Sub-Par Performance Equals a Not-for-Profit Practice
“We are not doing as well as we used to, but still we are doing okay.” Ask yourself, is okay alright with you? Take a look at what’s happening. Change is on the wind and the dental practice of just 10 years ago is obsolete. Technology is demanding less error and more exact results. In the past, a practice could do okay with underperforming hygienists (“I am here to clean teeth, not promote dental services”), below average assistants (“I am here to assist, not communicate with the patient”), and poor customer service (“I am here to fill the schedule, not promote the practice”). The dental practice of now and of the future must incorporate a team that takes ownership of not only their job but the performance success of the entire practice. Just showing up and doing your job is no longer insurance against layoffs. The search for better employees who can help the practice to grow and not just survive are on the rise.
It is dismaying to still find dental practices using paper charts. Digitization rules the world of commerce. Dental software programs such as Dentrix and Eaglesoft make the management of patients, clinical/financial data and imaging safe, secure and easy to access for the practice, referring specialists, physicians and insurance companies. Many insurance companies will no longer even accept paper claims or attachments. Where does this leave those who are still on paper? Beginning in 2015 a new dental claim form, the ADA 2012, must be used to file claims, and new policies that require medical to be billed before dental will make it even more important to go digital.
The future holds much positive promise for practices who acknowledge change and develop a business plan to stay engaged and focused on practice improvement. Ask yourself if you are competing in the dental community based on the price of dentistry, or the value of dentistry. If price were the only driving force in our purchase decisions, how would cars like Mercedes ever sell when it is cheaper to buy a Honda? Or how would Starbucks ever achieve such profits when it is easier and cheaper to prepare coffee at home, the office or at 7-Eleven?
Many dentists fear corporate dentistry’s low prices or the competitor down the street who offers $700 porcelain crowns. There will always be consumers who buy value and service along with the product, and those who buy for price only. Your job as a dental practice in today’s world is to sell long-term value, customized products and great customer service. We cannot change the fact that there are people who just want cheap, but to compete by being the cheapest will result in sacrificing something of value. What are you willing to sacrifice to be cheap? Your salary? Quality staff? Office décor? New technology? Newer and better equipment? When done correctly, dentistry has long-term value by providing health benefits and aesthetic benefits. But if you are selling price alone, your patients will not know the value of your services.
A conversation with a dentist who spoke candidly about her relationship with her fees revealed that she feared losing patients if she raised her standard fees, yet most of her practice was managed care and network PPO. On top of very low fees she gave discounts to whoever asked for one. One day a new patient asked a question that jolted her awake. The patient wanted to know why the fees were so low. “Are you using substandard materials? Do you have experience making crowns?” Instead of appreciating the low fees, the patient questioned the value of the services being provided.
At McKenzie Management we stay current with the trends affecting our dental practices. We pass our knowledge on to you to make your practice the best it can be with our customized training programs, consulting services and management products. To make the best of 2015, call McKenzie Management today.Forward this article to a friend
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