22 Nov No News is Good News or is it?
No News is Good News or is it? Lack of Communication is still communication
“Keep the doctor busy at the chair and you will keep them out of your hair!” Office Manager
When Business Coordinators and Office Managers get together to talk this is a common thread when discussing keeping the schedule full and the money coming in. “I never hear from Dr. S. if I keep him so busy he doesn’t have a moment to come to the desk and ask questions. The dental assistants may not like the schedule but I never hear the doctor complain so I will keep doing what I do.”
Being busy at the chair should never be a reason not to communicate with your business team. Your stopping by the desk to say hello or to ask how things are going is just common courtesy to your team. If the only time you show up at the desk is when there is a perceived problem you could be derailing the relationship with your business staff. Your office manager or business coordinator should view communicating with you as a positive not a negative and should always feel that they can come to you if there are questions or issues affecting the practice and not hiding things for fear of retribution.
One office manager confided that she had been showing her dentist boss numbers that did not represent the total accounts receivable totals. She was afraid she would lose her job if the doctor found out that her 90 day aged accounts receivables were at 40%. She had dummied up a document that was not the real practice management software report. “Dr. B has a bad temper and I have never had a conversation that wasn’t about something I need to do to improve, I do everything I can to avoid her,” said Dee, the Office Manager.
Many dentists are introverted in their personality type and typically this type is very friendly but often appears aloof or quiet most of the time. When not busy doing dentistry they often head for their office and become immersed on the internet or answering email. Presenting dental treatment by diagnosis to patients requires face to face communication. If you are an introverted dentist you quickly learn that you have to learn to communicate more openly or the relationships with patients will suffer.
The same consideration should be given to staff members especially to the business team because the dentist is often not in contact with them during the day. Schedule a lunch meeting once a month to discuss the practice numbers or have a short meeting once a week to discuss the business is recommended to improving communication. Communication improves over time only if there is effort by all parties involved to participate openly.