DEBRA MILLER, Director of Coaching
#Teamwork #PatientExperience #Daily

I read an interesting article recently about rail workers in Japan. They follow an unusual procedure to call out their actions while simultaneously pointing or making some kind of hand gesture. For example, a train driver instead of simply glancing at the speed gauge would call out “Speed check, 80” while pointing at the gauge and reading the speed. The article goes on to reveal that researchers have found this technique reduces workplace errors 85% by amplifying awareness and focus.

Photo Credit: "2013-05-10 2356-LR" (cropped) by jamesabbott1963 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Your practice is very different than a railway, and so literally calling and pointing doesn’t make sense. But there are things repeated over and over in the practice that need awareness and focus. For example, if you see 6 patients a day for 150 days a year, and you do that for 20 years, then 18,000 patients have passed through your practice. It is very easy over time for routine to set in and for you and the team think, “It’s just another root canal.”

But for the patient, it is different. Their visit to your office is a rare experience in their lifetime. Many of your patients have never been to an endodontist before. Many may have never been to ANY kind of specialist at all. It is unfamiliar to them and the whole idea of seeing a specialist sounds complicated and expensive. For this reason, we must always strive to be one-on-one with the highest level of personalized empathy, care and attention to each patient.

Even though you aren’t the same as the railway workers, you can create equivalent ways to “point and call” through the factors you monitor, the systems you implement, and your approach to teamwork and communication around each patient. In that way, you ensure daily attention is paid to the fundamentals of each of those 18,000 patient visits that collectively drive the success of the practice.


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