3.30.12 Issue #525 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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10 Years in Practice and Only 1 Hygienist?
By Nancy Caudill

Dr. Jones called the other day with an observation that is not uncommon to McKenzie Management.  “My practice has plateaued. What can I do to get over the hump?” Have you found yourself in this position or possibly see it coming in the near future, based on your past few years of statistics? What are the symptoms?

Symptom #1 - No Additional Hygiene Days Added in the Past 2-3 Years
Let's take a look at this from a statistical standpoint and assume the following. You can plug in your own numbers and make your own assumption about your practice.

•   Number of years in practice: 10
•   Number of new patients that are going into hygiene monthly: 20
•   Total number of potential hygiene patients over the past 10 years: 2,400
•   Number of patients seen/day by your hygienist:  9
•   Number of hygiene appointments needed to support 2,400 active patients: 2,400 x 2 visits/yr = 4,800
•   Number of hygiene days needed to provide 4,800 appointments: 533 days or 11/week based on 48 working weeks

The above scenario indicates that Dr. Jones should have 2 hygienists working 5 days a week IF he were retaining 100% of his hygiene patients. Since we all know that's not possible, let's reduce the worksheet and assume 10% attrition over the past 10 years.

2,400 patients - 10% = 2,160 patients x 2 visits/yr / 9 pts/day = 480 hygiene days or 10/week.

The point is this - Dr. Jones is not retaining his hygiene patients, even with a 10% attrition. One hygienist working 4 days a week and seeing 9 patients/day can only support 864 patients, assuming they come every 6 months. If 33% of her patients are periodontally involved, then they are coming every 3-4 months, so she can support even fewer patients. This is a problem!

The cause behind this “symptom” can be unique to each practice and requires an examination of all the business operational systems to uncover the cause. Patients can leave or not return to a practice for a myriad of reasons.  Having poor customer service in any aspect of the practice will cause the practice not to reach its full potential.

What if your hygiene retention is actually healthy but you just aren’t seeing enough new patients? You need to improve your internal and external marketing. 50% of your production comes from treatment recommended for new patients. If you have done a good job of providing all the necessary treatment for your existing patients, you have nothing more to do until something breaks. You must have a steady flow of new patients coming into the practice, especially if you want to GROW your practice and increase the number of hygiene days.  This goes back to having the best in customer service “internally” FIRST and foremost before you think about “inviting people over for dinner!”

Symptom #2 - Production and Collections Have Not Increased
With the exception of fee increases, production and collection dollars have not increased over the past several years. Before we go there, let’s make sure that you are comparing apples to apples - in other words, did you work the same number of days over the past few years? This will make a huge difference in your production and collection numbers, unless you are collecting and producing more/day and working less days, which is not a bad thing. We call that “working smarter and not harder.”

A doctor's goal should always be to maximize the potential of the practice daily, opposed to simply working more days and hoping to make more money. This scenario only increases employee costs and takes away from your bottom line.

Make sure that you are collecting 98% of your net production and writing off no more than 2% for uncollectible accounts. There is nothing worse than working hard and not getting paid for it. Statistical monitoring of the practice performance is essential for you, as a practice owner, to review monthly and find the areas that need improvement. This means that you need to understand how to read the various reports that are available to you from your management software. How can you make important business decisions about your practice when you don't know how well the practice is performing?

Symptom #3:  You and Your Team are not “Excited” About Coming to Work
No one is motivated, including you, and you set the mood every day when you walk in the door. How often we hear, “He/she is not in a good mood today!”  How many times have you said to your team, “We need to start producing more or you won’t have a job next month!” Seriously, do you think that they have the tools to make this happen? If they did, it would have already happened. They are not passive-aggressive. They just don’t know HOW to help you produce more.

Talk with McKenzie Management today about putting tools in your team's toolbox so coming to work will be fun again for you and for them. Call (877) 777-6151.

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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