Six Sigma and Lean: The New Kids on the Orthodontic Block

Two of the ideas we’ve seen popping up in dental and orthodontic literature are Lean Management and Six Sigma Management. For those who aren’t familiar with these ideas, they are systems management processes for businesses. Lean Management focuses on eliminating waste (anything that doesn’t contribute to reaching your final goal) while Six Sigma focuses on eliminating mistakes by improving your systems. In our little sphere of the business world, Lean and Six Sigma are showing up in practice management applicationspractice building strategies and even in CE classes.

Obviously with what we do at MidAtlantic Ortho (design, manufacture and manage inventory) we are well acquainted with these efficiency and quality-assurance ideas. While these types of processes have a direct application to what we do, it’s worth considering if there are any ideas that can be extrapolated for the individual practice? For most practices, and really most businesses, the answer is a resounding yes. Continue reading “Six Sigma and Lean: The New Kids on the Orthodontic Block”

The 4:30 Way to Win the Day

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With so much change rippling through orthodontics, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and lose sight of why we entered the profession. No matter what you do, orthodontics is a people profession. It’s about interacting with people, getting to know their hopes and fears and ultimately, helping them solve at least some their problems. Unfortunately, most of us are too busy to appreciate this.

Ever have one of those days where you’re so busy doing work that you don’t get anything accomplished? The truth about today is that we are more accessible than ever before. Even the most carefully planned day is one phone call or text message away from spiraling out of control. This always-on mentality means that we are multi-tasking all the time. While it may feel productive, it’s probably not. Too many people confuse action with accomplishment, motion with movement.

The question is how do you stay grounded, be productive and keep in-touch with what really matters? For me, joining the 4:30 Club has made all the difference in the world. What is the 4:30 Club? I’m glad you asked. Continue reading “The 4:30 Way to Win the Day”

Clean Conscience

Five Ways to Keep Your Instruments Looking and Working Like New

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It happens to us all. You return from the recent convention having purchased a spiffy set of new pliers. They look fantastic when they arrive; shiny and spectacular! The techs run them through sterilization and place them into circulation. Just two weeks later they look…a little ill. Within a few months, the luster is gone and they look more like a rusty backyard swing set.

So why did this happen? And more importantly, how can you prevent it from happening again? Whether you use dry-heat, steam or statim, here are some tried-and-true ways to keep your pliers in tip-top condition. Continue reading “Clean Conscience”