Practice Analytics https://practiceanalytics.com Drive Production. Improve Patient Flow. Increase Profits. Sun, 02 Aug 2020 19:02:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://practiceanalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Practice Analytics https://practiceanalytics.com 32 32 Patient Communication Key During COVID https://practiceanalytics.com/patient-communication-key-during-covid/ https://practiceanalytics.com/patient-communication-key-during-covid/#respond Wed, 22 Jul 2020 18:53:04 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=4050 No matter what type of dental software programs they run, dental practices everywhere have adjusted how they communicate with patients now that offices have reopened following mandatory shutdowns. Simply programming your practice management system to send out text reminders of appointments and requests for scheduling won’t cut it anymore. Dentists need to show they’re concerned about the health of both their patients and staff to help ease any concerns patients may have about their safety should they return to their normal oral care schedule.

To start, consider how you’ve changed your daily operations and what your patients need to know about what additional or new steps you’ve taken to help ensure their safety. Talk with some of your patients to better understand what questions they’re asking so you can work on creating specific messaging that address those concerns to your patient base at large.

How to Develop Your Message

Creating an effective message requires consistency. When too many voices have input on what a message should be, it can comes across as muddled or as missing the overall point. To prevent this from occurring, select one person in your practice, or hire a professional marketing firm, to develop communication about how your practice will deal with patients going forward. Obviously, whoever you appoint this task to should have some experience working at your practice and have a good idea about what priorities to focus on.

When that communication is then put into writing, your team needs to take time to learn what they need to say to patients. Again, without consistency, any message will fall apart. Make sure your entire staff, from front office worker to hygienists, is trained on your new messaging so that they can all be on the same page.

Develop a Communication Strategy

When patients elect to schedule an appointment, they have many different avenues where they can use to determine which dentist best meets their safety concerns. From social media channels like Facebook and Instagram to email and Google Ads campaigns, you have no shortage of ways to address your patients’ potential concerns. Each of the channels you use should communicate how your practice is now taking care of patients during the pandemic. However, the information you provide through each channel can vary.

A few examples – In a Google My Business listing, you may want to change your practice hours to reflect how you’ve had to alter your practice since reopening. Your website should feature a page dedicate to how your practice is dealing with COVID-19. Google Ads you were running before the pandemic should be updated to make sure they’re still appropriate.

Your social media marketing campaign also needs to reflect your new focus on patient and staff safety. A boosted Facebook post that highlights the additional safety precautions your practice is now taking can help to better educate your patients so they feel safe. Your Instagram account can show photos of new safety equipment, team members wearing masks, and of other new safety measures you’ve put into place.

Throughout all of your online and website messaging, one tone should remain consistent and perfectly clear – Your safety remains our number one priority.

Listen to Your Patients

Being responsive and proactive with patients is more important than ever. Even patients who’ve regularly visited your office in the past will now deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with trying to protect their health during such an uncertain time. As a result, your team needs to quickly respond to any patient question or potential complaint. This means you need to have someone regularly monitoring Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business, and any other online platform where patients may ask questions.

You also need to monitor your response times for emails and phones calls to ensure that patients get a quick answer to any inquires. Once a patient reaches out to ask a question, they’ve signaled a willingness to consider scheduling an appointment. Failing to address a question quickly can provide time for doubt to build that will leave them feeling less comfortable about scheduling an appointment.

When answering patient inquires, you should develop a set of guidelines so your team knows how to best approach and respond. Ideally, these guidelines should include greeting the individual by name, acknowledging their issue, and providing an explanation as best you can to their question.

 

Updating your communication strategy will better enable your practice to weather the storm of uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Dental software programs designed to help keep your practice running smoothly can help, but a personal touch is needed now more than ever. Informing patients on what steps you’re taking to help protect their health will provide them the peace of mind needed to begin scheduling appointments without being concerned over their health.

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Assessing Your Practice’s Staffing Needs Post COVID https://practiceanalytics.com/assessing-your-practices-staffing-needs-post-covid/ https://practiceanalytics.com/assessing-your-practices-staffing-needs-post-covid/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2020 18:59:33 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=4003 As you begin the process of reopening your practice, you’ll soon realize that it will take more than simply welcoming back your dental office manager and accompanying crew to get things started. You’ll need to adjust to the new normal and consider what policies and procedures you’ll need to implement in order to keep yourself, your patients, and your staff safe. You’ll have plenty to consider, especially when it comes to your true staffing needs.

Unfortunately, despite what you may hope after losing the majority of your business for the last two months, production won’t ramp up to pre-shutdown levels right away. In fact, it will probably take some time before your production numbers even come close to what they were for the first two months of 2020.

Many patients remain nervous about the idea of visiting a dentist, or even their general practitioner, due to fears over COVID-19 exposure. Others who’ve lost their jobs, may no longer have insurance or will choose to wait until more financially stable before electing to receive what they may consider optional dental care.

To find success, you need to think about the new role your team members will take on going forward. The first step: Reassessing the size of your team and what duties you’ll need them to perform once your practice opens back up.

