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2.22.08 Issue #311 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
McKenzie Management
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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!

Dentists and their team don’t reach out for consulting for help because they are making so much money that they don’t know how to spend it.  Often, it is after they have spent large amounts of money and time on misconceptions that didn’t work and now they are overwhelmed and need help. They think they have too many patients, not enough operatories, not enough team members, etc. In most cases, what “appears to be” is not what “is”.  This is true, only because the dentists and team don’t know what they don’t know.  Misconceptions can drive practice decisions based on inaccurate information.

Practice Misconceptions:

  • I need more staff In most cases, lack of job descriptions causes duplication of effort, wasted time and inefficient time management.  When team members know and understand what they are to do each day and are held accountable for their performance , they are much happier and productive. It is not necessary to add another employee to your salary overhead, unless the systems that indicate adding another employee are evaluated carefully. Patient check in and check out systems, patient volume, and time management are just a few issues that are addressed before making this important decision. Gross wages in relation to revenue for your team (not including yourself, associates or family members) is 19-22%.
  • I need more operatories - In many cases, you don’t need more operatories but you need an effective scheduling system.  A dentist that was working from four operatories and thought he needed more space, applied McKenzie Management’s scheduling techniques and was able to work from two operatories with much less stress, keeping production goals the same.  The environment was better for the patients, doctor and team.
  • I have too many patientsMany dentists would love to be able to say this.  Never stop seeing new patients. Start announcing that you are not taking new patients; it quickly circulates throughout the community and is difficult to undo. The marketing efforts to “start-up” the practice again can equal thousands of dollars. The perception of too many patients is partly due to lack of systems in the practice to efficiently manage new patients that need appointments.  It is a scheduling issue and there are several factors that must be evaluated, such as, knowing not only how many new patients are appointing each month but how many are being pushed into the following month?  Another factor is learning how many patients in your records are truly “active” patients in your practice? An active patient is due to return for recall in the next year.
  • I don’t have enough patientsHow many is enough for you? You are producing $100,000 a month.  How many patients does it take to do that?  A prosthodontist can do it with approximately 10 new patients a month.  A family dentist can do it with approximately 20-25 new patients a month.  Each practice is different.  You may have enough new patients.  What you don’t have are successful systems in place to help patients to accept treatment and keep them coming back for more treatment and recall appointments.  Evaluating the treatment acceptance statistics and the patient retention statistics during the consulting process gives a clearer picture of how to fix these systems.

It takes an outside person to evaluate your current systems and identify to you, and your team the weaknesses in efficiency and customer service.  What you do know is that the practice isn’t being as productive or efficient as it used to.  Or, it has never been as productive and efficient you know it could be.  Something is “broken” but you don’t know what it is and, therefore, have no idea how to fix it.

Trust your instinct that what appears to be happening is probably happening. Do yourself, your team members, your patients and your practice a favor.  Find out what it is.  Make 2008 the year that you will reach out for a professional business plan.  Recession proof your practice.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Practice Enrichment Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies….. email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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