Tips to Reduce Overhead and Grow Your Practice
I’ve seen what out-of-control overhead costs can do to a practice. Dentists and team members start to feel overwhelmed, burned out and frustrated, and even begin to lose their passion for dentistry. They forget why they became dentists in the first place and only focus on their financial troubles – which of course leads to more stress and problems for the practice.
If you’re dealing with skyrocketing overhead costs, you understand how stressful it can be. That’s why I want to put an end to it. Overhead costs shouldn’t dictate your every move and keep you from investing in your office. I want to help you reduce your overhead costs and grow your practice. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
1. Implement a perio program in your hygiene department. This is a great way to increase production and reduce overhead costs, yet few hygiene departments offer it. They’re afraid patients might react negatively, but I’m here to tell you that doesn’t matter. It is the hygienist’s responsibility to tell patients about the presence of periodontal disease and then educate them about treatment options. Implementing a perio program will not only ensure patients receive the care they need, it will also help increase production and reduce overhead costs.
There are many different ways you can go about implementing a perio program in your practice, but I recommend starting at the front desk. Tell employees to mention the program to patients when they check in. They should also hand out educational brochures and ask patients to fill out a questionnaire as they wait to see the doctor. Their responses will tell you what symptoms they’re experiencing, which will make it easy for you to start a conversation chairside.
No matter how you implement the program, once you do, you’ll notice an increase in production and a decrease in overhead.
2. Focus on recall. The recall system represents one of the best ways to generate money in a practice, yet most dentists ignore it. They think it’s enough to send generic postcards to recall patients and ask hygienists to make a few phone calls when they have time. Trust me, it’s not.
If you really want to re-energize your recall system and get more patients in the chair (which will help lower those overhead costs), I suggest you empower your Patient Coordinator to take charge of the recall system. Task this team member with calling a certain number of past due patients every day and getting those patients on the schedule. This person should be armed with a well-written script and prepared to educate patients about the importance of maintaining their oral health and going forward with necessary treatment. Make recall a priority in your practice and you’ll see more patients chairside.
3. Consider implementing hybrid scheduling. Cancellations and no-shows not only wreak havoc on your day and cause extra stress, they also cost you money. If you find yourself dealing with broken appointments more often than you care to admit, part of the problem could stem from pre-appointing. Just because a patient schedules an appointment on a Tuesday six months from now doesn’t mean that patient will show up. In fact, there’s a good chance he or she won’t, leaving you with last-minute holes to fill.
I know most dentists like to pre-appoint patients, so instead of giving it up all together I suggest developing a hybrid system. If there are certain patients who are known for cancelling at the last minute or simply not showing up at all, flag those patients and only schedule them a few weeks out. Let them know you’ll contact them when an appointment is available. They’ll have a much better idea of what their schedule will be, making them less likely to have a conflict that causes them to miss the appointment.
4. Give employees the direction they crave. Your team members look to you for guidance in the form of training, job descriptions and continual feedback. They’ll flourish when they receive it, making them more efficient and productive – and that helps reduce overhead costs.
Dealing with high overhead costs can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right guidance, you can take back control of your practice and finally start reaching your goals.
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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