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  Sally McKenzie's
 Weekly Management e-Motivator
  10.17.03 Issue #86

Getting to the “Meet” of the Issues Barrier

Sally Mckenzie, CMC
McKenzie Management

   Oh hooray, it’s that time again. Everyone comes together, circles the table, and stares. Arms locked across chests, they stare at the ceiling, the floor, the clock, the stain on doctor’s lab coat, yes it’s another staff meeting and the intellectual exchange could only be greater if you were measuring the spray patterns of aerosol cans. Admittedly, many doctors look at staff meetings as big, fat, exercises in futility that ultimately result in lost production time and lower revenue. If that’s a fair assessment of how you feel about the effectiveness of your

staff meetings it sounds like it’s time to get to the “meet” of this essential practice management issue.

Look at meetings not from the standpoint of revenue lost but rather the potential of significant revenue gain. They are the opportunity to identify and solve problems, to establish policies, to present information, to motivate, to exchange ideas, to identify areas of responsibility, etc. And isn’t every one of those vitally important to growing a thriving practice? Yes!

“But I’ve tried staff meetings,” doctors will say time and again only to abandon them because, “Everyone was looking at me to do all the talking.” Conversely, team members will pronounce, “We give input but nothing ever changes.” Team participation and implementation of agreed upon changes are essential to the success of not only the meeting but also the ability of the staff to take ownership of systems and become accountable for their results.

Virtually guarantee a productive and informative meeting for everyone by assigning each staff member the responsibility of reporting on their particular system at the meeting. For example, Jane, the scheduling coordinator will report on: 1. The number of new patients scheduled for the month. 2. The number of new patients actually seen. 3. The number of emergency patients scheduled for the month. 4. The number of emergency patients treated for the month. 5. The number and dollar amount of unscheduled time units for the month. 6. Office supply expenses for the month compared to collections. 7. The number of patients with unscheduled treatment.

Next week, more practical strategies to turn meetings into the ultimate practice building sessions.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie at

Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
Click here

Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?

Building On The Theory

How An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
“Digital Chaos”

Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management

Technology Tool Box

Clinical Computing - Part 7
Patient WOW

Last week [see article], I started expanding the explanation of your clinical computing commitments to your patients. I am going to continue expanding this week with more patient service commitments.

The next four commitments all belong in the same basic category. When the dentist, hygienist, and assistant use their charting system together – the patient gets to hear greater value in the breadth of the services you provide on a regular basis. You have already learned how important patient value perception is to your patient’s well being, your business growth, and overall success.

Here are the first four for this week.

  1. “A patient of ours will know and value that we provide oral cancer screening”
  2. “A patient of ours will know and value that we provide plaque recordings”
  3. “A patient of ours will know and value that we check “their bite”
  4. “A patient of ours will be much more aware of the depth and breadth of our clinical examination findings”

The fourth patient commitment sums up the first three. Through their training and countless hours of CE, dentists and clinical team members have turned their hard work into an “assumed routine”. To you, the diagnostic steps you take during an examination are so much a part of your professional life – the routine has caused you to “assume” the patient knows what you are doing. As a dentist or hygienist calls out information to an assistant while you use your charting software, the patient is now exposed verbally to everything YOU take for granted! Believe me, your patients will be warmly surprised. They may not say anything to you. Some will – some won’t. Now reflect on your own personal life. When was the last time you purchased the services of a company and were “warmly surprised”? Do you have an example in your mind?

I bet you kept going back yourself and purchased additional services. And, I bet you would recommend the company if a friend, family member, or co-worker asked.

Another patient commitment for this week.

“A patient of ours will be able to see the results of their homecare regimen on screen and how it has affected their periodontal condition”

The most important word in this commitment is “see”. We just discussed the improved patient value perception when they “hear” the many steps you take during an examination. Now, what if the patient could actually “see” it for themselves? The old saying, “I believe half of what I hear, and everything I see”, applies here. Did you not discuss their periodontal condition and home care at the last visit? Of course you did! “Seeing”, the results of their periodontal status from the last visit to this visit solidifies the caring nature of the hygienist’s home care instruction. It also ties the patient to the problem WITH the hygienist so they can work on it TOGETHER. If you record periodontal probing depths on your clinical charting system, take the time to present the results to your patients. Once they have a sense of ownership in their care – they will feel much better about “owning” the rest of the care they need.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at

Interested in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Click here

See Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec. 10th in La Jolla. For more information email or call 1-877-900-5775

Getting The Cold Shoulder


Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To Day Issues

Last week I concluded my article by stating that there are practitioners who believe that their need for leadership skills is based upon their assumption that leadership is somehow a magical concept that will allow them to make

people listen to them and then do what they are told. The desire to have people listen to you is a very natural extension of everyone's desire to matter in this world and have some power and influence over their destiny; however, it is one thing to ask to have influence over a perfect stranger, and it is quite another to insist on influence over someone that you are paying to do a job for you.

The fact that many practitioners do not see this distinction is a reflection of the way the mind organizes itself. It is not a flaw in the brain, but rather it is a beautiful example of how we learn to adapt in childhood and then take the same adaptations and apply them to our adult life. Business is the manifestation of adult living and this assumption that people will not listen to us like they didn’t in childhood, except if we are a “leader” is a carryover from a childhood fantasy.

