Scheduling Appointment Tips – Lower the Barriers

In my first post on this series, I summarized the four essential components of running a successful practice. Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the first step: getting patients to schedule appointments. Unless you’re running a walk-in clinic, having an appointment book with an adequate number of patients scheduled is a critical first step. Without it, you’ll be spending a lot of time sitting around wasting time online. This is also an area that a lot of practices mess things up. Too many practices make what should be a simple process extremely difficult. Let me share a personal example. A few years ago I wanted to have my feet checked out by a podiatrist while I was training for a marathon. I did a little bit of research and found one close to my home and seemed like it was a decent place, so I gave them a call while driving home from the office. I didn’t really know what I expected, but what should have been a simple conversation turned into what felt like a background check. The (very nice) receptionist asked me for every piece of personal information I could possibly imagine. She asked for my insurance information, including ID# and Group #, so I had to pull over to look that up. She detailed the office’s financial policy. When it was all finished, we spent nearly 15 minutes on the phone and I was more than ready to hang up. Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s an example of what not to do. Don’t make scheduling an appointment too difficult. Do you really...

Essential Components of Productive Practices

When you boil it down to the most basic, there are four essential components of successful dental practice: Patients schedule appointments. Patients show up for their appointments. Patients receive treatment. Patients pay for their treatment. Looks simple, and in some ways it is. But there are a lot of details for each one of these steps. In order to be a highly profitable dental practice, you need to do everything you can to be as proficient in each of these areas. Today I’m starting a series of posts that will address each of these key four areas of productivity. If you have any additional insights into each of these steps feel free to share in the comments section or you can contact...

Free Download: Practice Metrics Spreadsheet

As mentioned before, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. So, in the interest of equipping dentists with the tools needs to effectively manage their practices, we are releasing a free download of a metrics spreadsheet. This simple but powerful tool will give you a quick snapshot of the health of your practice and will allow you create a baseline on which to measure its growth. The spreadseet is released under a Creative Commons License, so feel free to adapt it to meet your needs. If you need a specific customization that you’re unable to figure out on your own contact us and we’ll help. Click here to download the spreadsheet. Happy...

What Does Winning Look Like?

One of the most frustrating things in life is when you feel like you’re not making any progress. You might feel busy. You might feel like time is moving by at a slow trickle. The source of frustration might be that you haven’t fully defined what your goals are. It’s not just about personal or professional satisfaction. In order to keep your team motivated, you have to have everyone aware of what you’re trying to accomplish with your dental practice. You also need to be as specific as possible. It’s not very beneficial to have generic, fuzzy goals like “provide the world’s best dental care” or “make as much money as possible.” While those can be intrinsic desires, they’re not real goals. Real goals are measurable. Real goals are memorable. Real goals are motivational. For example. Instead of saying the win for your practice is to “provide the world’s best dental care” you should be as specific as possible in what that looks like in your practice. It could be making patients feel like family. It could be that you’re trying to exceed every patient’s expectations with their dental care. When you have those as your stated goals you can then measure them if you’re actively soliciting feedback from your patients after their appointments. Once you have defined the win, make sure everyone knows what the goal is. Say it at your team meetings. Focus on it when you review your practice. Keep it written in a conspicuous place where all the staff will see it. Don’t let it just be another statement hung on a wall. Let it be...

You Can Only Manage What You Measure

Many dentists would like to have their practices perform better, but don’t really know where to get started. The likelihood is that your training was strong in the clinical arena, but you may not have had much business leadership training. One of the key things you can do to see the performance of your practice improve is to start measuring key performance indicators. If you don’t know where you are you can’t set any realistic, measurable goals for future growth. In fact, if you aren’t setting goals that are measurable you aren’t really setting goals at all. You’re just wishing. So what should you measure? I recommend these three metrics as a bare minimum to get started: Production (after adjustments, not gross) Collection (and what percentage of production you are collecting) New Patients You don’t have to have a sophisticated setup to get started. Just make a spreadsheet and track these three numbers daily. You’ll also want to see what the totals are per month. Over time, you’ll be able to get a realistic picture of what your practice can produce and have some solid measurement numbers on which you can implement business management principles. There are a lot of other key performance indicators you should be measuring, but we’ll discuss those in future...