The 360 Degree Leader

September, 8-9, 2017

Seattle, WA

  Carol Eaton and Debbie Best offer The 360 Degree Leader, an interactive workshop for Office Managers, Treatment Coordinators, Scheduling Coordinators and Financial Coordinators who are responsible for the administrative enhancement of your practice.

This is your “Front-Line” Management team that can set the stage for your

                              PRACTICE SUCCESS!  Let them learn from the best!


The following training techniques and concepts will be covered during the two day workshop to teach your team leaders how to effectively deal with the daily challenges we see in a changing economy where customer service is a must.




  • Developing effective training methods
  • Coaching methods to improve performance
  • The design of job descriptions to maximize the talents of the team
  • How to maintain a profitable practice
  • How to select and hire winners
  • Utilizing patient and non-patient training time
  • How to utilize cross training effectively

Organization and Communication:

  • Enhancing communication between the administrative and clinical team
  • Developing effective scheduling techniques
  • Establishing sound financial protocols
  • Sharing and owning the responsibility of patient conversion


  • Creative problem solving
  • Implementing  team committees
  • Developing team pride and ownership



Course Fee: $749 first participant, $649 each additional participant from the same office

Go to to register



We recently had our patio refinished with System Pavers, hoping to repair a poorly finished stamped concrete patio gone bad.  As we waded through several frustrations and delays, I started to compare the customer service we received from System Pavers with that offered in many orthodontic practices.

When our sales associate went over the design plans and fee estimate, he promised high service and results, then dropped the ball and neglected to inform us that something as basic as sealing the new patio was not included.  New to this process, we did not know what questions to ask as to what was included in the feel.  Sealing of the pavers is always done upon completion of the project, we could only assume it was included in the fee.  How often do we assume the patient and parent understands exactly what is included in the total treatment fee?  Are you charging additionally for clear brackets, retainers, x-rays, tooth whitening and broken brackets/missed appointments? Excellent customer service means reviewing the fee for treatment thoroughly and itemize exactly what is included in the fee.  Do not “surprise” the patient with extra fees.

When we signed the contract with System Pavers we were told by the sales associate that the work would begin the first week of May.  Unfortunately, the salesman was not kept up to date on the work calendar, leading to extreme disappointment and frustration that the work did not commence until the first of June.  How often is your treatment coordinator promising patients that they can start treatment on a certain date without actually checking the schedule?  Just as the sales associate with System Pavers is driven to sell, sell, sell, the same concept is often put on the shoulders of your treatment coordinator. Are you pushing your treatment coordinator to convert patients, not taking the time to follow up with them through the start of treatment?  Well informed customers and patients are more likely to be “wowed” by your attention to detail.

When the project manager came to do the walk-through before the project was started, in my opinion he made two major mistakes. He did not back up the salesman when we expressed our frustration about the delay of the project.  Instead, his comment was that the sales force does not know what they are talking about.  It was a reminder to me of the importance of standing behind your teammates, do not throw them into the fire when things go wrong.  Once you express the opinion to patients that a team member does not know what he/she is talking about, the patient will lose trust and confidence in the practice.  Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link. His second faux pas was to push an up sale of the product and design we had committed to.  His “up sale” proposal was $10,000.00 more than the original contract.  When we turned it down, he came back with a price increase of $3400.00.  We felt that we were in the middle of an auction.

System Pavers neglected to inform us as to when the pavers, sand and cement would be delivered.  To my surprise, I opened my garage door one morning to find that my car was completely blocked in.  When I tried to maneuver my car around the materials, I ended up stuck in the sand half way up my passenger door.  Luckily my gardener was there and helped to dig me out.  Lesson learned- take the time to fully inform your patients and parents of every step in the process.  Put yourself in their shoes; this is new to them. Give them a step by step illustration of what to expect at every phase of treatment.

We were told that our project would take 6 – 7 business days to complete (we are currently at day 16.) We were out of the country for 10 days during the construction and to our dismay we found out that only one person worked on the patio for 1 day the entire time we were gone.  It was very disappointing to come home to the same mess we left. When you give patients their estimated completion date, keep them updated if treatment will be extended. If you estimate treatment will be completed in 18 months, you can be assured that the patient is counting down the months or days until they are done.  Even if the message is not what the patients want to hear, keep them informed.

