It took the dentist and his assistant only 10-minutes to perform my scheduled treatment. But I spent 60-minutes in the chair staring at a computer screen.
What are the root causes for me wasting 50 minutes waiting for my treatment to be completed? To answer that question, I’ll use The 5-Whys method I was taught decades ago in Six Sigma class.
- Why wasn’t the dentist immediately available at my appointment time? He was working on two other patients in adjoining rooms that had arrived just before me.
- Why did my dentist have more than one patient in the office? Because switching back and forth between 3 chairs is how most dentists believe they can maximize revenue.
- Why does the dentist need more revenue? To pay for the overhead costs of having 3 fully-equipped treatment rooms, space costs for 3 rooms plus 3 dental assistants to tell patients “The doctor will be right back“.
- Why don’t most dentists treat one patient at a time? Because they believe treating one-patient at a time is good for the patient but not for the dentist.
- Why don’t dentists believe treating one patient at a time is good for them? Because dentists are either unaware of lean principles, they think lean is a manufacturing practice not a medical best practice or they’re unaware of the profit and customer satisfaction benefits of one-patient-flow Lean Dentistry.
I like my dentist and his staff. But I hate their process.