Treat each patient as an individual. Personalize every case presentation. Learn one or two new things about each patient during every visit and document that information in his or her record. The ultimate goal is to learn 10 or more things about every patient.
Prepare a systems operations manual. Prepare step-by-step documentation of all practice management and marketing systems. Then, in addition to using it as the basis for scripting and training on specific systems, pull together the documentation for all systems into an operations manual. As changes in systems occur, update the manual so it can continue serving as a valuable reference and training tool.
If you find a certain administrative process frustrating, figure out how to change it. Even the best management systems develop bottlenecks. If you run into a snag in your work, think about why it’s happening and how the system could be changed to eliminate or at least minimize the problem. If you come up with a solution, discuss it with the office manager or the dentist. You’ll improve practice efficiency… and ease your own frustration.
Learn how to listen to coworkers. Most of us can improve our listening skills. Ask what teammates think—about recent occurrences at the practice, how systems are working, what improvements can be made—and then listen carefully to what they say. Acknowledge their comments by asking questions and restating their thoughts to make sure you understand. Listening carefully shows true respect and helps strengthen the team.
If you’re thinking about adding an insurance plan to your office start by doing an analysis. Determine how many patients in your practice are already in the plan because their reimbursements will be lower. What would the potential loss be on an annual basis if you join the plan relative to current active patients. Then try to project how many new patients you will need in order to make up the difference and move into a more profitable position for the practice.
Advice for the Marketing Coordinator – To define your brand, ask your patients. It’s hard for most dental practices to justify investing in market research. But there’s an alternative way to figure out how to market the practice: ask your existing patients why they come to you and what they like about the practice. These are people who are actively choosing your “brand,” so surveying them will give you a clear picture of what to promote to prospective patients.
Advice for Administrative Staff Members – Protect the doctor’s time. In a dental practice, no one’s time is more valuable than the doctor’s. By taking on as many non-clinical activities as possible, you’ll free up time for the doctor, who can use it to provide optimal patient care and generate production for the practice.
For Practice Owners – Valuation Factor: Staff Longevity. When team members have been with the practice for a long time, it suggests that they can provide continuity as your practice changes hands. It represents business sustainability. The longer the staff has been with the practice, the higher the value. This also gives some idea of how long the staff might remain with the practice after the sale.
Order supplies on an as-needed basis. Automatic ordering of supplies can lead to inefficiency, misuse of office space and outright waste. For example, a year’s supply of gauze pads gathering dust in a storeroom isn’t helping the practice provide better quality of care. In fact, unused inventory is a drag on the practice’s cash flow and may interfere with making necessary purchases.
Additional Resource: Watch Dr. Levin’s video, “Total Overhead Control – Why Is My Overhead Too High?” by clicking here.
When presenting treatment stop every 10 or 12 sentences and ask a question. You want to get patients actively involved in the treatment plan. Think of treatment planning us more like having a conversation with the patient than simply carrying out a monologue explanation. People like to be included in the conversation and it also gives them a chance to ask questions for the aspects of the treatment presentation that they do not understand. Stop treatment planning and start having conversations.