Last but not least, communication (or lack of) is the common thread of our disappointment in System Pavers. If they had communicated openly and honestly with us through all steps of our patio project, we would have better tolerated their short comings. Take the time to educate and update the patient and parent at every visit.  A brief 30 second chat at the end of each appointment will keep everyone on the same page:

  • What was done today
  • What you should expect as a result of today’s visit
  • How is the patient doing overall (cooperation, treatment progressing, etc.)
  • When does the doctor want to next see the patient
  • What will be done at the next procedure (including length of appointment)

Just as we suggested to System Pavers they review their systems, from the sales person to the project managers, the same philosophy applies to your orthodontic practice. Raving fans are not created from mediocre service; in today’s world it is only the extraordinary companies who stand out above their competitors. Utilize secret shoppers to rate your customer service, ensuring that you do not fall into the pit of poor or just average patient care. Don’t deny your short-comings, use them as an opportunity to learn and improve. Partner with an orthodontic consultant to evaluate and implement systems to enable you to always put your best foot forward.

In summary:

W~ Work together as a team

A~ Always keep the patient and parent informed

L~ Listen to your patients, don’t assume you know what they are thinking

K ~ Keep your promises


T ~ The patient comes first

H~ Heed the good, the bad and the ugly.  Use it as a learning opportunity.

E~ Educate the patient and parents


 T~ Train the team so everyone is one the same page, giving consistent information to              patients and parents

A~ Ask for feedback from patients and parents throughout treatment

L~ Learn from professionals to establish systems and protocols

K~ Kiss philosophy.  Keep your systems simple and manageable.

Give your patients an outstanding treatment result through a well-thought out process, keeping your promises and all parties well-informed.  Do not become the victim of inadequate systems that taints the value of the end result.

My husband and I were watching The Voice a few days ago, catching up on the episodes we had missed over the past several weeks.  We both agreed that the incredible talent of the contestants surpassed that of previous seasons.  Rather than questioning if the artist should move forward, the decision often instead is which coach would be best suited to guide them through the journey to achieve their dreams. Each one of The Voice coaches offers a unique mentoring approach with the goal to help the contestant reach far beyond their wildest dreams and expectations.

Often I see the most veteran team member put in charge of leading and training- the Blake in the office.  Consistent and reliable with years of experience they understand the ultimate goal, bringing priceless wisdom and pearls to the training table.  Put them in charge of Stage 1 training, the first 90 days. If you do not have a formal systems and procedures manual, develop it the next time you hire a new employee.  As information is delivered, the new team member writes everything down to create the foundation for a written training program with systems and protocols.  Unfortunately, as with computers, no one has yet discovered how to transfer information telepathically from one person to another. Do not expect trainees to tap “Blake’s” knowledge and experience through osmosis.

The Adam (singer, song writer and multi-instrumentalist) in the practice can be compared to an employee who has either worked in more than one orthodontic office or has had experience in multiple areas of the practice. Rather than blindly accepting a system because it has always been done the same way using the same products, Adam would be the team member who is continually trying to find enhanced, streamlined systems that would better serve the orthodontic community. As well as seeing the big picture, they understand the intricate puzzle pieces needed to make your systems work. They can fill a vital role in your training and management program delivering Stage 2 of the coaching process – after the first 90 days.

The human resource aspect of owning your own business often causes the majority of your headaches.  Between monitoring employee performance to establishing pay and benefits, it can significantly increase the number of hours you spend working each month.  Having an Alicia on your payroll; calm, cool and unflappable, can enable you to share some of the HR responsibilities, freeing up time for you to see patients. Develop detailed job descriptions outlining duties and expectations as well provide a measure of performance.  The HR Manager is also responsible for fielding employee conflict and enforcing the 24-hour rule. Under the 24-hour rule if an employee has a complaint or concern with any member of the team, they are to go directly to that person and only to that person.  If they are not able to resolve the problem between the two of them, only then do they take it to a third party for input. If the concern is not addressed within 24-hours life is too short, just let it go. Your “Alicia” can be your human resource gatekeeper, from record keeping to performance auditing to making recommendations for changes in salaries and benefit plans. Update the manuals and job descriptions on annual business to ensure that the documentation is accurate and up-to-date.

Miley, Miley, Miley!  She will definitely bring the excitement into the practice. They challenge you to explain the why and not just the how. They have endless supply of energy and can be counted on to create fun and laughter.  Give her the responsibility of coordinating internal marketing and team activities. Toss her the ball and then let her run with it under your guidance.

