Put aside fear of new
tech; a smooth training
program facilitates the
BY ANN-MARIE C. DEPALMA, RDH, MED, FADIA, FAADH
training program? Here are some of the most
common reasons for resisting training.
Any change is disruptive. We constantly
experience change in our lives. Change can be
both positive and negative. In order to grow and
develop, change is a must. Practices that don’t
change become stagnant and declining. The antidote to their fear is communication. If the fear
is voiced and addressed, the issue can be
Some people fear technology.
“Technology doesn’t always work,” or “We’ll have
to do more work with no extra time.” The real
reason they feel technology “doesn’t work” is their
fear of change. Does the office that believes
technology “doesn’t work” have a verified backup
continued on pg. 76
Dental professionals provide treatment plans
for patients on a daily basis. Whether it is
creating a simple restorative plan or a complex
full-mouth case, dental team members discuss
options and create viable treatment plans for
But what about the treatment plan for the
practice? Is there a plan developed for keeping
pace with the rapidly changing landscape of dentistry? Or does the practice haphazardly move
forward in a reactionary mode rather than a proactive role?
New rules and regulations from governmental
sources and insurance carriers can propel an office
forward, and this is reactionary. The same is true
with technology. Many teams are reluctant to
move forward with technology, and they take a
reactionary rather than a proactive approach.
Many people dislike and postpone any change.
But like death and taxes, change is inevitable.
When a reactionary practice finally does move
forward with technology, it is often implemented
haphazardly with little thought. They purchase
new equipment and technology but don’t provide
the necessary training to make it work.
How often has the doctor attended a continuing education program and bought the latest
product, only to let it collect dust because the
team was not trained properly in its use? As a
technology advisor for Patterson Dental, I see this
on a daily basis. Training is the basis of making a
smooth change with any new equipment, procedure, or technology, and it needs to be incorporated into the practice’s treatment plan.
Training has been proven to increase job satisfaction and motivation. A 2014 study from the
University of Warwick in the United Kingdom
found that happiness makes people 12% more
productive. Having appropriate training, which
initially may seem cost prohibitive, actually decreases costs and increases productivity. When
team members receive the appropriate training,
they want to be long-term members of the practice, which decreases turnover costs and challenges. Yet many teams are reluctant to hold training.
What are the barriers to executing an effective
When we recommend that a practice
close for a period of time for training,
we often hear, “We can’t lose the
production time.” Doctors and teams
need to understand that taking time
initially enhances the overall experience and decreases expenses later.
It costs more in lost productivity to
search online for answers and wait for
service requests than it does to have
initial dedicated training time.
In May 2016, Dental Economics,
the sister publication to RDH magazine, published a survey of dentists
regarding areas of dental practice
that needed improvement. One of the
prominent answers dealt with team
motivation. Yet if dentists followed Zig
Ziglar’s advice, “The only thing worse
than training employees and losing
them is to not train them and keep
them,” many of the motivation issues
would diminish and productivity and
profitability would increase.
This survey also included questions
regarding technology, and many had
issues with compatibility and confidence in their technology. However, I
would ask these same survey participants, “Did they engage their team
in the technology process from the
beginning, and was available training
utilized?” As Sir Richard Branson
states, “Train people well enough so
they can leave; treat them well enough
so they don’t want to.”