“I am a slave to my day.” “I
feel totally out of control.” “I am running virtually
7 a.m. to 4 p.m.” “By 5 o’clock I can barely concentrate
long enough to turn the key in the ignition.” Any of
these sound familiar?
one of the most critical systems, if not the most critical,
is the schedule. It will either burn you out or fire you up. Save
you or slave you. It’s your ticket to freedom or your ball
and chain. For many doctors, the schedule often lapses into a hodge-podge
of space and
strung together with little direction other than – “We
know the doctor wants to be busy.” Busy yes, brain dead no.
Controlling the schedule requires constant vigilance, commitment,
and, yes, training. But every well-managed schedule has a few key
elements. Read on.
First, consider the bottom-line. How much does
the practice need to produce to meet your financial needs and wants
– i.e. goals? How many hours per day and days per week do
you want to work? How much vacation time do you want to take? How
much do you need to pay your staff and yourself, the mortgage, utility
bill, etc. Identifying your practice’s financial demands and
objectives enables doctor and team to understand the importance
of scheduling to meet daily production goals. It provides the scheduling
coordinator with clear scheduling objectives, and it allows the
doctor to focus on diagnosing the best dentistry for patients.
Scheduling time should be clear and consistent. It also
MUST be communicated by the doctor/assistant. Clearly communicating
the specific time needed for treatment ensures that the scheduling
coordinator isn’t rolling the dice on your day – it’s
not up to chance whether she gets it right. She knows exactly how
much time to allocate. Complicated stuff – eh?
For example, the doctor examines a hygiene patient and determines
they need three fillings. The doctor tells the hygienist specifically
how much time is necessary. She, in turn, can specifically tell
the scheduling coordinator exactly how much doctor time and assistant
time to book. The doctor’s time should be scheduled in one
color on the computer and the assistant’s in another. This
simple strategy ensures that the doctor is not double-booked.
Avoid the tendency to over schedule. No doubt there
is a temptation when presenting higher dollar, multi-appointment
treatment plans to nail down all those visits at once with the patient,
like some sort of patient insurance policy. In reality, booking
the entire treatment plan does nothing to guarantee that the patient
won’t change or cancel appointments. On the flip side, it
does everything to make your schedule appear clogged and overwhelming.
What’s more, practices that overbook typically force loyal
patients to wait several weeks for routine procedures – seriously
bad customer service. The doctor should never be scheduled out more
than three weeks from a customer service point of view.
procedures to the assistant. Many states have expanded
functions for dental assistants. Maximize your time, your talent,
and your staff and give your team the opportunity to achieve their
full potential. Provide necessary training to prepare your staff
to perform procedures that they are legally allowed to carry out
in your practice. If you do not have the confidence that your assistant
can handle the additional responsibility even with proper training
then she should be replaced – plain and simple.
Review the schedule as a team first thing during the a.m.
huddle. The clinical staff can then advise the scheduling
coordinator where to place any emergency patients. The dental assistant
also can review specifically what procedures are scheduled and set
up the treatment rooms accordingly.
time for crown and bridge appointments based upon actual
patient activity. Avoid the tendency to engage in “wishful
scheduling” in which more time is reserved for the doctor’s
“ideal” treatments than the practice has a history of
delivering. Rather, calculate the number of crown and bridge units
over the last six months, divide by the number of days worked. Reserve
time in the schedule based on the number of units actually performed.
necessary time for new patients. Look at new patient activity
over the last six months. If you saw 60 new patients (comprehensive
exams), that would be 10 per month and 2.5 per week. Reserve at
least that much time in your schedule to handle immediate new patient
demand. Remember, new patient slots should always be reserved during
prime time and attempt to make them diversified during the day/week.
The schedule is your servant not your master. Take
charge of it and reclaim control of your day, your work, and your
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Computing - Part 6
Last week, I discussed your clinical computing commitments to your
article]. We discovered many benefits to your existing patients.
As we work through these individually, I would like you to keep
in mind all of the end
to you and the dental team. Any time your service level is increased,
your patient value perception is increased. When a dental practice
earns a high patient value perception, more treatment will be accepted,
higher fees will be justified, collections will go up, referrals
(organic growth) will increase, and your whole team will feel better
about coming to work every day.
Today’s Patient WOW’s
“A patient of ours will never show up for an appointment
with a missing or incomplete lab case.”
How embarrassing is that when it happens?
Until now, if you tracked your lab cases with the computer system,
it was generally a business team function. Now that you have computers
in the treatment rooms, this will become 90% clinical team and 10%
business team. The process “should” work like this.
The dentist tells the assistant (verbally) that we have completed
a crown prep today (with appropriate tooth number). Your practice
management system will most likely prompt you to open a lab case.
The dentist tells the assistant which lab, it is entered, and saved.
Once each morning a dental assistant should have the responsibility
of printing an outstanding lab case report (or review it on screen
if it’s near the lab trays). The assistant tells the computer
which cases have arrived in good shape and are ready for the patient.
This tells the front desk everything is ready when they appoint
and/or confirm an appointment with a patient. That’s it! When
the crown seat is posted in the treatment room, the lab case will
be officially closed. It’s that simple!
“A patient of ours will always have a completed HIPAA
You are undoubtedly going through this right now. It is up to the
business team to present, receive (scan if you want to), and tell
the computer system that they are in receipt of a completed HIPAA
form. It is up to the clinical team to “see” that every
patient has the HIPAA form completed before beginning work. Your
practice management software may alert you of a missing HIPAA form
as you enter the patient’s chart. Your software may actually
allow you to set up an alarm if the HIPAA form isn’t complete.
