Why are systems and checklists important?

The simple answer is that systems and quality control are a must for any successful business. We cannot offer the best to our patients if we aren’t sure if we are properly ready for them. Working in a dental office is a total team effort. By creating checklists with accountability, you are creating an environment where the expectation is right there for everyone to see. There won’t be any, “I didn’t know this needed to get done” or “I don’t know who did that.” Checklists allow for more independence. By using checklists every day, you are minimizing the amount of times a manager has to ask you if you did something. Checklists also give you mental freedom because it’s all already written down. You don’t have to try to remember every little detail on your own.

There’s a saying that a good manager manages SYSTEMS and NOT people.

This is really true. Solid systems, like easy to understand checklists, should manage the employees.

A good manager should create the system and then step back and let the employees follow the system. At least that’s what I try to do.

Each office should create its own task checklists and procedure checklists based on its specific needs. We will share some examples with you, but creating your own checklists will accomplish a few things: they will be tailored EXACTLY to your practice, they will force you to create the most recent and updated lists, and they will help your team members to  learn about your practice. In other words, I could give you step by step protocols that our office uses for every single task, but that doesn’t mean that they will work for your office. Your practice probably does things a little differently and uses different materials. We are more than happy to share some examples with you, but you will have to put forth effort to take this idea the rest of the way for your practice.

That being said, there are lots of ways that your practice can create checklists for your practice. Checklists are a beautiful thing. When expectations are clear, and everyone is on the same page, then everyone is happy.

Your practice can create specific office checklists, calendars, and procedural guides very simply on programs like Google and Google Drive. Recently, we discovered a company called Jolt ( With Jolt, we were easily were able to put ALL of our checklists, equipment maintenance, and even photos AND videos right on their site. Those items are easily viewed by specific team members at specific days and times. Because our practice already had all of these checklists on a Google Drive account, it was easy to just copy them right into Jolt.

Quarterly Planner

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    This Quarterly Planner is THE HEART AND SOUL of the front office! This planner will help keep your front office on track with daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. The checklists listed below are referred to in this Quarterly Planner. Be sure to READ the directions listed in the planner to maximize its use. When used properly, it will allow your team to add production to the schedule every single day without adding a single new patient.

Front Desk Daily Checklists

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    We feel that there are 5 major subsets of things that have to be done by the front desk team every day. We made these into 5 different checklists. As you work through the 5 checklists that we have included, please keep in mind that the checklists for your practice may vary, but the above concept is the same for every office. As you think about the tasks that your specific office performs every day, try to organize them into one of the 5 checklists. Putting every task on one giant checklist can be overwhelming and difficult to use. These 5 checklists should be able to take the front desk through the day chronologically.

  • 1

    Tasks that must be completed before patients arrive.

  • 2

    There are two tasks that should be completed and shared in the morning huddle: Quarterly Planner Daily Filled Out, Opportunities and Logistics.

    A. Download the Quarterly Planner (above). The Front Desk team should fill out the planner for each day and present that info at the morning huddle.
    B. Opportunities and Logistics. Download the following checklist and use it as a guide to help keep track of daily tasks. Customize it for your own practice.

  • 3

    Tasks that must be completed throughout the day.

  • 4

    Tasks that must be completed in preparation for the next business day.

  • 5

    Tasks that must be completed when all patients have left the office for the day.

Front Desk Weekly Checklist

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    Complete these tasks once a week. Feel free to add weekly tasks specific to your practice.

Front Desk Monthly Checklist

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    Complete these tasks once a month. Feel free to add monthly tasks specific to your practice.

  • 2

    Complete this report at the end of each month.

Front Desk Quarterly Checklist

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    Quarterly reporting and auditing included.

Front Desk End of Year Reporting

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    Add the end of year info here.