the Most Wonderful Time of the Year … or Not
The holidays bring with them the potential
for teams to celebrate the close of what you expect (and hopefully
know) will be a highly productive and profitable year. Ideally the
team has been carefully monitoring the systems in the practice,
has been modifying and adjusting along the way to address problems
within the systems, and as the year comes to a close, the entire
team knows exactly how much “celebrating” the practice
can actually afford to enjoy this year. Meanwhile, the doctor has
been showing his or her appreciation of the team
the last 11 months. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the ideal
and the reality are about as far apart as Southern California and
the North Pole.
Typically, instead of visions of sugar plums dancing through the
doctor’s head he or she is seeing red and it’s not that
lovely poinsettia perched in the reception area. Not to sound like
Scrooge himself, but too often the holiday season is synonymous
with stress for a number of reasons. Compounding the worry of “how’s
the practice going to finish the year,” doctors
are lucky to get one solid work week out of the staff from mid November
until after the New Year. Patients are canceling or not showing
for appointments because they would rather spend that money on gifts
than dental work.
many doctors feel pressured to deliver with no less than a spectacular
bang a year’s worth of thanks and gratitude to the team in
the form of one whopping big bash, cash bonuses, and/or expensive
gifts, “I’ll reward all ‘my ladies’
with diamond necklaces. They’re women and every woman
loves a diamond –right? They will instantly know how much
I appreciate them, and they won’t think a thing about working
through the lunch hours when we need to.” Yeah, right,
too much eggnog for you, doctor!
often doctors use this season of giving in a desperate attempt to
make up for the long days, 15-minute lunches, lack of direction,
and near total absence of team appreciation that is SOP the rest
of the year.
it’s quite a shock when those fancy holiday “rewards”
are handed out to employees and the response is an ice cold winter
wind blowing through. Don’t they realize
you had to stay up pretty late to catch the QVC diamond dazzler
special, just so you could purchase 10 of the exact same necklace
for every one of the “ladies.” Then you put each in
an individual, little holiday gift bag and actually included tissue
paper this year!
why in the world wouldn’t Tammy, who enjoys field hockey and
Monday night football, appreciate that little bauble? After all
it’s pretty likely she doesn’t own one. Or how about
Jackie who is a single mom and is struggling to make ends meet,
gee why do you think she didn’t look impressed by the sparkler?
Next week, giving the Perfect Holiday Gift and avoiding
the Holiday “Chill.”
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Computing - Part 13
More Patient WOW
Last week [see
article],I discussed two commitments to our patients when you
implement computer systems into the treatment rooms. This week,
I am going to continue by examining the process involved with referral
patient of ours should expect us to coordinate treatment professionally
and efficiently (electronically) with those to whom we refer.
We have general dentists and specialists reading our columns each
week. This specific patient commitment will have two separate explanations
– one for the general office and one for the specialist office.
A general practitioner can refer patients to one
or more specialists. There are two key areas of improvement (benefit)
when you use your computer system properly to co-manage patient
treatment. They are business efficiency and clinical efficiency.
From the business perspective, you definitely want to store who
you referred this patient to and when you expect them to return
to your practice. Someone (most likely the scheduling coordinator)
would be responsible for monitoring the “expected back”
report on a weekly basis. The follow up is simple. Call the business
administrator at the specialist office and inquire on the status
of the patient’s treatment IF you don’t already know.
You can call, call and email, or just email your inquiry to the
specialist office. As referral reports arrive in the mail (or electronically)
from your specialists, simply scan them (or attach them) into the
patient’s record. Most of those referral reports contain the
status of the patient’s progress in their office and offer
an explanation as to the patient’s expected return to your
From a clinical standpoint (in a general office), if you have a
digital chart, digital camera images, and digital x-rays of your
patients, assembling them in Word document or PowerPoint and emailing
them to the specialist should only take a minute or two. It is the
same process we discussed last week when we talked about sending
digital treatment plans to a patient’s spouse. If
more than one specialist is involved with this patient’s treatment,
the email should be copied to all doctors involved. Make
sure you have a signed copy of a records release form in the patient’s
record before you send the information along to the specialists.
