4.1.16 Issue #734 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Want to Maximize Your ROI? Follow These Tips
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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The dental industry is constantly evolving. Technologies and products continue to improve, enabling you to provide even better care to your patients while also increasing practice revenues.

Of course, that’s the idea behind investing in new technology. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. If you don’t have a plan in place to integrate the new technology into your practice, there’s a good chance it will never live up to its potential. No matter what technology you purchase, whether it’s cloud-based practice management software, 3D cone beam imaging or digital radiography, these high-tech products won’t do your practice much good if you and your team members don’t know how to use them.

Want to get the most out of your technology purchases? Follow the six tips listed below to make sure these large investments don’t go to waste. 

1. Know how the new technology will be used. Don’t just buy new technology because it sounds cool or because it’s the latest and greatest new product to hit dentistry. Take time to think about how this product will benefit your patients and your practice and then integrate it into your practice methodically.

2. Establish a budget. Over the course of your career, you’ll find yourself investing in new technology quite a bit – or at least wanting to. Don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Develop a budget for technology purchases and stick to it.

3. Ask the right questions. Take a minute to consider your pending technology purchases, then ask yourself a few key questions to ensure you’re prepared:

- How much do I plan to invest?
- How do I plan to use the technology?
- How will I measure ROI?

To help with this last question, make sure you have an understanding of exactly how much the new technology will cost, how quickly you can recover that cost and how your practice will benefit financially from the investment over time. While these are all important considerations, thinking about the long-term financial benefits is vital. Before spending thousands of dollars on new technology, it’s important to evaluate what your anticipated return is. Once you do, you may find the technology isn’t a good fit for your practice after all.

4. Determine which practice systems need the most help. Investing in the right technology can reenergize a struggling system. Identify which systems you need to improve first, then look for technology that will bring the most benefit to those systems. Maybe that means investing in a patient communication system to reduce broken appointments, or finally purchasing digital tools designed to improve patient education and thus grow case acceptance. Whatever it is, think about which systems the technology will improve and how to best integrate the technology into your practice.

5. Keep in mind the cost goes beyond the technology itself. When you invest in new equipment, hardware or software, there likely will be other costs associated with the purchase. Do some research to make sure you know what to expect. If you want to maximize your investment, you need the proper technological infrastructure to support the new technology, and that includes hardware, software and wiring. Sure, you’ll pay more up front to put this infrastructure in place, but it will save you money in the long run. Why? The technology will last longer and you’ll get more out of your investment. It’s also important to plan for ongoing service, maintenance and training.

6. Consider package deals. I know you want to save money where you can, but these important investments aren’t really where you should scrimp. While you might save some money on piecemeal purchases today, it won’t be long before you have to pay more for new updates, additional options and service packages – expenses that will actually cost you more over time.

Technology purchases shouldn’t be taken lightly. They’re big investments that can bring many benefits to both your patients and your practice. But if you’re not careful, you could end up spending a lot of money on state-of-the-art products that just don’t do much to move your practice forward. In fact, they’ll quickly become a source of frustration, costing you money rather than making you money.

To get the most ROI from technology purchases, I suggest you come up with a plan, establish and stick to a budget, and properly train your team. Need more guidance to get started? Feel free to contact me. I’m happy to help.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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Carol Tekavec, RDH
Hygiene Consultant
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Hygiene Production: Not Just Today’s Numbers
By Carol Tekavec RDH

The Hygiene Department is busy. Regardless of whether you schedule 50 minutes or one hour for an appointment, much more than “just a cleaning” must take place for a practice to stay viable. Ideally there are numerous tasks that should be addressed. Here are the basics:
An update of the patient’s medical history is vital. Simply entering “update med hist. no changes” may not be enough. A separate section of the patient e-record should provide for an entry that lists any changes in health or medications taken, with the entry person’s number or initials. Alternately this information can be listed in the progress notes. Be sure to ask if the patient has had any surgeries. Many patients who have received replacement “parts” for joints may neglect to mention this, and may or may not be candidates for premedication. There can be serious complications for a person needing a premed who is not given one. It is an office responsibility to find out if one is needed. The time for this update can range from 20 seconds to five minutes depending on the patient’s situation; or even longer if the patient’s physician must be contacted. Radiographs as necessary. Current ADA guidelines indicate that interproximal radiographs for an adult with a low risk for decay may be extended to two years in some cases. Many offices are more comfortable with a “once a year” schedule for all adults. Whatever the dentist thinks is appropriate still takes some time to accomplish. This can range from 3 minutes for a very compliant patient utilizing digital x-rays, to ten minutes for regular film exposures on a nervous, gaggy patient.

A Caries Risk Assessment is a newer addition to an effective recall appointment. The descriptions, format, and forms can be obtained through the ADA.  If the actual ADA form is used, and the interview process is adhered to, this can take at least five minutes.  Many offices like the idea of a Risk Assessment, but balk at some of the questions listed on the assessment form. For example, there is a question about Drug/Alcohol Abuse and another for Eating Disorder. If a discussion is going to be pursued on these topics, quite a bit of time, much more than five minutes, must be allotted and a very tactful demeanor utilized. If the hygienist is instructed to simply “observe all teeth for possible decay” this might be accomplished during the scaling and polish, but is not an actual Risk Assessment. Take a look at the ADA form online to see what should be noted.

A Periodontal Assessment is essential. This should include six pocket/sulcus depths, plus bleeding mobility, furcations and recession. If accomplished by the hygienist alone, 5 -10 minutes. If accomplished with an assistant or electronic recording device, 5 minutes. Then, the prophy at 20 to 30 minutes, followed by the dentist’s evaluation at 10 minutes (if the dentist is available to come for the exam right away).
We now will have spent approximately 40-60 minutes on this appointment. Revenue generated will be for the prophy and radiographs for the hygiene department, and the dentist’s exam for the dentist. If the hygienist had time during the appointment to discuss possible necessary treatment with the patient, these numbers could be greatly enhanced. Here are some examples.

