to the Annual Exam
I bet you’re intimately
familiar with those large cabinets you have in your office. You
know the ones; they are most likely near the front desk area. They
contain page after page of vital information about your dental practice,
your procedures, and most importantly your patients. They are your
patient records and chances are pretty good that
they take up a very large space in your practice. Frankly, you could
probably do a lot with the area they consume. But this is practically
sacred ground, and those huge files with all those important records
about all those patients who come to see you day after day, well
a source of comfort and reassurance. Look at all
of them! You must be the most popular dentist in town! Too bad you
could probably gather up about half of them to use as kindling at
the next autumn bonfire.
every two patients that walk in the front door there is a good chance
that one of them will quietly slip out the back. It’s unlikely
you’ll notice until there seem to be a few too many
holes in the schedule or dollars are getting tight. Often
the patients just fade away. That is unless you examine not
only your patients’ dentition, but their documentation
at least annually. It’s called a chart or record audit.
what we see happening in dental practices all over the country …
I know, I know, you are certain yours is different. I wish it were,
but nine times out of ten you’re in the same boat
with the rest of your dental colleagues, and most of you are paddling
up the same creek. … Doctors are often lulled into believing
that they have a very active patient base. After
all, there are oodles and gobs of charts. One look at the yearly
sticker tells you at a glance how many of those patients are active.
Unfortunately, often the yearly stickers are showing you only what
you want to see and not the reality. During our onsite practice
consultations we ask dental teams when they place the yearly sticker
on the chart. The typical response is … “Well, Ms. McKenzie,
of course the sticker would be placed on the chart the first time
the patient comes in for any type of care that year.” Bzzzzz.
Sorry that would be an incorrect answer. Here’s why.
are any number of patients who are coming in when it hurts, but
they haven’t had an appointment with the hygienist
since the dawn of the new millennium. Place yearly stickers on the
record when the patient comes in for his/her recall appointment.
If the yearly stickers are placed correctly on
records, charts can be pulled for inactivity based on the sticker.
Most practices will keep a patient’s record in the file for
up to two years, beyond that they should be pulled.
you are assigning patient records to emergency patients
stop that habit immediately. Emergency patients that have never
been to the office for treatment should not be given a regular patient
record because this lends to the illusion of a substantial patient
base. Give them a smaller record until they purchase the comprehensive
exam….then they can get a “big” person’s
week, why should you waste time on chart/record audits and patient
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
Well Are You Managing Your Energy?
Dr. Nancy Haller
you lost interest in your work?
Are fatigue and irritation a part of your daily experience?
Are you becoming more fixed and rigid with your patients? Your staff?
Is cynicism creeping into your communication?
Do you feel depleted, isolated, alone?
so, you may be on your way to professional burnout.
consumes energy until your enthusiasm and motivation dry
up. Knowledge and abilities remain intact, but the desire
to perform, the spirit within is gone. Burnout
is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon. Energy waxes and wanes –
it’s never constant. Think of a campfire as an example. Depending
on the quantity and size of the logs, the flames change. And if
you don’t tend a fire, it burns out. So too with
people and their work.
always amazing to me how many high achievers act as if they
have a bottomless reservoir of energy. Rarely do I coach
executives who treat their wallet/budget the way they do their energy.
Consider this – if you used your money the way you
use your energy, you might be broke. You budget your money
because you know there is a finite amount of it. Practice the same
restraint with your energy. Replenish your energy regularly.
a story in Steven Covey's book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People. A person sees a lumberjack struggling with
a dull handsaw. Witnessing the slow and exhausting efforts,
the person asks the lumberjack why he doesn’t stop to sharpen
his saw. “I don’t have time; I’m busy
sawing”, he replies.
'sharpen your saw', take an energy audit. This one was
created by Tony Schwartz from The Energy Project. Rate
each statement along a 5 point scale:
never; 2=infrequently; 3=sometimes; 4=most of the time; 5=almost
I exercise at least three times a week.
I eat small, nutritious snacks every two or three hours.
I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
My level of energy is consistent and high throughout the day.
I eat a nutritious breakfast.
When I experience setbacks, I am able to recover my positive outlook
I feel relaxed and in control despite the pressures at work.
I have a good balance between taking care of myself and caring for
I feel secure and confident.
I am optimistic and forward-looking, rather than negative and blaming.
I focus well and shut out distractions at work.
I take time to think about long-term issues and strategy at work.
I set priorities and manage my time well.
I can step back and see the big picture even under pressure.
I am creative and imaginative.
I feel that my work makes a significant positive contribution to
I act in accordance with my most deeply held values, even under
I am passionate about my work and highly committed to what I do.
I derive a sense of meaning and purpose from my work.
I have a mission in life that is bigger than myself.
I create clear boundaries between work and home.
I am able to leave work behind at the end of the day.
I take a break every 90 minutes to 2 hours at work.
I create time in my life for activities that I find enjoyable and
I am still energized and able to engage when I get home at night.
Guide, by category:
22-25 On fire. You nailed this dimension.
17-21 Good energy management skills, but room for improvement.
13-16 Some energy management skills but this dimension needs attention.
10-12 Serious energy management deficits. Needs significant work.
Below 10 – Crisis-level deficits. Demands your immediate
111-125 - You are a model of balanced energy management.
95 -110 - You have many strengths, one or two weaker areas.
75 - 94 - Moderate strengths, significant deficits.
50 - 74 - You are at very high risk for burnout.
Below 50 - It’s amazing you are functioning. Take
your ability to monitor your energy and keep it
burning bright. One of the most effective ways is to find a mentor
a coach. It’s important to talk with someone who can help
you to re-ignite the fire.
