More tips to help you finally get over that practice plateau

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

You’re stuck. You’re not sure when or how it happened, but it’s clear production numbers are stagnate and your practice isn’t experiencing the type of growth you’d like to see (or really any growth at all for that matter). You’ve hit a plateau, and you’re not exactly sure what to do about it.

Last week, I talked about some of the main reasons practices plateau and offered tips to help get you out of your rut, including giving team members the guidance they need to excel through training and detailed job descriptions, reducing turnover rates by improving the hiring process, creating exceptional patient experiences and revamping recall to get more patients in the chair.

Making these changes is a great start, but there are other steps you can take to help your practice meet its full potential. To that end, I’ve put together even more tips designed to finally get you over that plateau so you can reach the level of success you know you’re capable of achieving:

Review your numbers on a regular basis. Some dentists don’t even realize they’re experiencing a plateau until they’re months into it. That’s because they only conduct practice performance reviews at the end of the year. I suggest you make this part of your monthly routine. That way, you can see a plateau coming and put a program of recovery in place right away. If you want to avoid plateaus in the future, I suggest you find the flaws in your systems, constantly monitor for those flaws and take the steps necessary to fix them.

Know how systems should be performing. This is critical, yet many dentists and their team members simply aren’t aware of the industry standards they should be striving to meet. I suggest you monitor your systems monthly, and compare their performance with your practice vision as well as industry standards.

Here’s a breakdown of what your goals should be based on industry benchmarks:

-95% patient retention
-98% collection ratio
-85% case acceptance
-33% hygiene to practice production
-75% emergency patient conversion to comprehensive exam
-Less than .5 hygiene openings per day

Knowing these numbers are some of the goals to hit, helping you improve production.

Make better use of the Unscheduled Treatment Plan Report. If you can get patients on this report in the chair, you’ll see a boost in production. Typically, practices only turn to this list when there’s an unexpected hole in the schedule thanks to a last-minute cancellation or no-show. I suggest you train your Scheduling Coordinator to view this report as a record of unproduced revenues. Armed with a well-thought-out script, your coordinator should reach out to and schedule at least five patients on this list every day.

This team member also should provide a report during monthly team meetings that includes how much unscheduled treatment was added to the list as well as how many patients were taken off that list because they scheduled.

Use your Production by Provider Report. This report tracks the number of each type of procedure you performed over a certain period of time. Make your business assistant accountable for generating this year-to-date report every month for all the producers in your practice. That way, everyone knows how their production compares to the same period the year before. They’ll see how far off they are, and can start making the necessary adjustments to improve productivity numbers.

Add new services. If you’ve found yourself in a rut, it could be partly because you haven’t added any new services in a long time. You stick with the same old crowns, fillings and root canals every year. While these procedures are important to your practice, relying on just the basics will leave you feeling bored, and certainly won’t do much to attract new patients or keep the ones you already have. Patients want to go to a practice where they can get most of the work they need done, whether they’re looking for clear aligner therapy, whitening, implants or veneers.

Patients also gravitate toward practices that invest in technologies designed to keep them more comfortable and to make the office more efficient, such as lasers and digital dentistry. Learning new procedures and adding technologies to your practice will help renew your passion for dentistry, as well as give patients more reasons to schedule treatment, which will grow practice productivity and your bottom line.

Improve efficiencies in the operatory. There’s a lot of time wasted during procedures—time that could be used to increase production. To improve efficiencies, make sure the treatment room is ready for you before you start a procedure. You don’t want you or your assistant to have to get up multiple times to fetch instruments. Assistants also should be trained to quickly turn treatment rooms around so you don’t waste time between cases. Challenging yourself to reduce procedure times, without sacrificing the quality of your work, also will help improve practice productivity and, ultimately, revenues.

Get out of that rut
When you experience a practice plateau that keeps you from meeting your full potential, it can be pretty frustrating. Following these tips will help you get over your plateau and back on track to reaching your goals.

Need more guidance? Feel free to reach out. I’m happy to help.

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