replace me. Please replace me!"
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America.
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