Sally Mckenzie, CMC
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.
me share with you a true story. “Sue” visited her dentist,
Dr. Tom, recently for a regular, six-month oral hygiene appointment
and check up. She had been having some sporadic trouble with a crown
and decided that if the doctor asked about any problems
she’d mention it. Like many patients, Sue is a bit
anxious about going to the dentist, and since the
pain was only sporadic, she didn’t want to make a big deal
out of it. In addition, she had been having some sensitivity
with some other teeth, which the hygienist noticed during treatment.
most dentists, Dr. Tom is very busy. The day of Sue’s appointment
was no exception. Dr. Tom came in, greeted Sue, politely
asked about her family, looked in her mouth, checked a few old X-rays,
and said, “Looks good, see you in six months.”
Dr. Tom never asked Sue if she was having any problems. What’s
more, although the hygienist noticed the sensitivity, she did not
mention it to the doctor, nor did she recommend any special products
or home care regimens to address it. During the appointment, Sue
casually asked the hygienist a few questions about whitening. The
hygienist didn’t bother to mention that to the doctor either
– even though this practice is expanding its emphasis on cosmetic
dentistry. Nor did the hygienist give the patient any literature
about whitening options, sensitivity problems, etc.
walks out with any number of negative impressions – “Well,
doctor is too busy for me.” Or, “Obviously they’re
not concerned about this sensitivity problem.” Or, “Maybe
the practice is trying to reduce its patient base.” Or, “I
wonder if I really need to bother with these expensive appointments
twice a year.” The bottom line – the practice
misses a golden opportunity every time a routine hygiene visit is
treated like some sort of perfunctory exercise. The minimalist
mindset takes over, reinforcing common misconceptions about the
need for ongoing professional dental treatment and sending the wrong
messages to your patients.
many cases, the six-month visit is the only time the dentist is
going to have the opportunity to sit down with the patient and assess
not only their oral health condition but also their oral health
concerns and interests. What do you do during every routine
visit to WOW the patient, further educate them on the importance
of oral healthcare, and inform them of the services that your practice
provides? Anything? In about eight months, Dr. Tom’s
practice is going to be wondering why Sue hasn’t returned.
Can you figure it out?
week ... maximizing the routine patient visit.
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause “Digital Chaos”
VP Professional Relations
- Foundation and System
Last week we discussed your team as an integral part of your business
foundation and why it is so important to get them organized appropriately
before automating their tasks [see
article]. With more than 20 business systems
that make up the business foundation of your practice, each has
its own foundation. In the coming weeks, each system will be broken
down into Foundation and Automation. This week the focus will be
scheduling system – its individual foundation
description – The written, discussed, and agreed reason for
Expectations – The performance you expect from this one “system”
Goals – Clearly attainable performance objectives in support
of your vision
Responsibility – Who is ultimately responsible for this particular
Reporting mechanisms – Which reports they run to measure their
Accountability – Presenting the reporting results to the owner
and the team
Statistical performance reviews – Compilation of reports for
the business system(s) under the responsibility of a particular
success and/or failure of your scheduling system has a profound
effect on your bottom line. It also has a profound effect on “quality
of life” for everyone in the practice – including your
patients. How many times last week did the whole team get out on
time? How many patients were seen later than their appointed time?
Did you get a full lunch every day last week? Was your week productively
scheduled or just filled in to “look busy”?
Scheduling System – Automation Techniques
– Daily, weekly, and monthly production goals are entered
into the computer system. Every team member who schedules should
be aware of how to view and use these goals as a scheduling guideline.
plans – Every treatment plan (no matter how small)
is entered into the computer system. If they schedule – fine.
If they do not schedule, the next group of procedures is dropped
directly into the “unscheduled treatment” or “tickler
file” list for proper follow up.
sales calls – Someone is responsible for making at
least 5 outbound sales calls per day. These calls are organized
in and made from the unscheduled treatment or tickler file list.
Pertinent notes from these conversations must be entered into the
patient record in your practice management software.
file, Missed Appts. vs. Short calls – Cancellations
made within 24 hours of the appointment time should be filled with
entries in your electronic short call list. These are patients who
are already scheduled in the future. These patients said they would
be available to come in if you had a cancellation. Cancellations
made outside of the 24 hour period should be filled with entries
in the computer file. Important note: Using the short call
list DOES NOT add production to the schedule. Using the
“unscheduled treatment” or “tickler file”
DOES add production to the schedule.
multiple appointments – If you entered the treatment
plan into the computer system, there is absolutely NO need (zero,
nada, zilch) to pre-book multiple appointments for the same patient.
Pre-booking multiple appointments creates scheduling system breakdown,
last minute cancellations, and elevates the chance for poor customer
cases – If you don’t already, learn how to
manage your lab cases with your practice management software. Attach
the lab cases to the appointments when they are made. This will
streamline the whole team. It will also eliminate those embarrassing
situations where the patient shows up and you have no case to try
in or seat.
