MME: How to Boost Your Practice Productivity for a 3 Day Work Week | Kirk Teachout

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Are you feeling overwhelmed by trying to grow your practice? Many dentists think that they need more patients, more marketing, and more work to propel them forward. While these are important factors, there might be another way to a successful three day work week - optimizing your current workload. Today I sat down with the accomplished entrepreneur, business coach, and the author of multiple Best Selling books, Kirk Teachout. His insights paint a clear picture of how we can analyze and customize our dental schedules more efficiently, leading us closer to achieving our revenue goals without having to cope with a turbulent timetable.

During our conversation, Kirk walks us through the process of using time calculation tactics to optimize our schedules. By understanding the time investment for each procedure, we can make sure our appointments fit like puzzle pieces for a smooth daily workflow. More importantly, Kirk showed me that we, as doctors, don't need to rush or feel overwhelmed in our efforts to achieve efficiency. He shared invaluable strategies to ensure high-quality service and productivity can coexist peacefully in our practices.

What You'll Learn in This Episode:

  • How analyzing time requirements for procedures can enhance scheduling efficiency
  • Essential questions to ask yourself and your team to improve overall productivity
  • The role of timers in producing an optimized appointment schedule
  • The importance of comprehensive training for your front desk and scheduling operators
  • Tips for ensuring quality doesn't suffer amidst your quest for increased efficiency

Don’t let the opportunity slide! Plug in to harness Kirk Teachout’s wisdom to transform your dental practice.

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Hey Kirk. So talk to us. What's one piece of advice you can give us this Monday morning?

Kirk: Sure. Thanks for having me on Michael. So this morning, I can guarantee you we work three days a week and I can outpace any other team. My office can outpace any other team on four to five days a week.

and that's due to scheduling efficiency. So something that we do very well is we look at the schedule about every quarter and see what we can do to improve, see where bottlenecks are. We ask our assistants and our hygienists and our front desk like, Hey, where are you seeing inefficiencies in the, in the schedule and.

We can adjust that accordingly. Um, but it's not cookie cutter. Obviously. I can give you frameworks. Mm-Hmm. But at the end of the day, like I know I was talking to a client of mine the other day and we were looking at one of his doctors outta seven, and I was just asking him simply like, okay, how long do you do each procedure?

So write down how long it takes you and ask your assistance to, 'cause like doctors are oblivious to sometimes to things and like ask like. How long does each procedure take? How long does a three surface filling take? How long does a crown prep take? How long does this take? And when you figure out how long those procedures take.

You can then look at the schedule, figure out the goal you're trying to hit, and really just customize where you want throughout the schedule to run in order to actually hit those goals. I know, like I said, that client of mine, his goal was to hit, you know, 4,800 a a day after adjustments, and after just looking at a schedule and, and simply asking those questions, we were able to focus on the larger procedures.

Fill in with the smaller sort of procedures, and now his goal is 6,500 to 7,000. Just by simply asking those questions, not anything else.

Michael: Interesting. So what are the specific questions we should be asking the team or ourselves?

Kirk: Sure. So like I said, it's, it's asking how long does each procedure take that I do.

Um, and you can add that up like, okay, I know a two surface filling, like getting, getting small, right? Mm-hmm. Looking at the micro level of everything. And, um, I know something that my wife used to do was, you know, most, um, ops have timers in them for the curing and different things, or they, they count and whatnot.

So. Move your uh, appointments based off of how long it takes the doctor to get that patient out of the room. So when they start, start 'em at the certain time and then adjust that appointment time to where it actually took the doctor that long. That's another way that you can calculate that. Like the assistant knows that they left at nine 40 instead of scheduling it to 10 o'clock.

So you move that up to nine 40 and then you look at the schedule and like, okay, this is actually how long it took me to flow through the schedule, do all these things, check hygiene, come back and do everything else. so that way you can actually see how long these things take, if you, you know, are just kind of putting things together, as James Clear says, like we don't rise to our goals.

We fall to our systems. So we're only as good as what the systems that we have. So if you know exactly how long it takes you, then you can schedule accordingly, train your front desk, and scheduling operatories, um, to know exactly how long each procedure takes. with some buffer time, of course, 'cause I know things don't always take that long, or it takes longer sometimes with a curveball, but then you can kind of get a guide together of how to schedule efficiently.

