Are Your Staff Meetings More Like Sales Meetings?
I hate our staff meetings because all the doctors talk about is numbers, production, collection and how we all could improve the practice by selling more dentistry. I am not a salesperson; I am a dental assistant who takes care of the patient when they decide to have treatment. Of course I tell them it would be to their benefit when it is. I love what I do but did not sign on for a sales job.
Dear Debbie DA,
One of the mistakes that doctors make is not explaining to the staff the importance of good business systems in the dental practice. In order to pay all overhead expenses such as rent, supplies and your salary, the practice must make a specific amount of money. Unfortunately this is communicated to you in a way that you find offensive. The fact that your focus is on the patient shows that you are selling dentistry indirectly by showing concern and compassion and loving your work.
Production goals give the dentist a benchmark by which to measure individual output. Otherwise, how can you answer the questions: “How did we do today? Did we make goal?” (The amount calculated to meet expenses). Of course, to make this more palatable to the team, there is usually some kind of reward for service over and above the usual expectation. If the production/collection goal is attainable, it is a team effort of producing from the clinical end and collections from the business end. If one is weak then there is no tangible reward. For instance, say you encouraged a patient to have implant-supported dentures made after watching this patient struggle with ill-fitting dentures. You feel good about this, and the production numbers illustrate success. However, the business coordinator did not collect in full for the service, so the collection numbers do not reflect positively. Multiply this by several patients and the fact that dentistry is being sold does not mean the practice is profitable.
Or perhaps the dentist or dentists under-diagnose by “watching” or allowing the patient to postpone treatment that would improve their dental health to the point that the business coordinator has little to schedule. Multiply this by several patients a week and the production numbers will be low. If the business coordinator is collecting 98% of what is produced then her/his numbers are excellent, but the clinical production end is weak so the numbers are low. Dentists often address these problems to the team at staff meetings instead of having a performance review with the business coordinator and improving the dentist’s treatment acceptance skills.
As a dental assistant you have an opportunity to build relationships of trust with patients. This trust should never be overshadowed by pressure to produce a number. You are there to support the diagnosis by answering treatment related questions and educating the patient to make a decision based on informed consent. Promoting services and products only when relevant to providing excellent patient care is the best perspective to take.
Want professional training to improve your production and collection numbers? Call McKenzie Management today for dental Front Office Training, Office Manager Training, and Treatment Acceptance Training courses.Forward this article to a friend
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