Watching TV waiting for the Dentist
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7 October 2016 - 19:33, by , in Business, Lean Six Sigma, No comments


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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“.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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