Standard Operating Procedures (also known as SOPs) are instructions specific to your dental practice. SOPs help all employees understand how to perform daily activities because SOPs act like a to-do list for all employees. While many practices have SOPs, every set of SOPs are not the same. SOPs are created with your dental practice and staff in mind because every practice and every team has different needs and abilities. If you’re curious about the importance of SOPs or if you’re interested in creating your personalized set of SOPs, we can help you get started.
Where Do I Begin?
Since SOPs act as guidelines for your practice, you should begin by identifying every process occurring in your practice. Nothing is too big or too small to write down. Creating SOPs by starting with the simplest process may make creating SOPs easier for you. For example, if you start with something small, like staff meetings, you’ll want to think about how staff meetings typically go in your practice. Do you begin a staff meeting by discussing an agenda for the meeting with your staff members? Do you close by opening the floor for questions? Whatever your style is, jot down all the details step-by-step.
To continue the process of creating SOPs for your practice, get your staff involved. Clinical employees should be involved in creating SOPs related to clinical practice; office staff should be involved in creating SOPs for office practice. Your staff are the ones who execute the procedures you’re listing, so make sure to discuss the typical workflow with them.
Why Do I Need Standard Operating Procedures?
SOPs are a great form of communication because that’s exactly what they’re made for. Communication is essential to any relationship, including a working relationship. When procedures are carefully outlined and documented, it communicates clear expectations for all parties involved. You are aware of what your employees will do every time they begin a procedure. Your employees know what they can expect from you when working as a team, and where they should follow up with care after you have done your part in a procedure.
SOPs are also helpful to ensure patient safety. With SOPs, employees know what to expect during every step of every process, beginning with a patient entering the door. When procedures are regulated, you can ensure that the steps you and your team are taking to treat patients are the steps that will bring about the best possible outcome. SOPs may add a layer of protection for your practice in this way. If a patient experiences an unexpected reaction due to a procedure, your process can be validated.
How Do I Implement Standard Operating Procedures?
You can implement SOPs in multiple ways across your dental practice. Start by implementing them from the very beginning when onboarding new employees. Every company has some orientation or introductory training when an employee. Your dental practice is likely no different, so use that as a time to identify what your employee can expect. You might even find that SOPs promote employee retention because there are no surprises for either party in the future. A new employee will know how your practice runs from the very beginning, and you will have communicated their roles and expectations within your practice.
Another way to implement SOPs is to make copies of the appropriate set of procedures and hang them where employees can utilize them. Your employees should be able to access SOPs at any point when they may need to review the steps for a specific task or treatment. Another helpful way to remind your employees that the SOPs are to be used is to place copies of SOPs for each of your processes in a notebook where employees can locate it when necessary
Because SOPs are guidelines that should help your dental staff, SOPs are living documents. Nothing stays the same for too long; as time goes on, there will be changes in the dental industry. You and your dental staff may realize that a way that was once a standard practice could use an update. Just as humans always have room to improve, so do your SOPs.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to keep growing your successful dental practice, PPO Negotiation Solutions can help. We offer consultations to identify your needs and complementary assessments to see where we can positively impact your dental practice. Schedule a time to speak with us today and let us help you maximize your profits!