Quantity or Quality?A McKenzie Management Case Study
Dr. Jerry Marks – Case Study #222
“I need more new patients!”, said Dr. Marks who called McKenzie Management to see if he could “order” an additional 20 new patients per month. We sure wish that we could fill such a request. However, we do teach doctors and staff how to determine the number of new patients they really need.
Like many things in business, “more” is not always better. Sometimes it is “quality” and not “quantity”. Dr. Marks is a good example of this.
First, let’s determine the definition of “new patient”. McKenzie Management’s definition of a new patient is someone that has been seen for a professional cleaning or perio maintenance appointment for the first time in the office. Usually, this also means a patient that has been seen for a comprehensive exam, by the doctor, and then examined by the hygienist and placed into the recall system. There are a few exceptions but we will use this definition for this example.
The reason for using this definition, opposed to any new patient, such as an emergency extraction, is that patients that go into the hygiene recall program contribute to the growth of the practice and patients that are seen only periodically for emergency treatment do not. If you recall from previous articles, your practice grows by increasing the number of hygiene days, NOT by increasing the number of “new” patients that are seen.
Additional practice statistics relative to the practice growth:
This information told me that even though he was seeing 100 “new” patients a month, the practice was not growing! See, for those of you who thought you would be thrilled with 100 new patients a month, this means nothing relative to practice growth. Why? It is all about “quality and not quantity”.
After spending the first two days with Dr. Marks, we discussed his practice strategies and philosophy.
New practice recommendations:
It may appear that these goals are unrealistic, but when I returned to his office less than 12 months later, he had achieved all of these and was reducing his PPO participation.
Now you are asking ….”How much money did he lose going through these changes?” As these changes took place, there were also indirect changes that took place, such as a reduced number of staff, shorter office hours (no weekends and evenings), more customer service, and much less stress!
He also added an additional 2.5 days of hygiene per week and took more vacation time. I would call this working “smarter and not harder”, wouldn’t you? Let’s look at the following:
New practice statistics:
Dr. Marks is on schedule to net produce and collect more over the next 12 months than he did over the past 24 months on average. By applying McKenzie Management’s business systems and maintaining his awareness of how his practice is performing by reviewing monthly statistics, the day-to-day activities of the practice are not a concern anymore. Dr. Marks has learned how to “keep his finger on the pulse of the practice” as well as make sense of his monthly P&L that he receives from his accountant to determine if his overhead goals are being met.
Now…..I ask you. What is more important? Quantity or Quality? Dr. Marks will tell you that 100 “new” patients a month did not get him where he is now or where he will be next year. But, the 25 new “comprehensive” patients a month will!
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