“SOPs are crucial to the success of your business.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird
They’re your game plan, your playbook. Standard operating procedures. SOPs.
I know it sounds like really boring stuff. As soon as I say the word “SOPs” I can see people’s eyes glazing over. But think about it this way: You wouldn’t expect a football team to hit the field without knowing what they’re doing. So why do you expect your team to deliver consistent excellence to you and your patients without SOPs?
Early on in my career, I was trying to explain to my team what they needed to do and then hold them accountable and it didn’t work so well. All I did was confuse and frustrate them…until I started implementing SOPs.
SOPs are a simple way to get massively productive: write down exactly how you want things done and then train your team. SOPs streamline your practice, ensure the highest standards are met, and actually reduce your and your teams’ stress.
So join me today for a conversation about the importance of SOPs and how to:
- Decide what and how to use SOPs in your practice
- Successfully implement SOPs
- Get your team on board
Hi, this is Dr. Bruce Farid with the Productive Dentist Podcast and we’re excited. This week, my new book is called legendary leadership and should be available on Amazon and in the bookstore. So I look forward to you guys reading it and giving me some feedback. It’s really a story of just I don’t know, my, my journey as a leader, which has been quite a journey and I joke with people all the time about it. There are certain people that read that book and see that I wrote it and it says legendary leadership, they’re probably choking on their breakfast right now because I was not that good leader starting out. But anyway, that’s going to be available this week. Our Productive Dentists workshop comes is coming here in about five weeks in September. So I think we have a few spots left. I’m not 100% sure of that. But that’s that is coming up in September, you can always go to the go to our website and take a look at it and see that?
Today I’m going to talk about SOPs, and standard operating procedures, which sounds like really boring stuff. But what I’ll tell you is early on in my career, I was trying to explain to my team, what it is you need to do and to hold people accountable. They need to know exactly what it is that you’re doing. So when I look at a standard operating procedure, you can buy them from people who make them for you that’s a waste of money and a waste of your time trying to show your team what to do. But what we did, and there’s every different area in the office, I mean from the front desk, how do they answer the phone, what is it you want them to say? Go through scenarios with them when writing it all out. Because you want this to be the standard operating procedure.
I remember when people would answer the phone, we first opened our opposite say, Hi, my name is Mary, welcome to Granberry dental clinic. Well, I didn’t like the word clinic, I wanted it to be Granberry dental center. Now that seems like a little, a little thing. But it’s something that kind of irritated me every time I heard him answering the phone that way and so we wrote up a script for the front desk of exactly how they answer the phone. Exactly how you greet people at the front desk. Now they’re going to use their own twist on it. Don’t get me wrong, but I want them to have a playbook. You would never say SOP is a playbook to play by and you wouldn’t.
A football team wouldn’t go out on a football field without having a playbook to know what plays they’re running. I’ve often talked about Disney, you know, when you go to Disney, the characters all say the same things and you know, they have those standard operating procedures and so I wanted that to be that way in my office and so early on in my career, I began to do that, let’s say first with the front office. Second, what’s our standard operating procedure for checking the hygiene of patients? You know, what, what do I need? How do I go about doing that? And so we would write out the entire process. My hygienist, when when the patient was seated, would bring me a piece of paper that would have listed on it, the patient’s risk factors that we had previously gone over in their complete exam.
It has, if they had an occlusal guard, are they wearing it? You know, we went through all of these areas and come you know, come check and so I would have the entire hair our that that patient is in the chair to come in and check. Now, a lot of people say well, why if you go in the first part of the appointment, why? Why are you going in that early? You know, because they haven’t cleaned their teeth yet, I’m not checking the teeth cleaning, I’m not going in to make sure they got all the calculus, that’s not why I’m going into hygiene, why I’m going into hygiene is to look at their treatment plan that’s been previously done. Look at any emergency things that have happened, or anything that maybe not an emergency, that’s something that’s come to the top of the list and so we spelled all those things out in our standard operating procedure and that really, really helps when you’re going in my average time talking to my patient in a hygiene check was probably two minutes max and the reason is my hygiene is was trained to go back to the treatment plan that has been previously done.
If they hadn’t had a trading plan, if somehow they ended up in my hygiene without having a comprehensive exam with me, then we would set up a comprehensive exam at that appointment and when to set up a time so that I could go through the risk factors and all the things that I’ve shared with you guys in the past, this is, you know, we’re gonna go through carrier risk, we’re gonna go through biomechanical risk, we’re gonna go through aesthetic risk, we’re gonna go through all of the things that we need to go through. Because my goal was every single patient hadn’t had a complete treatment plan, that doesn’t mean that it had all their work done and that’s why I go into hygiene to find out the work I recommended last year how you know, is it getting worse? Are we having a problem, or go on to
look at other things that may have happened during that timeframe? So that was it, and we wrote it out everything in detail, what I was looking for, my hygienist would say, Dr. Baird, we’re ready to get going on these veneers, you know, we talked about it and you know, in other words, they’re looking at that treatment plan. My hygienist and they’re using that as our guide on what to do now cleaning the teeth. Yeah, they’re going to clean their teeth, they’re going to do whatever it was at their appointment, but that’s not why I’m coming in to check the patient.
