Retention - Easy Come, Easy Go?
Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu, are your patients finding
too many ways to say goodbye? If so, it’s certainly not the
Sound of Music to your ears. If yours is a “revolving door”
practice, I have good news and bad news. First, the good news, you
have far more control over patient retention than you realize.
The bad news, you have far more control over patient retention than
things aren’t going as we would like or expect them to be,
it's much easier to blame
forces than to look at
what we should be doing differently. The market is down, the economy
is on a wild ride, and people are tightening their belts. No question,
all of those factors do influence patients and, consequently, your
practice. But you are not at the mercy of the outside world.
There are steps you can take to dramatically improve your patient
retention. The first is to determine if you’re losing
patients by answering three simple questions:
many inactive patient charts have you shoved into a corner somewhere?
you increased hygiene days per week in the last year?
your hygienist’s salary more than 33% of what they produce?
the number of inactive charts is enough to open a second practice
or if you answered yes to question two or three, you have
the opportunity to make significant gains in your patient retention
Remember that it costs five times as much to land a new
patient as it does to keep an existing one. Target those
who know you or are at least familiar with your practice. Build
patient loyalty, provide the very best in patient service, emphasize
the value of your dentistry, and market to your existing patient
base. The more patients you keep coming back, the greater your source
for new patient referrals. Next week, six steps to maximize
your patient potential.
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
“Digital Chaos” Part 12
VP Professional Relations
Last week I finished a discussion on your scheduling system as an
integral part of your overall business foundation. Different ways
to leverage your technology investment [see
article]. This week I will focus on your insurance
system and ways to leverage your technology platform.
following is the foundation of your insurance 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
Insurance Coordinator or one of your Business Administrators assigned
to your insurance system should report the following at
each of your team meetings.
- Total outstanding
claims (aged 30, 60, 90)
- Total insurance dollars
collected (for the reporting period – usually 1 month)
- Total insurance dollars
submitted (for the same reporting period)
- Review (with clinical
team) any claims that require additional narration, xrays, etc.
- Discuss new documentation
requirements with clinical team as they are discovered.
the above business foundation exists in your office, here are some
ways to use your computer system to leverage growth, efficiency,
and customer service.
- If you don’t
already, start submitting insurance claims electronically.
There are simply no more excuses. Submitting electronically is
now a business system requirement.
connected! Your insurance coordinator should have access
to the internet. Verification of coverage and benefit
information can be found on many insurance company web sites.
Some allow you to view and even edit (add narratives) a submitted
claim. These services will expand over time because it saves
the insurance companies money.
update your computer system’s bluebook (insurance tables)
when a payment comes in. Doing so will make your estimation
of benefits during the treatment plan more accurate and raise
your customer service level!
prepare the patient (prior to their appointment) for their responsible
portion (assuming this is your financial policy). Updating
the insurance information in your computer will make this accurate
practice management systems have multiple billing statement
layouts to choose from. Review all of the available options.
Choose the statement layout that clearly associates
an insurance payment with the claim for which it was submitted.
This will decrease the overhead of annoying phone calls after
you send the patient a statement.
sure your statements show at least 45 days of detail.
Thirty days of detail is not enough to show the patient, especially
if you see multiple patients from the same family.
- Prepare the insured
patient. Tell them what to expect. Show them
an example of a statement. All you have to do is add a patient
called “Statement Example” and load some example procedures
with sample payments.
week we will discuss more ways to leverage your technology platform
in order to manage your insurance system with minimal hassle for
you and your patients.
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
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
Two weeks ago, I received a letter from Dr. Desperate [see
article]. He has 4 ladies working for him, Lacy outwardly dislikes
Stacy, and Stacy prefers not to defend herself. Dr. Desperate loves
them all “desperately” and wants everyone to get along.
So he chooses to not believe the rumors, and refuses to do anything
to resolve the shallow tension that is upsetting the tranquility.
Last week [see
article], I received a letter from his older brother (not literally).
He identifies with his brother’s frustration and admits to
visualizing solutions which all turn out bad for his brother. In
response to these imaginations, Dr. Desperate’s brother has
opted to keep his practice small but manageable.
The brother goes on to describe dentists in his brother’s
situation as “conflict-phobic introverted technicians”
who might better choose to not run a dental practice as a solution,
and then admitted that the coaching suggestions to Dr. Desperate
were well intentioned but unusable.
ability to use the suggested solutions require that Dr. Desperate
do something. He must decide to become an improved version
of himself. Stacy and Lacy combating each other is not
the problem. Dr. Desperate’s “conflict phobia”
is the problem.
would Dr. Desperate do if one of the feuding team members said...”Do
something, don’t just stand there.” Would he do anything
or just cry out “why can’t we all just get along?”
The problem is not the team members, it is the leader who
refuses to intercede on behalf of the team and provide leadership.
