We are a group of Dental Consultants who offer, improved practice morale; a happier, more profitable patient base;and improved home life; increased collections. (And yes, our average is 35% in year one.)

Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Finding Olives" By David Milliagan

Part 2 of 2







Another place where ‘olives’ are found that can be reduced is in the front office. Reduce the number of statements you send out. Having patients pay at the time of service means using less paper, less postage, less ink, fewer envelops, not to mention the amount of time saved. When is a patient’s bill delinquent? It’s delinquent when they leave without paying. Give them a walk out statement and then follow up with a phone call within 10 days. This keeps your accounts receivable under control, trains the patients to pay promptly and saves time. Remember, time is money. Perhaps go ‘paperless’ and save a little money and a tree or two.


Take back control of your practice. One of the few things you can control is the number of outgoing calls that are made. When you send out recare cards you are relying on the patient to make the phone call. If you revamp your recare system so fewer cards are mailed and make phone calls or send emails and text messages, you will be more effective and it will cost less. If you do not have enough team members in your office to take care of this important system, there are companies that can help do it for you.


Again, keep in mind, the missing “olive” should never compromise or lower your level of quality.

The titanic, it turns out, was built with a lower grade rivet in order to save money. Of course the iceberg sank the titanic, or did it? It turns out the lower grade rivets played a crucial role. When the weaker rivets failed, the hole in the side of the ship was too large and the unsinkable became sinkable. When it comes to team players, never compromise. Cutting back on your team or hiring less qualified team members, like the rivet, can weaken and compromise your ability to create a unique dental experience in a time when creativity is crucial. In other words, when traveling through iceberg infested waters you need a strong team to survive. Seek out qualified professionals for training and advice. They will help you. Use a high quality lab. It may cost you more upfront but save you money in the long term by not having to reschedule patients when crowns, dentures, or partials etc. do not fit properly the first time.


Let your team know what your expectations are and encourage feedback. Inspect what you expect by planning weekly meetings. This will help you determine if the team has the skills necessary to achieve the result you want. Set specific goals and target dates for projects and follow up to create accountability. Accountability encourages and compliments change and the spaced repetition of weekly meetings will help not only create new habits, but ensure that you continue to move forward. When people know better they do better.


Step back and take a close look at your practice. When was the last time you really noticed the things around you? It’s time to start looking for the “olives”. Inspect every system in your practice for efficiency and productivity. It may sound like an overwhelming task, but remember you are only looking for one “olive” at a time and you have a team of people standing by to assist you.

If you would like more information or want to share your “olive” story, please contact us at

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin



Monday, March 26, 2012

"Finding Olives" by David Milliagan Salt DPM consultant Part 1 of 2


Making small and significant changes.







Finding the “olives” in your practice is Part Two of a series of six articles designed to get your practice working efficiently and effectively in 2011. Part 1 discussed overhead, in this article it is time to talk about how to cut costs.


The first quarter is over. What can you expect in the next three quarters? Is the economic recovery real? When meeting and getting to know potential clients, a common theme is beginning to become apparent. Many say they are being ‘nickel and dimed’ to death. “It feels as if everyone has their hand out,” they say.


Nickels and dimes are part of your overhead, too, part of the cost of doing business. In most cases you know where the big money is going: payroll, leases and loans. You may think it is only a nickel here and there. “I need to pay my lab,” “I can’t worry about the small stuff.” In our daily lives, most of us don’t worry about the small stuff, yet in our business, the small stuff can make a big difference.


Years ago, American Airlines made the decision to remove one olive from the salads it served to first class passengers. What they discovered was that passengers never notice the difference. The salad tasted as good as it had before. The presentation was the same. Customer service was never compromised. Just one olive was left off. What was different was the amount of money United Airlines spent. Over $40,000.00 was saved – a year. Perhaps now you understand how an olive, insignificant to some can make a huge difference. Having more money gives you the freedom to choose new ways of making your business even more profitable. Who would have thought an olive could save so much? Could you use an additional 40,000 dollars a year? Any savings is significant, right?