Haller is available to speak to your dental society or study club
on subjects such as interpersonal communication, conflict management,
and team building. If you would like information about any of her
practice-building seminars, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 1-877-777-6151 Ext. 33
Executive Coaching Help YOU Be A Better CEO?
this test to find out ...
the Patient’s Perspective
may be the second most popular holiday after Christmas, but it’s
number one in the amount of candy consumed. According
to the National Confectioners Association, Americans are expected
to spend $2 billion on sugary candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters
this year, making Halloween the top holiday for
candy sales. What’s
more, 90% of all children typically engage in this annual tradition.
And the average trick-or-treater will consume 5,435 calories
and more than 3 cups of sugar. YIKES! That’s enough to give
any dentist a fright and it should be a hair raising thought for
parents as well.
But All-hallows Eve wasn’t always this glutton’s gorge
of dentition destroyers. Halloween's origins date back some 2,000
years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).
November 1 was the start of the New Year, and the day marked both
the end of summer and the beginning of the dark,
cold winter – a time often associated with death. On the eve
of this day, the Celts believed ghosts of the dead walked the earth.
To commemorate the event, large, sacred bonfires were built, crops
were burned, and a celebration was held in which the Celts wore
the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands.
In the seventh century, the Pope declared November 1 as All Saints
Day. It is believed today that the declaration was an effort to
replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a
church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was called All-hallows
and, eventually, Halloween. About 200 years later, November 2 was
designated All Souls Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated
much like Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in
costumes as saints, angels, and devils.
there’s no fighting a 2000 year old tradition like that, dentists
don’t have to sell their souls or their licenses to the devil.
In fact, Halloween is the perfect occasion for dentists to further
the message of good oral health and moderation
in candy consumption. Many dentists advertise in the local papers
suggesting that this is the time for parents to introduce their
children to the dentist for their first checkup.
Iowa dentist gave children $1 for every pound of candy they brought
to the office as part of a Halloween Health Day.
Some dentists give out toothbrushes and floss at their homes and
offices instead of candy. Children might not consider this a sweet
deal but parents love it. What’s more, these tooth healthy
“treats” also are excellent advertising venues,
provided you have your name, address, phone number, and website
printed on them.
day also provides an excellent opportunity to communicate
with patients and the parents of young children. Give them a list
of suggestions during Halloween season of steps they can take to
make the holiday a little easier on the teeth as well as overall
health. The list might include the following:
the temptation to nibble on the way. Fix a healthy
meal before children leave the house to trick-or-treat.
Wait until you are back home and all candy has been thoroughly
inspected before digging in.
only those items that are commercially wrapped.
Check the packaging and throw any suspicious
items away. When in doubt toss it out.
specific guidelines for how much candy a child
may eat in a sitting.
Restrict candy to after meals when there's more
saliva available to wash away food and help neutralize acid.
Consider making a small amount of candy available for the first
few days after Halloween then either discard or freeze
the rest for another time.
the younger trick-or-treaters to share with older
siblings, so that the child does not consume all of the treats
Allow the child to pick out their favorites and donate
the rest to food pantries for the needy. This encourages both
moderation and the value of sharing with those less fortunate.
Make sure kids brush twice a day and most importantly
giving away alternatives to candy such as Halloween
stickers, pencils, erasers, key chains and coins.
is great fun for children of all ages. Make the most of the opportunity
to promote good oral health. Your patients will appreciate your
helpful advice and their smiles won’t be looking like the
DOES YOUR OVERHEAD
look forward to each new day with my team, and what
we will accomplish today that will create the tomorrow
that I want. I am happy because I feel in control again.
I am happy because I understand my and my team’s
role. I am happiest to have my feelings of fear, for
the future of my practice, diminishing daily and being
replaced by confidence.
am looking forward to having my finger on the pulse
of my practice again. Thank you McKenzie Management.
WANT TO BE
You Increased Your Hygiene Days Per Week In The Past Year?
To Have A Sucessful Recall System
By Sally McKenzie
patient retention is not guaranteed by preappointing, sending
postcards, letters, or even phone calls. But an effective use
of an integrated retention system can significantly improve your
ability to keep patients returning. This step-by-step guide to
the systems used by today's most progressive practices includes:
letters that get responses, telephone monitoring techniques to
ensure patient retention, tools to monitor your success, and scheduling
tips for a productive hygiene department.
Missed Past Issues of Our e-Management Newsletter?
I am thinking about not accepting assignment of benefits from insurance
anymore. Do you have any advice on guiding me in this direction?
Dr. North Carolina
I must warn you that it is not a wise business decision to “impulsively”
decide to stop taking assignment. This very reason is why many doctors
hire us as consultants, i.e., to evaluate their situation and advise
them. You do need an assessment of how many plans you are presently
accepting, how many active patients on the recall are on the plans,
how much revenue has been generated and lost from active patients
on these plans, how many new patients per month do you get from
the plans, what is frustrating you to the point of wanting to drop
the plans, how many dentists within 10 miles of your office take
assignment from the plans you are presently on, how many people
in your geographic area rely on your taking assignment because the
socio economics doesn’t warrant them having available funds
to pay upfront. Stopping assignment can be devastating to your business
and your cash flow without proper planning and research. Let me
know if we can be of help.
US TRAIN YOUR
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
Pearl Street, Suite 201
La Jolla, CA 92037
OUT OF YOUR
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
Pearl Street, Suite 201
La Jolla, CA 92037
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