Increasing production is much easier than most dentists think. The reason it doesn’t happen continually is that most dentist don’t stay focused on it. When you’re happy with your income, lifestyle, and savings you may not put a whole lot of time into improving practice production performance. People who are comfortable in this way tend to, as they say, “take their foot off the gas.” But you shouldn’t.
Increasing production is the mainstay of any business and it requires constant attention. If production doesn’t go up, profit won’t go up either. Dentistry has more competitive factors than ever before, so every practice must be focused on growing its production by either small amounts or to hit larger goals. Growth is always a best defense against a decline.
Here are three powerful steps you should consider if you want to increase production quickly:
- Diagnose periodontal disease. Practices that are not diagnosing periodontal disease lose tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in initial therapy services. Adding the diagnosis and treatment of basic periodontal services for patients is like adding a brand or service to the practice.
- Schedule all patients. Many practices have only 80 – 85% of their patients scheduled. Think about how much production is lost through the 15-20% of unscheduled patients every year. That’s why you should set the goal of scheduling 98% of patients at all times. In fact, 93% of them should be scheduled before they walk out of the office. The other 7% can be scheduled using a nine-week follow up system powered by effective scripting. Keeping patients scheduled in this way is the smartest way to keep patients bonded and loyal to the practice.
- Give hygienists more control. Hygienist should be trained to identify all potential treatment, educate patients about treatment, and motivate the patient to have treatment. They should also be encouraged to go over fees and close the case. Don’t panic—the doctor should still be the final decision-maker to review all findings. However, because the hygienist has much more time to talk to patients and explain findings and recommendations, they have more opportunities to close cases than the dentist, who is rushed and typically spends less than five minutes on hygiene checks. Keep in mind that that hygienist should make the effort to follow up on all unaccepted treatment. Many practices have a “one-and-done” type of mentality. If the patient doesn’t accept treatment that’s it—nothing can be done, and nobody ever mentions it again. However, when you do check in with patients again, they’re often still interested.
By implementing the tactics above almost any practice can grow production—by a lot. It’s only a matter of having the desire, the strategies, and putting them in place.