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Dental Practice Consulting: Block Scheduling

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 StudyOver 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: The time the patient arrivedThe time the patient is seatedThe time the procedure beginsThe time the procedure endsAt the end of two or three weeks,...
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Dental Consultant Tip: Where To Find Staff?

Want ad tip: Do not list salary, etc. If too low, you might scare off some good prospective employees. Examples of recommended wording:1. Salary based on experience.. 2. Compensation based on experience, plus a comprehensive benefits package.​3. Salary based on experience.trong base pay plus a lucrative production bonus plan.The usual suspects:craigslist.comdentaljobs.comdentalpost.comdentaltown.com (classifieds)dentalworkers.comfacebook.com (classifieds)indeed.comziprecruiter.comOther suggestions:1. Check with dental reps. They often know people who are looking. 2. Your current staff can be of help. They may know others in the area who are looking. They can also use social media to get the word out. The downside is that friends working together can be an issue. 3. Call...
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Dental Consultants Back Pain Tips

A survey of several dental professionals offered the following suggestions for dealing with back pain:Dental loupes are the magnifying glasses that dentists wear to enlarge everything that they see in the mouth. ... Secondly, loupes are worn to allow dentists to have a more “physiologic” posture while working, and thereby minimize the slouching which dentists are historically known to develop.Working out your core means working out the entire middle section of your body which includes your stomach muscles, your hips, your butt, your lower back as well your side obliques and adductors. ... Core exercises also strengthen your hips, back and...
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Dental Consultant Tip: Talking To Patients

Do you ever ask your patients, "Any questions?" If you do so often enough, you'll lose a lot of income. Let me explain.

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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.