Delegating Time Management
Doctors should delegate managing time.
We first learned this concept from Dr. Vince Monticciolo, who did not look at his schedule all day. He had a dry erase board in the hallway that listed what room he needed to go into next and what he needed to do when he got there. He just followed that board all day long. His team members figured out which room to put which patient in and at what time. He and his team flowed from room to room. He stayed remarkably on time and was the most productive dentist we know of.
When doctors depend too much on time rather than requiring their staff to do so, they run into problems.
We’ve observed that the percentage of time that a doctor looks at the schedule is inversely related to his or her productivity. Watching the schedule every minute causes anxiety. Anxious doctors tend to pull back from a heavy schedule even though it’s very doable.
Let Your Team Direct Traffic
Instituting same-day treatment is a tremendous challenge. Going with the flow and having the team in charge of that flow is what makes the “yes” attitude and same-day possible.
Use a whiteboard. A physical whiteboard works great if you have a central location in your office. Our practice didn’t have one, so we asked a programmer to create a computerized whiteboard for us. Either way, it’s a powerful tool.
The most highly productive doctors will look at the schedule in the morning or the night before, just to make sure everything is in place, and then, as we say, “The schedule is just a suggestion from that point.”
They then build on that schedule to make the day bigger and better.
For example, the same-day treatment in my flagship practice accounts for half the production every day. Half of all the treatment wasn’t on the schedule when the day started.
Fitting Same-Day Treatment into a Full Schedule
There is a point at which you can’t do any more treatment and everything is full:
- The doctor is doing things only a doctor can do.
- He’s not having long conversations.
- He’s working effectively and efficiently the entire time he’s in the office.
- He works through any break and lunch time.
- He is a few minutes late finishing things up.
You can get to that point, but in our observations of 150+ practices, we rarely see that as the case.
Most often, doctors stop and start. They do a little treatment and then take a little break. They’ll take a break and let the schedule come to them. That’s so counterproductive.
Doctors will go to their offices to escape. We advise sealing off the doctor’s office during the day so they can’t escape same-day treatment. If you really want to improve productivity, doctors have to be engaged and working at it all day long.
As long as you aren’t absolutely maxed out, you can find things to tweak so you can fit in same-day treatment.
We’ve had doctors who produce $60,000 per month tell us they’re completely tapped out:
“I couldn’t possibly do any more. I’m using all my time effectively. I’m doing everything just right and I can’t seem to break $60,000 a month of personal production.”
Yet, we also have doctors that produce $360,000 per month of production. There‘s a disconnect somewhere.
We can, as doctors, do more than we think we can do, but we need to have the team and the capacity built around us to do it. It takes an investment and time, but if you keep building that, you will be amazed how much treatment that you can add to an already “full schedule.”