Let us be very clear and remember that we are talking about owners of a business who pay out a paycheck every week in exchange for asking people to do their job descriptions. We are not asking people to do something that is illegal or against their interest. Now, these situations require real leadership skills. Isn't it interesting that a person should think that asking someone to do what is part of their job description requires leadership. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The truth remains that you, as the business owner, have the power to ask your staff, the employees who receive a paycheck, to do absolutely anything that is consistent with their job description. We do not need leadership, we do not need the love, we do not need respect, we do not need trust, and we do not need their permission. It is part of the social business contract that exists between employer and employee. Tell people what you want them to do. They expect you to tell them what you want.

Yes, love, respect, and trust go a long way toward building working relationships that feel pleasurable on a daily basis, but they are not essential to have people do their jobs. While it is very easy for me to say, I am also well aware that it is very very difficult for some practitioners to utter these words and feelings because of their personal experience. That experience in the past was real, it was hurtful, and it was damaging to the worldview of that person.

In coaching, I work with people who have a perspective of the world and a perspective of themselves which is not accurate based on the social business contract. They live their life as if certain things are true for everybody, when in fact, they were only true for themselves and they were only true for themselves in their childhood.

It is essential that everyone reading this column understand that we are all, I repeat, we are all the product of our family experience. Some of us have had experiences that prepared us well for the world of the adults, the world of business, and the world of family. Others have had experiences that have not prepared them well for the world of adult, the world of business, and the world of family.

It is this lack of appropriate preparation which leads to this distorted definition that the word “leadership” conjures up. As I expressed last week, leadership seems to be a natural biological behavior that some have and most do not; however, when we discuss issues of practice management, we are not talking about leadership, but rather we are talking about asking the staff to do something the way the owner wants it done. This does not require leadership, but it does require a belief that you are entitled to get what you want and what you paid for. Ask any adult or owner of a business.

In conclusion, the discussion of leadership is a valid topic for practice management discussion, but it must be placed within the context that it belongs. Many of the problems that are called “issues of leadership” are really the owners of the business reluctant to express themselves and tell others what they want. Coaching is the solution to this kind of problem.

Want your issues answered? Ask the

Don’t miss The Coach’s workshops on November 8th, Taking Your Practice Back – Leaderhip Development for Dentistry. For more information email or call 1-877-900-5775

Dental Insurance Coding Handbook 4th Edition

By Carol Tekavec

This manual is an office essential!

Much more than just codes and definitions, this manual helps you speed up insurance reimbursement, reduce requests for "more information" and decrease payment delays! Additionally, under the provisions set by the HIPAA Act, all dental offices and insurance carriers that transmit health information electronically must use the current version of dental procedure codes found in this Handbook. In addition, you will receive information on treatment estimates and how to talk to patients about insurance.

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Sally's Mail Bag

Hi Sally,
I just attended a seminar you gave in San Diego and you were talking about having my receptionist keep track of unscheduled time units. How does she do that?
Dr. Postlewaite.

Dear Dr. Postlewait,
To track the number of unscheduled time units for the doctor she must first know what the daily production goal is in order to put a value on the unit. An unscheduled unit if cancelled and not filled, the patient not showing up or time never filled. Unscheduled time units is taking the daily production goal divided by number of units worked per day. For example, let’s say our present goal is $3061 and you work an 8 hour day and are scheduled on 10 minute time units. There are 48 ten minute units in an 8 hour day. So $3,061 ÷ 48... 10 minute time units in an 8 hour day = $65.83 per 10 minute unit. Now let’s say your Goal is no more than 2 - 10 minute units per day unscheduled for the doctor or $131.66 ($65.83 x 2 = $131.66) in lost production. Your receptionist should track this daily in order to report to you the monthly total.

Are you wondering if your hygiene department is producing what it could be?

Dr. Allan Monack's hygienist produces $1231 a day seeing
1 patient an hour with a
prophy fee of $70.

What's your hygienist producing?

Dr. Monack is the Hygiene Clinical Consultant for McKenzie Management. He can help you produce the same results.
To find out more about the Hygiene Clinical Enrichment Program [go here], contact us at or call: 877-777-6151

  Office Managers
  Financial Coordinators
  Scheduling Coordinators
  Treatment Coordinators
  Hygiene Coordinators
For a FREE Educational Video
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This issue is sponsored
in part by:
The Center for Dental Career Development
San Diego Workshop Series
Fall/Winter Schedule
 Date Seminar Instructor(s)  
 Oct. 31
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Nov. 7
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Nov. 8
 9:00 - 4:30
Taking Your Practice Back - Leadership Development for Dentistry    
 Nov. 14
 9:00 - 4:30
Unleashing Your Team's Potential & Optimizing Clinical Efficiency Risa Simon, CMC.  
 Nov. 19
 9:30 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Dec. 5
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Dec. 6
 9:00 - 4:30
Office Politics ... The Enemy Within    
 Dec. 10
 9 - 12pm
Taking Your Hygiene Department to the Next Level Allan Monack, DDS FAGD
Hygiene Clinical Director
McKenzie Management
 Dec. 10
 1 - 4
Using Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management
 Dec. 17
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
To Register 877-900-5775 or

For more information, email
or call 1-877-777-6151

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