That way it doesn't feel like it's super chaotic. ' cause I know that's kind of, that target market that I typically talk to is people that are three to five years out and in order to, really, increase their revenue. The only way they feel like they can do that is by doing more.

Well, really they're probably not optimizing what they're already doing. They just feel like they have to do more. So it comes down to Parkinson's Law, so you fill the time that's allotted for it. So for instance, we do three days a week and we do almost double, if not more than what most dentists do on four to five days a week.

Production and collections wise? Just because if it snows on Monday, I know, you know, we've been snowed out all week. Mm-Hmm. If it snows on Monday and you're there Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you have to find a way to fit those patients in throughout the week. It's a small margin that you have to add in and you figure it out.

So why don't you force yourself to figure out an efficient way to do that every single week? And so that's what we've done by doing, using these small tips and tools that I've just told you. Huh?

Michael: Okay. So then have you ever seen Kirk where someone is doing that but then they kind of feel rushed? You know, nobody's rushing them.

Right. But then they're like, I'm rushing. I'm rushing. And this maybe the quality may go down or What are your, what are your thoughts?

Kirk: Yeah, it's definitely, um, it's definitely a feeling that you're gonna have. So that's, it's kind of two prong, or really three prong. So, uh, you know, obviously you have to, you have to figure out what you're doing as a doctor.

You have to relay that to the scheduler up in the front, but then you also have to train your clinical team. So a lot of people feel rushed, honestly, because they're doing things that doesn't require their license. So another tip is to sit down for a a day and write down everything that you do, whether it be numbing a patient, whether it be doing a filling, whether it be scanning a patient, if you're in a digital office, writing a note, all the things that you do.

On that list throughout the day, figure out what does not require your license to do it. So as a doctor, you're the producer, you're the biggest producer. You have to be able to do the things that make the most income and most revenue and generate that. And most of the time docs are doing things 'cause they don't like to let go.

Of their control. Mm-Hmm. But really they need to be able to, to humble themselves, get rid of the things that are not required by their license and delegate and train somebody else to do those things like scanning a patient if they're legally allowed to or doing a note and then you check the note or doing different things.

If you allow your clinical team to do what their job is, then that frees you up to not feel rushed, because now you can only do the things that you're allowed to do with your license.

Michael: Ah, that's good advice right there to really look back. So then if we're looking back. Let's just say like we have a small team and we're like, okay man, Kirk, there's stuff I have to do because like, you know what I mean?

Maybe, or I don't even know if you would say you have to do it, but there's stuff that I want to do. Right. Kind of. Right. Like the note taking maybe, right? Yeah. You're checking the schedule or calling post ops. Right. I feel like it's so dynamic that it can change. Yes. you review that every, what, three months?

Kirk: About once a quarter. I mean, we do, we have a meeting cadence every month where we, we meet with the team, we on a Thursday afternoon. 'cause we don't, you know, they work three and a half days. We only work three. and so on a Thursday afternoon we bring in lunch for everybody and we go through what went well over the last month, what didn't go well, what can we adjust based off of what they're seeing.

And so that way. We catch things on the front end versus when they become a real issue. a lot of times. Uh, but yeah, we, we evaluate team members, kind of what they're doing about once a quarter, but then we go through what I call issue processing about once a month to try to figure out what's going wrong, where are the bottlenecks and where can we improve?

So constant learning.

Michael: Gotcha, gotcha. What typically, from your experience, doesn't go well? Like what becomes the real issues?

Kirk: it's all over the board. I feel like I, I mean, like I said, a lot of the stuff is just delegation. A lot of people don't like giving up that control. And I get it. I'm, I'm a control freak too.

I don't like doing it. But at some point, in order to not be a slave to your business, you have to allow people to do other things. And if they're not good enough, train them after training. If they're still not good enough, you gotta find a different team member. you know, we evaluate when I come in. I evaluate the team members.

I allow the doctor to evaluate, ask me the reason why on a scale of one to 10, there are six outta 10. And then we look at that. I'm like, look, if there's six, like they're never gonna be a nine. they never will be. That's them. And that's okay. There's a place for them somewhere, but it may not be here.

