Lean and mean means green

From Dentistry Today –  September 28th, 2011

Health care providers today are feeling significant pressure to work more efficiently and streamline procedures in their offices. The pressure can come from insurance companies, patients, or the government, but the message from all parties is to reduce costs and avoid waste. For dentists faced with the pressures of running their own practices, the push toward greater efficiency can be internal as well, based on a desire to minimize unnecessary costs and keep the practice running profitably.

Perhaps you have already tried to implement a procedure aimed at increasing efficiency, but factors like staff indifference and a lack of follow through have let these goals fall by the wayside. Or perhaps you have no idea where to start looking for added efficiency,with the daily flow of patients keeping your time full as it is.

The benefits of implementing a lasting and effective program to increase efficiency can be significant in helping you face the pressures outlined above,making your practice run more smoothly and delivering more value to you and your patients. Through these types of programs, A-dec and organizations it has worked with have seen numerous gains that you’ll learn about below and clinicians such as Dr. Sami Bahri have dramatically streamlined their practices to achieve up to 82 percent improvements, as well. In light of the potential gain from such an effort, added efficiency should be carefully examined in the dental practice.

Getting to a Place of “Lean”
The good news is that once you are serious about improving efficiency in your office and committed to putting a system in place, there is an outstanding roadmap to follow. Perhaps you have heard of “Lean manufacturing.” This production process has been put into place by some large scale manufacturers, but the truth is that it is not just for factories. The basic principles of “Lean” are highly adaptable, and can be put into place in any environment, from your home to your practice.

A-dec has been utilizing these principles since the early 1990s, and we have seen the dramatic effects they can have on a business. We have also witnessed some of the obstacles that are often encountered along the way. With experience putting Lean principles in place at our facility in Newberg, Ore., as well as in collaboration with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), we have observed the process of implementation for many different procedures and atmospheres.  

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