Do you give tours of your dental office? I was
asked this question recently while taking a tour of Adec’s
manufacturing facilities in Newberg, Oregon. I
suspect your initial reaction was similar to mine: “Is
that something that patients would want to do?” and
“I don’t have time for something like that.” I am not
advocating that you turn your office into a museum
with guided tours, rather that you think about your
office through the eyes of a patient taking a tour.
The A-dec tour left me with a very positive
impression of their company for the following reasons:
Every inch of each factory building was swept
clean, the workstations were organized and every
employee we passed along the way had a smile on
their face. Notice the first things I mentioned about
the tour had nothing to do with how they make the
chairs? Our patients are no different. Since I’m a
geek dentist, I had tremendous appreciation for the
process of building a dental chair and delivery unit
from the ground up. It is a fascinating orchestration
of separate processes that come together in an exquisite
way. The principals of Just-in-Time management
are at work and nearly every job can be
tracked to a specific order. The employees are clearly
empowered and loyal – the younger employees have
been there 10 years!
Another fine example is the Innovation
Center at 3M headquarters in Minnesota.
This building serves as a center for visitors
from many different industries from all over
the world. It is a showcase of the many
technologies that 3M has available to create
the products that we use every day inside
and outside of our dental offices. The tour
is more than just look and see – it is an
education about their company, its history
and the culture of innovation. If you went into
engineering instead of dentistry, this
could be a dream job. Once again,
many of the employees I have
encountered during my numerous
visits have many years of
service under their belts.
Let’s turn this discussion back to our dental
practices and ask a few essential questions:
To be clear, I am not suggesting that your
office must be filled with brand new equipment
or that you must be as rich as a multi-billion
dollar company. The self-examination that the
answers to these questions will provide is a great
way to find out if you are working in the practice
of your dreams. Ask your team members to give
each other a tour of the office with a critical eye.
If you would like to really learn something about
your office, ask three or four team members to
each do a video tour of the office with their cell
phone camera or one that you provide. Be sure
they work separately as this will provide different
perspectives. Their videos will provide new
insights into the strengths and weaknesses of
your practice. If you learn something new about
your practice with this exercise, or if you have
any comments to share, please send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Would you be happy to give any patient a
complete tour of your office at any time?
- Are there any locations within your office
that you would not be proud to show due
to a lack of organization or cleanliness?
- How many team members do you have that
would make great tour guides?
- Would your tour guide be able to share the
culture of your practice?
- Do you have a written mission statement?
Are your team members familiar with this
- When your patient meets other team members
along the way, would they be impressed
by their attitude and commitment to the
- Could you (the Dr.) demonstrate or describe
the things you do behind the scenes to
ensure that your patients receive the best
- Is there anything that you do in the practice
you would not want a patient to see?