The Voice coaches encourage contestants who do not successfully move forward on their first attempt; they highlight the positive and point out specific measures needed for improvement.  The key is to remember that that if you are not successful the first time, it does not mean failure.  Instead look at it as:

F          First

A         Attempt

I           In

L         Learning

Just as Blake, Adam, Alicia and Miley are not the perfect mentor for every contestant, it takes more than one trainer/leader to develop a gifted orthodontic team. Your “dream team” is obtainable with The Voice of the doctor partnered with a solid coaching and management program.




“The game of life is a game of boomerangs.  Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.”  Florence Scovel Shinn

My family loves to give me a bad time because every time I see someone with braces I feel compelled to ask them who their orthodontist is and what has been their experience. Other than the time a teenager told me that she loved her doctor because he was “drop dead gorgeous”, the responses I get remind me of Yelp reviews.  The response is enthusiastic if their experience was extremely positive (or exceptionally negative),   lukewarm or non-existent if the experience has been nothing more or less than what they expected.  Looking at this from a mathematical perspective, 20% of patients fall into the two extremes (hopefully more in the positive group), with the remaining 80% in the take it or leave it group.  They have not been inducted into the Raving Fan Club, nor are they badmouthing the doctor and/or team. The nonchalance of 80% of your patients is quasi – they can take it or leave it. Let’s look at some simple steps you can take to change the individuals you are treating into patient ambassadors for your orthodontic practice.

The mood of an interaction is established with the first word or facial expression.  Orthodontic team members are not fully dressed for work until they put on their smile – the most important part of their uniform.  A genuine smile must never cease to shine from the moment they walk through the door in the morning up until the last patient is dismissed.  Turn up the corners of your mouth and remember that your smile is a tool that is free, easy and always available.  Smiling is a catalyst for joy, from an improved mood to better relationships.

Every time you smile you are offering a gift to your patient, a beautiful thing.  Seeing another person smile stimulates the heart and brain even more than eating chocolates or receiving money.  Statistics have proven that it is actually hard to frown when someone is smiling at you.  Just think how handy this information will be when you are trying to schedule a difficult appointment.  People who smile more are generally found to be more trustworthy, sincere, sociable and competent. In Mother Teresa’s words “Every time you smile at someone, it is a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”  If you want to bring joy to someone’s day smiling is an effective strategy for achieving a multiple of goals. A smile is just a frown turned upside down.  Stand on your head if you need to.  SMILE!

ALWAYS refer to your patients and parents by name; use their name often in your conversation.  Do not call your patient’s parents “mom” or “dad”, they are not your parents! I will never forget the time one of my clients addressed an adult as mom and proceeded to update the parent about the wrong child.  Using their name ensures that you are speaking to the right person.

Don’t be afraid to step out from behind the front desk to greet patients face to face, introduce yourself and shake their hand (this is especially important if this is their initial visit).  Guide them through the computer check-in process and offer them a beverage to drink.  Use the Nordstrom’s touch when patients leave the office, walk around the desk to hand the patient appointment slip and school excuse.  An added benefit is that it gives you the opportunity to ensure that everyone seated in the reception area has checked in (especially when you have seats that are not visible from the desk.)

Have the doctor personally confirm the new patient appointment two days prior to initial consultation. This gives the patient the message that the doctor is personally looking forward to meeting them and will provide the best care available for him/her. It is the most valuable 5 minutes the doctor will spend.

Educate your patients; take away the question and fear of the unknown.  In addition to explaining clearly what is involved before you start the procedure, update the patient and parent at the completion of the visit:

  • What was done today
  • What the patient should expect (closing of space, tenderness, etc.)
  • How is the patient doing overall (progress of treatment, oral hygiene, cooperation)
  • When does the doctor want to see the patient again
  • What will the next appointment involve

Finish off by asking the patient and parent about their experience when you hand them their appointment slip.  If there is a problem solve it quickly and turn complainers into advocates.

Utilize the back side of patient forms (fee estimate, truth-in-lending, patient handouts) to promote your practice.  As well as promoting patient contests and events, it is a great opportunity to promote your Kid’s Club and advocate adult treatment (clear brackets, Invisalign, lingual treatment, etc.)

Some patients feel that it is the end of the world when they are told to avoid hard and sticky food. Create a cookbook with brace friendly recipes along with alternatives for “brace contraband”.  Place several copies of each recipe in a plastic sleeve so patients can take a copy of their favorite recipes home with them.  Encourage patients to share recipes, giving them credit for their contribution (From the Kitchen of Madison).  Add at least one new recipe each month.

