A Practice That A Practice Should Never Practice


How to weaken a strong team


There are 2 different “so called” business decisions that I am seeing which some doctors have instituted to bring up their bottom line.  You know what a dental team advocate I am and how much I support and stand up for all those dedicated, hardworking dental professionals. So hearing these two methods that some dentists support in an attempt to save money was appalling to me.

  1. The first one is unfortunately something I believe originally became somewhat “fashionable” during the tough times we and other businesses were having in 2008, and for some incredible reason I continue to see this approach maintained.


What I am referencing is sending hygienists home when their schedule appeared light on a particular day.  I can go into how to fix this, but this is not the point I want to make. Hygienists have lots of valuable chores they can attend to during down time, i.e., calling overdue patients, scheduling outstanding care, helping in the business office, etc.


Please don’t ever send them home, since there is so much they can do to contribute to the flow of your day, not to mention what a terrible message this is for team morale.  Your hygienist will stand for this just so long, and before you know it you are seeking a new employee. I don’t have to tell you what this will cost you in the long run.


  1. This one was new for me–one that I’ve only heard about once, yet I just can’t wrap my head around it nor do I believe that this particular doctor really believes that he is actually saving.


In this case, the team is all aware that this practice does not offer anyone any type of time off arrangement.  I’m not saying there is no time off, quite the contrary.  There is actually an open door policy to take off for any reason at any time as long as one key person in the practice is notified by that morning.  Many of you reading this might say “Wow, that’s amazing”. But there’s a catch.


There is absolutely no compensation when you are off for any reason as many times as you need, and there is never a temporary employee to take their place for the day.  Why, you ask?  The doctor feels that he saves anywhere from $160 to $350 per day.


Really doctor?

Here’s what’s lost and it isn’t all money, although everything converts to that:

  • The teams are quickly exhausted. Some so much so that after a while of this they gladly give notice. What kind of a message is this doctor sending to the team members that must carry the day minus one pair of hands?
  • Patients are not getting the same attention.
  • Phone calls are missed, as they may well go into voicemail, and in some cases they never receive a return call for a couple of days due to the catch-up that must take place.
  • Patients have to wait longer for their appointments.
  • Sometimes treatment is cut short and often the work is less than acceptable for obvious reasons.
  • With fewer team members to carry the load it’s not unusual for mistakes to be made, some of which can be major.

So let’s think this over.

It boils down to sacrificing a few hundred for what can be thousands.  Think about the patients that feel this the minute they enter your office. Think about the patients that will walk out the door and seek another practice. What about the team members that must carry the weight for others, and often it’s consistently the same employees who are guilty of taking advantage of this arrangement.

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