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    • Insight

      Insight

      Systems and Targets Drive Practice Success - Get Back to Basics in 2011

      By Roger P. Levin, DDS
      Chairman and CEO, Levin Group

      It’s a new year, and for many of us, that means taking stock of what we’ve accomplished and deciding what we want to achieve in the year ahead.

      As you set your goals for 2011, there’s one principle you need to remember—systems are the lifeblood of practice management and targets are the heartbeat.

      Evaluate your systems and determine which ones need to be replaced. Then, employ step-by-step documentation to implement new systems that allow the practice to grow.

      I can tell you with great certainty that most practices do not have efficient systems. In fact, you are most likely operating 30–50% below your potential right now. We didn’t learn business leadership in dental school, and as a result, many of us find this aspect of practice ownership to be challenging throughout our careers.

      The good news is that the economy is showing signs of recovery. Now is the perfect time to evaluate and improve systems for scheduling, case presentation, collections, customer service and marketing. When these systems are operating efficiently, case acceptance goes up, no-shows go down and overhead is reduced, all of which combined, typically increase practice production up to 30–50%.

      To get the most out of step-by-step systems, Levin Group recommends using a series of targets that motivate the team and drive practice performance. We use targets to develop innovative and new consulting programs for today’s economy. The following key targets are used by practices to continually grow, even during challenging economic times:

      • Reduce no-shows and last-minute cancellations to less than 1%
      • Increase production by 15% in 2011
      • Schedule all new patients for consults within 7 days
      • 90% of scheduled patients should accept treatment
      • Collect 99% of all monies owed
      • Once treatment has been accepted, schedule patients within 7–10 days
      • Follow up the next business day with every patient who doesn’t accept treatment

      Targets are a critical management concept that practices use to maximize efficiency, productivity and production. They help doctors focus on what is possible when high-performance systems are implemented. What are your targets? And do you have the systems in place to reach them?

      Never underestimate the power of effective systems nor the energy that targets provide you and your staff to achieve your practice goals. Together, systems and targets are key components for building a successful practice. Proven systems and proper targets increase production and reduce stress. This gives dentists time to concentrate on what they love to do—provide excellent patient care.
      Focusing on the basics and getting your systems in order will go a long way toward achieving many of your practice goals for the year. Remember, your practice is the best investment you ever made. If you take care of your practice, it will take care of you!

      Best wishes for a successful 2011. And thanks for reading! Look for the next issue of Dental Business Review in March.

      Dr. Roger P. Levin is Chairman and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., the leading practice management firm that provides premier comprehensive consulting solutions for lifetime success to dentists in the U.S. and around the world. A third-generation dentist, he is a pioneer in developing practice management and marketing systems that increase production and profitability while creating the ideal practice. Considered to be one of dentistry’s most influential and dynamic speakers, he brings Total Practice Success™ Seminars to dentists, specialists and their teams throughout the year.

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    • Management Essentials

      Management Essentials

      Who’s Stealing From You?
      9 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Embezzlement

      If you think you could never be a victim of embezzlement, think again. Levin Group recently worked with a practice that hadn’t been closely tracking its numbers. As I evaluated the client’s financial statements as part of the initial phases of our consulting engagement, it became apparent there were some serious discrepancies in the practice’s finances. When the practice’s accountant audited the books at my recommendation, the doctors discovered their Financial Coordinator had been stealing to the tune of a least $75,000. This person was not only a long-time, trusted employee—she was a relative.

      Embezzlement is a crime of opportunity. Remove the opportunity, and you eliminate the ability to steal. Here are steps you can take to reduce your practice’s exposure to theft:

      1. Consider who in the practice has access to your revenue and bookkeeping, and evaluate potential weaknesses in your systems.
      2. Never let the same person who collects the money make the deposit. By separating these tasks, you reduce the opportunity for someone to “cook the books.”
      3. Reduce cash on hand by encouraging patients to pay by credit or debit card.
      4. Make sure that those you assign to handle payments reconcile the receipts on a daily basis. Remaining current on financial transactions will help you quickly recognize when something isn’t right.
      5. Require outgoing checks to have the signatures of two people, excluding whoever prepares the accounts payable.
      6. Have your books audited at least twice a year at varying times. This discourages stealing and increases the odds of detecting theft.
      7. Take personal responsibility for opening and reviewing bank statements.
      8. Conduct a criminal background and credit check before hiring a new employee.
      9. Require the main staff member who handles the financials to take mandatory vacations, and during that time, have another employee perform her job. Many embezzlement schemes are picked up using this technique.
      While these will all help lower the risk of embezzlement, they may not eliminate the desire to steal, especially if the need is great. As a business owner, you must take every precaution, and never assume it couldn’t happen to you. Remember, excellent systems make it easier to prevent embezzlement.
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This is the inside info every dentist needs to know. With Dr. Levin’s help, keep your finger on the pulse of the dentistry. Get the latest industry news and the timely practice management information that can help dentists better manage their practices in the current economy.

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This is the inside info every dentist needs to know. With Dr. Levin’s help, keep your finger on the pulse of the dentistry. Get the latest industry news and the timely practice management information that can help dentists better manage their practices in the current economy.