SOP’s in the dental office

Standard Operating Procedures or SOP’s are essential for consistency and stability of a dental practice.  There is an easy way to get started on your very own practice manual. 

Step 1:  Know what SOP’s need to be created.  Have each team member carry around a piece of paper in their pocket for 2 weeks.  When they do anything as part of their job, have them write it down.  EVERYTHING.  Take out the trash, process returned mail, clean the traps and even get the mail – write it down.

Step 2: Create 1 master list of all tasks that are completed by the business team, hygiene team, and clinical team. 

Step 3: Set priorities on which tasks need SOP’s created first, 2nd and so on. 

Step 4: Create an SOP for creating an SOP.  For instance, tray set up SOP’s need to have photos, the names of the instruments, and where they can be found in the office.  A business team task may require screen shots of each step.  These SOP’s should be so simplistic that your 12 year old child could do the task by reading the instructions. 

Step 5: Distribute the tasks with timelines.  Ask the team what a reasonable expectation is and then provide additional time so that there are no excuses.  Also, define what completed means.  Does that simply mean written out or does that mean tested and tried by multiple people to make sure it is correct?

Step 6: Once created, tested, and tried, create a manual.  Consider rewarding your team when a task’s SOP is created or offer incentives for when the entire manual is complete. 

Step 7: Review these SOP’s often – everyone in the office should know where they are and how to use them.