5.25.07 - Issue # 272 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Jump Start Your ‘Mid Year’s’ Resolutions
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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It’s nearly the end of May, and in just a few short weeks we enter the second half of the year. Yes, 2007 is rapidly ripping right along. So, how are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Is your new elliptical machine getting a workout as an extra place to hang your clothes? Perhaps the 10 pounds you pledged to lose by Valentine’s Day is still sitting comfortably around your middle with no plans to relocate any time soon.

And what about those goals you set for your practice? You know, increase production, address no shows and appointment failures, and institute a performance review plan. Now before you click the big red X in the top right corner of your computer screen and make all this talk about resolutions and goals promptly disappear, stay with me for just another minute. I actually have good news.

You have an entire six months to turn this year into your most successful yet. Now let’s talk about how.

First, no guilt. Virtually all of us have made resolutions for the year, some of us even wrote them down. They may have sat on our desks for a while as daily reminders of what we had planned to achieve. Then we piled the usual challenges, routine struggles, and more immediate priorities over them and the goals of tomorrow were promptly buried beneath the concerns of today. Out of sight and out of mind. Time to dig out the list, better yet, create a new one.

This time, instead of making an exhaustive inventory of improvement musts, identify just two or three goals you’d like to accomplish in the coming months. The objective here is to establish attainable goals by breaking the process down into manageable steps.

Let’s say you want to “overhaul patient/practice relations.” This can feel like a large, unwieldy goal, too big to tackle today, so you put it off until tomorrow, then the day after, and so on. Instead look at the small steps - attainable goals - you can work toward to achieve that ultimate goal.

For example, if the manner in which the new business employee answers the phone has been bothering you for months. Make the goal to “improve telephone communication at the front desk.” It’s specific, attainable, and measurable –key components of goals that can actually get accomplished. Best of all it is real progress toward your ultimate goal to improve practice/patient relations. 

Perhaps your goal is to make more money, that’s another admirable goal but again it’s too vague. It can also feel too big for a team that isn’t sure how to go about reaching it. What’s more, the staff probably already feels they are working as hard and as fast as they can and equate more money with more hours in the office. Instead, focus on those areas that influence practice income, starting with production.

Establish a realistic financial goal for your practice; let’s say $700,000 in clinical production. This calculates to $14,583 per week (taking four weeks out for vacation). Working forty hours per week means you’ll need to produce about $364 per hour. If you want to work fewer hours, obviously per hour production will need to be higher.

Now you and your Scheduling Coordinator have a concrete number that she/he is working to achieve. She/he has a goal!  It’s a clear scheduling objective for each day rather than simply “keep the doctor busy.” Next step, make certain that your Scheduling Coordinator fully understands exactly how much time is needed for each procedure. You’d be stunned how many business employees simply have to guess how many units should be allocated for procedures. Consequently, the doctor and clinical team are busy, but not necessarily productive.

Now consider what needs to happen in the treatment room. Perhaps you need to streamline or delegate duties so that you are not interrupted multiple times for matters that someone else could or should be handling. Possibly you need to explore increased training for your dental assistant so that she/he can maximize any expanded duties that are allowed in your state.

Breaking a large goal, such as making more money, down into manageable steps enables you to reach that objective. What’s more, you can adjust and correct along the way. You evaluate and measure what’s working and what isn’t.

Next week, strengthen your team and achieve your goals.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com.

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