Desperate’s older brother has a solution which is to continue
to hide, because all of his imagined options leave him losing the
this strike anyone as odd that this person of education and achievement
cannot visualize a single solution other than to hide, remain small
and limit his natural potential?
Desperate has a phobia that he tolerates and his brother believes
that the phobia is untreatable. Do these doctor's sound like members
of the same family or what?
are realistic solutions. Human nature makes some of these
solutions very clear, but only to those willing to look
with eyes open. Here are some truths for you to ponder:
Desperate wants everyone to volunteer to get along because that
is how he has survived through life. Give in, be quiet, and
they will let you stay. From this perspective, he has no experience
as a leader of anything, not even his family.
Desperate’s older brother perceives himself and his brother
as “conflict-phobic introverted technicians.” This
is a family trait. If given the choice to be an extroverted
confrontation lover, I am sure they might consider how good
that might feel for a moment and then imagine more negative
scenarios and again decide to remain a limited power in their
for Stacy and Lacy, here are some hypothetical truths. Lacy
has a colored past and doesn’t want to defend it because
she knows there are some truths to Stacy’s beliefs. Regardless
of the truth, these truths have no bearing on doing the job,
and Lacy is free to tell Stacy to “act like a team member
and not a union buster”. However, Lacy is afraid
to defend herself, and this is her fault.
is looking for control and influence. She picks on someone small
and weak in order to demonstrate her “leadership”
ability and deflect everyone away from the fact that her self-esteem
is quite low and perhaps so is the quality of her work. She
is a bully in every sense of the word. Picking on people
who cannot or will not fight back is the M.O. of a very insecure
leaders (Dentists) earn the respect and allegiance of their
team (office manager, receptionist, assistants, hygienist, etc.)
by behaving in a very clear and decisive manner. Leaders
must earn the trust of the team by telling the team where they
are going and how they will get there.
the leader can tell them where they are going and how they will
get there, the leader must know their job and know the job of
the team members, and set a consistent example of behavior,
values, and character.
values, and character consist of not blaming others, taking
corrective action immediately, and moving on without delving
on the past. They look out for the welfare of their employees,
communicate clearly what they want, and insist
that the job is performed according to the leader’s standards
there is the sense of team spirit that comes from good leadership.
It generates an atmosphere of cooperation and camradery that
makes coming to work everyday something to look forward to.
Dr. Desperate believes in “peace at all cost”, and his
older brother believes in “why bother trying, just limit your
dreams and you will make it through the day.”
If you are reading this column, something inside you desires that
your personal greatness find expression everyday. It is my belief
that you desire to be bold in your actions and would choose
such boldness, if it were available.
Dr. Desperate and his older brother have shut down their dreams
and vision. It is for this reason that they cannot see the truth.
It is not necessary to appeal for justice, just tell them what you
To all those who share this problem, I offer the following solution:
become the people you want to work with by setting the example.
Yes, I know this is easily said, and yes, it is harder to do....but
that is what coaching is all about: good coaches dispel the myths
of Dr. Desperate’s older brother and bring forward Dr. Desperate’s
behaviors that remain in the background of his personality such
that new conditions of friendship and power can emerge, grow, and
flourish. It can be done !!!
Want your issues answered? Ask the firstname.lastname@example.org.
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to know why your employees act and interact the way they do?
book is for you!
Understanding How Personality Types Can Affect Practice Success
in dental offices are caused by a breakdown in communications
due to different personality styles. Understanding your employees'
personality traits can help to better match your staff with the
work they are likely to do best.
on the Myers Briggs Temperament Type, each job position in dentistry,
business, clinical and hygiene is discussed as to which personality
types are best suited to fill those positions. Dentists will learn
how their personality affects their ability to successfully manage
the business and its employees. Included is the book Please
Understand Me which provides the personality test and scoring
you order before 6/27/03
5 Dysfunctions of A Team- Part V
Absence of Trust
It is only when you are truly comfortable being exposed that you
will begin to act without concern for protecting yourself.
Fear of Conflict
When members do not open up the debate and disagree about important
ideas, they often turn to back channel personal attacks.
Lack of Commitment
Commitment is about clarity and buy in.
Avoidance of Accountability
nothing like letting down your teammates that motivates people to
improve their performance.
Inattention to Results
The goals and objectives that executives set for themselves along
the way constitute a more representative example of the results
that the team strives for ultimately.
we can come back to the center and visit soon! I also wanted to
brag on our office! Yesterday, my
hygiene department produced $2,025 in one day! We
were so excited! Just thought I would let you know and thank you
for all your advice! Our hygiene department rocks!!*
Graduate of The Center for Dental Career Development
Results are four months after receiving training from The Center
Business Training For:
· Office Managers
· Financial Coordinators
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators
· Hygiene Coordinators
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Business Education for Dental Professionals
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