Improve Leadership Skills and Grow Your Bottom Line
You likely didn’t focus much on the business side of running a practice while you were in dental school. What you do know, you learned either on the job or from your time observing practice ownership as an associate. It’s no wonder you feel a little overwhelmed in your role as practice CEO.
These days, there’s a lot that dentists need to understand to successfully run their business, including profit and loss, human resources, marketing, hiring and firing. You also need to pay careful attention to the 20 business operational systems – especially the ones that directly impact practice revenues. If you’re not, I can pretty much guarantee you’re losing money. But don’t worry. With a little direction, you can turn it around.
To get started, let’s take a look at production. Few dental practices know how to establish production goals or determine the number of hygiene days they need. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track.
Identify realistic financial goals for your practice
How can you determine the rate of hourly production? I suggest you follow these steps:
• Train your assistant to log the amount of time it takes to perform specific procedures. If a procedure takes the doctor three appointments, the assistant should record the time needed for all three appointments.
• Record the total fee for the procedure.
• Determine the procedure value per hourly goal. Want an example? Let’s say a crown is $1000. Divide that number by the total time it takes to perform the procedure, which is 120 minutes. That gives you a production per minute value of $8.33. Multiply that by 60 minutes and it comes out to $500 per hour.
• Compare that number to the doctor’s hourly production goal. It should equal or exceed the goal you’ve identified.
• Train your Scheduling Coordinator to schedule to meet that goal every hour of every day.
Don’t schedule “dream days”
Schedule for the hygiene days you need
Follow this formula to guarantee your supply meets demand:
• Count the number of active patients seen in the past year for oral health evaluations.
• Keep in mind most patients come in twice a year for these appointments, so multiply that figure by two.
• Add the number of new patients receiving a comprehensive diagnosis per year to that figure. For example, let’s say your practice has 1000 active patients + 300 new patients. That equals 1300. When multiplied by two, that gives you 2600 possible hygiene appointments.
• Take that number and compare it to the hygienist’s potential patient load.
• If the hygienist works four days a week, sees 10 patients per day, and works 48 weeks a year, that means there are 1920 hygiene appointments available.
• Subtract that total from 2600. This shows you are losing 680 appointments per year, or 14 patients per week. In this example, the hygiene department should be increased 1.5 days per week.
Another tip? If your practice schedules patients when they are due, examine how far ahead patients are booked for appointments. If there are no openings in the hygiene schedule for three weeks, with some patients getting bumped into the fourth week, I recommend increasing the hygiene department’s availability in half-day increments. If you have several open appointments, it’s probably time to develop a patient retention strategy.
If you’re struggling with the business side of running a practice, it’s likely leading to lost revenues and plenty of frustration. With the right skillset, you can turn this around and finally start achieving true success and profitability. If you’re interested in becoming a more effective CEO, don’t hesitant to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll help get you there.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email email@example.com
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