From changes in technology to new regulations, the dental industry continuously evolves and adapts to meet various challenges.
It’s essential for dental professionals to develop skills in change management and learn how to lead the process for the entire dental team. Change management is a skill as critical as clinical skills, and being able to plan, implement, execute, and sustain change is key to continually improving the practice’s overall health.
For a dental practice to remain competitive, protocols, systems, and strategies must continuously evolve, and the first step for implementing change is awareness. Let’s focus on inventory management and procurement software. Is the practice effectively managing inventory to control spending and usage? What are the most significant expenses in each practice? Is the practice looking for ways to increase production? No matter the specialty, an effective inventory tracking system and e-commerce software can be a welcomed change with great benefits.
A digital transformation by implementing inventory management and procurement software can benefit the entire dental team. But before implementing a workflow change and diving in headfirst, a change management plan is required to support a smooth transition and ensure all team members are willing and ready to adapt.
An often missed step in change management is simply identifying why the change is happening and the value it will provide. If the practice is looking to enhance its inventory management strategy, properly monitoring ordering and tracking with inventory management software can lower carrying costs, reduce monetary losses due to expired products, eliminate manual, time-consuming tasks, and more.
Once the practice identifies the need for change, it’s time to start planning. Setting goals for the practice and correctly understanding what to strive to achieve and why will help determine the impact of the change on the entire practice. While preparing, it’s imperative to appoint a power user or team leader. Dedicating a team member to take complete control of the new strategy will ensure a productive and organized process.
Alongside assigning a team lead, communication with the entire dental team is mandatory. The communication strategy should include a timeline for how the practice will implement the change and vital information and key takeaways of utmost importance. All team members involved in new procedures and processes must approach change with an open mind, but they must also be aware if they will receive helpful resources, such as training. Individuals respond to change differently, so proper leadership is necessary to teach the skills and knowledge required to operate efficiently.
A change management plan can support a smooth transition. Measuring the overall process of the strategy is highly constructive by offering the opportunity to evaluate the change management plan to determine its effectiveness and if the practice is on the right path to reaching set goals. Remember, effective change can improve the functionality of a practice, increase productivity and profits, and provide overall satisfaction for the entire dental team.