By Ryan Estis
How a practice responds to change says a lot about the team that runs it. Do they embrace it? Seek it out? Avoid it? In this technological age, keeping up with the pace of change is crucial from a business and clinical perspective—patients make negative assessments about a practice based on outdated equipment, and using old technology may put a practice at a disadvantage when diagnosing patients. While adding new equipment is a step in the right direction, here are a few other ways you can view change around your practice that will give you a competitive advantage.
- Embrace change in the new economy—From imaging technology to the way we communicate with patients to how we accept payments, every aspect of the dental practice is changing. And that change is being driven by greater global trends that reflect how interconnected the world has become. Don’t think of yourself as one small practice, but part of a global business network. The changes you make now affect not only your practice but your patients, your community and, ultimately, the greater economy.
- Learn from global workforce trends and forecasting—No matter what your role is, in addition to being a health care professional, what you do is part of a larger business structure. It’s natural to want to stay on the leading edge of clinical techniques and diagnostic technology, but what about keeping up with changes in the business world? Whether your practice consists of one doctor and a few team members or is part of a nationwide dental service organization, being familiar with workplace trends, learning from them and trying a few for yourself can aid in business efficiency and organizational structure.
- Build high-trust, high-value relationships—A practice survives by the dynamics of the people who make up its team. Building valuable relationships extends beyond the practice to the referral network as well. And don’t forget how forging meaningful relationships with patients can affect business. Whether it’s a coworker, a colleague or a patient, when people feel valued and well cared for it leads to a cohesive, cooperative work environment.
- Connect employees to a shared vision and set of values—Also tied to the concept of relationships and teamwork is the ability for people to work towards shared goals. That’s what the morning standup is for, right? Take time daily to make sure the entire team knows what needs to be accomplished, how it will get done and the roles each person will play to achieve the practice’s goals.
- Effectively use emerging technology to improve communication, culture and work life—And here, we circle back to what may be the most obvious way to introduce change to a practice: new technology. Switching from film to digital imaging can save time for the team and reduce radiation for patients. Using an automatic appointment reminder system can cut back on no-shows. Integrating imaging systems and practice management software can streamline workflow. When you take a closer look, the dental industry is brimming with new technology that can improve communication, culture and work life
These are just a few of the ways you can think about introducing change into your practice. At this November’s Global Oral Health Summit, I’ll share with you more of my insight as an agent of change so you can better navigate the change and challenge the industry is experiencing so you can take your practice to the next level. I hope to see you there.