Only They Would ‘Get It’
If only Sue would monitor the schedule. If
only Mary would at least ask patients to pay. If only Jane would
reinforce my treatment recommendations. Oh if only this, if
only that. Things would be practically perfect in your world if
only people would behave the way you want them to. Disgruntled,
you just shake your head, roll your eyes, and quietly boil over
as Sue, Mary, and Jane toil along oblivious to your silent fury.
I’ve said before, in many cases, it’s not that Sue,
Mary or Jane are incompetent, often they
simply flying blind. I cannot count the number of times a doctor
has thrown their arms up in total exasperation over an employee
who just isn’t measuring up. “They are not doing
this. They should be doing that. They don’t get it!”
Then I ask the $64,000 question, “Have you told
them what you expect and exactly what they are supposed to be doing?”
and again, the doctor tries to explain his or her way out of this
uncomfortable situation. The eyes are darting, the hands are wringing.
The feet are shifting. And there begins the desperate attempt to
answer my simple yet agonizing question… “Well,
she worked in a dental practice before. I thought she knew these
things.” Or, “I’m pretty sure we talked about
that stuff in the job interview.” Or, “Don’t you
think that should be common sense?” Or, my personal favorite,
“I’ve told them what I don’t want.”
Well, yeah, but have you actually told them what you do
want? If there is a 2 p.m. hole in the schedule does Sue
know definitively that it is her responsibility to fill that hole
and to schedule to meet daily production goals?
Employees rely on the doctor for fundamental direction as much as
the doctor relies on the staff to keep the practice operating smoothly.
Too often the most basic and elementary tool for employee/practice
success is never utilized: The job description. It’s
the nuts and bolts of every position on the team, and if
it’s not in place chances are pretty good that most of the
mechanics of the practice have more than a few loose screws.
Next week spelling out the duties, so they will get it and
you can do the dentistry.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Computing - Part 11
More Patient WOW
Last week [see
article], I discussed three more of our commitments to our patients
when you implement computer systems into the treatment rooms. This
week, I am going to continue examining three more patient commitments
in greater detail.
patient of ours will ALWAYS receive reinforcement from the ENTIRE
TEAM (yes, business team too) because all of the information they
need to be reinforcing is in front of everyone.
We hear it all the time from our clients. “My team doesn’t
seem to be on the same page.” Fully utilizing your existing
computer system is a wonderful opportunity to centralize the information
necessary to “bring” everyone to the same page. As your
team grows accustomed to “their” data input responsibilities,
they will undoubtedly grow more familiar with data entered by other
team members. Having every team member aware of everything
that’s going on with a particular patient is a very powerful
advantage when leveraged properly. In short, the more every
team member learns about a patient, the better service they and
the rest of the team can provide in a very professional and efficient
manner. There is a side benefit as well. We all have patients who
seem to enjoy playing the “he said, she said” game.
Those games are over if you utilize your software properly.
95% of our patients will be able to learn of their diagnosis
and planned treatment during one visit. They won’t have to
come back to have the treatment presented.
I understand there are complex treatment plans that require consultation
and study prior to patient presentation. But, 95% of your treatment
plans can and should be done with respect for the patient’s
time in mind. With that said, fully and properly implemented treatment
room computers will allow you and your team to instantly organize
and present treatment. As you know, we have been statistically tracking
dental practices nationwide for 23 years. In many offices (not all),
there is a direct correlation between treatment acceptance
and how many patient visits it takes to get a complete diagnosis
and treatment plan. If you have ever heard “I have
to come back?”, or, “But I just wanted my teeth cleaned”,
or, have a higher than acceptable cancellation rate – your
patients may be telling you that they want the information at the
initial visit. Using your computer system fully and properly will
help you deliver the service your patient base is demanding.
A patient of ours will ALWAYS know that financing is available
when we (the clinical team) present treatment.
