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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
I know I am lacking in the business skills I need to manage
staff and know the numbers."
Dr. P. G.
Available: Staff Management for
for Dental Career Development
VP of Professional Relations
for McKenzie Management
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
telephone is ringing: Imposition or Opportunity?
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…….
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
ready to handle the phone call with precision, efficiency,
and world class service!
you’re ready to collect more money, avoid
embarrassing scheduling mistakes, add production to
the schedule, and make sure your office policies are
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
Issues- Turnover resulting in recruitment of "good"
employees as well as internal conflicts and lack of training.
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
Cash Flow/ Overhead-Payroll expense continues
to escalate beyond the 22% limit. Accounts Receivable over 90
days rises above the 15% range.
Hygiene-Perio therapy treatment still below
33%. Openings in schedule.
you be ready to run for the GOAL in 2003?
Find out Here
To Hire The Best Dental Employee
A Dentist's Guide to Effective Interviewing
• Developing a Job Description
• Reviewing the Resumes
• Telephone Screening
• The Application
• Questions for Business, Assistants,Hygienists
• Testing Applicants
• Checking References
Special rate for this week's newsletter subscribers….
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!"
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators
Center for Dental Career Development is compatible with the following
computer management systems: Dentrix™, Softdent™,
Your Skills NOW!
Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental
737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037
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This issue is sponsored
in part by:
Center for Dental Career Development