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DB Column – Two Sides of the Management Coin

March 10th, 2009 · No Comments


Numbers and Overhead

Staff Viewpoint by Linda Miles – Doctor’s Viewpoint by Dr. Rhonda Savage

Knowing the numbers and overhead control in a dental office is important for both the staff and dentist. To control overhead, the staff must be aware of the numbers. Oftentimes dentists hesitate to share financial information with the team because of confidentiality concerns. However, if your team is capable of patient privacy, they are likewise capable of keeping the business information about your practice under wraps. You will be amazed how sharing the information can empower your team to work together for the greater benefit of the dental practice.

linda milesSTAFF VIEWPOINT (Linda Miles)
We’ve all heard the phrase, “what gets measured improves.”

“Why then does our doctor not want to share practice numbers with us as my last employer did?”

The team needs to know certain practice numbers in order to help control overhead, set goals, see those goals reached and share in the rewards if they improve. It is amazing to me how many dentists still keep the staff in the dark about numbers that they and the team need to be aware of each month. Numbers should be reported at the health of the practice team meeting week one of every month. Each member of the team (including the dentist) should take turns facilitating the team meeting. They should also give a three-minute personal progress report on certain areas of the practice that they personally monitor.

Scheduling Coordinator-
1) Number of new patients last month and where those new patients came from (patient referral, marketing project, doctor or team referral etc.) It is also good to do a comparison study of how the NP number compares with the same month a year ago.

2) Number of failed or last minute changed appointments in the doctor’s schedule.

3) Number of emergency patients worked into the schedule last month. How many were patients of record versus new patient emergencies. If a NP emergency, how many rescheduled for a complete oral health exam and radiographs? How does this compare with the same month a year ago?

Financial Coordinator-
1) Number of past due collection calls to patients and overdue insurance.

2) Number of dollars collected last month through patient financing. How does that compare with the same month a year ago?

3) Total A/R balance and the percentage of dollars past 60 and 90 days old. Comparison of same month a year ago.

1) Number of unit of crowns/veneers/implants etc. and a comparison of the same month a year ago.

2) Number of dollars spent last month on dental supplies, the % of last month’s collections and how close it is to my budget of 6%.

3) Number of infection control violations given last month and number of dollars collected. (We recommend that one assistant be the “infection control cop” giving $5 tickets to those who they see breaking the rules of good infection control. The money is used to take the office team to lunch.)

1) Number of daily dollars produced in their treatment room last month with a comparison study of the same month a year ago (Total $ divided by # of days.)

2) Number of procedures in the 4000 code (initial perio procedures) and how this compares to the same month a year ago.

3) Number of units of open chair time in their schedule last month and how that compares with the same month a year ago. (Goal is zero defects in hygiene schedule.)

Doctor or Practice Administrator-
1) Last month’s gross and adjusted (net) production. How that compares with the same month a year ago.

2) Last month’s collected amount with a comparison of same month a year ago.

3) Was the practice bonus goal reached and if so, it is a time for celebration and bonus checks to be distributed.

rhonda-savageDOCTORS VIEWPOINT (Rhonda Savage, DDS)Almost from the very beginning (1994), I worked with a LLM&A consultant who encouraged me to share practice numbers with the team. It was most empowering to have the staff “own” certain areas of the practice by keeping me in the know about how things were going in their departments. One point that dentists must make very clear when sharing the figures: All team members know that confidentiality about practice business, patients, and each other stays within the walls of the office and is not shared with others. Being a confidant is part of being a professional. Reminding the team of this at the beginning of each team meeting is important.

The point of having health of the practice team meetings is threefold:
1) To create “owner attitude” versus “unionized thinking,” which is, “Give me my paycheck and let me out of here.” The team loves to have good reports!

2) To create accountability within each position of the practice.

3) To promote teamwork. When they hear each other’s reports they know they
are not the only dedicated, hard-working team member and that each of them are important to the success of the practice.

And as a final benefit, they all work harder as they love seeing the dentist pleased with reports that focus on their contributions each month. They also love knowing they reached their bonus goals and are now rewarded for their extra effort. This equals happy dentist and happy team. Patients notice!

Visit LLM&A Consulting online here.

Tags: Administrative · Digital Photography · Two Sides of the Management Coin by Linda Miles and Dr. Rhonda Savage

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