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Sally McKenzie's

Weekly Management e-Motivator


Issue #51

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e-motivator Article.

February 14, 2003

Sally McKenzie,CMC
McKenzie Management

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 11

“Top Obstacles to Achieving the Ideal Practice.” This week… one of the barriers likely to be interfering in your ability to reach your goals. Next week I’ll discuss proven solutions.

Barrier #4 The Perception vs. Reality of Staff Productivity

They all seem to be working at a breakneck pace. No doubt about it, everyone is stretched practically beyond physical recognition, including you. Staff are scurrying from room to room, dirty instruments are piled high, the office manager is so stressed out that if you so much as think about adding another item to her “to do” list, she instantly assumes a martial arts posture and is ready to high karate chop you and your “to do’s” to smithereens. All signs point to everyone working hard, so productivity must be at an all-time high, right? Wrong.

It’s easy to believe that when the office is busy and everyone is running around frantically like mice in the maze that activity translates into productivity. For many doctors, until they sit down and really look at the productivity of their staff and the effectiveness of office procedures, they are convinced that if they’re busy, they’re productive. But as we’ve heard time and again, working hard and working smart are two very different things.

And when staff appear to be maxed out, doctors are fast to latch onto the quick fix strategy. Hire More Staff! This idea is so full of hype and unmet promise that someone should package it up and sell it as some sort of revolutionary breakthrough on late night television. The doctor doesn't want to lose the staff he/she has so they easily cave in to bringing on another pair of hands to save the day. Regrettably, just like every other quick fix approach, this too frequently proves to be a big money wasting, time draining disappointment. Instead of looking at ways to make systems more time and motion efficient that might require CHANGE… it's easier just to bring on another person. Payroll then goes beyond the 20% of revenues (industry standard- taxes and benefits are an additional 3-5%) and the dentist is having a hard time paying the bills.

Staff “busyness” resulting in low production return usually means there is not enough direction and staff are not focused on practice goals or outcomes. Seldom does it actually mean you need to throw more people into the mix. The $64,000 question, of course, becomes how do you know if you need more staff or not.

Next week, I’ll share my six-step strategy to determine if your staff are working hard or hardly working.

"Sometimes I know I am lacking in the business skills I need to manage staff and know the numbers."

1 to 1 Coursework
Staff Management for Dentists

Now Available

The Center for Dental Career Development

For more info click the link below
to request current information!

click me

Technology Tool Box

Mark Dilatush
VP of Professional Relations

for McKenzie Management


1-877-777-6151 Ext. 28

A series of short weekly chores designed to keep the return on investment in technology at its highest level.

If you missed any of the previous issues CLICK HERE.

Get them while they’re hot! Electronically!

Situation: You are in the middle of presenting a treatment plan with a patient and you're ready to review their financing options. You are reiterating that doctor Larry has diagnosed and recommended they have x treatment totaling $2500. You are looking at your computer screen, you click on a $ sign icon on the tool bar ,,, this automatically prepopulates the patient's information to a patient financing application … you type in their income and housing information, click submit and in less than 10 seconds … yes, I said SECONDS you have approval for presenting the option of "affordable" monthly payment.

Now, take a few moments to reflect back on the days before technology. You would have the patient fill out a paper application, fax or call it in, wait for approval and then communicate the approval to the patient. This process was prohibitively long in some circumstances and often resulted in a lapse of time that can 'cool off the sale'.

Solution: I am very happy to report that one of the major practice management software companies, (Dentrix™) has added the above mentioned dollar sign icon to their Toolbar. This allows the patient information that is already in the computer system to be sent directly to CareCredit™ one of the nation's leading patient financing companies with endorsements of state dental associations across the U.S. Finding out if the patient has been approved can take as little as 10 to 15 seconds!

I am sure the other major software companies will be close behind in their development with links to patient care financing.

When you have the patient in the chair or consult room, this level of service means a lot especially if you need to do an emergency root canal or a crown that may find the patient without $800 to move forward. Affordable monthly payments that you know is approved in less than 10 seconds keeps the patient in the chair.

The link between the computer and the patient financing company is also a valuable tool to reactivate patients on the Unscheduled Treatment Plan Report found in your computer system. Run this report for the past 12 months and start dailing for dollars. Our consulting team at McKenzie Management have found this script works well for our clients.

"Mrs. Jones? This is Mary from Dr. Larry's office. How are you? Great! Dr. Larry mentioned your name yesterday which got him to thinking about the treatment he had recommended that hasn't been done yet. You had dental treatment that needed to be done from last _____. Perhaps at that time money was posing a problem for you. And since we try to do everything possible to SOLVE problems, Dr. Larry wants you to know that we now have a relationship with Care Credit that will allow you to make small monthly payments for the treatment you need. So...before calling you, I contacted Care Credit, our treatment financing specialists and found that the treatment you need can be paid for in monthly payments of $xxxx with no interest. All we need to do to get started is for you to answer a couple of questions for me and I will be able to tell you if you are approved for the low monthly payments. Let me go back over the necessary treatment with you. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

So, to reiterate you could have monthly payments for the treatment as low as xxxx. Is there any reason why we can't go ahead and schedule you an appointment to begin?

Why not ask the qualifying questions for CareCredit's approval first, you have the unscheduled treatment patient on the screen, hit the $ icon and have the answer before you finish going over the treatment needed. No delay on getting an answer from the patient, IF they are approved. Just like magic you have the answer. Technology certainly has a way of making us time and motion efficient.
Get 'em while they're hot!

Doctors Reveal the Top Practice Issues of 2002
Stifling Practice Growth and Profitability !!!

  1. Staffing Issues- Turnover resulting in recruitment of "good" employees as well as internal conflicts and lack of training.
  2. Scheduling-#1 issue was BUSYNESS! Practices are feeling the effects of the shortage of dentists since 1995. Schedules booked out far in advance. Concerns over time and motion ineffeciencies.
  3. Cash Flow/ Overhead-Payroll expense continues to escalate beyond the 22% limit. Accounts Receivable over 90 days rises above the 15% range.
  4. Hygiene-Perio therapy treatment still below 33%. Openings in schedule.

Will you be ready to run for the GOAL in 2003?

Find out Here

Start the year off right!!

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Dental Manager's Tool Kit

5 of Sally's Top Selling Books
Cash Flow, Hiring, Hygiene, Performance Measures, Recall

Special Rate for this week's newsletter subscribers. Receive all 5 books for $165!!!

Order before 2/21/03 and receive as an added bonus…
Sally McKenzie's Most Popular Lecture on DVD
Breakdown: The Hidden Signals of Practice Erosion


"Recently I moved my chairside assistant to the front desk to be our financial coordinator after firing the previous one. I didn't know how to train her and she was quickly becoming overwhelmed. Knowing that this could no longer go on I decided to send her to The Center for Dental Career Development. Sally McKenzie and her team showed my financial coordinator how to not only do every aspect of her job but also coordinate her management duties with the Dentrix Dental System™. I now have security in knowing that my financial systems are functioning to the best of their ability and the process even uncovered $110,000 in lost revenues! Bottomline…I made money on my decision!"

Advanced Business Training

· Financial Coordinators
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators

The Center for Dental Career Development is compatible with the following computer management systems: Dentrix™, Softdent, EagleSoft, PracticeWorks, Easy Dental, Discus Dental.

Test Your Skills NOW!

The Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental Professionals

737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037

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This issue is sponsored in part by:



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The Center for Dental Career Development


Lares Research


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or call 1-877-777-6151

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