2004 Your Best Year Yet
There is no time like the present to
begin planning for the New Year. If you’ve found that production
numbers for 2003 sent you reeling, maybe it’s time you took
a close look at what you can do throughout the next 12
months to ensure that production in 2004 isn’t as stale as
last year’s fruit cake.
First off, increasing production shouldn’t feel like last
minute holiday shopping. It doesn’t involve increasing stress
or working longer days. Rather the work week is manageable, the
team has a
vision, and overall stress is reduced. Take a few practical
steps to quickly improve the bottom-line and put the dental team
on a high performance track they can stay on.
Establish daily production goals and schedule
to meet those goals.
a treatment plan for patients that includes everything that needs
to be done - appointments necessary, the cost of treatment, an
estimated length of treatment time, and any treatment options.
Designate a treatment coordinator who is responsible for presenting
treatment plans to patients and is expected to secure
at least 85% case acceptance.
Hold the scheduling coordinator accountable for daily monitoring
and calling of unscheduled treatment.
an interceptive periodontal therapy program.
Identify who needs a full series of X-rays rather than four bitewings.
Focus on clinical efficiency to provide services in less
time while maintaining quality.
Train the dental team to effectively and routinely communicate
to patients that the practice provides excellent dentistry.
Market your services to existing patients.
superior customer service that will encourage patients to refer
friends and family.
payment at the time services are rendered and ask for payment.
Raise fees annually.
Establish a partnership with a patient financing company.
Implement a recall system that ensures full schedules and minimizes
no shows and cancellations.
Each month run the year-to-date Practice Analysis Report
and compare it to the same period last year. Do that every,
single month. Do not wait until the bell tolls midnight on
December 31 to find out how your practice has done for the year.
Involve the team in creating a practice improvement plan that will
serve as your compass throughout the year. Refer to the plan regularly.
Track and celebrate your team’s progress in reaching
the practice’s established goals for 2004.
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
Last week [see
article], I expanded some operational steps of the front desk
coordinator position into small, bite sized pieces. This week, I
want to focus on one very important event that happens in your dental
practice multiple times each day. Almost everyone answers the telephone,
so this applies to everyone on the team.
Phone Rings ...
does your team do when the phone rings? More to the point, what
steps do they follow on your computer system? The phone ringing
is an opportunity to add production, improve your patient service
level, improve collections, and greatly enhance the patient check
in/check out process.
Here are some steps to follow every time the phone rings. Practice
these steps. At first, it will seem like a lot but once you get
it down, it will go very quickly.
Immediately bring up the “find patient”
window (even before you pick up the receiver).
When the caller states their last name, type the first three letters
and bring up the list of potential matches.
Confirm with the caller “who they are”
by mentioning their street address as additional identification.
Bring up their patient record.
The patient will likely start to tell you why they are calling.
Visually review their patient balance, family balance, outstanding
insurance balance, pending appointments, pending
treatment, last exam, next exam due date, and any family members
who are overdue for their re-care visit. I know this may sound
like a lot, but your practice management system should have 90%
of this information immediately available, either right on the
patient record or one click away. Practice it for 10 patients
and I’ll bet you can review all of this information before
the patient stops talking. Now, you are ready to professionally
handle this patient inquiry.
patient is most likely calling to schedule or reschedule an appointment.
Do not offer an appointment to this patient until
you have reviewed the above information. Take necessary action
according to your practice’s scheduling and financial policy.
If your team members enter pertinent contact notes into your patient
records, always review those before moving forward.
You don’t know who this patient spoke to last time and you
do not know what was said/promised during the last phone call.
If your practice accepts insurance, this is a great time to confirm
the patient’s coverage. If they have changed insurance plans,
or are no longer insured, you can disconnect their coverage
from their account or remind them to show up10 minutes
early for their appointment and to bring their insurance card
If this patient has family members who come to your practice,
this is a great time to “add value and service to
this phone call”. Inform the patient and offer
to set up multiple appointments during this one phone call (assuming
the family members require additional treatment or are overdue
for their re-care appointment).
Review any premed requirements with the patient.
Review office appointment cancellation policy
Confirm appointment(s) verbally. Enter appointment into schedule.
Ask if they would like to receive an appointment confirmation
email for their convenience. Send as requested.
When your phone rings, it is at least one opportunity. How well
you use your computer system will determine how much of an opportunity
each phone call represents. Try it! Commit yourselves to
try it for one work week. By the time Friday comes around,
I’ll bet you’ve added production to your schedule, provide
better service to your patients, and streamline the patient flow
in the office.
As always, if you have any questions or comments – send me
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
this series to the dental team, I want to comment this week on being
efficient and being cooperative. 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 naturally feels good to see yourself as an efficient individual;
however, I think it is more reasonable to admit that different
people have different definitions of what being efficient
really is. If you take a moment to really think about ‘what
is efficiency’, most people would tell you that efficiency
is about expending the least amount of energy in the least amount
of time and getting the most production; however, I will offer you
another definition. Being efficient is doing it the way
your family did it. This is your point of reference for
what is good and bad in the world, and this definition also surfaces
in the workplace.
If it was enough to get out of bed and get to school, then you were
efficient; however, if you had to get up, make your bed, straighten
your room, have breakfast, and put the dishes in the sink before
leaving for school then you were also efficient. Therefore, we all
bring different definitions of the efficiency into the office everyday.
I will offer you four elements of your daily work routine
that you can monitor for efficiency. Today, you are in a position
to move beyond your family definition on to a definition that is
more business appropriate.
If you are efficient, then you do good work. The quality of your
work is something that you take great pride in and you take great
delight that your efforts are recognized by the people that work
with you. If you cannot accept a complement about your work, then
you are not efficient. In all likelihood, if you work very hard
and cannot accept acknowledgement of this achievement, then you
are more likely to be desperate for approval and work quickly.
