Ask, They Won’t Tell - Patient Survey's
Obstacles to Achieving the Ideal Practice.”
week… one of the barriers likely to be interfering in your
ability to reach your goals. Next week I’ll discuss proven
of the time the patients are pleasant, they say “thank you.”
And the majority of them at least act as if they appreciate the
care you and your staff provide, but you still have more patient
you can reasonably explain. Why do they leave? Why do they stay?
What do they like? What do they find frustrating or annoying? How
well are team members interacting with patients? What are the strengths
and weaknesses of the practice? And the most important question
of all, do you really want to know the answers to those questions?
a lot easier, and a lot safer for that matter, to ponder these practice
mysteries within the confines of your monthly staff meetings or
even late at night by yourself when you can’t sleep. Unfortunately,
those avenues give you essentially no real information that you
can use to address unspoken patient concerns. While you and your
team do receive some measure of feedback everyday from patients,
you don’t know what’s really on their minds
unless you ask and give them a safe avenue to respond.
surveys are extremely valuable tools that can provide enormous amounts
of information. The knowledge gained from asking a few straight
forward questions can yield major returns for the entire team.
If you have concerns about how team members are interacting with
patients, pose a few simple questions and you’ll know if those
worries are valid. If you are considering a major change to your
practice, such as relocating or opening a second office, you can
assess how your patients would react. You’ll discover how
patients really feel about your new financial policy, billing procedures,
or even how well they believe dental procedures are explained to
not only provide excellent, highly valuable information to the dental
team, they send a clear message to patients that they are appreciated.
Furthermore, patients respect and welcome your efforts to
improve the products and services that they are purchasing.
good reason, patient feedback is the most valuable tool in practice
management and development.
week ... developing the survey.
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
“Digital Chaos” Part 8
VP Professional Relations
Last week I discussed your collection business system as an integral
part of your overall business foundation. Different ways to leverage
your technology investment [see
article] were explained. This week I will focus on your treatment
planning system and ways to leverage your technology platform.
is the foundation of your treatment planning system.
description – The written, discussed, and agreed reason
Expectations – The performance you expect from this
Goals – Clearly attainable performance objectives in
support of your vision
Responsibility – Who is ultimately responsible for
this particular business system
Reporting mechanisms – Which reports they run to measure
Accountability – Presenting the reporting results to
the owner and the team
Statistical performance reviews – Compilation of reports
for the business system(s) under the responsibility of a particular
treatment coordinator or one of your business administrators assigned
to your treatment planning system should report the following
at each of your team meetings.
- Total dollars of outstanding
treatment in your database
- Total dollars of scheduled
- The percentage of
scheduled treatment plan production to total outstanding treatment
plans. (Divide scheduled treatment plans by the total outstanding
reports should be compared from last month to this month.
the above business foundation exists in your office, here are some
ways to use your computer system to leverage growth, efficiency,
and customer service.
(unscheduled) treatment plans, make perfect outbound call lists.
Your treatment coordinator is required to make a minimum
of 5 outbound patient service calls per day. As the
owner of the practice, you will need to provide an appropriate
script template and work hours consistent with the best results
for your area.
your unscheduled treatment plans on your computer system’s
electronic list. Do not print it to paper. Why? Think about
it for a second. You print a list, write notes on the list,
share the list with nobody, and then eventually, you throw the
list away anyway! Your computer system “should”
have a central communication area where you can see the list
on the screen, call from the list, enter pertinent notes from
the conversation, and set up the next phone call (if one is
sure the whole team looks at the patient notes EVERY time there
is telephone or visual patient contact. If your whole
team is going to use the centralized note area, make sure they
are in the habit of quickly reviewing the team notes area of
the patient record every time there is contact with the patient.
always, always, always, schedule treatment FROM the treatment
plan. Think of it like spooning water from one coffee cup to
another. If you do not do this, you will duplicate your work
and destroy the validity of your treatment plan reports. You
may also communicate the need for work to a patient who has
completed their work. Wow, talk about poor customer service!
The key to making this a habit within your workflow is to always
review the patient’s treatment plan when there is any
telephone or direct contact with a patient. Just like the team
patient notes, reviewing the patient’s treatment plan
will really pay off !
you pre-authorize claims for your patients, make sure you enter
the specifics in the treatment plan area of your computer system.
Enter the EOB information directly, then follow up with the
patient using the patient note area to store any pertinent notes
from the conversation.
your unscheduled treatment report. If a patient does NOT schedule
after being presented treatment, what do you do with them? They
SHOULD go right into your system’s “unscheduled
treatment” or “tickler file”. Different systems
have different names for the features. Your computer system
has these “places” for a reason. They want you to
put your unscheduled treatment in there so it is available to
you from the scheduler. If you have a 12 unit opening next Monday,
doesn’t it make sense to display all of the treatment
your patient’s need that is NOT scheduled yet? It makes
a LOT of sense!
Keep it clean! Just like every other database in your system,
your treatment coordinator needs to be responsible for maintaining
the data. It is simple. Most offices purge their treatment
plans older than 180 days. Your computer system probably
has a utility that will do it automatically for you. Keeping
your treatment plan data clean will make your performance reporting
week I will discuss automated scheduling systems.
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
I am a young dentist who has recently opened a new practice.
After a bad experience with hiring a front desk person who had difficulty
getting used to the job, I was forced to let her go and hire someone
who, based on her resume, would work out perfectly.