Develop your patient schedule based on school hours- take advantage of late starts, early dismissal, teacher in-service days, school closed and lunch hours.  Before school hours have gained popularity over after school and evening appointments. Take a survey of your patients to see if your current hours suit their needs; if not, look at alternative hours. When scheduling appointments, tell patients what you have available, not what is not available.

Identify and anticipate your patient’s and parent’s needs. Patients don’t buy braces; they buy good feelings and solutions to problems. Most patient needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your patients, the better you become at anticipating their needs. What can you give your patients that they cannot get elsewhere?  Listen carefully to what they say and check back regularly to see how things are going.

“Making one person smile can change the world, maybe not the whole world, but their world.”  – Author Unknown

Fun in the Sun

January 28 - 30, 2016

January 28 – 30, 2016

Piloting a successful orthodontic practice, between building and maintaining a quality “crew”, monitoring systems and protocols and consistently delivering excellent service to your first class passengers is a full time job. With the right training, practice and dedication, one pilot can fly a small plane. Just as when you transition to a larger aircraft it takes more than one person to keep the plane in the air, it can be difficult for orthodontists to treat patients and manage all of the details needed to keep the growing practice above ground.

Whether you use a co-pilot to assist you or a crew, armed with a comprehensive checklist and well versed in your practice philosophy, it is critical to create a support system to help you with management responsibilities allowing you to concentrate more fully on the overall well-being and treatment of your patients. Just like the co-pilot and crew of the airlines, each person must go through a detailed check list before the plane is ever moved.

During my consulting career I have been asked several times to develop and “name that position”, putting into place either an Office Manager or team committees to assist the doctor in leading the practice. The decision to either have one person in the leadership position or utilize multiple team members depends on how much and in what areas you are willing to relinquish personal, hands-on supervision to someone else. It all starts with hiring right and setting the foundation before you go to the next level.

Start by determining what responsibilities you are willing to turn over to someone else. What can you take off your plate to lighten your load? How much information are you willing to share with an employee or employees? Make sure you understand your emotional commitment to your vision and clarify your expectations to this “right-hand” person you will rely on.

Let’s look at some of the leadership options that can be used to develop your practice. Commonly, in the average to large size practices, a combination of scheduling coordinator, financial coordinator, treatment coordinator, clinical coordinator, lab, clinical assistants, records assistant and a sterilization coordinator is used to cover practice responsibilities. Each position has its own systems, protocols, checks and balances as well as a detailed job description to set the team up for success. Additional responsibilities can be assigned to team members depending on their expertise and your level of comfort. The added responsibilities might be combined with their current job description (Financial/Human Resource, Treatment Coordinator/Marketing, Clinical Assistant/Ordering, Clinical Coordinator/CE Opportunities, etc.) or delegated to a committee who is made up of 2 – 3 team members.

When using the team committee concept determine in what areas of the practice you require assistance. Do you want to turn over some of the responsibilities in one area of the practice or implement changes in several areas over a period of time? Utilizing team committees can give you the opportunity to empower multiple team members instilling the attitude that the practice is everyone’s “baby”.

Following are examples of team committees:

• Human Resource Committee- monitor vacation, sick days, holidays, personal time off – paid and unpaid, making arrangements if we will be down a team member. The Human Resource Committee will be involved with performance reviews and making recommendations regarding future hiring or expanding the employment opportunities for those employees who are not making the cut.

• Marketing Committee- The fun Squad. This is your fun group of team members, someone who can find laughter in difficult situations. The jar is half full, not half empty. Their marketing responsibilities encompass external marketing (DDS deliveries, School programs, community events, school sports, school lunch and learn presentations, etc.) and well as internal contests and programs for new and existing patients. Please feel free to call me if you would like to get some ideas for fun and creative external and internal marketing. They network with your referral sources to create your “Doctor Bible”, a compilation of information regarding their practice (personal information, office hours, services, insurance plans accepted, etc.) enhancing your partnership with referral doctors. Additionally this committee is responsible for decorating the office for holidays and special occasion.

STOP- before you give your team a green light; establish your monthly budget. Typically 3% – 4% of your overhead is the average marketing expenditure in orthodontic practices; 1% for internal and 2% – 4% for external. Have your marketing committee put together your marketing plan (along with projected costs) for the next months.

