So, you’ve invested thousands of dollars on various technology breakthroughs in dentistry. Whether you are a technology geek or just beginning to dabble, the key to getting a healthy return on your investment is to get your team on board. Achieving this starts with you, Doctor. Being excited and confident about your new piece of technology is the first step. The next step is to inform your team BEFORE the equipment arrives. Nothing sends a piece of equipment to the back closet faster than the old, “unpack it and figure it out” mentality.
Let’s look at a few other tips for truly utilizing your technology.
1 – Accessibility This is number one for a reason! I’ve been in offices where team members don’t even KNOW they have certain technology. Or, more often, the tools are all located in one central location…that back closet again. The theory is that if they are kept there, everyone will know where to find them. But let’s face it, if you have to walk down the hall to get the intra-oral camera, you’ve just lost 3-5 minutes of valuable appointment time. It’s just not going to happen. That camera is going to sit back in the closet feeling very lonely.
A better solution is to store the tool in the operatory. Let’s say there are two hygiene ops side by side. If your hygienists are using a digital camera for intra-oral photos, it too can be placed at the edge of the operatory. Another great idea that I learned from my Doctor is to buy a digital photo card for each team member. This way if you use a digital SLR camera, one hygienist can take photos, eject her card and then pass the camera on to the other hygienist without having to worry about lost or deleted photos.
2 – Accountability I hear it all the time…we’ve talked ’til we’re blue in the face about using the intra-oral camera and my team is just not doing it. Get everyone’s agreement that at least one photo will be taken on EVERY patient with needed treatment. And this goes for the entire team! Hold everyone to the same standard and it’s easy to remember your policy.
And then be a leader. If the photo isn’t up when you go to do your hygiene exam or step in to see an emergency patient, politely ask for it to be taken and then come back when it’s done. The photo should ideally be taken BEFORE scaling so the hygienist and patient have time to review it and discuss before the doctor exam.
3 – Allowing enough time This is a piece of the puzzle often overlooked. You’ve heard me say this before…I have never coached a team that didn’t increase production when they increased their adult hygiene appointment time to 60 minutes – if they have clear systems and accountability for taking care to the next level.
It takes time to take quality intra-oral photos, put them up on the monitor and then share the information with the patient. This is a huge practice builder in the hands of a well-trained, motivated hygienist. It can add tens of thousands of dollars to the practice production each month. Adding 5-10 minutes to the hygiene appointment time is a small investment that pays you back, big time. So, pull that technology out of the closet, dust it off and get it into the operatory where it will work to increase patient care and productivity.