How to Increase Your Orthodontic Practice Efficiency

With what follows below, you’re going to learn how to increase your orthodontic practice efficiency.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘the more the hurry, the less the speed’?

While this wasn’t written by an orthodontist, it probably should have been.

While orthodontists and medical professionals of all stripes are always trying to increase efficiency to serve more patients, the truth is that it’s harder than it looks to get the formula right.

If you have ever been to a clinic that seemed rushed and sloppy – or if that is an accurate description of your own practice at times – you know there has got to be a better way to increase efficiency in your orthodontic practice.

Why Efficiency Matters

It is easy to confuse speed with efficiency, but they are not really the same thing.

Sure, you can plow more patients through your clinic if you spend less time with each one, skip certain administrative steps and don’t devote sufficient time to nurturing patient relationships; but in the long run, no smart practitioner thinks that is a good strategy.

Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced world, orthodontic practices cannot make do with a slow appointment and waiting room process, either.

Efficient patient flow is important for the following reasons:

  • It increases revenue
  • It provides a positive experience for the patient
  • It allows for a favourable work/life balance for practitioners

The end game here may not be to simply see more patients and expand your practice; for some, working less and making the most of their time both in and out of the clinic, is a more important goal.

3 Simple Ways to Increase Efficiency in Your Orthodontic Practice

In order for workplace efficiency to be a success, the entire team has to be on board, from full time practitioners to part time support staff.

Efficiency should be a team effort, and everyone should be trained on exactly what efficiency means in your clinic, so that it becomes an ingrained part of the culture.

You can’t simply point at your receptionist and demand “Become more efficient!” (though who doesn’t want that!).

Procedures need to be in place from the top down in order to embed the mindset of efficiency throughout the office.

Here are some ways to quickly increase efficiency in your clinic:

  1. Stay focused. Everyone thinks multi-tasking is the way to go, and it’s become very pervasive with technologies that allow us to do multiple things simultaneously; however, multi-tasking does not work well when you have a patient in the chair. Listen actively to the patient and give a complete exam rather than having to see the same patient multiple times for different concerns.
  2. Cross-train staff on various duties. Your whole clinic shouldn’t fall apart if your assistant is on a break; does anyone else know how to pull files, use the practice management software, or set up trays? Making sure that all staff have a basic understanding of equipment, supplies, and materials goes a long way toward ensuring smooth functioning of the practice.
  3. Get an excellent practice management software package that adapts easily to the needs of your orthodontic practice while remaining simple enough for all employees to use. This will help you manage everything from each patient’s plan of care to billing, invoices and the long term client nurturing that is necessary for a long-lived and successful practice.


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