• The Facility Committee is responsible for monitoring the building from the parking lot to every area in the office. Evaluate the appearance from the perspective of new and current patients (including the little guys who see everything from a different level.) They are responsible for bringing facility concerns to the doctor, including the cost and time required to get work done. It is their responsibility to coordinate work with the repairing company, fielding telephone calls and scheduling work around patient hours so it can be done with minimal interruption to patients.

• The IT/Computer/Software Committee is responsible for computer software updates, computer trouble-shooting and maintaining all equipment. They are also in charge of scheduling training sessions to keep the team abreast of changes.

• The dreaded Uniform Committee! No matter what way you look at it, it is next to impossible to get several women to agree on uniforms they all like. From the color is wrong, the style makes them look fat to I would not be caught dead wearing that; uniforms are a headache that can best be dealt with by someone other than the doctor. Save your energy for decisions regarding your patient’s clinical treatment.

• The CE Committee compiles all continuing education opportunities for the team. From a two hour lunch and learn to a 3 day interactive workshop “Fun in the Sun” January 28 – 30, 2016 in Puerto Vallarta with myself, Rosemary Bray and Carol Eaton, they make recommendations for courses that would benefit the patients and practice. They are responsible for putting together a budget of estimated costs along with the desired outcome of the course.

Another option is to hire or promote someone from within the practice to act as your voice and right arm in the practice. The title of Office Manager often brings with it a negative connotation, especially when it is a new position in the practice. Consider using the title of Office Administrator or Office Coordinator. Be aware of the high probability that it will upset some of your team members, especially those who are threatened by change. Treat them with the respect; avoid keeping them in the dark. Let them know what is happening and why and make sure you are empowering this person in their new position. Emphasize to the entire team that you are still “calling the shots” and ultimately are the determining factor in all decisions. This individual must have the ability to balance friendship/team relationships while leading and managing the practice.

Working with your new leaders and the team requires patience and tolerance as you start to delegate; change does not happen in 24 hours. Create achievable short-term goals in bite size pieces and celebrate as you accomplish each of these goals. Finish one project before you go on to another.

Establish communicating methods to enable evaluation of your current status, progress to-date and as well your ultimate goal. Promote honest input and suggestions, encourage team members to come to the table with a solution rather than a problem. Partner yourself with an individual or individuals with the appropriate mix of experience and skills in place to help you guide the practice to the next level of excellence. Develop capable team members –empower them to make decisions, delegate responsibility thereby allowing you to focus your time and attention to your “passengers” on their flight to a beautiful smile.

Debbie Best, practice management consultant and lecturer has over 35 years of experience in the orthodontic field. Debbie evaluates staffing needs and systems to develop a strategic plan for practice productivity. She designs customized schedules, personalized job descriptions, and a team member handbook to fit each practice’s needs. As a part of her consulting program, Debbie also focuses on the role of the front desk team, financial controls, anti-embezzlement protocol and practice building.
To Contact Debbie: Phone- (925) 447-6993
Website: E-Mail:



When a goose flaps its wings it creates uplift for the birds that follow.  By flying in a “V” formation the flock has 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.  When the lead goose tires it moves back and another goose flies to the point position.  The geese flying in formation honk to encourage the birds in front of them to keep up their speed. Geese instinctively know how to fly together to blend strength, skills and capabilities.  When a goose becomes sick or leaves the formation the remaining geese immediately take over without interruption to their flight.


What can we learn from the lessons of the geese? What happens when a key employee is out of the office, expectedly or unexpectedly?  Does your team fall apart? Do employees appear to be scattered and disjointed or does it cause an interruption in your patient’s care?  Do your team members “honk” politely to give positive encouragement to employees who night be falling behind or need additional assistance?


With the change in the economy we are seeing more practices transition to a trimmer and leaner philosophy.  The value of cross training has increased as we find ways to become more efficient, yet continue to deliver ongoing exceptional patient care.


Where do you start?  Introduce the concept of cross training into your orientation for new employees. Create a detailed job description for each position in the practice including procedure documentation, timeline for daily, weekly and monthly duties and written materials and training tools that are available to use as a reference (software company manual, front office or clinical training manuals, appliance diagrams, etc.)


Utilize morning huddles and team meetings to strategize what responsibilities will be cross trained, evaluating what will have the greatest immediate and long term positive impact to the practice and the team member.  Set up a 12 month schedule outlining the topics that will be cross trained on a monthly basis.  Set aside a two hour lunch or a block of non-doctor time monthly to conduct your OrthoCrossTrainingUniversity (OCTU.)