Now what is being suggested isn’t about scrimping on customer service or quality care. Your patients should never notice the “olives” you remove from your practice, just like the passengers never noticed the missing olive.


Where are the “olives “in your practice?


There are studies that suggest every time we are interrupted from our task, it can take up to twelve minutes to recover and regain focus. If the assistant leaves the room to retrieve a missing item for the procedure, what is the cost? Sure, it’s one more set of gloves, but also keep in mind, the reality is efficiency saves money and lowers overhead, too. Less time spent refocusing means more productivity per day. Unlike plumbers or lawyers, you don’t get paid by the hour, but rather by procedure. When you take longer to accomplish a task you see fewer patients or perform fewer procedures. When you lose efficiency it can mean a huge difference in how profitable you are.


Do you know what it costs to keep the doors of your practice open? You should. This probably means tracking some numbers and setting goals. With yearly and monthly goals set, you can now create a scheduling template to allow you to meet your daily goals. In morning huddles you and your team can identify where any bottle necks may occur and look for any unscheduled treatment, due or past due recare, as well as opportunities to ask for referrals. Remember, to decrease overhead you can either produce more or spend less – so more efficiency equals less overhead. It is important to stress, morning huddles are fifteen minutes that can save you money.


Set goals and template the schedule. Templating your schedule will assist you in meeting your daily goals and perhaps allow you to consider how else you can increase efficiency or effectiveness. Perhaps consider scheduling your hygiene utilizing an assistant and two treatment rooms. Perhaps you had great expectations to use some new equipment, i.e.: the laser sitting over in the corner, only to revert back to your old habits. Now is the time to reevaluate your past purchases and incorporate them into your schedule. Start using that equipment today.


Buy in bulk when you can, turn off the lights, and make sure caps are placed back on products. Check different suppliers for better deals on items you use most like gloves and anesthetic. Use up all the supplies before they expire. Again, each of these things may seem insignificant alone, but together it isn’t. Forgetting to turn off the nitrous isn’t a laughing matter, unless you’re in the room at the time. It’s expensive.


If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Friday, March 23, 2012

Abundance in dentistry By: Lenora Milligan



Part 2 of 2






When you believe that your patients cannot afford treatment because of the price of gas or the economy, you present the case differently than if you were thinking in more positive terms. This thinking error is called the externalization of blame. Utilizing this thinking error means that nothing is your fault and that you don’t have to change anything. You can’t accept you are responsible for your results. People who think this way frequently feel their lives are out of control. I understand the economy today is not as strong as it was, however, I also understand that making it the reason for my lack of success makes me a victim, not a winner.


Patients of course have their own stories. Some say they can’t afford treatment. It’s not always that they can’t afford it; it’s usually that they want something else more. Your job is to make sure you present treatment in a way that creates a desire or “want.” Here is an example. You approach a patient and say, “We need to take a pano x-ray today, it’s $100.00 and your insurance may not cover it.” The patient will most likely say no. Change your presentation to “We will be completing your oral cancer screening today.


Since one American dies every hour in the USA from oral cancer, we would like to take an x-ray that will allow us to see if you have any abnormalities that might be of concern.” The patient, who is now informed of the actual facts, will most often desire to have the treatment even if insurance doesn’t cover it. If you feel the need to add the financial and insurance information to your dialog please say, “The fee is $100.00 and many insurance plans cover it.”


Be aware of the use of limiting terms in your life and practice. “It’s only a cleaning,” minimizes the importance of the treatment. Instead of saying, “Your insurance only covers a small amount.” say, “It’s wonderful that you have insurance, they will cover X amount for you!”


Replace your negative thinking cycle with one of abundance. “There are more than enough patients to go around, everyone wants a healthy, beautiful smile.” It is true; everyone does want a healthy, beautiful smile. There are enough patients to go around. You are your own competition, stop worrying about the dentist next door. Create a positive, healthy, environment of abundance for your patients to enjoy. Exceed the patient’s expectations instead of meeting them.


If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.


