The Missing Piece…

COOK2by Andrea L. Cook

Many of you will be attending the 115th annual session of the American Association of Orthodontists in San Francisco. After visiting the exhibitors, many of you will also bring home new products, technology, and other ideas aimed at improving your practice.

There are many exciting new orthodontic “toys” on the market that will surely catch your eye, but be practical as you decide what (if anything) to purchase and implement. It often seems that we decide on a solution, and then start looking for an opportunity to use it, or we implement technology or other projects because they seem like a good idea. The result is often the “tail wagging the dog”.

The first question you should ask yourself is, “What problems am I trying to solve?” I often see new products and technology purchased based on what may work for another doctor, or from what the sales representative has to offer. This may not be the best solution for you, or even address the areas you want to improve. So where should you start? Review some of your clinical and management reports to make sure you know where you need improvement. Now, you know what solution you should look for!

Implementation is the next key and often the missing piece in really getting the most out of your new purchase. Too many times, I see great tools not fully implemented, or not implemented at all, due to lack of time and training. It’s important to involve your team in the implementation of any new products as soon as you can. They have questions and you need their commitment in order to be successful. Another common complaint from clinicians is that “the doctor went to a meeting and brought home this new (insert product here), but never told me how or when to use it.”

If you do decide to bring a new item into the practice, I would recommend holding a meeting to train the team on the proper application and protocol. This will allow the product and the team to be successful. Sometimes an individual will find what appears to be a better way to accomplish a task, not realizing that shortcuts create other issues that may not be immediately visible. Remember, the product may not produce its intended results if proper protocols are not followed.

Please join me at the AAO for my presentation on “Clinical Implementation of New Technology”. My course will help the clinical team understand the new technology, how to determine which is the best fit for your practice as well as how to apply it to their individual office. Tips and tricks to make the transition smooth will be discussed. New products on the market will be introduced that will help your team develop "clinical excellence".

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