No Goals = No Growth
If you don't have goals you won't have growth. I find time and again with dental teams - if there are no goals, objectives, or measurement systems in place, profits and productivity stagnate or decline. The situation continues until the doctor is facing a financial crisis that could have been avoided.
In the dental practice there are certain benchmarks, i.e. goals, which effective practices achieve: Collections should be 98% of the dentistry produced. Case acceptance should be at 85%; hygiene should produce 33% of practice production; 85% of emergency patients should be converted to comprehensive exam; and the schedule should have fewer than .5 hygiene openings per day. Although I have seen practices of all types and in virtually every area of the country achieve those benchmarks, it doesn't just happen on its own. Protocols are in place, measurements are established, and in many cases the doctor recognized that s/he could not singlehandedly fix the shortfalls and sought additional help.
With multiple systems in the dental practice all affecting your profitability, determining where to start can be daunting. In some cases, it's easier to look at it in terms of four broad categories: Service, Staff, Profit, and Growth.
One of the most critical reports requiring ongoing careful review is the Unscheduled Treatment Report. This specifies who has unscheduled treatment in the records. In actuality, this report is documentation of revenues waiting to be tapped. In addition, take a close look at the Production by Provider Report each month. This shows the number of each type of procedure performed over a specified period of time. Your business assistant should run this year-to-date report every month for each doctor and hygienist, so they can determine how their production compares with the same time periods last year as well as with production goals that have been established for this year.
Consider new treatment services. Practices that are struggling are likely doing what they've always done, i.e. crowns, fillings, and prophys year-after-year. Dentists who are doing interceptive perio, endodontics, veneers, bleaching, and implants not only expand their patient base and improve their production, but they also renew their professional enthusiasm for dentistry.
For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side.
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