Quality assurance and further development

Every trillion-dollar idea needs meticulous testing and reinforcement before it is released to the masses, why? Because we want to give our customers a product that works efficiently and that they’re satisfied with. That, right there is the most important goal to focus on in quality management: customer satisfaction.

But first, look at your patients not just as customers or “stakeholders”, but also as your employees, partners, suppliers, or generally anyone you work with. One key factor that can tie into your quality assurance is the duration of the inspection appointments. The quicker you can discharge your patient, the happier they’d get with your service. If you’ve been having multiple complaints about patients waiting too long, this could warrant a full-fledged quality management operation.

What the patient wants vs what the dentist thinks the patient wants

Eric Ries explains William Edwards Demings’ statement, which sees the customer as the primary part of the production process, as a wake-up call to “invest all our energies exclusively in the realization of results that the customer perceives as useful.” But just how different can “what the customer perceives as useful” be from “what the producer or service provider perceives as useful”?

Consider the following example:
His company IMVU develops virtual worlds and video games. In the very beginning, their avatars were not able to move around, while other companies had already been developing 3d avatars that could walk around effortlessly. So, in a moment of realization, they resorted to a “sleight of hand”.

Instead of being able to move avatars, their customers now had the option to simply click on a remote location and the avatar would appear out of nowhere. The customers loved the simplicity.

Sometimes, things are better simplified. This can be applied just as well to Lean Orthodontics®. Here’s how I do it in my practice:

  • The Baxmann Keys, the 5s model analysis, or the 10 values of the Lean Ceph-Analyse36 all function with this simplicity. Using these, more than 90 percent of all clinical problems can be solved efficiently and the remaining problems can also be significantly simplified.
  • For monthly meetings with all employees, I plan out a whole day for development and divide them into a 90-minute meeting with all employees, and a 90-minute meeting with the employees of individual departments such as administration, dentists, and assistants.
  • Each meeting is also immediately followed on that day by training sessions in which the new guidelines and protocols are introduced so that they can be implemented starting the very next day.
  • For all of my four practices, I make sure that all employees are equally active at all four locations. They change on rotation, in such a way that each works for a period of time at each location. By doing so, all the employees know each other and there are no rival teams created.
  • Every single practice is set up according to the same principle, from the arrangement of the furnishings to the software to the last corners of the drawers and cabinets. This allows rotating employees to immediately know where what is, instead of adapting and familiarizing themselves with the new location.
  • All locations are connected via an internal chat program that allows us to relay the wishes of a patient for consideration in the planning meeting which can then be transferred to the central administration by short messages. This creates structure and allows the patient to be heard.
  • I also conduct a 15 to 20-minute standardized employee development interview for each employee where we discuss the mutual expectations and further steps. For new employees, the first development interview takes place at the end of the trial period.
  • The employee is then assessed by themselves and by the boss in order to evaluate the performance and for the development as a whole

Communication strategies

If you’re having trouble with conversations with your employee, the five steps described by Jacqueline M. Groher will help you to lead the conversation:

  1. Conversation starter: Repeat the topic and retrieve the “yes” of the conversation partner again
  2. Clarification of positions: Ask questions, take a position, explain your own perception
  3. Clarification of the backgrounds: Awareness of the levels: factual level and relationship level (feelings, values, recognition, security, etc.)
  4. Find a solution, make arrangements: Ask questions, promote smart goals, encourage employee’s ideas and demands
  5. Reflect conversation: How did I experience the process?.

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