During the day at a federally qualified health center, there are many patient-care decisions to make. Therefore, our practice is heavily provider-driven: We rely on our dentists to lead the team and drive the decision-making process to achieve the best results.
As dental directors, we make this a conscious effort each day.
It would be very easy to minimize provider input and allow non-clinical employees to direct or manage the flow of the practice. But we’ve found that when non-clinical employees are tasked with managing clinical issues, the patient’s needs are often lost in the shuffle — a definite problem. The patients must know that their dentist is establishing their treatment plan based solely on their presented needs.
How does effort this look in practice?
We empowered our providers to be the primary decision-makers in the practice with issues that affect patient care. Our providers are encouraged to:
- Share their clinical expertise: Explain to a front desk person why the swollen emergency child needs to be seen immediately, or take the time to develop a new dental assistant
- Engage in system development: Decide how supplies are organized or how patient care schedules should be developed
- Allow room for experimentation: Providers are intelligent and well-educated; their ideas should be considered and tested.
According to feedback we receive from our providers, the provider driven practice allows for a high level of job satisfaction. Encouraging their participation in how the practice operates and involves intensifies the providers’ level of investment in the practice and ensures we’re continually moving toward of goals and vision for Family First Health.