Look closely at your software for these “alarms”.
“A patient of ours will always have a recently completed
or updated medical history form.”
Just like the HIPAA form, the medical history form is presented,
received (perhaps scanned), and entered into the computer system
by the business team. It is obviously the responsibility of the
clinical team to review the medical history information prior to
treatment. Some practice management software incorporates the medical
history into the examination “flow” (there’s that
word again). Look in your software to see how easy it is to quickly
review the patient’s medical history as one of the first
steps within your clinical information review flow.
Next week, more patient WOW. Email me some ways you use
your computer system to WOW your patients. I would love to hear
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using
Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec.
10th in La Jolla. For more information email email@example.com
or call 1-877-900-5775
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
have received many e-mails and have had long conversations with
practitioners over their ability to be a “leader” and
what is going wrong with this process. Last week, we talked about
ability to love the people that you work with. If you cannot feel
a closeness or intimacy with these people, who are helping
you to make money, then you cannot ask them to follow you
into the depths of the unknown. It is simply unreasonable to expect
However, there is another truth which is often overlooked. You are
running a business; this is not the military nor politics. Simply
by being the owner of the business, the people to whom you pay money
to in an exchange of services are already predisposed to
follow your instructions which are consistent with their
people have heard the expression “lead by example”.
Some of these people have internalized this definition to say that
if I will not do it then how can I ask someone else to do it. It
is this reasoning that permits a type of mild anarchy to run rampant
in offices that are poorly managed.
that are poorly managed require two things: systems which
provide structure, and coaching which redefines the interpersonal
relationship between owner and staff. Practice management
consulting is the most efficient way to improve a business culture
of confusion due to a lack of guidelines. The second most important
step is that the owner of the business must learn that, as the owner
of the business, they are the automatic leader of the business and
therefore do not have any leadership problems. The problems appear
when they harbor a different definition of leadership or are unwilling
to accept this simple business definition.
Many practitioners see themselves as would-be politicians or military
geniuses charged with the impossible task of saving the day through
insight, cunning, and reallocating resources as needed. I hope you
can see this as gross exaggeration and intentional hyperbole.
For those that I have worked with in coaching, what I have discovered
about these practitioners, who want to be better leaders, is that
being a leader is a terrifying experience. They
believe that they are suppose to have the necessary skills, but
are dismayed to find themselves ill prepared. In response to believing
that they are ill-prepared, the first thing they want to do is go
back to school. They buy a book or go to a seminar expecting to
learn for themselves how to be "a leader".
solution to their particular problem has nothing to do with leadership
skills or being unable to follow the dictates of a book or seminar.
Rather, their difficulty is really the reappearance of a very old
and familiar problem. A problem they have lived with for decades.
The problem I am speaking of dates back to childhood when they learned
that there was no point in telling others what to do because
no one would listen. In other words, those practitioners
that believe in their need for leadership skills believe
that leadership is somehow some magical concept that will allow
them to have people listen to them and in turn do what they want
them to do.
week a continuation of the “social business contract”
between employer and employee.
Want your issues answered? Ask the firstname.lastname@example.org.
miss The Coach’s workshops on November 8th, Taking
Your Practice Back – Leaderhip Development for Dentistry.
For more information email email@example.com
or call 1-877-900-5775
Your Chairside Assistant Were More Efficient?
long have you been practicing inefficiently? Are all those compromises
you've been making worth the price of lost production and the
physical wear and tear on your body? Wish you could choreograph
your chariside team for optimal performance? If so, then this
DVD "Optimizing Team Performance" was designed for you!
This training resource was produced by Risa Simon, a certified
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My question is about % collections. To get this number, do you take
into account all money coming in for that particular month? For
example, looking at September collection % do I only look at collections
from September procedures or do I add all money coming in, even
though it was produced in August? Considering a month to month basis,
collecting 95%+ from that month’s production seems rather
difficult. If it takes into account collection from the production
of the previous month, I could see where it would be misleading
to look at that %. In other words, slow current month in production
and a stellar previous month would lead to over a 100% collection
Can you help clarify?
The collection percentage is calculated by taking the collection
divided by the adjusted production. It is adjusted production because
you can't collect what you adjusted off.
This percentage can be figured for the month, the past two months,
the past three months, year to date, etc. It has nothing to do with
what was produced the previous month and collected two months later.
However, this is why it is best to look at the collection percentage
for the month and also year to date. You can have a "roller
coaster" effect in the percentage from month to month. The
year to date should show close to the 98% which is industry standard.
However, if looking at your aged accounts receivable report you
see the % of monies owed by patients and insurance is more than
12% over 90 days, then immediate effort needs to be applied to get
in that old money plus 98% of the monies produced currently which
means that your collection ratio would be over 100% for a period
of time until the "old" money was collected or reduced
to an acceptable %.
Hope this helps.
you wondering if your hygiene department is producing what it could
Allan Monack's hygienist produces $1231 a day seeing
1 patient an hour with a
prophy fee of $70.
your hygienist producing?
Monack is the Hygiene Clinical Consultant for McKenzie Management.
He can help you produce the same results.
To find out more about the Hygiene
Clinical Enrichment Program [go
here], contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call: 877-777-6151
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037