No, this doesn’t mean just handing a patient a CareCredit
brochure on their way out. If you currently employ third party patient
financing, there is a very good statistical chance that you do not
USE it properly (sound familiar?). With Dentrix,
once the patient information is entered, you can just “click”
one button to receive almost instantaneous electronic confirmed
financing approval! Clearly, these two companies have eliminated
the “it takes too much time” excuse.
If you do not currently employ third party patient financing, we
strongly recommend you do so. We also strongly recommend you get
the whole team trained in its use.
Imagine you are automobile shopping. You don’t really “need”
or “have to have” a new car but you have been eyeing
this new year model from afar. Finally, you go as far as taking
a test drive (you should now be thinking about the digital before
and after images at treatment presentation). You can see yourself
in this car at a traffic light and everyone is looking at you in
your new car (new smile). You are concerned about the money but
you WANT this new car and the feeling that goes with owning it.
The service you have received thus far from the company
representative has been informative, caring, and professional.
The company representative tells you the price of the car is $45,699
and (oh, by the way) here is a brochure about some company that
can do financing for you.
How do you feel right now? How does that differ from how you felt
just before you were told you can’t afford what you WANT?
Did your view of the dealership and the representative change in
an instant? Are you ever going back to that dealership?
This analogy is admittedly over exaggerated to prove a point. If
treatment acceptance is an area of your practice that needs improvement,
proper presentation and full utilization of patient financing
is one of the (many) opportunities you have at your disposal.
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using
Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec.
10th in La Jolla. For more information email email@example.com
or call 1-877-900-5775
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
office consists of 3 general dentists, 2 hygienists, oral surgeon,
periodontist and an orthodontist.
am having enormous difficulty with scheduling assistants and doctors
with regards to coverage, over coverage, and under coverage.
assistant wants to take vacation time different or at the same time
as another assistant or doctor and I want to take time off different
We will have 2 doctors working with one assistant today, because
2 assistants decided to take off at the same time. And tomorrow,
we will have 1 doctor working with 3 assistants, because I took
off but feel bad
telling the assistants they have to take the day off.
This is a constant issue, especially during Christmas and summer
holidays. We tried doing the first come, first serve way, but people
were putting their time in over a year ahead of schedule.
Most of my assistants want off during the holidays because their
kids are off from school. I only have very young children so I rarely
want to go away during the holiday time due to the fact that I can
take off any time
and it's much easier and less expensive to go away other times of
Let me tell you what is reasonable:
is reasonable that 2 assistants who worked together so often might
want to take time off together
is reasonable to want to take extended time off on Christmas
and during the summer
is reasonable to do first come first-served
is reasonable to schedule time off in excess of a year ahead,
if the office will remain open
It is reasonable to want time off when the kids are off
It is unreasonable that you have a difficulty establishing a policy
that eliminates chaos
It is unreasonable for doctors to take too much time off
and limit the productivity of the business
is unreasonable to even permit a doctor to work without sufficient
is unreasonable to even permit a doctor to work with excess support
It is unreasonable to not be able to tell people what
their work schedule will be
It is unreasonable to run your business from the perspective of
your family obligations
The bottom-line here is that you are the problem…the
senior partner is always the problem in business matters
like this. Businesses are run according to the dictates of the owner
of the businesses. The owner of the business must take into consideration
the people that support his efforts and the need for the business
to continue unabated by day-to-day scheduling upsets.
There is a need for a definitive policy and the elimination of uncertainty
at all cost.
There are certain types of policies that are not political but are
rather cultural. A good working environment includes people enjoying
working within a culture that appreciates their dignity
as well as their natural obligations as member of a family and society.
All of these big words are just a fancy way of saying that you need
a policy that makes sense and is considerate of the personal and
This is actually a very simple question to answer; however, working
with many dentists and doctors as I do, I know that implementation
of these reasonable behaviors is not always very easy. Your lack
of policy and fear of establishing a reasonable policy reflects
on your inability to respect the dignity of your employees.
are expected to establish policy and the adults on your staff are
free to concur with your policy or find another employer. Establishing
a policy that is fair is not as difficult as you believe,
however, your procrastination and reticence to impose your leadership
is quite evident to all.