– If you schedule in your computer system correctly, your
practice management software “should” be able to give
you projected production into the future. Future production should
be reported and measured against your stated and entered production
goal. Slow times in your practice are FAR MORE avoidable than you
may realize if your scheduling foundation and supporting systems
are set up properly. Forecasting will also allow you to systematically
plan expansion with far greater accuracy in timing.
on your scheduling business system
Treatment, Tickler, Missed Appointment report – total value,
total value scheduled vs. unscheduled
per week/month for each provider
(compare next 30 days with last months forecast)
Next week I'll
focus on the recall and hygiene system.
If you have any questions, concerns, or stories related to this
article series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club? Click
Self-Esteem Plus Low Expectations Equals Disaster
Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To Day Issues
I have an employee that has been trying to be my dental assistant
for over a year. She went to school but has yet to take the registration
test so she can't do many of the tasks I need her to do.
After a year of assisting me with composites she still can't
always hand me the materials in the right order. I have been considering
changing her job to that of patient coordinator but I'm not sure
I could trust her not to screw it up especially if I can't give
her direct supervision. My receptionist could supervise her but
she may not have the necessary supervisory skills. She has been
with the office for 4 years and has been fired once for not showing
up to work and on probation twice for habitual tardiness. Getting
rid of her is a hard decision because her husband is ill and she
has a very gentle heart and is very compassionate to those around
her. What are your thoughts?
The core issue in this question is your belief in a personal
responsibility that does not exist. Personal just like
professional liability only goes so far. You crossed the line after
retaining her beyond the first year of her employment.
want-to-be dental assistant in question provided many reasons for
you not to continue her tenure with your business after the first
year. Even though your question discusses a time period of four
years later, I am confident that, if she is a poor performer today,
she was even worse during the first year. She made a promise to
become licensed and she breached that trust. Your inability to accept
the reality and let go and move on to another qualified person is
the issue here.
answer to this question has nothing to do with the want-to-be dental
assistant’s inability to do the job, the lack of trust that
she inspires by not following personnel policy, nor her personal
problems. The answer resides in your refusal to acknowledge that:
- many people
have similar talents who want to be a dental assistant and work
- many people
have good self-esteem, good technical abilities, good memories,
and are licensed.
- many people
have a gentle heart,
- many people are very
compassionate to their fellow employees, patients, and employers.
concerns me is the limited perspective that you have taken. In the
reality of business, is it not enough that you compassionately and
fervently wanted to become a professional? Was it enough to be a
wonderful human being. It is simply the truth. It is not enough
to be a good person that entitles us to be carried by an employer.
are more than free to care for this woman and to provide her with
the support and compassion that she gives you and you require
from her to feel good about yourself. However, consider the
merits of your proposed solution of changing her job description.
This will only help to exacerbate your frustration, because you
will make matters worse by converting the job of receptionist into
a manager position. Receptionists are important members of the team,
and good receptionist make you money, and good receptionists are
hard to find, and here is one more truth: receptionist do
not want to be mangers.
your reasoning implies a belief that it is your job to support this
employee because she is compassionate, gentle and has personal problems.
And my question is, where did you develop this belief?
Want your issues answered? Ask the email@example.com.
McKenzie Management's Executive
Unleashing your potential to maximize
Want information? ...
I haven't seen you in a while because I have been too busy making
money to come to any of the big meetings. Since our last visit
with your consultant in my office, our production has risen to
over 20% per month. Last month I quit working Friday's, and come
in one half an hour later. Thanks for the help. Hope to see you
this year at some meeting.
David Black, DDS
to know how you can take a day off?
You Looking For More New Patients?
Trade Secrets of America's Dental Marketing Guru
By: Howard "Howie" Horrocks
the best dental marketing book I've ever seen"
Howard Farran, DDS, MAGD, MBA
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These samples show you how to do it right, like marketing to
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the right amount of facts and emotions into your marketing.
This book will help you to revitalize your practice in a matter
of weeks by teaching you what to say in a simple letter that
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All you have to do is pick up these secrets and before you know
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1-10, I would rate my training at The Center a 20! I now have
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make money should go through this training."
Business Training For:
· Office Managers
· Financial Coordinators
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators
· Hygiene Coordinators
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Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental
737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037
For a FREE Educational Video
you a Victim?
... many dental practices still aren't tracking critical metrics
and they've fallen victim to some common pitfalls:
9 out of 10 practices have staff turnover every 15 months.
92% of dental practices lose more patients per month than replace
with new patients.
85% of dental practices grow less than 10% a year.
72% of dental practices have more than 20% of their revenues
going to payroll.
the performance metrics that you should be looking at on a regular
basis. From scheduling
to overhead to
staffing and hygiene.
Baseline Analysis will give you the information you need
to start improving your practice immediately. Get the information
you need to make smarter decisions that have a real
impact on your business.
I want McKenzie Management to measure my performance.