This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin


Having a positive attitude will give you better results and everyone wants to be around positive, happy people who build us up and give us a reason to smile!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Abundance in Dentistry By: Lenora Milligan









Part 1 of 2


Is your practice as profitable as it has been in the past? Is it as productive as you want it to be or are you struggling? Most dentists want more – more new patients, more case acceptance and more money at the end of the month. I have spoken to countless dentists who say, “My practice is down this year, but what can you expect with the economy the way it is right now.” Or, “There just aren’t enough patients to go around, there are too many dentists in my area.”


What is interesting is that many dentists are having the best year ever while their colleagues are suffering. What is the difference? The ones suffering would call it luck. The ones prospering would say they think in abundance.


In Mark Fisher’s book, The Instant Millionaire, the old millionaire asks someone wanting advice, “Why aren’t you rich already?” It’s a very thought provoking question. Get a piece of paper, write down every obstacle you can think of that is preventing you from having all the new patients and case acceptance you want. Go ahead, don’t be shy, write it all down. Yes, even the stuff that seems silly.

Once you are finished, read the answers out loud to yourself, or read it aloud to a loved one. This is your story. Many of you have heard the expression, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!” It’s true, we tell ourselves a story, then buy into it and stick with it – sometimes for life. People like their stories and repeat them to themselves on a regular basis.


Sometimes we even buy into other people’s stories as well. You usually don’t realize your story is self-limiting until you see it in writing. Then suddenly you realize what you have been doing to yourself. Stories contain your fears, rationalizations, justifications, doubts, excuses and thinking errors. Once you recognize you are telling yourself a story you have the power to change it.


If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement


This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin

Monday, March 19, 2012

Case Acceptance is a Team "Sport" Not an Individual "Event.

Case Acceptance is a Team "Sport" Not an Individual "Event.
By: Debra Quarles
3 of 3

Now is when the treatment coordinator enters the picture. First things first, I'm a fan of doctors giving round numbers and ranges only, when asked about cost. "It will be somewhere between 500.00 and a thousand dollars. The treatment coordinator will let you know the full details." Or you can just leave it all to be discussed by your financial person.

When the financial coordinator enters the room, the first question should be, "Do you have any questions regarding the treatment that Dr. has recommended?"

If so, the doctor or assistant isn't finished yet. Just like doctors. and assistants shouldn't discuss money too much, financial people shouldn't discuss treatment too much, mainly because they were probably not present for the exam. This means they may not know why a particular treatment is being recommended. For great case acceptance, the message the patient needs to hear, must be consistent.

Keep in mind, patients generally want to know the cost of the total treatment, not each individual procedure. So the dialog might go something like this: "Dr. has recommended 2 crowns, 3 fillings and a cleaning. Your total investment is 3300.00." There is no real need to tell the patient tooth numbers or areas of the mouth. Discuss the treatment recommendations by grouping and list from most expensive to least expensive. Fine clothing stores use this technique. They show you the most expensive item first and then recommend the lesser priced accessories to go with it, knowing you'll buy more items that way.

What we need to focus on is a total investment of 3300.00 and how we can help our patient proceed with treatment. If insurance is involved a simple statement letting them know "we will maximize your benefits" is enough. Now stop. If they say, "That's a lot of money." Agree. "You're right it is an investment in your health." Let the patient control the conversation and just ask questions. They ask: "Can I make payments?" We ask, "What kind of payments are you interested in?" Too many times we assume this means monthly payments, but it could just as easily be two payments, one today and the next when treatment is started. When a patient says they can only pay fifty dollars today, it doesn't mean they can't have the full balance to you by the end of the week. Don't assume, ask questions until you know exactly what the patient wants. Once the patient has told you what they want to do and when, repeat it back to them while nodding your head. "So if we could do something where you could pay 500.00 today and then make payments each month of 100.00 that would work for you? Let me get an application for our financial plan and let's see if we can get you approved."

Finally, keep in mind the "rule of four." Patients should ideally hear the recommendation four times before they leave your office. Put all of the advice together and you have the secret to improving your case acceptance and making the most of every encounter.


If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin


Friday, March 16, 2012

Case Acceptance is a Team "Sport" Not an Individual "Event.

