Plan for Success and Reap the Rewards
Many dentists spend a lot of time daydreaming about practice success. They imagine a practice much different from their own, where more patients accept treatment, broken appointments are rare and systems run smoothly.
Unfortunately, this daydream doesn’t last and these dentists come crashing down to reality. Instead of enjoying the success they crave, they find themselves scrambling through their days, running from patient to patient yet still rarely meeting production goals. They leave the office exhausted each day, and it’s no wonder. They’re constantly reacting to whatever comes their way, and all their efforts only seem to lead to high overhead, employee turnover, lackluster profits and stress.
The problem is, these dentists are spending too much time wishing and not enough time planning. Dreaming about success won’t get you there; you have to take action and start making changes if you want to reach your goals. That can seem overwhelming, I know, but don’t worry. I’m here to help guide you.
I suggest you start by changing your attitude. It all comes down to how you see yourself and your team. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you see your practice as one of the best in your community?
Trust me, the way you see yourself matters and directly effects practice success. If you come to work with a negative attitude, it will bring down team morale – and that will hurt production numbers. Your employees would much rather work for a positive doctor with a passion for dentistry than a crabby dentist who only focuses on the negative. And the happier your employees are, the more they’ll produce.
So what does all this have to do with planning? Simple. Happy, successful people plan. They’re not constantly reacting to what’s happening to them, leading to undue stress and frustration. No, they’re creating their own reality. They’re taking deliberate actions every day to get closer to their goals.
Keep in mind proper planning isn’t just going to happen on its own. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget about your vision and the reason you became a dentist in the first place. That’s why you really have to make planning a priority. Successful dentists meet regularly with their teams to plan their success. They hold weekly and monthly meetings to discuss what they’re doing right and where they can improve. But of course, for these meetings to work they must be effective and, you guessed it, follow a plan.
Let’s talk about the daily meeting, or the morning huddle as some like to call it. These meetings should last 15-20 minutes and conclude before the day’s first patient arrives. Designate one of your team members to lead the meeting, which should include a discussion of the current day’s schedule, highlights from the day before and a preview of what’s to come tomorrow.
Tell your clinical staff to review patient records before the meeting begins. Say Mr. Taylor is coming in for his professional cleaning today, but also has a cracked tooth that needs treatment. The hygienist now knows to educate Mr. Taylor about why he should get that tooth fixed and the possible consequences of ignoring the problem.
It’s also important for the Financial Coordinator to review each patient’s account balance. If Mrs. Watt has a large balance, for example, and is coming in for her hygiene appointment, you probably don’t want to talk to her about more elective treatment options. The coordinator also should discuss the amount of scheduled production the practice actually has for the day as compared to the goal.
Use these daily meetings to determine where emergencies should be placed and for clinical assistants to identify places in the schedule where the doctor might get backed up. When assistants know about possible backups, they can take steps to prevent them. That might mean adjusting hygiene checks to help ensure patient flow remains smooth or adding an additional assistant to help prep for a procedure.
There’s a lot you can get done in 20 minutes. Taking the time to hold effective meetings will help ensure you spot any potential problems and come up with a plan to avoid them, keeping the practice running smoothly and on track to meet goals. Everyone will be on the same page and doing their part to achieve practice success.
Next week: Get team members more involved in practice success.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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Should You Cancel In-Network Insurance PPO Contracts?
CEO Training Case #CEO450
“Dr. Memo” (names have been changed) signed up for McKenzie Management’s Dentist CEO Training Course because she was purchasing the practice where she had been an associate for ten years. She wasn’t happy with the way the practice was currently being managed and wanted to make some positive changes. Her vision of a fee for service practice with limited PPO out-of-network was what she wanted to create from the current practice, which was in-network with six different PPO contracts and chaotic with the pressure to keep eight treatment rooms filled. Often Dr. Memo felt that trying to balance numerous staff to treat a large volume of patients was a break-even situation.
She was aware of total production and collection statistics, but didn’t know the breakdown of what accounted for in-network insurance, fee for service numbers, and out-of-network insurance numbers. She had heard from experts that it wasn’t wise to cancel any contract until she analyzed the impact each PPO contract had on production/collection numbers.
Most major dental software such as Eaglesoft and Dentrix can provide reports of this information with a search for the number of patients on a plan and the total production generated from each group. Your dental software support team can help you with this if it is difficult to find. Remember too that you must check the terms of each contract for instructions to follow when cancelling. Some plans require a 30-day notice, others require a year and some state that you must send a letter to all the patient members of your intentions.
Before you embark on a campaign to free yourself from dental PPO contracts, read the following list to make sure you have done your homework.
Before cancelling your PPO contracts:
Can your practice let go of the PPO?
Practice due diligence before pulling the plug on the PPO. To learn how to manage your practice for success, call McKenzie Management today and schedule a business training course.
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