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Sally McKenzie's

Weekly Management e-Motivator


Issue #52

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e-motivator Article.

February 21, 2003

Sally McKenzie,CMC
McKenzie Management

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 11

Breaking Down the Staff Productivity Barrier

Tasks are not getting done. Dirty instruments are stacking up. Collections aren’t being made. Recalls aren’t happening, etcetera, etcetera. The stress is high, and you want to solve the problem fast. Hiring more staff is seemingly quick and easy. It’s also fraught with potential problems and expensive headaches.

Before you toss another warm body into the mix, determine if your practice really needs another employee and if YOU, the doctor, can handle the financial impact of a new hire, because you’ll be the one doling out the cash.

1. Look at wages. They should be no more than 19% to 22% of gross income, not including doctor’s salary and including hygienists, assistants and business staff. (Payroll taxes and benefits are an additional 3% -5%). If the current gross salary expense is hovering around 22%, adding another person could increase gross wages to 27%. Where’s the additional 5% going to come from? See paragraph above. But wait, don’t panic! Before you stop the presses on your classified ad, there’s more than one point to consider.

2. If the new hire is a patient coordinator who will increase practice revenue by making sure appointments aren’t lost or if the individual is a hygienist who will enable your practice to meet the demands of a growing hygiene schedule, the negative financial impact should only last for about 30 and no more than 60 days. Beyond that, production should be increasing. In other words, if the production does not go up in short order after hiring this new person, you made the wrong hiring decision.

3. Check it out! Check in and check out takes approximately 10 minutes per patient. There are 480 minutes in an eight-hour workday. If your practice is seeing 15- 22 patients per day, which would total 150-220 minutes of patient contact, one person should be able to handle front desk duties. Chatty Cathy might need to put a muzzle on it, but she doesn’t necessarily need another person. There are inefficiencies in the systems or she herself is inefficient.

4. If the doctor has 14 or more scheduled patients a day, not counting hygiene exams, that indicates the need for a second assistant. If the procedures are streamlined, one assistant can efficiently maintain two treatment rooms for a general dentist using two operatories and seeing 13 or fewer patients a day.

5. Patient dismissal should take two minutes, while disinfection of a treatment room and cleaning/sterilization of instruments should take less than five minutes. Covering counters, chair switches, and light handles with plastic wrap takes less time than spraying to clean and disinfect surfaces. Moreover, several states have passed legislation allowing for expanded functions for assistants. If yours is one, give your assistants more responsibility!

6. Sink the six-month scheduling routine. You don’t know what you are doing in six months, why do you think your patients have their lives under better control than you do? If you are scheduling patients when they are due rather than pre-scheduling appointments, your appointment book is going to be a far more reliable source in determining the need for additional hygiene staff.

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

Now Available: Staff Management for Dentists

The Center for Dental Career Development

For current information

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.

Your telephone is ringing: Imposition or Opportunity?

The difference between an imposing phone call and an opportunistic phone call is what the business assistant does DURING the phone call. If your business assistant is trained appropriately, they will not only listen and respond to the patient inquiry – they will proactively service your patients and boost your productivity.

The key to this improvement is reviewing (visually) pertinent patient/account information in your practice management software during the first 15 seconds of the phone call.

Here is the information you SHOULD visually review. I will warn you up front that the steps will appear long and give you the impression that it will take too much time. This will depend upon the design of your practice management software. If your practice management system was designed to provide excellent patient service, 90% of the following information will be available right on the patient record screen. Practice finding the following information with each incoming phone call.

Here we go…….

Incoming telephone call (ring!)
Business administrator greets patient verbally
Patient provides name
1. Look up patient record immediately
2. Visually review patient balance
3. Account balance (family balance)
4. Any existing scheduled appointments
5. Last exam date
6. Outstanding treatment plan
7. Recare needs of family members
8. Any outstanding lab cases for this patient
9. Any MedAlerts
10. Pre-med requirements
11. Any pertinent patient notes entered by the rest of the dental team

Now you’re ready to handle the phone call with precision, efficiency, and world class service!

Now you’re ready to collect more money, avoid embarrassing scheduling mistakes, add production to the schedule, and make sure your office policies are adhered to.

If all you’re doing now is bringing up the patient record and responding to the patient’s request – you’re missing the opportunity!

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

How To Hire The Best Dental Employee
A Dentist's Guide to Effective Interviewing

Developing a Job Description
• Advertising
• Reviewing the Resumes
• Telephone Screening
• The Application
• Questions for Business, Assistants,Hygienists
• Testing Applicants
• Checking References

Special rate for this week's newsletter subscribers…. $37


"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

· Business Administrators
· 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:



McKenzie Management




The Center for Dental Career Development


Lares Research


For more information, email info@mckenziemgmt.com
or call 1-877-777-6151

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