Example #1
Linda the hygienist notices that Pam, her patient, has a cracked tooth #30. She takes an intra-oral photo and also utilizes a CariVu to show the tooth as an icy white image on the television monitor. The crack looks like the Grand Canyon on the photo, and appears as a large, black fissure on the CariVu. She tells Pam that the dentist will likely recommend a crown for this tooth.  When the dentist arrives for his exam, the hygienist informs him of what she and Pam have been discussing, he confirms the crack and recommends a crown. Since the patient has had time to get used to the idea, and can also clearly see the need, she agrees to the crown and schedules an appointment. Revenue generated for the future crown, $1500.

Example #2
The hygienist begins a discussion with Tony, a patient with a long-standing space where #4 had been previously removed. Although she has spoken with Tony about this before, she mentions again that he could have an implant and crown to fill this in, greatly improving his smile. While the patient has never appeared to be interested in an implant, the discussion today inspires him to finally decide to have the implant/crown. Revenue generated for the future implant and crown, $3500.

Example #3
The hygienist notices that Andrew has many worn anterior teeth. She explains that these worn teeth may indicate the need for a nightguard and possibly some incisal restorations. The patient agrees to six 3-surface incisal restorations plus a nightguard.  Future revenue generated, $175 x 6 = 1050 +700 = $1750.

With enough time, and the encouragement of the dentist, a hygienist can greatly increase office production by noticing and mentioning necessary patient treatment. Hygiene production for this hygienist might include the generation of future revenue by patients’ acceptance of treatment suggestions. In this example, $1500 + 3500 + 1750 = $6750.

While many practices have a schedule they are happy with that works well for them, some may be interested in ways to generate more treatment coming from the hygiene department. The addition of a little more time can sometimes offer a nice pay-off. Hygiene production can be thought of as more than just today’s numbers.

Carol Tekavec RDH is the Director of Hygiene for McKenzie Management. Carol can improve your hygiene department in just one day of training “in your office.” Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department?  Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com.

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Jonathan Gale, Ph.D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Leadership: Back to the Basics
By Jonathan Gale, Ph.D.

Spring is in the air. Let us take this time to review the leadership approach you take in your dental practice, and make sure you are building on the proper foundation.

Sometimes real leadership innovation isn’t about creating something bright and shiny and new. Perhaps it is about dusting off an old piece of wisdom that others have forgotten in the rush toward novelty. Or maybe it is about taking lessons long recognized in other disciplines but not applied in our own, whether that means learning something from a different area of business or from an entirely separate field. Where did you derive your leadership style? What training or experience do you have in thinking and behaving as the leader?

Let us review some important leadership fundamentals so you can be sure you are on the right track. Leadership best practices indicate a regular review of your “core business practices” and in the case of dentists, in addition to fixing teeth, a large part of who/what you are is a leader. Mastery of a musical instrument means going over the same basic lessons again and again until they become instinctive, mastering the fundamentals before you apply anything more advanced. The same lesson can be applied in leadership – get the fundamentals right and the rest will follow.

Here are four fundamentals of effective leadership for all dentists to master.

1. Humility
When you are at the top and everyone is looking up to you for guidance, it can be easy to think that leadership is about you. But that is a deceptive and destructive way of thinking.

As historic leaders such as George Washington have realized, leadership is about the people around you. Recognize their concerns. Live with the difficulties they face. Make your focus on them rather than on yourself, your ideas, and your status. To know more about their realities, it is crucial that you make time to speak with them, but primarily to listen. They will feel heard and you will gain the necessary information to guide your leadership style.

If you can implement these practices, your people will follow you. Remember, leadership is about the ones being led.

2. Communication
Good communication is central to every human relationship, as well as every business relationship. Whether it is with patients, your staff or vendors, clear communication builds trust, improves productivity, and ensures that the job is done right.

Good communication is about listening as much as speaking; planning as much as delivering; personal moments as much as addressing the room. There are lots of details to work on, but they all come back to the fundamental point of communicating well.

3. Trust
Trust is vital to leadership and it’s not something that just happens. You have to earn people’s trust. The best way to earn trust as a leader is to make a practice of communicating clearly, listening to others and setting and living up to clear expectations.

But trust is a two-way thing. If you do not show others that you trust them, you reduce their ability to do their best work and you prevent them from ever fully trusting you. So you also have to learn to trust others, and to act on that trust. Do not try to control the details. Recognize that solutions other than your own may be good enough or even better than what you came up with. Let others do their best without you peering over their shoulders. In the end you will all be more productive.

4. Innovation
It is easy to get stuck in familiar patterns. After all, following the same routine is easy and it feels safe. But anyone can follow a routine. A leader needs to innovate and show others how this is done, or your whole practice will slip into complacency and stagnate. Make a routine of trying new things and developing new ideas. Apply skills from outside of your field. Develop new thinking habits. Train your brain to innovate.

If scales are the fundamentals of learning to play music, then principles like these are the fundamentals of learning to lead. If we keep practicing them, the other skills and habits will easily follow. But unlike scales, the fundamentals of good leadership cannot be easily deduced. So what do you think they are? Do these suggestions ring true for you, or would you have added another? This is your first practice in innovation: not to take information as fact. Instead, challenge, question, wonder. Your staff will be inspired by a leader with an open mind and solid leadership grounding.

Dr. Gale provides coaching and training to enhance leadership skills, interpersonal communications and team building. If you would like to learn more, contact him at jgalephd@mckenziemgmt.com

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