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Dental practice management Quick Tips from Cambridge Dental Consultants and guest bloggers.

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Dental Practice Consulting: Scheduling Protocol

Dental Practice Consulting: Scheduling Protocol

Your practice will be rushed, hectic and stressed without a schedule that is well designed. The purpose of blocking scheduling is to decrease stress, keep production on an even keel from one day to the next while maintaining or increasing production. These are the steps for implementing with guidelines:

Time Study

Over two to three weeks get accurate times of every procedure. All staff can help. Create an index card for each patient that comes in. Note the following on the card:

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Dental Consultants Best Reopening Tips

Dental Consultants Best Reopening Tips
Staff, PPE & PPPStaff Many dentists are making it clear to staff that if they cannot come back you will have to give their jobs away. There will likely be a fair amount of quality staff looking for work so this might be a golden opportunity to upgrade one or more positions if needed.Let staff know you are eager to plan out reasonable changes so they feel safe and secure. If practice finances are an issue, ask staff to keep that in mind when making recommendations.What you end up doing in terms of PPE and safety will in part depend on availability,...
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Dental Practice Management: State task force dentist, reopening advice

Dental Practice Management: State task force dentist, reopening advice

Note: I was in the process of putting together re-opening tips and recommendations from dentists around  the country when I stumbled on this Facebook post from a dentist from Indiana. The post is full of excellent insights, knowledge and recommendations. 

First time poster, long time reader 😉 I am a dentist from around Fort Wayne, CHAIR of the IDA communications committee, member of the IDA Task Force for COVID-19 Response, and soon to be IKDDS Treasurer. I recently posted this on the Fort Wayne Dental Peeps page and was asked to share it here as well.

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Dental Consultants Top Perio Education Tips

Dental Consultants Top Perio Education  Tips
Your patients need to understand, for real, what can happen if they do not follow through with your recommended treatment. If you accomplish that, then you have done your job educating the patient. From that point forward, it’s on the patient and the front desk. The following education techniques will help you get there:TRIGER WORDS & “YET”: Trigger words initiate a process or course of action. The term “trigger word” derives from the use of an explosive gun in days gone by to start a race.“Yet” is a trigger word. Patients may not notice gum disease yet. The patient hasn’t lost any teeth yet.Like high...
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What Does A Dental Consultant Do? Charge?

Many dentists will tell you dental consulting works. If dental practice management firms had no worth or benefit they could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. What a veteran dental consultant brings to the table are systems and protocols successfully implemented in other practices that have been improved and tweaked over many years. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what works and what doesn't work across all dental practices.

Marketing & New Patients

Practice management consultants generally have little marketing training or background. 

Note: Cambridge'a consultants are Certified SEO and Ad Words Specialists

Dental Office Systems

Key systems dental consultants implement:

  1. New Patient Phone Call
  2. Insurance Processing
  3. New Patient Experience and Patient Education
  4. Financial Arrangements
  5. Scheduling
  6. Confirmation
  7. Unscheduled Treatment Followup
  8. Reactivation
  9. Huddle
  10. Stat Monitoring
  11. Daily and Weekly Checklists
  12. General Policy Manual

Your Staff

You will not get much ROI from your dental consulting if your staff do not have your back. You do not beed a team of cheer leaders jumping up and down with enthusiasm, but you do need staff who are smart and take some pride and ownership in what they do. If there is more than the usual drama in your practice that needs to be sorted out before you will get any real results.

Staff Accountability 

What gets monitored gets done.

The "big" obvious numbers are important to monitor, but when you look at them they are typically already "in the books". You want your team to concentrate and be accountable daily on the "small" stats that bring about the "big" stats. How many practice owners know how many calls were made to unscheduled patients each day or overdue re-care or inactive patients? Many dentists vastly underestimate how much daily "outflow" is needed to keep a schedule full. How may dentists know what % of slots were open in their hygiene schedule each day? How many know how many NP calls there were yesterday, who scheduled and if they end up showing up? More importantly how many staff know considering it's their job to do?

The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee, but that employee accountable reports daily on a spreadsheet like this: 1. # of calls or personal texts sent 2. # of contact
3. # of appointments with name and date 4. # of arrivals

It is the employee who is either making themselves valuable to you or not. If they are doing so, dismissing them will never enter your mind. On the other hand, if they are not making themselves valuable, you will be doing them and yourself a favor by giving them the opportunity to find a practice or other employment that is a better fit for them.  

Leadership

What most practice owners are missing is not how to book an appointment but how to be effective leaders. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply. Agreement among all team members is key. Your written office policies should contain those agreements and should answer most questions staff come up with. Doing so will save you much time and simplify the management of your practice. Staff non compliance is a sure sign of poor leadership. The primary reason practices underperform is staff non compliance.  Key traits of leaders. All it takes is discipline: 

  1. Always keep a cool head especially when "under fire"
  2. Realize that all mistakes are an opportunity for you and your staff to learn.
  3. Set a good example.
  4. Always be learning.
  5. Take care of yourself.
  6. Fight the impulse to address multiple issue at the same time. Frantic activity creates spotty results.

Cost

$35.000.00 is the average fee for a one year program with dental practice management companies you are likely familiar with. For those companies that require you and your staff to travel to their facility or seminar you also need to add in the cost of travel, staff pay and lost production from time away from your practice. 

Questions You Should Ask

  1. Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
  2. Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance? There are advantages to both.
  3. If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
  4. Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
  5. The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.

If you do a little homework it should be fairly easy to pick a reputable consultant that is a good fit for you and your practice.