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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

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

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