Do I Have to Do to Get a Decent Hire?
In one year Dr.
Tom (real dentist, fake name) hired and fired ten dental assistants
–yes 10. Dr. Tom wasn’t eyeing placement in
the world record books but certainly, with an employment history
like that, he would likely be a contender for a dubious distinction
of some sort. Now I suspect a number of you will think, “Whoa,
Dr. Perfectionist Tom will never be happy with anyone.” Others
will surmise that Dr. Tom has a very high standard and simply won’t
settle for less. I contend that Dr. Tom has an ineffective
recruitment strategy. As the revolving door dental assistant
illustrates, Dr. Tom got what he consistently didn’t want
because he consistently used an ineffective approach. Undoubtedly,
he has paid a huge price in antacids alone, not to mention the impact
on the rest of his team and his patients.
Whether your practice is filling a vacant position once a month
or once a year, the office must have a recruitment system in place
that can kick into gear immediately. In some cases doctors and their
teams are given adequate notice of an employee’s intention
to leave. In other cases, the employee may walk out for lunch and
never come back. Regardless of the circumstances, a plan
and a system are essential. Too often the stress of losing
a team member, even those considered ineffective, can cause the
doctor to be pressured into solving the problem promptly –
get someone with a pulse in here fast – rather than
solving the problem effectively – hire the very best person
for the position and the practice.
A standing recruitment protocol is both a necessary
everyday practice tool as well as a critical safety net when the
staffing situation goes awry. So, how do you recruit the best employee
for your practice? First, cover the basics.
off the job description for the position. Think about
the type of person your job description is going to attract. Is
it going to appeal to the applicant who wants challenge, opportunity,
and the chance to be a part of a great team? Or is it going to
appeal to a goal-lacking, job hopper who will park in your practice
until something better comes along or they win the lottery? Word
the description so that it is more likely to appeal to the kind
of employee you want representing you on a daily basis. Include
the basics such as job title, job summary, and specific duties.
This clarifies what skills the applicant must possess and explains
what duties they are expected to perform.
Advertise smart. Identify those publications
and websites where your ad is most likely to reach the type of
employee you want to attract. In addition to the local paper,
consider local and area newsletters targeting dental assistants,
hygienists, and for business staff -management newsletters, such
as Women in Management.
Money Wise. When advertising the position, use
annual salary to your advantage. The annual figure has a much
greater psychological impact than a per hour figure; however,
dentists rarely give a yearly salary range. Place the annual salary
range directly under the title of the ad so that it appears as
part of the title. If the employee leaving the practice is making
$30,000, in the ad headline include a range that is $25,000-35,000.
That doesn’t mean that you will pay $35,000 to start but
it would be possible for the employee to reach that level.
Next week, streetwise recruitment strategies dentists frequently
never even consider.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
YOU FIND YOURSELF WAIST DEEP IN
to improve management techniques through your technology platform
VP Professional Relations
Last week, [see
article], I discussed the steps necessary to set up and implement
your lab case management. If you set up your system properly and
make sure the team members know how to use it, failsafe lab case
tracking will be as automatic as posting a procedure code and running
one report every day!
This week, I want to make sure your scheduler is
set up properly. When we are in dental practices, we almost always
teach better, easier,
faster, and more productive ways to schedule patients. This week,
I will just start with the basic setup.
Print a complete list of all of the ADA codes your office performs.
If you ask your practice management software to print a list of
ADA codes, it will print them all. You may want to print a production
report with a date range of the last full year. Doing so
(with the production report) will show you the ADA codes you performed
and the ADA codes you did not perform. Highlight all of the ADA
codes that have been performed more than 0 times in the past year.
Print one of these reports for each dentist and each hygienist.
A=Assistant (by themselves in the room)
D=Doctor (by themselves in the room)
H=Hygienist (by themselves in the room)
B=Doctor & Assistant (together in the room)
HA=Hygienist & Assistant (together in the room)
Take the highlighted list to each dentist and assistant. Deliver
the report to each hygienist. Ask them to break down (by time unit)
which clinical team member will be required in the treatment room
for each procedure. For instance, let’s assume you have assisted
hygiene and one hour recall appointments. Let’s also assume
your schedule is on 10 minute time units. Using the above guide
and six time units per one hour procedure, the hygienist might hand
write A-HA-H-H-H-A for a one hour recall.
I hope you follow me so far. The idea is to tell your computer system
exactly which clinical team member is assigned to each room (based
on procedure being performed) so you can visually see and make the
schedule as productive as possible. By seeing this
provider allocation on the scheduler, the scheduling coordinator
will also be able to avoid double and triple booking a provider.
We all know what happens when that happens!
Somewhere in your practice management software, there is a place
to assign provider allocation. Most (not all) practice management
software has this ability where the ADA codes are listed. Usually,
it’s the same screen where you enter your fees for each procedure
code. Look there first. If you look in the logical areas and can’t
find it – call your software support department.
They will help you.
Take the time allocation from your clinical team members (from the
list) and sit down at your computer. Enter the time allocation
for each procedure code. Some practice management software
will automatically see the new provider allocation of time and automatically
show it on the appointments that are already in your electronic
scheduler. Other systems will start to show you after the first
appointment made. Either way, if you book each dentist in the office
across two columns in your appointment book – you should immediately
be able to see where you can tighten the schedule and still stay
on time without killing anyone.
If your dentist works out of three chairs, the place to put try-ins,
suture removals, inserts, and post op checks will become unbelievably
obvious! If your dentist is asking the scheduling coordinator to
hit a daily goal target – this is definitely
a great way to make life easier!
