Using Checklists for Your Dental Practice

by Dr. Ron Arndt


Recently, a friend invited my Sweetness and I to join him for an airplane ride in his single-engine plane from Chandler, Arizona to witness the amazing red rocks of Sedona, AZ, where we would land, have lunch and fly back while enjoying the beautiful mid-Arizona mountain scenery.

checklistIf the truth were known, I was a bit spooked because “single-engine” means to me there is no backup if the first engine quits! However, we were both reassured as we watched Tim bring his plane out of the hanger and he meticulously did his “walk-a-round” before we loaded into the tight seating arrangements. When we were all seated, he pulled out a two-page checklist…just like the BIG boys do with the commercial jets. He then, in a very deliberate and confident way, went step-by-step through this seemingly exhaustive list of “things” to do and check. He also spoke each step out loud.

What struck me from this experience is that Tim (71 years old) has been flying for over 40 years, owned several planes, is instrument-rated and has been a flight instructor, yet, he still uses his checklist. When I asked him why this was so important for him, particularly as a seasoned pilot, his reply was:

I can’t trust my memory to remember everything all the time and I/you can’t afford this kind of an oversight. Besides, it’s the rule.

Brilliant! Tim has reminded me of the value of using my checklists in so many other venues: cooking for family and guests, preparing to serve my clients, formulating our journey back home to Cleveland from our winter get-a-way in AZ, and so many others.

Do you use a checklist for your dental practice? Please share your experience in the comments below, or on my Facebook page.

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