1.05.06 - Issue # 252 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Rocks, Paper, Scissors and Pencils!

A McKenzie Management Case Study

Dr. Beth Copeland  - Case Study #632

Dr. Copeland was at the end of her rope – or maybe more appropriately, her front desk employees were at the end of their employment ropes!

When she bought her practice from a retiring dentist two years prior to McKenzie Management, her first objective was to computerize the practice.  The staff was supportive and enthusiastic…at the time!

Now, it is two years later and the walls are covered with hand-written copies of today’s schedule, barely legible, with the description of the procedures to be performed as “fillings”.  “This is driving me crazy”, Dr. Copeland complained, and I can’t get them to use the computers for scheduling!”

With over 30(30 years) years of experience in McKenzie Management our ability is to understand people.  We recognize that the staff’s favorite radio show is WIFM – “What’s In It For Me?”.  We also recognize that change is not easy and most doctors and team members do not want to change.  If they can accomplish the same goal and not have to change, why learn something new?  “Just so Dr. Copeland can read the names of her patients for the day, isn’t that sufficient?  She has a chart to review – what more does she need?”

In order to make changes as easily as possible, it is important that everyone involved understand why the changes are necessary.  Dr. Copeland and McKenzie Management came up with a list of business goals that were to be achieved during the next six months:

Scheduling Goals:

  1. A daily production goal of $3,000 for the doctor and $1,000 for the hygienist.
  2. All patients that cancelled their appointment would be called after 30 days for re-scheduling.
  3. Patients who wanted to be seen sooner would be called when there was a change in the schedule.
  4. Past due recall patients were to be called after 30 days and letters sent after 60 days.
  5. When a patient rescheduled their appointment, the appointment that was changed MUST be cancelled to avoid the patient having two appointments!  “This happens all the time because we forget to erase the first appointment!”
  6. All appointed patients had to have the procedures indicated on the schedule so the assistants could prepare the operatory properly.
  7. The # of hygiene days needed was to be calculated every three months to maintain adequate available hygiene days for the recall patients.
  8. The schedules were to be type-written and legible!

Guess what?  These goals are easily accomplished when the computer scheduling capabilities are used.  Manually, it would be nearly impossible.


Six months after Dr. Copeland’s office visit, the observations were:

  • Daily doctor production was up 20%
  • Hygiene production was up 25%
  • An additional day of hygiene was added per week
  • Routing slips were used to improve inter-office communication about the patients
  • Patients were happier because they were being seen sooner
  • Patient retention was at 90% - No one knew what it was before
  • Recall patients weren’t being “lost in the cracks”

Also, important to note is that the staff actually admitted that after the initial “learning curve”, computer scheduling had made them more efficient and they were able to give away their old Remington typewriter that had been taking up valuable counter space!  The electric pencil sharpener was also gone.  AND…they noticed that the bottle of White-Out had dried up!

Doctors, your staff listens to WIFM, too.  When it is important to make changes, establish the goals you want to accomplish in regard to the changes and make it apparent to everyone involved.  Give them the tools for their toolbox to reach the goals.  Play the WIFM station for them!

Contact McKenzie Management to learn more about goal-setting strategies to achieve changes you desire.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Practice Enrichment Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies….. email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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