Knowing the Numbers
There are many numbers in a dental practice that doctors should be aware of other than the checkbook. These “other” numbers directly affect your bottom line and how much the practice is actually making. The numbers I am talking about have to do with the hygiene department, the past history of the practice, and the possible future needs of the practice. Although many important reports should be monitored on a regular basis, we are going to concentrate on the hygiene department. Let’s take a look at how some of these numbers may be of help to your success.
Sue the Hygienist has decided to cut back her hours to work two days a week instead of four. This is acceptable to the doctor and he is happy to still have her as part of the team. Most doctors would now decide they have to hire another hygienist two days a week to make up for the two days they are going to lose. They might think they have to keep the same amount of days, even though the office has a high rate of no-shows and cancellations and does not really have an “ASAP List” and the other three hygienists working four days a week have open time.
However, Sue’s dental practice has been tracking open time, cancellations, and no-shows for the last 10 years. They immediately retrieve the numbers and compare them to the year before. In doing so, they see exactly how much open time in hygiene has taken place over the last year because of “changes in the schedule.” When the doctor and hygienist look at the amount of time that Sue was available but did not have a patient in the chair, they realize they may only need to hire another hygienist one day a week.
However, they don’t stop there. They look next at how many patients they anticipate having in hygiene in the next six months. They generate all of the reports and find that the approximate number of patients expected to return for hygiene appointments, including new patients, is going to be less than the amount of hours they will have in hygiene. They determine that only 93 hours of hygiene time are needed per week, and they have 103 hours available to schedule. So even with one hygienist dropping down to two days a week, they will still have 10 extra hours of hygiene time a week available. Hiring another hygienist to fill those two days would not be cost effective. This would directly affect the checkbook.
At this time, because of the past history and future speculations of the office, they are better off not hiring anybody. Initially the hygiene department’s monthly production may be about the same in comparison to the past, but because of their chairs having patients in them, their hourly production will go up. Their goal is to not only need the 10 extra hours of time, but to increase the overall hygiene time they will need in the future.
This will be done by asking patients for referrals, marketing the practice, creating value when it comes to the hygiene appointment, and providing customer service that is better than what patients expect. This practice would not have ended up with the extra time in hygiene if they had been looking at the numbers and monitoring them on a regular basis all along. In the past, before they started looking at the numbers, they would just add hygiene time to the schedule whenever it seemed like they were having a hard time finding an appointment. Now they have statistical information to look at, and hygiene time is added based on the evidence.
Want to learn how to monitor your hygiene department and increase productivity? Learn more about our One Day, In-Office Hygiene Performance Program HERE.
Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151
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