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10 Ways to Step Up Your Dental Practice

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Linda Drevenstedt's picture
Joined: 27 Sep 2012

Step Up Your Dental Practice1.    Write, renew or review your practice mission regularly with your team. Dental teams like having a purpose beyond the paycheck. Be sure your team knows how to W.I.N. Each dental team member needs to know What's Important NOW to accomplish your practice mission. Your dental team IS your most important asset.
2.    Listen to the VOICE of your patients with regular surveys. Respond to any criticisms and try to make amends. Step-up your customer service to earn glowing patient feedback which boosts your Google ranking, and is good for referrals.
3.    Eliminate money as a barrier to treatment acceptance with several options for extended payments including automatic withdrawals on credit cards and checking accounts, as well as outside financing such as CareCredit. 
4.    Evaluate staff performance objectively. Retrain or remove sluggish staff.
5.    Pre-block the schedule so that you can schedule a new patient appointment (not a call list) within 7 days of their call. Get the patient into your schedule today or tomorrow if possible. Be sure that you know when the next new patient appointment is available by adding it to your Morning Huddle Agenda. New Patient Time is a scheduling priority.
6.    Research the list of expanded duties in your state for hygienists and assistants. Teach or send your assistants to certification classes so that they will be able to perform all the procedures they are able to per your state law. Some may ask "What if they quit and I spent all that money?" The better question is, "What if they stay and are not fully trained?"  You lose. 
If your state allows your dental hygienist to give anesthesia, then be sure your hygienist(s) are qualified/trained. There are 35 states where there is no reason for the dentist to administer anesthesia if he has a hygienist trained to do so.  Your job gets easier when an available hygienist can go ahead and give the anesthesia for your patient.
7.    Expect high performance from your vendors. Insist on Quality over longevity as you select vendors. 
-Banks - Your bank should give you a check scanning terminal so that your checks are electronically entered into your account at the point of purchase. If that service is not available, they should send a courier to you daily to securely pick up deposits.
-Tech - Computer techs should make site visits regularly, not just depend on their online view of things.
-Lab - Your lab should give you on-time service and crowns that fit.
-Dental Supplies - With competition within the dental supply business, your dental supply rep should put in an inventory system for you. They should know your budget and keep you within that budget. That is service. If they are just order takers and your supply expense is over 5-6 percent of your collections, then it is time to step it up.
8.    Know the "hood" you are in. If you are in a declining neighborhood, it is time to move. Find the high growth area of your town. Where are they putting in a new school? You will make the money back quickly if you locate where people are shopping already. Look for good street frontage where you can place a lighted sign.
9.    Learn the monitors, numbers, statistics and data you need to look at daily, monthly, quarterly and annually to run your dental business. You may not prefer the business side of your dental practice, but this is the key to stepping it up. Dr. Peter Dawson recommends this ratio: 10 percent of your patient care time should be invested in your management and leadership. If you see patients for 36 hours per week, then 3.6 hours would be the time to invest in in planning how to step up your practice. My clients who invest this management time in their practice report its high value. It gives them a Big Step difference in understanding and running their growing dental business.  
10.    Study communication with your team. Learn the communication skills for being a great team as well as communication for enrolling a patient into your practice at the first call and then through all of the interactions with you and your dental team. Have a FAB treatment coordinator to help enroll patients into your treatment plan. Learn to say less and listen more. 

Stepping up your dental practice can be a do-it-yourself project. There is plenty of online education about all 10 of my points. However, if you need a formal Step Up Plan or a coach, my network of consultants can help you Step It UP.

For the complete version of this eSSENTIALs newsletter, download the attached PDF file.


Linda Drevenstedt
Drevenstedt Consulting LLC
Ventura, CA

August2015eSSENTIALs.pdf207.83 KB
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Linda Drevenstedt
Drevenstedt Consulting LLC
Ventura, CA