Case Acceptance is a Team "Sport" Not an Individual "Event.

By: Debra Quarles

Part 2 of 3


Each member of your team has a specific role when it comes to case acceptance:


Hygienists and assistants should provide comfort, warmth, and give information. While they cannot diagnose they certainly can educate. Providing them with standard questions that can be asked of every patient will help them find topics they can discuss prior to the doctor's exam. For example: "Are you experiencing any sensitivity anywhere in your mouth when you eat something hard or crunchy like nuts or steak?" Or: "What about the color, shape or alignment of your teeth would you like to change?" These questions can lead to conversations about what might be recommended or what types of treatment the practice offers. All of which can then be tailored to a patient's communication style.

Instead of having a private conversation where the doctor and assistant or hygienist discuss what the patient has said, have the conversation in front of the patient involving them in the process. "Mr. Gonzales, you were telling me you are having pain when you chew on the right side. We discussed how sometimes that can mean a tooth may be fracturing. We also discussed that doctor might recommend a filling or it might need a covering of some sort, like a crown." Speak to the patient and allow the doctor to overhear. This transfers the information, and if the assistant misses something important the patient will know and supply the additional information.

You may have noticed in my example above, that urgency words were used. Words such as fracturing, decaying, cracking and breaking. Keep in mind: Hoover Dam is cracked and leaks. It sounds as though the process is mostly complete. Or you could say Hoover Dam is cracking and leaking. Doesn't it sound like someone should do something quick?

It is interesting that when most dentists do a periodontal exam they start out letting the patient know they will hear some numbers "1-3 is healthy, but if you hear 4's or higher it means that is an area of concern." By the time the periodontal exam is completed and the patient has heard 4's, 5's or 6's they are asking you what can be done. So why is the clinical exam handled differently? "Tooth number 3, broken cusp, crown." Diagnosis complete. But what did the patient hear? They heard MONEY!

Patients must own the problem for a while before you suggest a solution. So instead move through the mouth. "Upper first molar, decaying." Or "Number 3 Mod decaying." Then move on. When you've completed the arch, or quadrant if there is significant decay, sit the patient up. The patient now has had some time to own their problem. "I see you have some things going on in your mouth. May I get your permission to tell you everything I see and to give you my best recommendation?" With their permission, you are able to do a comprehensive exam one that will be well received by the patient.


If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Case Acceptance is a Team "Sport" Not an Individual "Event."


Case Acceptance is a Team "Sport" Not an Individual "Event."

By: Debra Quarles


This is Part Four of a series of six articles designed to get your practice working efficiently and effectively in 2011. The following tips will help you maximize every patient encounter.

Case acceptance starts the moment a patient enters your practice. It is your job to make them feel comfortable. Many of you might think this is about bottles of water, coffee or cushy seats, but really, the best way to make your patient comfortable is by assessing their communication style and using it to give them the information they truly need to make a decision.

There are basically four different communication styles. In determining their style, first ask yourself how do they speak? Then determine whether they are asking questions or just listening. Once you have this information you are ready.

People who:

Speak: Loud and Fast

&

Ask Questions

They want to know:

Time, Money & End Result

You should be: Direct

People who:

Speak Loud and Fast

&

Listen

They want to know:

How it will look?

You should be: Enthusiastic

People who:

Speak Soft and Slow

&

Ask A Lot of Questions

They want to know:

Will the treatment affect function?

You should be: Thorough

People who:

Speak Soft and Slow

&

Listen

They want to know:

Will the treatment hurt?

You should be: Comforting


Understanding a patient's communication style and mirroring it while providing the information most desired, creates an atmosphere of trust and a feeling of being understood. It is a great place to start.

If you would like more information, please contact us at info.saltdpm.com

Join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaltDentalPracticeManagement.

This article was originally published by Tri-County Dental Society Bulletin




Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Chose Salt

  • We won't make you sign a two-year contract. We have no contract. Promise.
  • We won’t give you a long list of things to do. We don’t give you a list at all. Promise.
  • We will never give you a list of people to fire. If we suggest letting go of any of your existing staff, it’s as a last resort. Promise.
  • We won't hand you cookie cutter solutions and walk away. We custom tailor a program for your unique situation, then we're there, hands on, to implement it. Promise.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Eating With Salt

A brief history of Salt.
Flavor, Preservation, Power, Life.


