Management Consulting - Free Video
VOLUME III   Issue IV

Click here to read FROM STRESS TO SUCCESS by Kevin Andrews DDS

Many practices are hemorrhaging money in more ways than one. In this issue we will discuss the ways that your practice could be losing income. Any one of these money hemorrhages alone could be costing you thousands of dollars a month, but several combined makes for a very dangerous situation. These hemorrhages add up to huge amounts of lost profit for not just the owner, but for the staff as well- the hope for staff to receive a bonus is lost unless the practice is making a healthy profit.

Are you getting fewer New Patients than you were a year ago?

An all too typical scenario goes like this: Dr. Smith had his practice rolling along smoothly; he always seemed to have enough New Patients to keep his schedule comfortably full-about 20-25 per month. Something changed this year, however, and the old sources haven't been pulling like they used to. This has really caused Dr. Smith a lot of stress. For the past six months the average new patients have gone down to just 10 per month! This, of course, has lowered production, which has dropped by over 25%. The net result has been a loss of production and income. Of course, now that Dr. Smith is working with us, the first point that we are addressing is his New Patients. Ask for our Marketing Analysis which lists over 45 Internal and External marketing actions.

Treatment plans not getting accepted or closed?

A major source of stress occurs when the doctor goes up front to check on Mrs.. Parker who he was certain would schedule for the four crowns he had just presented to her. When he looks at the schedule, he sees no new appointment set for her! Trying to suppress his outrage, Dr. Peter asks the receptionist, "When is Mrs. Parker scheduled for her next appointment?"

"Oh, she said that she would be back next year," beamed the receptionist, "I told her she had used all of her benefits and so she should wait; she really liked that!" Dr Peter's face turns as red as a sunset in Hawaii (where he wishes he were!) He was last seen heading into his office muttering, "I give up!"

Sales training and getting treatment "closed" is a specialized skill ~ unless you have trusted and trained personnel handling this, you are hemorrhaging money, and staff.

We have isolated at least seven major money hemorrhages in a practice!

Internal marketing actions gone limp?

A great source of added treatment is your hygienist actively looking for it and telling the patient, "If you want Dr. Jones to look at this cracked tooth, it looks like you will need a crown." Patients often find it easier to accept the advice from a hygienist or an assistant because they feel more comfortable and relaxed. If your back office staff are not actively looking for treatment, you have another money hemorrhage.

If you are burning out, so will your staff.

Executive Burnout?

The owner either puts life into the practice or he or she doesn't. You have the single biggest impact on the health of your practice. If you are burning out, so will your staff. We often see the practice as a mirror of the owner. A recent conversation with a new client serves as an example: Dr. Jones: My staff just don't care what happens, when a patient doesn't show, they just seem unconcerned. They just seem resigned. I used to have staff who really put extra effort and care into the practice, but not anymore. When our consultant questioned the doctor about how he handled staff we found that the doctor reacted with a lot of stress and anger. The staff were driven down to fear and apathy and so I didn't care. The doctor realized that he was leading the way with his bad attitude.

On the plus side, after working with clients and getting the true cause of their stress relieved, we found a whole new outlook from the staff.

Just as the coach of a sports team sets the tone and the pace of the team, so does the owner set the tone and pace of his or her practice.

Our job is to offer solutions that work!

Dr Peter was last seen heading into his office muttering, "I give up!"

Lack of executive skill?

As the owner, you have at least two hats: Usually you are the main treating doctor as well as the owner - which is an executive hat. Most doctors enjoy their work with patients but do not enjoy being an executive - which shows up as lost income! There are several reasons for this. When you went to dental school, how many hours of management training did you have? And even if there were management classes, would you really have been interested at that point? The truth is you were much better prepared to drive a car than you ever were to drive your practice.

The long term success of your practice is dependent upon your skills, as a doctor and as an executive. The problems that you face today require much more skill as an executive than they did ten or twenty years ago.

Lack of a clear cut plan of action?

This includes how to remedy any other money hemorrhages already noted. Continuing to run the practice over known problems, simply worsens the condition and leads to further burnout!

To solve any problem, it first must be viewed and diagnosed to determine what really is the source of the problem.

That is our job: to provide a clear and objective view of your practice and offer solutions that work. The first step to shutting off the money hemorrhage is to face it and be willing to do something about it!

Hiring the wrong person?

This is such a major money hemorrhage that a full issue will be devoted to it, but here are the highlights:

• The usual costs of hiring

• The additional costs if you hire the wrong person!

• The hidden costs of firing staff!

These factors amount to a huge financial hemorrhage in your practice!