A general dentist should be storing pertinent notes from their telephone
conversations with specialists. Why? Because your business team
can look to see the latest plans you have for this patient before
deciding to follow up with the patient if they are overdue to return
to the office.
A specialist should be very interested in exploiting
the power within their technology platform. Electronically receiving
patient information and electronically submitting your status reports
will save the general office a TON of time. Business
administrators in general offices absolutely love to have their
job made easier and more efficient. Hmmm, can you guess where I’m
going with this?
At the business desk of a specialty office, electronically confirming
receipt of a referred patient takes seconds. Notifying the general
practice that the patient KEPT their appointment
takes seconds. Notifying the general dentist that you want to discuss
a particular clinical issue in regard to treating this patient takes
seconds. You can even include an image or x-ray with the electronic
communication and “point to” or “circle”
a specific area of concern on the image. The specialist should be
entering pertinent notes from consultation conversations with the
general dentist into the computer system. Why? Your business team
will have an up to date record on the timing of their follow up
with the patient.
In the treatment room of a specialty office, it should be general
rule to send pre-op and post-op images and x-rays to the general
dentist after treatment is completed. Once treatment is completed,
the specialist office should also send a document or email stating
the patient’s work in your office is complete and you are
referring the patient back to the general dentist.
specialists that have embraced technology have created
electronic communities out of their referring general dentists.
I have recommended to several specialists around the country that
they get to know their referring general dentists technology platform,
their capabilities, and their shortcomings. Many of those specialists
have provided the internet connections, bandwidth, and learning
necessary for their general practices to directly communicate with
the specialist office.
Who do you think gets all the referrals in town?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-877-900-5775
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
with last week’s column directed to the employee, this week
I will comment on feeling important and trusting others with whom
review of several points from last week:
Business owners have certain inalienable rights.
owners can tell people the truth and tell people what they want.
Business owners will hire staff within their own model of inadequacy
owners contribute their own brand of pain and disappointment by
handpicking their staff.
owners create the chronic office culture of chaos, emotional abuse,
and financial catastrophe.
To those staffers who do not want to be part of the negativity or
participate in the drama of office politics but would rather find
the harmony and tranquility of the moral and ethical high road of
the daily work routine, I offer you the following observations.
It is a universal feeling that our presence anywhere we choose to
go be acknowledged, respected, and accepted as part of the daily
office effort for success. This is called “Self-Esteem”.
The feeling of being important and significant is another
example of the two-way street in human relations. The owner
of the business must in some way acknowledge your job description,
the importance that you carry out your job description, and provide
you with the feedback when you are successful or unsuccessful at
fulfilling your job description.
The staff member is challenged with coming to work everyday with
a sense of importance and purpose and a commitment to carry out
their job description. This commitment has nothing to do with the
owner of the business. In other words, every staff member
is charged with coming to their daily work with the attitude and
the spirit that goes with the sentiment of being happily employed
and a member of a winning team.
summary, your importance in the office must reflect acknowledgment
by the owner of the business and your ability to show up for work
committed to the overriding goal of the day. If the energy from
the business owner is not forthcoming or if you do not come to work
sincerely prepared, then your perception of your importance as well
as the perception by others of your importance will be sufficiently
contaminated and placed in doubt. This doubt will erode every interaction
during the daily office routine.
It is reasonable to ask am I taken seriously enough such that I
am trusted to perform my duties, and furthermore do I trust that
others will perform their responsibilities just as successfully.
The concept of trust is something that you bring to work
everyday. It really has nothing to do with where you work
and with whom.
Trust is a feeling that we all are supposed to receive as a result
of our childhood upbringing and this feeling that we carry into
adulthood permits us to not only offer other people a guarantee
that we will fulfill our commitment, but also provides for that
initial assumption that they to will fulfill their commitment.
ability to trust is the ability to give this initialed freedom to
the other person in order to demonstrate their true intentions.