As a dentist, you’re more aware than most people of what happens inside a human mouth. And you know that saltiness is one of the basic human tastes. As one of the oldest and most widely used seasonings, salt is the only rock that man eats. It also happens to be a key component in food preservation.

Salt is historically significant. For instance, in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led over 100,000 people on the Dandi March, or "Salt Satyagraha." These protesters made their own salt from the sea, which was illegal under British rule, as it avoided paying the "salt tax." This protracted act of civil disobedience inspired millions of common people, and elevated the Indian independence movement from an elitist struggle to a national movement.

The word “salary” originates from the Latin word salarium, which referred to the money paid to Roman soldiers for the purchase of salt. The word “salad” literally means “salted,” and comes from the ancient Roman practice of salting leaf vegetables.

Salt is diverse. Salt comes in a variety of styles from a variety of places. For instance, salt can be produced by the evaporation of seawater. Or, the evaporation of brine from sources like brine wells and salt lakes. Sometimes, salt is obtained by mining halite, known also as rock salt.

As you no doubt remember from Chemistry 101, salt molecules (NaCl) are composed of chloride and sodium ions. In order to survive, all living creatures need these components in small quantities. Salt helps regulate our bodies’ fluid balance. Throughout human history, its importance to survival has made salt a valuable commodity.

For thousands of years, salt has been the world’s most popular food preservative. It’s especially useful in preserving meat. An ancient saltworks was discovered at an archaeological site in Romania. There is evidence that, as long ago as 6,050 BC, Neolithic people boiled salt-laden spring water to extract salt. This salt extraction operation is believed to have had a direct correlation to the society’s rapid growth. One of the world’s oldest verifiable saltworks is in Shanxi, China, dating to 6,000 BC. Funereal offerings found in ancient Egyptian tombs from the third millennium BC include salt, salted birds, and salt fish. From about 2,800 BC, the Egyptians began exporting salt fish to the Phoenicians in return for Lebanon cedar, glass, and the dye known as Tyrian purple. The Phoenicians traded Egyptian salt fish and salt from North Africa throughout their Mediterranean trade empire.


Along the Sahara desert, the Berber nomads known as the Tuareg still maintain routes especially for transporting salt. Even today, they still transport roughly 5,000 tons of salt via Azalai, or salt caravans.

The German word for salt is “salz.” The central Austrian towns of Salzburg, Hallstatt, and Hallein lie on the river Salzach, within a radius of roughly 10 miles. Salzach literally means “Salt Water.” Salzburg means “Salt City.” Around 800 BC, Celts began mining for salt in the area. Around 400 BC, the Hallstatt Celts began evaporative, open pan salt making. During the first millennium BC, Celtic communities grew rich trading salt and salted meat to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome in exchange for wine and other luxuries.

Salt is essential for life. For thousands of years, salt has represented qualities like Vitality, Loyalty, Friendship, Truth and Wisdom. In modern society, salt is used to enhance that which is already high quality. And taking something good and making it better is always a worthwhile endeavor.

The Team

Picture Lenora Milligan
The Facts: Lenora's consulting methods have been developed over
the course of 20 years working with practices to make them better.









Picture Debra Quarles
The Facts: Debra is a positive, focused and motivated professional with over a quarter century of experience in the dental field.








Picture David Milligan
The Facts: David has been raising both the bottom line and the consciousness of dental offices for over a decade.








Picture Rosalie Hardcastle
The Facts: Rosalie has been working in and improving on the dental industry for over 20 years.

We're not your typical consultants.


                               Because you're not the typical dentist.

We don't look like other consultants, we don't act like other consultants and we don't operate like other consultants. Things are different here. Why? Because we want things to be different at your practice. What we do is all about you, and it works.

A more enthusiastic staff, more loyal patients, a fuller life. From good to better to brilliant. Salt DPM is about giving you the ability to truly savor your success.