I have worked with hundreds of dental practices over the past several years, providing education and training about how to effectively implement efficient dental sleep medicine production. There is one glaring difference between the practices that attain success and those that flounder. It doesn’t have anything to do with device titration, side-effect mitigation, or the dentist’s height. That one glaring difference is the existence of a DENTAL SLEEP AMBASSADOR in the practice. Call them what you will; ambassador, manager, guru, quarterback, spearhead. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this person is accountable for the sleep portion of your practice.
So who is this person? What are their responsibilities and what traits should they possess?
- Manages all aspects of your dental sleep production. Will be intimately familiar with the patient workflow.
- Has to be responsible, accountable, organized, AND they have to be granted the autonomy and authority to make decisions.
- Charged with training & ensuring protocols are in place AND being followed.
- Must be able to delegate required responsibilities.
- Possess critical thinking abilities, problem solving skills, drive, ambition, and a desire to continually learn.
A Sleep Ambassador will help you establish a better working relationship with other healthcare providers because they’ll be your practice’s primary contact. They will garner a greater understanding of the entire process and be able to discuss the results of a sleep test and confidently articulate to patients the financial aspect of oral appliance therapy. They will be the go-to person for your patients when they have questions and for your staff as well. If your Sleep Ambassador is savvy enough, they may even be able to perform some marketing duties such as lunch and learns or health fair presentations.
After floundering with two or three devices per month, one of our DS3 Members, Dr. Juliet Bulnes of Tampa, FL made what she refers to as a “leap of faith” and hired Stephanie, her part-time Dental Sleep Coordinator, aka Sleep Ambassador. “I hired Stephanie part-time and within two weeks, we changed that to full-time. To grow dental sleep production, you have to have the right people to manage the complexities involved”, says Dr. Bulnes. She also commented, “It was so tough for my team to juggle dental sleep while also ensuring their other jobs were done properly. Since joining us a year ago, Stephanie and my assistant, Jill, have been the driving forces behind our growth to an average of 10 devices per month. This has also enabled the rest of the team to focus on their jobs which makes everyone more productive. I’ve crunched the numbers and this change has ensured that Stephanie has paid for herself over and over again. It’s been tremendous and we’re just getting started.”
To grow dental sleep production, you have to have the right people to manage the complexities involved.
Identifying a team member to spearhead the DSM aspect of your practice will ensure a much smoother implementation process. The Sleep Ambassador can be an assistant, a front desk person, or a new hire BUT this has to be their primary focus. Your investment in this person will pay long-term dividends for you, your patients, and your practice.