I welcome any and all readers to email me with specific questions,
problems, requests and challenges. Who knows? Maybe your inquiry
will lead to a new Tips For Today article! Don’t worry, your
inquiry will remain anonymous.
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
you DON’T do anything to improve your
Productivity, or Profitability,
history is bound
to repeat itself.
Find out how you can make the
most of your practice...GO
Secret To Getting Your Hygiene Patients To Say “YES”
Dr. Allan Monack
Hygiene Clinical Director
you ever wondered why a patient did not follow through with the
perio treatment you recommended? Are you frustrated when a patient
has bleeding gums and says, “All I want is a cleaning.”?
Why, after referring a patient to a specialist, do they show up
for their six-month recall and tell you that they never made the
appointment? As the warden said in the movie, Cool Hand Luke, “We
have a failure to communicate.”
Usually, when you have long-term relationships with patients, the
trust factor allows you to overcome most potential
barriers with little effort. However, years of serving as the family
dentist is no guarantee that treatment recommended
will always be accepted. Rather a clear process for recommending
treatment is consistently the most effective means of securing treatment.
In fact, we find that if the treatment is presented to the patient
in a carefully orchestrated manner treatment acceptance
is almost automatic.
What is the method that gets a patient to say yes to treatment?
I call it co-discovery and problem acceptance. Before a patient
accepts treatment they need to accept responsibility for their own
health. If they don’t perceive a problem they won’t
perceive they need a solution. Co-discovery is essential
to helping the patient recognize and understand the extent
of their oral health problems. How do we implement co-discovery?
Let me use the following example. Your office has just instituted
protocol to perform scaling and root planing in the hygiene department.
Now every patient will have a full mouth evaluation and periodontal
probing. The patient is seated. The hygienist notes the condition
of the soft tissue and does a full mouth probing. “Mrs.
Smith you have gum pockets that need to be treated! We need to scrape
your roots and place a medication in the pockets. Let me schedule
that for you.” What is the probability that
Mrs. Smith will show for this appointment? Has she identified with
the diagnosis? Does she understand the maintenance necessary for
Now let’s consider a different approach to diagnosing the
problem. “Mrs. Smith, during your last recall
visit we noted some bleeding during your cleaning. There may be
something occurring that we need to treat to make your gums healthier.
As you know, maintaining healthy gums is essential to keeping your
teeth. In addition, new research has identified a link between gum
disease and heart attacks and strokes. I would like your permission
to do a diagnostic probing to find areas that may not be healthy.
Let me show you what I will be doing. This is a periodontal probe.
Notice the markings. They indicate how far the probe reaches under
the gums. If the probing depth is 3mm or less that usually indicates
a healthy area. If the probe measures 4mm or greater then it is
an indication of a problem. I’m going to hand you a mirror
so you can see what I am doing. Do you have any questions before
better yet, rather than handing the patient a mirror use an intraoral
camera to show the patient exactly what is going on. This is an
excellent tool to use in involving the patient more closely in co-diagnosis
of the dental condition. And you involve the patient in the diagnosis
you significantly impact the profitability of the practice. Study
after study shows significantly higher case acceptance when patients
can see and understand their oral health needs. As the cliché
goes, seeing is believing.
that you’ve shown them quite clearly what their oral health
situation is, it’s time to sit back and listen.
week in Part II of The Secret to Getting Your Patients to Say Yes,
the importance of Questions and Answers.
you would like more information on improving your hygiene department
contact Dr. Monack at firstname.lastname@example.org
YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE YOUR HYGIENE DEPARTMENT?
Clinical Practice Enrichment Program
is designed to improve Hygiene Clinical Skills and develop
and implement a step-by-step Interceptive Periodontal
Therapy Program that will immediately bring greater
productivity, with enhanced patient care. For more information...GO
Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?
YOUR HYGIENE DEPARTMENT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
your hygienist producing at least 33% of her total production
in periodontal services? Are the majority of your patients on
6 month recalls?
Most hygienists perform way below the industry standards. Why?
Because they can lack disease assessment skills or performance
skills, or because they don't know how to communicate to the
patient they have been treating every 6 months that they now
have gum disease.
This "how to" manual will help you to establish a
protocol for your hygienist to implement new strategies, formulas,
and techniques for developing an ultra-successful hygiene department.
Scripting and Treatment Plans
by Dr. Allan Monack, DMD, FAGD, Hygiene/Clinical Consultant
25 - 27
I have a new employee starting next week that is going to be in
charge of scheduling patients. What kind of advice can I give her
If there is a cancellation in the schedule, filling the open time
becomes top priority to the person in charge of scheduling. Even
if it is a “last minute” cancellation, try moving the
next patient ahead which will allow more time to fill that opening.
Don’t get “bogged down” with “priority confusion”.
Even though your job may entail tasks such as preparing the daily
schedule, pulling charts for the next day, preparing the deposit,
etc., those tasks do not take priority over filling an open time
slot. In order to feel comfortable in letting those tasks go undone,
obtain the support of your doctor and clinical staff. If, for example,
the charts were’t pulled for the next day, they understand
that time was spent securing scheduled appointments. The priority
of the person responsible for scheduling is to have the schedule
full and meeting the daily production goal. The easiest step to
take in getting an open time slot filled is calling patients who
want to come in sooner, if there is an opening. This technique is
simply “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, and not putting
any additional production on the schedule. Patients who do
not have appointments should be called first. However,
the exception to the rule is when a patient gives less than a 1/2
day notice of not being able to keep their appointment. Due to a
time constraint to get it filled, move an existing scheduled patient
into that slot. If more than 1/2 day notice is given, call those
patients from your Unscheduled Treatment Plan Report or Tickler
File/Missed Appointments Report.
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