This is not the same as being efficient, because being efficient
demands that you integrate your talents into the efforts of the
team and accept as well as give complements.
you are efficient then you are always prepared. You are almost never
late, your work area is almost always set up and ready to move forward,
and when emergencies arise, you handle them with an emotional stability
that generates confidence in others and reflects an inner
sense of peace and confidence. Being prepared for anything
and everything is a form of efficiency.
you are efficient then you naturally clean up after yourself and
do not leave any telltale signs of your presence such that they
would inconvenience anyone else in the office. Being neat and proper
is a state of mind, but permitting the smooth transition between
office space and office personnel requires the extra effort
to not only set things up beforehand but to clean things
up after the fact.
And finally, if you are efficient then you place a great value on
the concept of time. Not only do you use your time effectively to
get the job done and to do it correctly, but also you are
respectful of other people's time. Whereas you would not
think of keeping the client waiting, it also passes for efficiency
that you would not keep your other teammates waiting. It is the
ability to be respectful to the efficiency of others that significantly
contributes to the overall momentum of the office harmony and production.
Being cooperative is perhaps the most difficult behavioral pattern
that any of us will experience while working. Being cooperative
is complex, because you must fill your job requirements
while at the same time not interfering with another person's fulfillment
of their job requirements. Any interference in this process is perceived
as being uncooperative.
again, our definition of being cooperative came from our childhood.
For some, being cooperative meant that you had to share all your
toys with your siblings. While this definition was imposed upon
you as being cooperative, today, you are very well aware of the
resentment and anger that this imposition created. And it is for
this reason that being cooperative does not feel very good
However, there are others whose experience was that sharing their
toys with brothers and sisters permitted them access to get the
toys of their brothers and sisters and thus everyone's world
was expanded and enhanced. When you go to work, it is impossible
to anticipate another person's definition of what it takes to be
cooperative; however, you are in an adult position to create a model
that is communicated to others of what is required to be cooperative
must set your own example of what you want from others in order
for them to receive your cooperation. In order to accomplish this,
you must first understand where you are going and what you are trying
to accomplish at every moment of the day. Then you must be able
to see the perspective of the other person with
whom you must engage in order to accomplish the moment’s goal.
when making an effort to understand the perspective of another person,
you must be able to, not only identify what is important to them
but also, accommodate a very essential reality. This reality is
that sometimes you have to accommodate another person’s
need to be important at that particular moment. It is the
ability to accommodate and cooperate with the dynamic of the ebb
and flow of power within the office that allows you to make demands
that are respected and to fall into the background and let others
take the lead when it is reasonable.
element of being cooperative is to freely do what you are asked
to do without resentment and without judgment, while understanding
that to move with the flow of the energy at that moment
is in everyone's interest. It is the ability to spontaneously move
in the appropriate direction of the energy in the office that allows
you to be perceived as a cooperative person whose efforts and goals
are aligned with the other team members.
of your position on the team, you will notice that it always feels
good to do more than just the job description. Putting in
the extra effort or going the extra mile, whether you are
asked to or not, always feels good because the expenditure of this
energy is directed towards a higher goal and purpose. Being perceived
as cooperative is the same as being well integrated into the world
of the other people with whom you work. This is a type of intimacy
that is very real within all group dynamics.
I would like to offer that being cooperative is about recognizing
that you are expected to give of yourself in the interest of the
office and the profitability of the business. In return for giving
of yourself, you are entitled to take from the business and from
the office not only the monetary gains but also the emotional gains
that are experienced as the results of the cooperation that all
of the team members experience. At the end of the day, you can ask
yourself “Did I give more than I took or did I take
more than I gave?” People are recognized as team
players cooperate by giving just a little bit more than they take.
You can feel the results of this equation when you look in the mirror.
concludes my presentation on the inner office politics and the moral
wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
your issues answered? Ask the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?
Management, Inc. has been named the WINNER
in the DentalTown Magazine and DentalTown.com
2003 Townie Choice Awards™
for Practice Management Consultants.
is an overwhelming honor to be singled out by literally
thousands of dental practices across the country as the
number one dental practice management firm,” said
Sally McKenzie, President, McKenzie Management.
“We know that dentists take great care in selecting
only the very best products and services, and to be among
this elite group is truly a testament to the commitment
the McKenzie Management team has demonstrated over the
past 23 years to provide consistently superior consulting
products and services,” added Ms. McKenzie.
The McKenzie Management Team looks forward to continuing
to provide the very best consulting services so that dental
practices in turn can become the very best dental teams.
THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT AND VOTES!
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.
Performing Days Left to
Year End Goal
are you waiting for?
You Looking For More New Patients?
Trade Secrets of America's Dental Marketing Guru
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This book will help you to revitalize your practice in a matter
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I’ve just done a quick review of my figures so far year to
date since I only have 8 DAYS LEFT to make year end goal and I’ve
found that our collection ratio for the year has averaged 95% and
our % over 90 days is averaging 33%. What do you think?
You’re obviously falling short of consistently meeting the
98% benchmark on collections and less than 12% on the over 90 days.
My suggestions are to set these expectations for collections and
communicate them to the employee who is accountable for collections,
provide training for whoever is accountable on making delinquent
account calls, presenting financial arrangements, billing procedures
and then don’t wait till the end of the year to find out that
you’ve fallen short on reaching those objectives. If you have
old accounts or those that have been turned over to collection,
then adjust them off so you are looking at those monies that can
be realistically collected. Remember, you can always send your collection
employee to me here in La Jolla at the Center
for Dental Career Development and we’ll whip her into
shape and send her back ready to collect for the new year.
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