So if you want to have an extraordinary practice, you're gonna have to find really great team members. And a lot of people I know are gonna be like, oh, but I'm in a bad area. Finding team members is hard. It's super competitive. I can't pay him. That's great. I'm in a rural area where there is almost no resume that comes in when I make a post, I get it, but I've still been able to find really great team members that I can train because I hire for personality and I can train skill.

That's not an issue. I. If they're a nine outta 10 or a seven or above on personality wise that fits with our culture. I can train all day. That's not an issue, hiring for personality more so than skill skill's, A plus.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So would you say it's more when you go back in into an office and you're saying like, Hey, there's an issue.

Then you kind of go the next quarter, same issue, you say, it's more like a team. Okay. Somebody's dropping the ball here. Susan, it's you or Billy, it's you kind of like that or kind

Kirk: of or. As Jocko Willink says, in extreme ownership, and I say this all the time, there are no bad teams, just bad leaders.

So part of what I do too is developing leadership skills in these doctors. Um, I know associates reach out to me all the time like, what are, what is something I need to work on while I'm in clinic? I'm like, you need to develop your leadership skills, number one, because when, and, and try it on your peers too.

Like you can, you can work in clinic and lead your peers to do that. Then when you get to a team setting. Like in an office, when you own the practice, even if you're an associate, you can develop those leadership skills and really grow. So that way when people come to you for things, you can train them and they respect you enough to actually want to do it instead of you dictating that they do it.


Michael: I like that, man. So it's kind of like developing these leadership skills or being a leader. For your schedule. That way, like the schedule doesn't lead you. You know what I mean? Yeah. You're just following, oh, there's another no-show. Right, right. Speaking when it comes to that, like you're making the whole schedule and then there's like, oh my gosh, this root canal took way longer than expected.

Sure. And the patient didn't numb as much, and the buffer, or like even a no-show. How do we determine that? Like as far as, so the schedule doesn't fall apart. We don't, are super rushed now

Kirk: and stuff like that. So, I mean, obviously things like that are gonna happen. There are days even on our schedule that feels chaotic.

it's far and few between the more that we've done it, but the way that we really be able to fill the schedule with no shows is through emergency appointments. So, like we have strategic emergency appointments throughout the day that way, and, and we always tell 'em, look, you're not gonna get work done today.

we frame it that way, like, you're not gonna get work done today. We're going to, take a pa, do a limited exam, see what's going on, and get you out of discomfort. And then if we have time, we'll do it, but most likely you won't get anything done today. but the great thing is that if there is a no-show or a cancellation, then we can actually do that work and then they're happy.

Our schedule's happy because we're hitting that goal still, and it kind of goes from there. And it's about asking certain questions, getting as much information about that emergency patient to know where to put them, because if I know that half the tooth is cracked or it's broken, or a filling fell out or whatever, I kind of know what that's gonna be on the back end, so I can schedule accordingly if that crown falls off.

That emergency patient scheduled at the same time, I just pop 'em over, do the crown and it's done. And that, that appointment was, wasn't a loss. But another way to fill in that schedule with, you know, not, um, having no shows is by charging a deposit. So we have most of our work make a deposit before they leave to schedule that appointment.

They do a $50 deposit that goes towards their treatment. Now after we've trained our patients now, they're like, yeah, I get it. Like I understand. And that way, if they don't show up or give us a forty-eight hour notice with our business days, then we have that $50 No-show fee already. I.

We don't have to worry about chasing it now. and they just have to make another deposit in order to schedule. once you educate the patients on that, then it's really not a big deal. They come to expect it. You're gonna get some pushback and that's okay. But most likely those people who are pushing back weren't gonna show up anyway.

Hmm. So really you're quietly dismissing your patients through your policies instead of having to tell them, Hey look, it's just not gonna work out here.

Michael: Yeah. Awesome. Okay. All righty, Kirk, thank you so much for your advice, where can people find you or reach out to you?

Kirk: Sure. The best way on Instagram at Kirk Teachout, I'm on there all the time.

I'm always on there. Um, you can also, if you wanna free guide of how we do three days, you can go to, you spell out seven, don't put the number and they can download that free guide for me. Schedule a call with me there. That's fine. I do a free business audit, so any of that would be fine.


Michael: So that's gonna be in the show notes below. And Kirk, thank you so much for being with me on this Monday morning episode. Yeah, of

Kirk: course. Thanks Michael.