For the most part she has done well, and she started out exceeding
my expectations, but despite my repeated requests that she calculate
and write down the patient's estimated portion for their next visit
on their walkout sheet, she doesn't do it and when kindly asked
to start doing so she will argue at first as to why she thinks it
is a waste of time and then only concede by rolling her eyes and
agreeing to do it and still never do it.
know that I could loose my temper with her, but I don't really want
to direct my staff by confrontation or by threats of loosing their
jobs unless it is absolutely necessary. She also tends to take a
little bit of a disrespectful tone in passing which I am sure the
other dentists she has worked for would never have allowed.
Is there a tactful next step to handling this or should I simply
state that if she cannot do the job as it is laid out then I will
need to find someone who will?
Dr. Steven Youngblood
As a young dentist, your “tactful” business experience
will develop over time. Right now, you are experiencing a personnel
relations learning curve.
interacting with people, there are always good experiences and bad
experiences and people who look good on paper. Only time and experience
will give you the tools to make good team staffing decisions. However,
what can we learn from your experience so far?
us begin by explaining to all your new hires that there is a
probation period in effect. They do not have the job yet,
you want to witness their performance over x amount of days. When
evaluating a person, judging them by their list of activities, achievements,
and past positions does not communicate who they really are and
how well they will integrate into your team.
must be aware of this for the remainder of your career. You
use the piece of paper to make the first cut, and you use the interview
to make the second cut, and use probation to make the third cut.
experience that is universal is that because you will work hard
in order to achieve your goals of making money, you assume that
others will do the same. While reasonable, this is unjustified.
There are honest people and less than honest people trying to make
a living by imposing themselves on trusting employers. Therefore,
you cannot assume that a new hire shares your values and beliefs.
most people, her refusal to do what she is told demands an explanation,
a threat, and the act of dismissal. While I agree with this sequence,
I want to draw your attention to your personal model for expression.
know that I could lose my temper... I don't want to direct my staff
by confrontation... Or threats of losing their jobs". You do
not have to lose your temper, direct them through confrontation,
or threaten them with their jobs, because all of this is automatically
understood by every employee.
it is your youth and inexperience with business and employees that
leads you to believe that you are more of a family man than a business
man. In families, we refrain from confrontation, threats of painful
action and abandonment. In business, these consequences are assumed.
this knowledge, you can smile at your new hire and say, "I'm
sorry, I really am sorry, but you are not doing the job the way
I want it done, I have to give you your notice of dismissal.”
She will understand your decision. Of course, she won’t agree,
but this is not your problem, it is hers, now.
final note: will she understand your displeasure with her disrespectful
attitude? The answer is "Yes" she will understand because
she has encountered other people who have pushed her away because
of her poor attitude.
conclusion, I want to remind you that it is not your job
to help your employees with their personal, psychological or family
problems. You have a business to run and in order to enjoy
your business, it must run smoothly.
a smooth efficient business is a huge challenge for the best of
business professionals, therefore, when confronted with personnel
that detracts from that vision, there is only one solution.
encourage you to believe that your reaction to her behavior will
be understood, and therefore you should not feel even the slightest
reservations at expressing what you want. This is your business.
Want your issues answered? Ask the firstname.lastname@example.org.
McKenzie Management's Executive
Unleashing your potential to maximize
Want information? ...
You're Not Satisfied with Your Practice's Performance …
9 out of 10 practices have staff turnover every 15 months.
92% of dental practices lose more patients per month than replace
with new patients.
85% of dental practices grow less than 10% a year.
72% of practices' payrolls are more than 20% of revenues.
are you waiting for?
a Closer Look Here
Take your Hygiene Department to the Next Level
Is 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
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
Helpful Tips for Becoming a Better Listener
Most people spend roughly 70% of their waking hours in some form
of verbal communication. Yet, how many of us have ever had any
formal training in the art of listening? Here are two things you
can do to improve your listening skills.
get hung up on the speaker's delivery
Sometimes there are factors that simply reveal an awkwardness
in delivery rather than any attempt to mislead. The key is being
able to distinguish between the two. It's easy to get turned off
when someone speaks haltingly, has an irritating voice, or just
doesn't come across well. The key to good listening, however,
is to get beyond the manner of delivery to the underlying message.
In order for this to happen, you have to resolve not to judge
the message by the delivery style. It's amazing how much more
clearly you can "hear" once you've made the decision
to really listen rather than to criticize.
are distracted by interruptions; good listeners tune them out
and focus on the speaker and the message. It's a discipline that
lends itself to specific techniques for maintaining one's focus.
Here are some things that will help: Maintain eye contact with
the speaker; lean forward in your chair; let the speaker's words
"ring" in your ears; and turn in your chair, if necessary,
to block out unwanted distractions.
Business Training For:
· Office Managers
· Financial Coordinators
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators
· Hygiene Coordinators
Your Skills NOW!
Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental
737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037
For a FREE Educational Video
5 Dysfunctions of A Team- Part III
Absence of Trust
Lacking trust, teams waste inordinate amounts of time and energy
managing their behaviors, they dread meetings, and they are reluctant
to take risks.
Fear of Conflict
All relationships require productive conflict in order to grown.
Lack of Commitment
Reasonable human beings do not need to get their way in order to
support a decision, but only need to know that their opinions have
been heard and considered.
Avoidance of Accountability
The willingness of team members to call their peers on performance
or behaviors that might hurt the team.
Inattention to Results
For some, being a member of a group is a type of reward, results
might be desireable but not necessarily worth a great sacrifice.