group of doctors at a table viewed from above

Staff training is one of the hallmarks of a practice that emphasizes comprehensive treatment planning.

While training can occur in several ways, team meetings have proven to be one of the most effective tools to develop well-trained staff members. As a dentist, it can be difficult to organize and run staff meetings effectively. The format outlined in this article will provide immediate results that will increase productivity in your practice.

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The key to effective staff meetings is to have regularly scheduled meetings. Weekly meetings allow for a continual assessment of each staff member’s needs. The meeting format we use in my practice has four different elements:

1. Schedule review/preview

The beginning of each meeting starts with a review of the schedule from last week, which allows for an honest assessment of what worked well in the office and what needs improvement. During this section of the meeting, there is a strong emphasis on scheduling since it is the key to a successful and low-stress practice.

After reviewing last week’s schedule, the next week’s schedule is previewed. This preview allows for any changes that may help the schedule flow more smoothly.

2. New patient assessments

The second part of the meeting is an assessment of new patients. Last week’s new patients are reviewed, and the entire staff can hear about new patient experiences. We discuss who referred the new patient and both technical and non-technical aspects associated with each.

This allows the dentist to clearly communicate to the team the managerial and clinical aspects unique to each patient. After reviewing last week’s new patients, we preview next week’s new patients. This gives the staff insight into who will be entering the practice and how to create the best experience for every new patient.

3. Consultation appointment review

The third part of the meeting is a review of the consultation appointments. The consultation appointments from last week are discussed in detail from both a managerial and a clinical perspective. This helps the staff understand the steps for determining a treatment plan for each new patient.

After reviewing last week’s consultations, the following week’s consultations are previewed. Each treatment plan is introduced, and the team can discuss if phasing is necessary with a clinical or a technical perspective.

4. Question and answer

The fourth and final part of the meeting is a roundtable discussion driven by the team. Each staff member can ask a clinical or managerial question and discuss each for a maximum of five minutes. In this format, the discussion covers key concepts in the question and allows the dentist to devote more time to the topic in future meetings if warranted. This is a fast-paced, effective learning tool that prevents staff members from getting bored during the meeting.

Meetings can last between 1-2 hours based upon the time the dentist wants to devote to staff training. The meetings have proven to be an invaluable tool to help my team understand clinical topics and articulate these issues to patients.

Make the commitment to regularly scheduled meetings and enjoy the benefits that occur when your staff has time to learn and develop through your leadership.

Jim McKee, D.D.S., is a member of Spear Resident Faculty