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Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Practice Building Resolutions
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant

As I drove to work this morning, I noticed more people than normal jogging in the warm morning air. I would suspect that the new additions to the typical morning runners have declared at least one New Year’s resolution - to get more exercise. Have you made 2012 New Year’s resolutions for your practice? If not, here are some suggestions for your January monthly meeting.

Conduct Monthly Meetings. Why? Because you understand the importance of your staff working together as a “team.” Teamwork is always high on the list when I ask employees to name a weakness in their practice. So what does this mean exactly? 

1. Everyone in the office is working towards a daily goal, which is determined by a specific percent of increase in the practice income for the next 12 months, i.e. 10-15%.

2. Everyone understands what it takes to reach the daily goal and is made aware at the morning meeting if the producers are scheduled to their daily goal. If not, what can be done to help them reach their goals?

3. Weaknesses or “critical issues” are discussed from a pre-determined list of agenda items. These issues are brought to the table by the Meeting Coordinator (which is rotated each month among the team members), discussed, and resolved when possible. These new tasks are added to the current “Action Plan” list for review at the next monthly meeting to ensure implementation.

4. Monthly statistics for the practice are reviewed. You wonder why your team doesn’t understand why you are not happy with them after you review your P&L, pay bills, etc? They are not privy to the business details of the practice, so how can they be as concerned as you are? I am not saying they need to understand everything about your financial relationship to the practice, as you will see when this is covered in more detail below.

5. Use this time to discuss new clinical techniques that you have implemented or are considering implementing. It is not uncommon for me to hear that the doctor has started recommending a snoring appliance and the business team was never informed! How can they support a treatment plan that includes this product if they don’t even know about it?

6. Help your team to feel like they are a part of your practice and have a voice. If you don’t allow them to speak freely about their concerns for the practice in a safe and controlled environment, they will never speak and you will be rowing your boat alone.  That is really hard work!

Conduct Morning Meetings. Why? This meeting brings everyone together in the same room for 10-15 minutes each morning to begin to focus on the patients and the schedule. It ensures that everyone arrives on time and instead of spending the first 15 minutes discussing their weekend activities on your time, it is used productively as a team activity. What happens at the morning meeting?

1. Each hygienist reviews their patients scheduled for the day, using the routing slip to indicate incomplete treatment, past due family members that need to be scheduled, medical alerts, etc.

2. The assistant(s) review the doctor(s) schedule for discrepancies in the treatment that is indicated, any clinical comments by the doctor, treatment not completed, lab cases, etc.

3. The financial coordinator discusses any financial concerns with any of the patients coming in. She also reports on the dollars that are scheduled for each provider for the day, as well as whether the individual goals were met by each provider for the previous day. 

4. Everyone reviews the schedule as a whole and discusses any “traffic jams,” openings, or other scheduling concerns that can be corrected.

5. Most importantly, celebrate with a daily bonus program to recognize goals that were reached for the previous day! In many cases, dentists are not good at giving out “attagirls” and “attaboys.” Implementing a daily ping-pong draw bonus, for example, takes the place of the doctors bragging on their team’s hard work and dedication.

Monitor Practice Statistics - Have a Scoreboard! Why? Reviewing your production and collections at the end of the year is too late! Production goals should be reviewed daily and the business performance of the practice should be reviewed and discussed monthly at the monthly meeting.

What should be monitored? For example, how many new hygiene patients treated and who referred them. You should know what your top referral source is so you know where to spend your marketing dollars. How many patients are being inactivated each month as a result of falling out of your 5-step recall follow-up program? If you are inactivating more “active” patients than you have coming into the practice, your practice is not growing.

How much do you adjust off your gross production each month? Why is it being adjusted? Are you collecting 100% of your adjusted production after any bad debt is written off? Are your Accounts Receivables no more than 1x your monthly net production? Are all your insurance claims 60 days and older paid? Are your accounts over 90 days only 10% of your total AR?     
Are the producers averaging their daily goals for the month and if not, why - too many unscheduled time units? Are your dental supply expenses within industry standards for your type of practice, i.e. 5% of net collections for a general practice?

These are just a few examples of practice statistics that should be monitored monthly.  Goals should be set for these categories based on an annual goal for increased production and collections that take into consideration fee increases, salary increases, etc.
Make your new practice resolutions today. It is never too late and even one resolution is better than none.  Wishing for you and your team a prosperous and healthy 2012!

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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