Regardless, while the staff will set the policy, if you let them,
in the end, an unstructured policy will only lead to a chaotic environment
with mini-catastrophes, and personal dramas which no one will enjoy.
Here are some general guidelines:
You must have a definitive policy on scheduling holidays, paid
time off, unpaid time off, and a limit to unpaid time off.
gets their choice.
first-served levels the playing field.
commitments change, the assistant must arrange to have their time
covered by another assistant
One person in the office should be responsible for organizing
and posting the schedule.
Outside of national holidays and paid vacation time, do not organize
days off around the convenience of the staff. It is the presence
or absence of the doctors that determine a person's ability to
take time off.
assigning assistants to specific doctors, and then consider rotating
these assignments monthly or quarterly
If you are having this much trouble with scheduling, I would offer
you that there are probably many other areas within your practice
where you are weak and probably could benefit from a visit
from a practice management consultant.
More than any other explanation, I can give you, the mere existence
of this problem is a demonstration of poor leadership skills. The
leadership skill I am referring to is the ability to see the clarity
that goes with establishing limits within your business.
This is the heart of the problem.
type of clarity is a personal attribute, in other words, you either
have the ability to see this dynamic or you are totally confused
by its presence and lack of resolution. It is this lack of clarity
or appreciation for the social dynamics of a modern business which
permits these problems to begin and to become part of the ongoing
would do well to find it in your heart to get needed information
in the form of setting up systems, methods, and policies
such that your life becomes more efficient and less complex.
Want your issues answered? Ask the firstname.lastname@example.org.
miss The Coach’s workshops on Dec 6th, Office
Politics ... The Enemy Within. For more information
or call 1-877-900-5775
You're Not Satisfied with Your Practice's Performance …
9 out of 10 practices have staff turnover every 15 months.
76% of dental practices have hygiene departments producing less
than 33% of practice production.
85% of dental practices grow less than 10% a year.
72% of practices' employee costs are more than 25% of revenues.
28 Performing Days Left to
Year End Goal
are you waiting for?
a Closer Look Here
for the TREES?
Management has been helping Dentists see a CLEAR PATH to
their desired future for over 23 years.
“Plain and simple...
we listen, we understand
and we’ll get you there.”
- Sally McKenzie
President & CEO
CALL US TODAY AND LET US SHOW YOU A PATH FULL OF POSSIBILITIES
I work in the position of financial coordinator in this practice.
While statements are sent out monthly and I’ve been using
the delinquent messages that are supplied by the software company,
I think I need to change them. Do you have any messages that you
First things first and that is reevaluate your plan of action of
asking for money as the patients are dismissed. That is your top
priority. Your second priority is to make telephone calls to these
patients. Verbal communication is always better than written communication.
However, allow me to answer your original question. I used to do
accounts receivable contract work for dentists before I started
McKenzie Management so…I know these messages work. Here are
some for you to try in order of lateness. Oh, one more thought…don’t
forget “due dates” on every statement.
Please keep in mind that it is the policy of this office that
accounts are due payable at the time of treatment. If you have
any questions regarding the amount due, please contact our financial
manager, otherwise payment will be expected by July 13th. Thank
you for giving this your immediate attention.
Your account is now past due. If you are experiencing financial
difficulty, please call our financial manager immediately. Otherwise
to avoid any detrimental action against your credit history, we
must receive payment no later than July 13th. Thank you for giving
this your immediate attention.
Due to the manner in which you have handled this account, you
have left us not other alternative but to refer this account to
our attorney, if payment is not received by July 13th.
YOUR HYGIENE DEPARTMENT PRODUCING 33% OF THE PRACTICE'S PRODUCTIONS?
Hygiene Clinical Consultant for
CAN HELP YOU
develop a profitable
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037
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