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  • Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE

Be More Like Mayo

Do you know how your patients feel when they walk into your practice? Are you a well-oiled machine or are there times when things feel clunky and the processes are not accomplished the way they should? Do your patients trust you, or do they have reason to question if scheduling or billing is accurate? The goal for any office should be for patients to have the utmost confidence in everything you do; however, many healthcare facilities, including dental, don’t seem to address the important areas.

Recently I visited the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota with my mother and to say I was impressed would be an understatement. I have always heard good things about Mayo, such as how they:

  • Really investigate a patient’s illness to find the cause, 

  • Look at the whole patient, not just their current complaint and treat it without regard to the rest; 

  • They fully listen to their patients to get down to the root of the problem. 

These are areas that other healthcare professionals could do better at when treating their patients and something for those of us in the dental field to keep in mind without question. I understand that listening to our patients doesn’t always come easy when we are busy trying to get through the day, but it’s important to remember that those patients are why we are here, doing what we do. Take the time to listen to the whole problem and know what has been done before so you can work on getting to the solution.

We went to the Mayo Clinic for one issue, however, they looked at the whole patient to determine if there is an underlying cause to what is happening with my mom and try to find a treatment that is going to work and not just mask the problem. They are doing that, and it is working out very well. 

One of the most impressive things I found at the Mayo Clinic, was how every place we went and every appointment that was scheduled moved like clockwork. The very first appointment was scheduled at 9:15am. We arrived at 8:50am, checked in on a kiosk, as we walked around the corner to the reception area, they were calling my mom to review her paperwork. This only took about 3 minutes and then she was seated. At 9:14am they were calling us back for her appointment, she had vitals checked and we went to the operatory; the doctor walked in maybe 2 minutes later. Impressive! 

It didn’t stop there though, every appointment we had was just that way. She had 4 other appointments scheduled for different tests, we never waited past the appointment time. How can a facility this massive function so seamlessly? This facility is huge! There are 3 separate campuses with a total of 2059 beds and they see 1.3 million+ patients every year. There are a whopping 42,000 staff members! Of course, I don’t know that answer for sure, but I would have to bet they have some rock-solid protocols in place, a good onboarding system and plenty of training for their team members. 

Systems, and training on those systems are an area that is lacking in many businesses and dentistry is no different. Many times, this is because we are struggling with a lack of staff &/or a new team member is hired and simply gets thrown in to “sink or swim” shall we say without proper onboarding or training. This doesn’t really set them up for success, does it? We need to look at changing this process in most dental practices. That is why at Global Team Solutions we strongly encourage having a protocol book with directions on the how, what, when and why tasks are accomplished in your office. You may want to think about creating some video trainings for those tasks to have as part of your onboarding system. 

Something else that struck us when we visited Mayo is that everyone is kind. We didn’t feel as though we were a bother or that we were putting anyone out by asking a question. There is a sense of confidence that they know what they are doing and have the answer or at least access to the answers. My mother called to make a follow up appointment, however, there weren’t any orders in the computer for the team member to make the appointment. Most places you would call would tell you to call your doctor, get the orders, call them back and you would go round and round trying to get this one appointment accomplished. Not this time, the lady asked my mom for her doctor’s name and told her she would call, get the order, and call her back to schedule the appointment as soon as possible. This is truly customer service at its best.

So, let me ask you this…are your patients impressed when they come in to your practice? 

  • Do they leave feeling like they got the best care and customer service experience possible? 

  • Do you help them with a referral visit to a specialist? 

  • Is your team aware of the ‘next steps’ in your patients’ treatment? 

  • Is kindness an automatic response to any and all patients?

If you don’t feel like this is happening in your practice it might be a good time to ask where the disconnect is in your practice and how it can be fixed. It could be time to update some of the systems in the office, get some training for your team or step-up customer service operations. 

The Mayo Clinic has been ranked the #1 hospital in the United States for the past 7 years in a row. That didn’t happen by accident. They are doing something right. It seems we could all take a page from their book.


Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, Consultant

At age 14, Janice Janssen got an after-school job working for her dentist. Twenty-something years later, she is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions and an expert in practice consulting. Besides hands-on experience, Janice has gained professional recognition for her hard work and commitment to excellence. She is co-author of OMG! Office Management Guide, the “bible” used in GTS training workshops. She is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), which positions her as an expert in educating dentists to deter fraud and embezzlement in their practice.

Janice can be reached at:

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