Last updated on November 1st, 2017 at 10:26 am
This article is from the Ask Sabri column, where dental clients and readers can ask questions to our Deputy COO, Sabri Blumberg, about their dental practice. Have your own question? Submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: We’re having problems with consistency in our practice. It seems that one month is up then the next is down, the next is up and so on. Any ideas on how to fix this?
A: Good question and if anything, you’re not alone! It’s a pretty common problem that I see a lot with new MGE clients.
And while there’s a lot to be said on this subject, here’s a few simple things you can do which can give you more control over the “numbers,” or as we like to say, “statistics” and have consistent practice performance.
To begin, know this: statistics don’t go up and down at random—there is a reason why an area is up, down or staying the same. When I see a large fluctuation in statistics (i.e. collections, production, new patients, etc.) and the office was open the normal number of days that month (i.e. wasn’t closed for vacation or holiday), the culprit is normally a lack of planning.
Let’s say you want to hit $80,000 in collections and production for the month. You’ve conceived of a goal, but what do you do next? If you’re like most, next to nothing beyond mentioning it in a staff meeting.
What should you do? Well, keep in mind that I’m short-circuiting this a bit, but let’s look at a couple of steps.
Create weekly targets
To begin, you’d break that $80,000 goal down into daily and weekly targets. In other words, you’re working 17 days that month. So, $80,000 divided by 17 days is roughly $4,700 a day.
Now break that down a little further. How much from the doctor schedule and how much out of hygiene? Let’s say this is a one doctor, one hygienist office – so we expect hygiene to hit $1,500 a day and that doctor to do $3,200.
Now you and the Office Manager meet with the staff and ensure that everyone understands the part they play in hitting this goal. It also helps to have a “game.” Make it fun. In other words – if we hit our goal, we all go out for dinner, or a shopping spree or a bonus, etc. Note: with compensation type rewards, make sure you coordinate with your accountant for tax purposes.
From there, as we begin the month, we look at the first week and see we’re working four days. So, we know that week we need to do $18,800.
Something important to keep in everyone’s mind is that these numbers represent something: the amount of needed dental treatment your office is doing. You’re helping people (patients). I say this as I’ve seen it where an office focuses on the numbers and forgets what those numbers mean. Your office exists to help people with dental treatment – let’s keep the focus on THAT.
Now, before you start each day, you have a Morning Production Meeting (Our COO, Jeff Blumberg, wrote an article about how to have a REAL morning meeting here). You look at how the day is going to roll and if you’re above or below where you need to be. You also look at the rest of the week for any openings and so on that you need filled to make the office’s goals. An action plan is devised based on the meeting and the Office Manager follows up the action steps throughout the day to ensure things are getting DONE.
Monitor your statistics frequently for consistent practice performance
To see consistent practice performance, it’s also important to monitor the office’s statistical progress daily and weekly – especially as it relates to the monthly goal. I find especially with new or non-clients that they don’t really “check-in” on the month until the 22nd or 23rd; only to discover they have a problem. And with the month that far gone, there’s not enough time to do anything about it. If you’re keeping an eye on things more frequently, you’ll find problems early enough to do something about them.
Let’s take that $80,000 goal above. You don’t check in regularly and don’t have daily meetings. You check in on the 23rd to see how the month is going and you find you’re at $40,000 with three production days left. Well, unless you can pull off a Herculean target of $13,000 plus per day, you’re not going to do $80,000. If we were checking progress daily (preferably at our morning meeting), we’d discover problems earlier. We’d know on the 3rd, after two production days, that we’re only at $6,000 (well below where we should be after two days of our daily $4,700 goal) and have ample time to adjust and fix whatever the problem is before the end of the month.
Just doing what I’ve outlined above – consistently mind you – can have a positive impact on practice performance. This is one of those simple things. For example, with statistic management, I’ve seen increases in staff performance by just giving someone a statistic that reflects their production – and having them graph it. And this is before we’ve taught them anything about what to do to increase performance! Once we do that – then they really fly!
So, I hope that helps. Now, if you add to the above by increasing case acceptance, pushing your New Patient numbers up and learning how to manage your office, you can see exponential growth! We offer services that can help with all of the above – see all of our services here and about The New Patient Workshop here.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com
2 Responses to “Consistent Practice Performance – Eliminating “Down” Months!”