Assign a team member as the OCTU Instructor for the training session, depending on their area of expertise (camera technique ~ records coordinator, sterilization ~ sterilization assistant, scheduling ~ scheduling coordinator, etc.)


Let’s look at some areas of the practice that cross training can be utilized, allowing all team members to pitch in when someone is out of the office or additional assistance is needed.


Train every employee to sterilize instruments.  Not only can they step in to help as needed, it also gives all team members the confidence to educate patients and parents regarding your sterilization process.   Encourage team members to be current with a Hepatitis vaccination, even if their primary position in the practice is administrative.  Develop a manual outlining the sterilization process, complete with pictures of all of the instruments used and safety guidelines.  If the sterilization process includes putting together tray set-ups, take a photograph of each completed tray along with a list of instruments needed for each set-up and keep it handy.  


Cross train all team members how to clean up the chair after a patient is dismissed.  Create a check list outlining the necessary steps needed to clean a chair and prepare for the next patient:

√     How can you tell if a chair is clean?

√     How do you spray, wipe and cover the unit?

√     What disposables are replaced?

√     Where are the disposables stored?

√     What do you do with sensitive items (burs, hand pieces, etc?)

This will add an immediate positive impact to your patient flow, especially during before and after school congestion.


Establish your protocol for seating a patient.  Develop a checklist covering information that is discussed before the clinical assistant and/or doctor comes to the chair:

√     Do they need to brush their teeth before their appointment?

√     How are they doing with their appliances?

√     Do they need any supplies (toothbrush, floss, wax, etc.)?

√     Do they have any questions regarding today’s appointment? 

The team member who seats the patient will stay with the patient until the clinical assistant is available to start the scheduled procedure.


Train all employees on how to give hygiene and appliance instructions. The administrative team is often asked questions by a patient or parent regarding appliances, elastic wear or oral hygiene.  Having all team members well versed on the parts of appliances, how they work, common concerns, patient cooperation required and given the answers to frequently asked questions will help ensure that patients are receiving correct information at all times.  Checklists are particularly helpful so all important information is covered. When the administrative team is comfortable answering questions it reduces or eliminates the need to interrupt the clinic when a patient or parent calls regarding an appliance.  It also takes away the “mom/dad tug –of war’; if the patient does not like the answer they received from the doctor or a clinical team member, they often will ask an administrative employee to see if they get an answer more to their liking.  Having all team members trained to give accurate instructions keeps everyone on the same page.


With the wave of technology and computers at every chair we are seeing more scheduling done by the clinical team.  Even if you are scheduling appointments at the front desk, all team members should be cross trained to schedule patient appointments.  Not only can the clinical team help out by answering the telephone and scheduling appointments, it also allows for the flexibility of having a clinical team member work on non-patient days to schedule appointments. Having the clinical team schedule appointments also gives them a little more control over their daily schedule.  They can make adjustments to the schedule dependent on special circumstances or ’prize patients” (patients you want to give away.)


Cross train all employees how to post a payment and generate a computerized receipt.  Set up a solid protocol outlining the specific steps used to post payments along with the checks and balances to ensure that it is done correctly.   Should employees run into problems, having a list of common questions and answers is helpful.  Employees must be signed into the system under their name and password before they post any transaction.  This maintains the integrity of the daily financial audit.


Generating computerized reports assists us in tracking patients, from the initial examination through the end of the retention phase of treatment.  Cross training all employees to navigate through your computer software program to generate reports allows team members to actively track patients through treatment.  Educate all employees on the purpose and value of each report and document the required steps needed to generate the information.  Having all employees monitor patient reports reduces the possibility of patients falling through the cracks. 


Cross training does not happen through osmosis.  Create your vision of cross training as a team exercise. Where do you want to start that would generate an immediate and valuable outcome? Set aside non-patient time and develop lesson plans for structured training and role playing, including a test or quiz at the completion of each session.  Review the effectiveness of the cross training, remembering that the team members require on-going practice to stay current with their new skill.


Take the lesson that the geese have taught us and implement cross training to ensure high quality, uninterrupted care to your patients.  As with geese, employees have greater potential working as a team than by flying individually on their own.  Next time you look up in the sky and see geese flying in formation, ask yourself “do our employees work together as an uninterrupted team, confident that your team has been trained to assist or take over if there is a break or change in your formation?”  If your team is flying out of formation, take the first step to cross training today, confident that in 6 months

your team can be flying in a V formation, as strong as the geese used as their role model.