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Letters To Introduce a New Dentist To The Practice

Dental Consultants recommend a letter that introduces a new dentist (due to retirement or new associate) to the practice should reflect the personality of the practice.  Some are very formal, almost like a legal notice in the newspaper.  Others are very informal, verging on non-professional.  Most are somewhere in between.  Try to make your letter friendly but professional, saving casual language for personal email.

The letter can be written as if it is coming from the old dentist ("I am happy to introduce...").  Or it can sound as if it is coming from the entire office ("We are happy to introduce...").  Some come from the new dentist ("I am happy to be joining...").

General guidelines:

  • Be concise and clear.
  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short and simple.
  • Rewrite any sentence that does not seem perfectly clear.
  • Use active (vs. passive) voice whenever possible.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, style, punctuation, margins, and indentation formatting.
  • Single space paragraphs; blank line before each new paragraph.
  • Keep your letter limited to one page.  Anything longer will not be read by most.
  • Consider having a professional photo of the new dentist printed on the letter...if it can be printed on a photo printer and will print with good results on the office letterhead (or if the letter can be professionally printed).  This will catch patient's eye, and will also generate familiarity right from the start.
  • The letter should be printed on high-quality office letterhead, and sent in matching high-quality envelopes.  Letterhead should include doctor/office name, address, phone number.  Some include web site and email.
  • Regular postage stamps appear more personal than postage metering.
  • Have numerous people proofread the letter before finalizing it.  Look for spelling and punctuation errors.  Even the smallest of errors will be noticed by people, and can leave a lasting negative impression.

Heading section

If your return address is not preprinted on the letterhead, make it the first item on the letter, above the date.  Do not include your name or title, since it is included in the letter's closing. Include only street address, city, state, and zip code.

In most cases, the date the letter is written would be the first item, on a separate line.  Begin one line space below the upper margin, or upper letterhead address.  Write out the month, and use the full year (four digit) format like this:  April 25th, 2012

The name and address of the recipient can be included next.  The name usually does not include a prefix here. Abbreviate state names using standard postal abbreviations.

Salutation section

The salutation (greeting) can take many forms, such as:

  • Dear patients,
  • Dear valued patient,
  • Dear ____,
  • To the ____ family,
  • To our dental patients,
  • To the patients of Fantastic Family Dentistry,

Many practice management software programs provide letter merge capabilities.  These can simplify the job of generating personalized salutations, but can appear awkward if not done with care.

Usually a comma is used in the salutation for personal letters or more social business letters.  A colon is used in place of a comma only in American business correspondences, and might be appropriate in more formal introductory letters.  In British English, either a comma is used, or no punctuation mark at all.

Introduction section

Start with the reason for sending this letter.

Examples:

  • I would like to introduce Dr. ____ .
  • I am pleased to announce the addition of ____ to our dental team.
  • I am pleased to welcome Dr. ____ to the practice.
  • I am very proud to introduce Dr. ____.
  • I have decided to take a leave from dentistry, and transfer my practice to Dr. ____.
  • It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my retirement from dentistry.
  • ____ is thrilled to announce the addition of ____ to their practice.

Details section

Main message, with any supporting details.

Tell how this new addition will benefit the patient, such as expanded hours; more services; appointments with less waiting. The bottom line with patients is "How will this change affect me?"

Show off the new dentist.  Include background information, education, degrees, residency, post-graduate programs, dental work history, organizations, awards, special dental interests, research, community service activities, home town, family, hobbies, interests.

Examples:

  • It has been a pleasure to provide your dental health care over the years.
  • I want to personally thank you for the trust and confidence.
  • I have truly enjoyed working with all of you over the past ____ years.
  • I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your trust and confidence in permitting me to take care of your dental needs through the years.
  • I have taken great effort to find someone who can uphold the high quality of service that patients have appreciated.
  • After an extensive search, I have chosen Dr. ____ to take over my dental practice.
  • I chose Dr. ____ out of numerous candidates because...
  • I have been fortunate to find just the right dentist to step in and continue to provide you with the very best dental care.
  • Because I want to be certain that my patients continue to receive the best possible care, I have carefully evaluated a number of candidates, and have selected Dr. ____, whom I believe possesses the highest qualifications and is extremely well skilled in all phases of dentistry.
  • I feel confident that Dr. ____ will continue to provide you and your family with the best dental care possible.
  • I will continue to see patients until ____.
  • I will be working along with Dr. ____ to ensure a smooth transition.
  • The wonderful staff will be the same, and will be there to assist you any way they can.
  • As always, the staff (Jean, Jane, Joann, Jenny, Jill, Judy) will be here to take care of your needs and answer your questions.
  • To assure a smooth transition, all of my staff will be staying and working with Dr. ____.
  • Dr. ____ will be joining our staff beginning ____.
  • Dr. ____ will become the newest member of ____.
  • I trust that you will show Dr. ____ the same loyalty and friendship that you have shown me.

Conclusions section

Brief closing remarks

Examples:

  • I look forward to...
  • Dr. ____ and his/her staff are looking forward to serving you.
  • If you would like more information...
  • If you have any questions...
  • Thank you again for your loyalty and confidence.
  • I will miss all of you very much, but I know you will really like Dr. ____.

Closing section

The closing is followed by a comma.

Examples:

  • Sincerely,
  • Sincerely yours,
  • Respectfully,
  • Respectfully yours,
  • Regards,
  • Best regards,
  • Cordially,
  • Cordially yours,

After the closing, leave three blank lines, then type the sender's name.  This is usually the name of the dentist.  If it comes from someone else, it should be followed by a line with the sender's title, such as Office Manager. 

The letter is more personal when each one is individually signed by the dentist.  Some offices have the entire staff sign their first names also.

Margins

Generally, one inch margins are used on left, right, top, and bottom margins.  For letterhead, this is one inch from the preprinted part at the bottom, and one line space from the preprinted part at the top.

Indentation formats

Any one of the four traditional formats for business letters are acceptable, but Block is the most common for letters of this type.

  • Block:  All text is aligned to the left margin, paragraphs are not indented, and paragraphs are separated by double or triple spacing.
  • Semi-Block:  All text is aligned to the left margin, and paragraphs are indented.
  • Modified Block:  All text is aligned to the left margin, except for the author's address, date, and closing; and paragraphs are not indented. The author's address, date, and closing are usually indented three inches from the left margin, but can be set anywhere to the right of the middle of the page, as long as all three elements are indented to the same position.
  • Modified Semi-Block:  All text is aligned to the left margin, except for the author's address, date, and closing; and paragraphs are indented. The author's address, date, and closing are usually indented in same position

Font

The most widely accepted font is Times New Roman, size 12.  Arial may be used as a sans-serif alternative.  If your letter is fairly informal, you might have more leeway to use a different font.  Use the same font and size for the entire letter.  In no circumstance should you use Comic Sans font in any business documents.

 
Cambridge Dental Practice Management Logo

What Does A Dental Consultant Do? 

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.

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.