This can be applied to all of your staff members, team members as
well as to the owner of the business. However, once that
initial sense of trust is betrayed, then we are obliged to take
appropriate action in order to protect our interests. If
the owner of the business does not keep his promise today, then
it is reasonable to assume that he or she will not keep their promise
tomorrow or the next time it is convenient. Should a staff person
remain in a position with such a business owner, they can only expect
to be disappointed in the future, because their initial trust was
The same can be said for the business owner. He or she will trust
that a staffer has told the truth on their resume, that they can
do their job, and that they will continue to perform their job until
such time as some impediment occurs. At such a time that an impediment
occurs which might impede that trust, it is understood and assumed
that the staffer will let the owner of the business know that there
has been a change in the relationship.
most important element about trust is that it is something that
we all bring to the office on the first day of work. It is a feeling
that we either have on the first day of work or we do not. Yes,
there are varying degrees of trust, but the truth remains that it
is more like an on-off switch. If we have trust, then we
will give other team members as well as our boss the benefit of
the doubt; and, if we lose our trust, and remain in our
position, then we will begin our relationship with the owner and
the other team members with negativity, insecurity, bouts of anger
and rage, a sense of resentment, frustration, and a background fear
that we will be hurt. This environment will simply ruin that day
and everyday thereafter.
Thus, trust is something that we bring to work with us initially,
and we are charged with the responsibility to maintain that trust
with the people that we work with. Maintaining trust is most easily
accomplished by communicating one’s genuine and authentic
thoughts and feelings regarding any particular issue at hand.
great teams are marked by the freedom to express themselves in a
manner that is appropriate and effective. Good communication
is about no partial truths or hidden agendas. When straight
forward feelings are expressed and when people are held to their
publicly stated commitments, then the element of trust can be easily
maintained throughout any relationship, work or personal.
summary, you must be free to express yourself and you must be held
to your public declaration of commitment in order to maintain a
trusting work or personal relationship.
Next week, I will continue with this political self-assessment.
your issues answered? Ask the email@example.com.
miss The Coach’s workshops on Dec 6th, Office
Politics ... The Enemy Within. For more information
or call 1-877-900-5775
You're Not Satisfied with Your Practice's Performance …
9 out of 10 practices have staff turnover every 15 months.
76% of dental practices have hygiene departments producing
less than 33% of practice production.
85% of dental practices grow less than 10% a year.
72% of practices' employee costs are more than 25% of revenues.
18 Performing Days Left to
Year End Goal
are you waiting for?
Fruit Cake ...
Your Dental Team
by Sally McKenzie, CMC
Learn when and how to reward your staff. Understand why saying
can mean more than dangling a financial carrot. This book is full
of checklists and questionnaires to help you determine what rewards
are best suited for each of your team members.
You will understand when to use non-financial versus financial
rewards, when to use group versus individual rewards, plus how
important it is to set performance goals so you know when to give
a reward. You will learn the difference between rewarding employees
for outstanding performance versus paying them a bonus for simply
doing their job.
CLOCK IS TICKING and time is running out
on 2003. You’ve seen your practice’s preliminary
year-end numbers and are kicking yourself because you knew
you should have done something, anything MONTHS
worse, your accountant is telling you the TAX MAN will be
at your door expecting a sizeable chunk of YOUR
INCOME unless you take action before the
bell tolls Midnight on December 31.
Within just a few days McKenzie Management will turn your
PANIC to PROFIT. But don’t put this
off another second! December is filling up quickly with
practices just like yours that have waited until the bitter
end to TAKE ACTION.
737 Pearl Street
La Jolla, CA 92037
GOALS IN 2003?
us help you and your team establish an overall business plan
for the upcoming year. Achieve your goals with our two day
Team Building Retreat!
your time in La Jolla, we also encourage you and your team
to take advantage of some of La Jolla’s incredible activities:
golf, surfing, professional
sports, wine tasting, horseback riding and a whole lot more!!
YOUR HYGIENE DEPARTMENT PRODUCING 33% OF THE PRACTICE'S PRODUCTIONS?
Hygiene Clinical Consultant for
CAN HELP YOU
develop a profitable
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037
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