How to Plan a Project to Enhance your Dental Practice Outcomes? #dentists #business #startup #management

dental project

Dental practices are part of the service industry.  As in any service-based business, it is in need for development and upgrading of services, equipment’s and quality of services. These development can be in the form of purchasing new equipment’s, training staff or implementing new technologies to serve patients.

It is important for dental practice owners and dentists to apply project management when thinking in developing their practices. Some of ideas are needed so good planning is a factor of success, while other ideas are not needed so planning will show you what the other options are without wasting time, money and efforts.

A project is a unique venture or piece of work, which is setup to achieve a particular objective or goal. Project is carried out for patients. Any project has a begging and an end so it is time limited. In projects we uses defined resources such as staff, money and equipment’s.

In a wide scope of definition project management is planning, gathering and managing the resources needed to achieve particular goals and objectives within defined time and budgetary constraints.

Project Scope is a statement which defines the limitation and boundaries of a project is the project scope. The statement will outline and define the work stream, resources and budget. Scope deviation and the presence of other issues or elements will result in increased timescale, costs and possible project failure (Lewis, 2007).

Looking to the key features of projects we find that focusing on projects results, outcomes and goals are prioritised. Other features are the positive and effective management of time and resources.

Option appraisal in project management is an integral part of an effective selection process. It has been stated that optional appraisal is an essential tool to help organisations to deliver projects and that it helps to target investment towards improving service performance and raising standards (CIPFA, 2010).

Before initiating any project we shall define the main stakeholders. Defining stakeholders is an important element for any successful project implementation. In general dentistry sector stakeholders are the patients, nursing staff, dentists, health authorities, shareholders and administrative staff.

The following points are summarising the key features of project management:

1- Stakeholders:

Before the initiation of any business plan, it is mandatory to measure its expected outcomes among the prospective stakeholders. The stakeholders of the healthcare management system will include patients, physicians, and administrative employees of the hospital. Moreover, the stakeholders will be appreciated for their involvement and feedback in the system (Trockel, 2013).

2- Aims, goals and objectives.

Each Dental Practice can set the SMART goals of their project.

3- Project life-cycle.

Project can be implemented and achieved in the agreed time frame.

4- Scoping, risk assessment and cost-benefit-analysis.

The statement will outline and define the work stream, resources and budget. Scope deviation and the presence of other issues or elements will result in increased timescale, costs and possible project failure (Lewis, 2007). Managing risks and issues is fundamental to successful project management, where excellent project teams recognize that there are many threats which may undermine performance (Milton et al., 2005). Project Cost include direct and indirect costs.

5- Project planning and deliverables.

The steps which the project leader are planning to take in order to achieve the project goals and objectives.

6- Work breakdown structure and packages.

The project team. Mainly formed from the dental practice staff with external consultant if project required too such as a quality consultant or an IT consultant.

7- Communicating and reporting.

Communication is essentially the interpersonal process of sending and receiving information and messages (Burke & Barron, 2007). The communication strategy will include formal and/or informal links between stakeholders, suppliers, contractors, companies and project team members. The communication method will include minutes of meetings, telephones, emails, and presentation and evaluation reports.

8- Review and Evaluation Method:

An evaluation research approach introduced by Moule and Hek (2011) can be used to measure the proposed service improvement via the project using a quantitative methodology. Research will be conducted by developing a questionnaire using a Likert scale (Bell, 2005) as a measurable indicator, whilst allowing for some qualitative feedback through stakeholders comments. The justification for this approach is the large number of the patient stakeholder category to survey within a limited time. However, disadvantages include: the impact of variables.

Finally project leadership strategy is one of the most important elements in accomplishing project’s required outcome. Leaders for any project are required to demonstrate an improved understanding of stakeholders’ requirements and feedback which will lead to more efficient communication and better project leadership decisions (Heagney, 2012). A collaboration leadership style is the preferred approach for dental projects. Collaboration defines teamwork as occurring when people work collaboratively towards a common goal or as a process of two or more parties working together to achieve common objectives (Burke & Barron, 2007, p223).


About the Author:

Dr.Hisham M Safadi (Hisham Safadi ) BDS & MSc Leadership and Management in Health Care Practice form the University of Salford where his Master dissertation was in the effect of Emotional Intelligence on improving Dentistry care in Middle East. He was born and raised in the Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. Dr.Safadi had start his professional career as a dentist then turn to the field of managing medical facilities and investment management. His main interest is business start-up, leadership and mentoring. Currently he is leading several projects in Manchester that is related to enhance patient experience and improving leadership style through education.

Twitter: @hishamsafadi

Read more from the Author:

  1. Leadership in Dentistry Opportunities and Threats. Review 2008 by Dr.Hisham Safadi
  2. Why shall Healthcare Providers care about Patients Payments and Finance?
  3. 12 successful elements for Business Start-ups Leadership.
  4. Why Patients Don’t Come Back? White Paper 2015


  • Bell, J. (2005). Doing your Research Project (4th). United Kingdom: Open University Press.
  • Burke, R. and Barron, S. (2007). Project management leadership. [United States?]: Burke Publishing. ppl 223-235
  • CIPFA, (2010). The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, General guidance on options appraisal | CIPFA. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2015].
  • Heagney, J. (2012). Fundamentals of project management (4th Edition). New York: American Management Association.
  • Lewis, J.P. (2007). Fundamentals of Project Management (3rd). New York: American Management Association.
  • Milton D, Rosenau, M. and Githens, G. (2005). Successful project management. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley.
  • Moule, P. & Hek, G. (2011). Making Sense of Research (4th). London: Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Trockel, M. (2013). How to Negotiate. InThe Academic Medicine Handbook (pp. 315-322). New York: Springer. Retrieved from on 8th April, 2015.

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