Fall has arrived, and along with it, the scheduling lull that we have been forecasting and acting upon over the past few months. While many offices have worked hard and closed the post-Covid scheduling gap, this challenge is still a top priority for a lot of practices around the country.
As we are now fully realizing the cyclical effects of the Covid closures, we must be mindful and look forward, recognizing that a lack of stable, consistent action today will lead to this scheduling lull cycling yet again six months down the line. We have watched as our most successful practices have avoided the scheduling gap, and we want to share those tips with you.
Breaking The Cycle
Over the past months, we’ve focused on concrete countermeasures and scheduling policies for reopening. While these strategies are still valid and can help you continue to fill your schedule, now is the time to shift back to some basics. What many teams are realizing is how important it is to have a...
If you are beginning to ponder whether or not a transition away from in-network dental insurance participation is the right option for you, there are likely many questions circling around in your mind.
Will I stop getting new patients in the door?
How many patients am I going to lose?
If I lose all the patients with in-network insurance, will I still be ok?
How much production will I lose?
How much money am I going to lose?
It’s a lot to ponder, and you are right, to be pondering these questions.
What I know to be true is that transitioning away from or simply lessening your dependence on dental insurance can be done, and your practice can still thrive! The important thing is to not make this decision hastily. With some solid analysis of practice data, you can make an informed decision, and establish a plan that works best for your practice, your team, and your goals.
Every day we work with dentists who express frustration over a team that fails to meet their expectations. There is the sense that the same issue has been talked about over and over again, yet the delivery of results is never consistent, or always sub-par. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “We just need more accountability.”
I typically follow this statement up with a request to see the systems that would produce said expectations, and I hear something like “well we’ve talked about it plenty, and my assistant knows what she is supposed to do.” Yeah, sure she does.
Before you point the finger, turn the thumb.
If you truly want to promote accountability in your dental practice, start with yourself. If your team isn’t delivering the result that you want, ask yourself a few questions?
When you see an airplane overhead, do you ever wonder, “How does that giant metal tube even stay in the air?!”
Your patients may walk into your practice and wonder the same thing. “How do they handle all these patients? How does the doctor know where to go next? How do they keep track of how much everyone owes?”
Great questions, right?
So, how are your patient handoffs, and the flow between hygienist, doctor, assistants and the front desk? Are your scheduling strategies as efficient as they could be? How about collections? Are ALL your critical systems in tip top shape?
There’s only one way to know…and airlines know it well: You have to land the plane before you can work on it! There is no way to perform maintenance on those critical instruments and systems in flight.
The same goes for your dental practice. The strongest ones know they have to “land” for a while to make sure everything is working correctly, and fine...
Are you spending too much time outside of your “circle?”
Your “circle” is where you are performing the tasks you are most gifted in. The things you were made to do. Too many times we spend several hours a day on things outside of that circle.
How can you get back inside your circle for the majority of your day, week, and month? One word: SYSTEMS. This can be as simple as putting your supplies back in the same place every day so you’re not wasting time hunting for them, and as big as having a plan in place when a patient cancels or isn’t paying.
Systems take the stress out of life and get you back to doing what you do best.
Do you know how many different possible combinations there are to Starbucks drinks? If you look on Starbucks’ website, you’ll learn that there are 87,000 possible permutations.
Now, Starbucks may not be the world’s best coffee, but it’s pretty good. And it’s pretty consistent. If you look at the side of a Starbucks cup, each one of them has six squares on the label. Howard Schultz says Starbucks’ entire business plan is on the side of that cup. Each one of those squares is a differentiating component of how the coffee is made.
An employee scribbles on the side of the cup and passes it along to the person who’s making the drink. They don’t make eye contact, they don’t look at each other and they don’t even talk. Using the systems on the side of the cup, they’re able to accurately and efficiently communicate which one of the 87,000 possible combinations they’re serving.
In downtown Kansas City, they have one of...
There are a number of ways in which dental practices can benefit from establishing their own in-house dental membership programs. As opposed to operating within an insurance network, practices that manage their own in-house programs are able to dictate the policies and discounts that they offer to patients. In-house memberships allow you to provide the best discounts to your patients, while maintaining the freedom and flexibility of a fee-for-service business model.
In-house memberships are also a predictable source of revenue for your dental practice. The memberships operate on a monthly subscription basis, which means that you’re generating income off of patients even during months in which you’re not rendering services to them. If you offer a $35 monthly subscription with 300 subscribers, you’re earning $10,500 each month in revenue. Creating a membership program at your practice can help you establish a more consistent cash flow.
This consistent revenue flow...
The dentist didn’t mince his words…
“We can’t write worth a *#%!”
The doctor was lamenting that no one in his practice was actually capable of “authoring” the detailed systems they were lacking.
The truth is, great writing skills aren’t what set strong practices apart from those that struggle with systems. The key is working as a team to identify the “why” behind your challenges.
In the video above, we’ve detailed methods we use with new clients to help them identify and list their strengths and weaknesses. In no time, they’re shoring up the systems that are in need of review, revision, or even creation.
If you are constantly falling behind, is it because patients regularly show up late? Is the doctor is constantly behind? Are you not blocking enough units for your most-performed procedures (if that’s the case, we have a detailed, free time study kit for you)!
Whatever the problems with your...
If you’re thinking about selling your practice (or even foresee it happening in the distant future), one of the first things you’ll want to do is create a transition plan. This plan is crucial for the smooth execution of a business deal, ensuring that both you and your buyer get through the process without wasting time and money.
One of the biggest mistakes I see dental practice owners make when they try to sell is failing to have a transition strategy in place. No matter where you are in your journey, you should at least put thought into this type of plan so that you’re prepared when transition day finally comes.
There are two main parts to a seller’s transition plan. First, are you really ready to sell? Second, if you are ready, have you walked through all the details of the transaction with the buyer to ensure you are on the same page?
A lot of issues can arise because you didn’t discuss them on the front...
Regardless of the business you are in or how long you have been running your practice, there are a few key components universal across the business world: people, strategy, execution and cash. All these components are essential to a productive and successful business, and it’s important to consider each one individually to ensure your business is on track to reach all your short- and long-term goals.
To help you think about the cash part of your business, there are three questions you can ask yourself. These questions can help you evaluate your practice and identify key areas where you have room to grow.
When you own a business, it’s essential to critically analyze your profitability. Are your profits growing at a rate of 10 to 20 percent or more per year? If they are not growing at that rate, you must consider whether there is an issue with your business strategy or if you have the wrong people in...