How Dental Practices Can Start Thinking ‘Lean’

When you hear “lean” referred to in business, you might think of finely tuned systems and machinery in automotive plants or streamlined processes that allow businesses to run more efficiently. Lean principles also can help dental practices adapt to today’s challenges, such as declining PPO reimbursements, rising education debt, increasing technology capital expense, and a consumer base with more and more options for dental services. By implementing lean, dentists can reduce wasteful elements of the practice while increasing the focus on value-added processes. This, in turn, increases efficiency, productivity, and portability, all of which allows you to continually provide a superior patient experience.

Lean is about refining your business processes down to exactly what is needed to provide customers the best possible services. In a series of blogs posted on and accessible via the QR code below, I describe the lean principles that would most apply to the dental industry—sound business practices such as refining processes, reducing waste, making informed business decisions, and putting patients first—as well as lean application in practice management. Here, I’ll focus on 4 clinical areas where lean methodologies are best applied.