4 Ways to Jumpstart Your Practice in 2015
I want 2015 to be your year. Over the next 12 months, I want you to create the profitable, successful dental practice you’ve always dreamed of owning. Sound good to you? Let’s get started.
No matter how much you’ve struggled in years past, it’s time to stop whining and start working toward your goals. Whether you want to increase production, take control of your schedule or develop a loyal patient base, you have to focus on the results you’re after and make the necessary changes if you’re going to turn your practice vision into a reality. I’ll be the first to tell you this isn’t going to be easy, but boy will it be worth it once you finally achieve practice success and profitability. No more struggling to make ends meet, or worrying about how you’re going to put enough money away to retire before you’re 85. If you’re ready to commit to real change, 2015 will be the year you take your practice from struggling to thriving.
I’ve put together six tips designed to jumpstart your practice this year. If you take the time to implement these suggestions and evaluate and fix any weak systems, you’ll be well on your way to practice success.
1. Improve your patient education efforts. I’m sure you provide some form of patient education, but how effective is it? Do you just hand your patients brochures and send them on their way, or maybe pop in a video for them to watch while you go see another patient? That simply isn’t good enough.
If you want patients to trust your recommendations and go forward with treatment, you have to create value and trust. Take the time to talk with them about their oral condition and the benefits of treatment. Use an intraoral camera to show what’s going on in their mouth and address any concerns. Make sure everyone on your team delivers the same message, and continue your education efforts outside the practice through newsletters, emails and follow-up phone calls. You’ll not only create more loyal patients, you’ll create loyal patients who accept treatment.
2. Schedule to meet daily production goals. If your schedule is out of whack, it’s likely because your Scheduling Coordinator is simply scheduling to keep you busy, not to meet daily production goals. Don’t have daily production goals? That’s a problem. Sit down and determine how much money you need to bring in to meet both your personal and professional goals. Factor in overhead costs as well as how many hours you’re willing to work to meet those goals. That number should dictate your schedule.
Want more tips to streamline your schedule and increase production? Clearly communicate procedure times with your Scheduling Coordinator (sorry doc, she can’t read your mind) and have a plan in place to quickly fill the open slots that broken appointments create.
3. Hire a Treatment Coordinator. While you may enjoy delivering case presentations, you just don’t have the time to do them properly. Admit it, you’re lucky if you spend 10 minutes going over treatment with your patients – not nearly enough time to turn a hesitant patient into one who’s ready to go through with treatment.
Your case acceptance rate should be at 85%. If it’s not, it’s time for a change. Hire a Treatment Coordinator who handles case presentations for all producers in the practice. Designate a comfortable, private room and make sure your Coordinator knows to go over every detail of treatment with patients before they leave. But it doesn’t end when the patient walks out the door. Your Coordinator should follow up with every patient who has unscheduled treatment.
4. Focus on reducing overhead. Most of the practices I speak with struggle with overhead costs. They’re often out of control, and dictate every move the dentist makes. If you want to have a successful, thriving dental practice, you have to get a handle on your overhead costs, which should be no more than 55% of collections.
There are many reasons for skyrocketing overhead costs, and payroll is one of them. Take a look at your payroll expenses. They should only be 20% of your overhead costs. Any more than that and you likely have too many employees or a tendency to give out raises whether your employees deserve them or not. Only hire when you absolutely need to (not when your staff insists on it) and only give out raises based on established performance measurements, not just because another year has gone by.
Another culprit sending your overhead costs soaring is a nonexistent recall system. Task your Patient Coordinator with reactivating this crucial system. Give specific recall-related goals, including making a certain number of patient calls per day, scheduling a specific number of appointments, ensuring a specific number of patients complete treatment, and scheduling to ensure hygienists produce 3 times their daily wages. Do this and you’ll start scheduling more treatment, patient retention will improve and overhead costs will fall.
We’re at the beginning of another new year, and now is the time to commit to making it your year. The year you finally create the thriving dental practice you’ve always wanted. And remember, you don’t have to do it alone. I want to see you succeed – just let me know how I can help.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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