Why Do We Say Those Numbers?
Once again we are gathered for our morning meeting. Carol always brings the production goals to the morning meeting. Sometimes they are for the month, the week, the year, the entire practice, the doctor, and me - the hygienist. The goals are read to the entire team and that is that. But what exactly do those numbers mean, and why should the entire team be interested? Do you know your individual hourly and daily goals? What exactly makes a perfect day of scheduling – a day where you reach your goal without running around like a chicken with its head cut off?
McKenzie Management clients are aware that practice goals are based on the amount that is needed in order to pay the bills. The office has to make enough money in order to pay the lab, taxes and benefits, dental supplies, office supplies, utilities and facility expenses, miscellaneous and of course, employee salaries. Those numbers are what help to determine what new equipment will be purchased and whether or not raises will be given to the staff.
One good month does not pay the bills for the entire year. The next month may be slow and any monies the office got ahead may need to be used to pay the bills that month or the following month. So instead of just anybody reading the numbers and then everybody just moving on to the next thing at the meeting, there should be more time spent looking at how to increase production in the hygienist and doctor’s schedule, and how to fill open time in both.
All providers should know how much their hourly and daily production goals are. It is best if the individual providers bring their own goal amounts to the meeting. Not only should they bring the prospective numbers for that day, they should also bring the numbers from the day before that they actually ended up producing. The provider should say if they are scheduled over or under their goal for that day, and where they ended up the day before. When you go over the day before, talk about why the goal was hit or why the goal was missed. What was scheduled the day before that made it an easier day of patient care, while still hitting your production goal? Days that allow the providers to hit goal and not “run around like a chicken” is what would be considered a perfect day. For instance, many times 2 quadrants of root planing is a much easier day than 5 periodontal maintenance appointments with x-rays.
I can’t tell you how many times I have started the day out under goal and have gone on to meet or exceed my goal for the day. Knowing in the morning that I am already behind in my goal helps to motivate the entire staff to add treatment into my schedule, and when filling a last minute opening they go for the higher production patients that are on our “change of schedule list” or “as soon as possible list.”
If there is open time in the schedule at the morning meeting, look for ways to fill the schedule with the existing patients that are already scheduled for that day. This may be done for both doctor and hygiene. Look to see if there are any patients in the schedule that may be in need of a full mouth series, patients that you may be able to extend treatment on, or patients that are due or will be due for hygiene and whose insurance may allow them to be a couple of days early.
When presenting it to the patient, make it a benefit to them. Explain how it will save them a trip or possibly keep them from taking another day off from work. The patient is usually much more willing to stay longer if there is an advantage in it for them. And when it comes to the office, it not only increases production but also reduces the cost of set up and tear down. At times, if you know the patients well enough and the time allotted is not enough for a prep, you may be able to move another patient up or down in the schedule to allow for the time to do a prep. See if you are able to make this happen.
Hygienists, would it benefit that patient to do a fluoride? Most patients do benefit from fluoride. Are the patients scheduled correctly with the right code? For instance, there are times that the patient will be put on a 3-month recall and be linked to a prophylaxis recall when they should be linked to a perio recall in the computer. This is very common and is an easy mistake to make. The most important thing is to catch these mistakes and make them right, so the office collects the fee they deserve for the service being rendered.
Making the most of those morning meetings is a valuable asset to the practice and has the potential to increase daily production – thus causing the year to date collections to go up and possibly allowing salary increases the next year.
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