Oral Health Group

(Business) Questions Your Mother (Dental School) Never Told You About!

October 7, 2019
by Shawn Peers, Dental Peers


We probably all remember listening to the music of our parents when we were kids. Some of it we liked…others, not so much.

My parents grew up in the juke box/malt shop era, so 50’s rock and roll was part of my childhood. One of the songs I recall opened with the line “Let me tell you bout the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees…”.

As a young child, I thought the song was about actual birds and bees. I never could figure out why someone would sing about that!

And while my parents were pretty progressive, I was a bit too young when I first heard this song for them to explain its real subject matter!

Dental education approaches the business of dentistry much like “the birds and the bees”!  If the kids ask, we will give them a little bit of information…but not more than their young minds can handle!

So if you dared ask about business issues in dental school, you likely received a cursory response from an instructor who was far more comfortable with clinical matters. The result is we have produced generation after generation of dentists that just had to learn the dental “birds and bees” on their own…after they graduated…when they were older…through trial and error.

In my blog last month, I started to pull back the curtain on this sensitive issue. I discussed the importance of creating your 2020 Vision by starting with a review of (or creation of) your vision statement.

But it is important to consider how you move forward and bring that vision statement to life. Too often, when I talk to dentists about starting with a vision for their practice, they tell me they did that before and it did not make a difference.

Why would that be the case?

While there may be a number of reasons, the most common explanation is simply they thought they were done when they created the vision statement. They did not move on to develop a strategy for bringing that vision to life. Rather than take this proactive step, they continued to react to their dental, business environment. When you are reactive, you lose your vision and everything in your office gets done in a “piecemeal” fashion.

So how do you bring your vision statement to life?

To start, I would like you to undertake two incredibly important tasks:

Task 1: Schedule Team Meetings For the Next Year!

That is right…I want you to go to your calendar and book time out of your schedule for regular team meetings for the rest of the year. Then do the same for the entire 2020 calendar year!

These meetings could be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly…whatever works for you. The key it so schedule them and that attendance be mandatory!

Make sure you set aside enough time for everyone to arrive ready to contribute. Nothing can ruin a team meeting more than people wandering in late, getting their lunches and taking time to settle in because you scheduled the meeting to start at the same time they dismissed their last patient. Allow 30 minutes for everyone to show up and get into meeting mode.

All meetings will need an agenda…but at the start, I have something I want you to fill in as priority one in your agenda…and that is Task 2!

Task 2: Create Your Standard of Care

The first task on your agenda at your first meeting should be to review/revise/update/create your written standard of care. Many offices never put this in writing. I strongly recommend that you do because it will not only be a guide to how you approach patient care…it will be something the entire team can rely on in their approach.

I recommend this be established by the team as a whole. Even if your admin team members have no clinical training, it is important they understand why you have included certain elements in your standard of care because they will be called on by patients to reinforce it. The more they know, the better they can do their jobs.

Now you may be wondering why we are focusing on something clinical as the first step in our “birds and bees” business of dentistry talk. The reason is simple…you don’t make money because you create a plan to make money! You make money because you create a plan to provide great service!

In future blogs, I will continue to discuss how you will rely upon your standard of care to create great business systems that deliver first rate patient care while improving your profitability.

For now, take comfort in knowing that our first “birds and bees” talk stuck with topics you are already familiar and comfortable with!

Next time, be prepared to push out of your comfort zone and into your growth zone!


Interested in contributing to Oral Health Group’s dental blog? Email marley@newcom.ca for more information!


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