Then let’s get back into what about the standard operating procedure and there’s SOPs for everything you do in the office, how you file insurance, and how you do this, but I’m going to talk more about the back the clinical part of this, why would you need a standard operating procedure for clinical procedures? Well, if you’re like most dentists, they may never change, their protocol. Their entire career, they do things the same way. Well, that wasn’t me that I was constantly looking for better materials, things that would save time, things that were rated higher than other materials. I would try if I liked him, that would become part of my SOP, but we would right now. For instance, tray setups. I want this exact tray setup and not only would we set up a tray, this is forever No, this is for oral surgery, this is whatever, these are the things I want, but we will take photos of it. So we have pictures, we had written details and when we’re training somebody, a new employee, a new assistant, it is the way I like to do things.
With me, they’re seeing a new patient with this Endo, this is the protocol that I use. Now, if you have two or three dogs, clinical protocol, ours were close, but they weren’t exactly the same. So they need to write up their protocol of exactly what they want and take pictures of exactly the way they want their trade setups. It sounds like, you know, a little anal retentive, but we’re dentists so that that fits the mold, but what I’m saying is, we’ve talked in the past of how important training is how important getting you can’t be upset when people are doing it exactly the way that you recommended it and if I’m sitting there, we’re doing Endo, and they go, Oh, I forgot the sealer. Oh, I forgot this. I forgot that. No, we set it up the same way every single time. Now, how do you become productive? How do you become massively productive? By doing that? Does it take time? Yeah, I mean, it might take you a day, with your team in the back. This is how we want to do it, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. But it’s worth it. That’s why I was able to work Mondays and Tuesdays for the last 14 years of my career and still produce over 2 million a year, it was because my team knew exactly what we were doing and exactly.
The procedures, exactly the materials, exactly the instruments, everything was spelled out, and, again, it sounds like a lot of work. But you only gonna have to do this work one time and once you’ve done it, and you trained your team, now it’s your responsibility. Remember, we talked about, you know, accountability, you know, looking at things and making sure it’s being done that way. But you have to rarely do it. But then just check, check the pictures, everything else are we still doing? Are we still following our protocol, you’ll know it because you’ll notice that something’s missing on the tray, or something’s not there, and that takes more time. They have to get up and go and when you’re producing, I’m not worried about seconds and minutes. But I’m worried about how long it take me for the overall procedure and I would very much like everything that I used to be in that room. So you know, so I can do that. Standard Operating Procedures. It’s your game plan, it is your playbook of what you’re going to do every day. Anybody can help set up a room, if you have somebody that’s sick, that is set up, they can look at the pictures, they can set up a tray for you.
Sometimes, you know, the office got behind, which was very rare. But if it got behind me to ask a hygienist to set up a tray for us? Well, all they do is go to the playbook and open it up and by golly, there, there was exactly what we expect for the setups. So it’s hard to and for me, when I hired people early on, I just expected them to know these things. You know, well, your assistant, you should know how to set up a trial. Well, that’s not fair to the assistant. It’s certainly not fair and because they don’t know how you like it.
They may have worked for four different dentists and four different vendors are going to do things in different ways. There was a study they did when I was back in the military, they sent out, they sent out to a prosthodontist. You know, in the US Army, they sent it out a simple, a simple RPD, you know, removable partial denture design, and they said they wanted each one of the prosthodontists to do their own design of what they thought was the best design and they have like, I don’t know, 60 Prosthodontist and all 60 of them did it differently.
Well, that’s the way we are. But I want my team to know exactly how I want it. Because like it or not, as you go through the day, little things that aren’t the way you like it can cause stress and we talked about when you’re stressed what happens to productivity, it goes down. So this is a very, very big deal, in my opinion, is having a standard operating procedure for every single thing. How do you want to insurance file? What do you want? You know, how do we want recare taking care of how do we want and you can write this all down all the different arenas or all the different areas in your office, you want the standard operating procedure and just plan over the next year.
Over the next year. I’m going to go through each one of these. I’m going to get advice from people who are specialists in it, you know, front desk, you know, when we go to seminars, when we go hear people speak there are people out there that you know they’re the best at the best, you know of how they Do it may not be the way we do it. But by going through this process and setting up exactly what we want to do, guess what our team is happier. They know what to do. They know what you expect of them and it’s something that may take a little time, but it’s going to be time well spent. So, you know, that’s my story on SOPs, but it’s something that I really challenge you to do.
Because guess what’s going to happen at the end, there’s going to be less stress and there’s going to be more productivity, you’re going to be able to and you’re going to in the ultimate is you’re going to take better care of people, because you’re not waiting around rolling your eyes for the mirror on your exam tray like I’ve just said before. So anyway, that’s this week’s podcast. We’re getting out of summer, we’re ready to ready to start to fall. This is the first day of August and I hope you guys have a great week I look forward to talking to you again next week and remember, sign up for a productive dentist podcast. Tell your friends and if you have any questions, please send them to email@example.com So look forward to seeing you.
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