Identifying Your True Staffing Needs

For most practices, standard payroll sits somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of revenues. Having closed for a few months, that number is probably not where your practice resides currently. Anticipate payroll rising to above those numbers until you gain some idea of where your production and revenues will fall in the short term. Until you collect enough data to give you an idea of what you can forecast for the rest of the year, take some time to identify what areas of your practice can be improved.

To make that determination, trying asking some of the following questions:

  • Do you need to staff at the same levels as before the pandemic?
  • What role have shifted, and how may they have changed?
  • Do new responsibilities need to be added to certain job descriptions?
  • What performance measurements can you put into place to determine whether you’re meeting any stated goals?

Once you’ve gained an idea of what your true staffing needs are, consider the types of improvements team members can make that will help your practice recover more quickly.

Front Office

Your dental office manager’s day typically involves a mixture of patient related tasks (check-ins and payment collections) and non-patient tasks (billing, insurance processing, payroll). If a practice remains open for 8-hour days, or 480 minutes, your dental office manager should spend roughly 240 minutes on patient tasks and 240 on non-patient tasks. If you allow 10 minutes to both check-in and check-out a patient, one employee can successful deal with 24 patients a day. If your practice sees 16 patients a day, and you have two employees working the front desk, you’re likely going to go over that 20 to 25 percent payroll threshold.

For many dental practices, the challenge comes when the front office staff starts to feel overloaded when dealing with more than 24 patients a day. Important tasks don’t get completed, patients feel rushed or ignored, and the office suffers as a result.

Normally, at this point a dentist would elect to bring in additional help. Unfortunately, due to lost revenues and a decrease in patients as a result of COVID-19, that may not be a financially viable option.

One solution is to redefine the scope of some of your team’s job. As the number of patients goes up, consider opening up certain tasks and responsibilities among the entire staff. Consider having hygienists greet and check-in patients scheduled to receive a cleaning to free up time for your front office staff to complete other tasks. Try scheduling a little more time between appointments to give your front office staff time to catch up on other important tasks. Open the office up for a few hours on previous off-days to give staff the chance to complete billing and other paperwork related tasks.

A dental practice doesn’t need to have a clear delineation of tasks. Roles can open and duties reassigned until production levels rise to pre-COVID levels.

Dental Hygienist

Maintaining your budget requires ensuring that payroll expenses for dental hygienists don’t rise above 33 percent of their net production. When it goes above that number, the base you’re paying out becomes higher than the hygienist’s actual production.

Opening in the schedules greatly contribute to this issue, whether due to broken appointments or just a general decrease in appointment demand. If open appointment times have become a reoccurring issue, it’s likely due to the hygienist not being scheduled to meet production goals, a common sign that a problem exists within your scheduling system.

A failure to book appointments with returning patients months in advance, failure to follow up on appointment confirmations, a lack of patient education on the importance of receiving regular dental care, higher than average fees, and overly aggressive treatment options may be behind why your office has so many opening to fill.

Working with your hygienists on how to best meet their production goals can go a long way towards keeping payroll in line with revenues, and reducing the number of open appointment times on the calendar.

 

 

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Helping Your Practice Master Social Media Marketing https://practiceanalytics.com/helping-your-practice-master-social-media-marketing/ https://practiceanalytics.com/helping-your-practice-master-social-media-marketing/#respond Mon, 24 Feb 2020 19:13:48 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=3967 For many dental office managers, running a successful social media campaign ranks as one of the trickiest parts of the job. Social media platforms offer businesses an ideal way to better connect to their customers through special offers, promotions, and establishing personal connections. However, many in the medical field fail to see how social media marketing fits their practice considering many of the ways retail businesses use these platforms don’t work in a world of copays and insurance deductibles.

However, just because insurance rules and HIPAA compliance may prevent you from running the same type of campaigns as retail businesses doesn’t mean that social offers your practice no value. Social media still offers incredibly reach, and an ability to further establish your brand.

When searching for a dentist, patients want to see the personal side of a practice. Everyone assumes a dentist knows how to clean teeth and fill a cavity. What they don’t know, and what they want to see, is the very human side of a dental practice. Whether through images, patient interaction, or posts, prospective patients will feel far more comfortable scheduling an appointment with a dentist who appears friendly, compassionate, and caring. If nothing else, this is an area where social media marketing can really shine for a dentist.

For dental office managers looking for a way to fit social media into their practice marketing, consider the following tips.

Always Use Original Photography

The ability to craft your brand message using imagery is one of the biggest advantages social media marketing has over similar platforms. Why then would you use stock photos and generic images to promote your brand?

According to a recent study, it’s estimated that 60 percent of Americans experience some kind of dental anxiety. This can range from the minor (flinching at the sound of a dental drill) to the severe (refusing to schedule dental care). Putting a personal spin on how you visually market your practice goes a long way towards helping patients put those feelings of unease to rest.

Prospective patients want to see photos of your dentist pleasantly interacting with patients, not some stock photos of a model smiling while sitting in a dentist’s chair. Don’t miss an opportunity to show how your practice stands out from the competition by using stale photos that pop up in every corner of the internet. Establish your brand identity with original photos that express who you are as a dental practice.

Don’t Post and Ghost

Social is a very important part of social media. Your practice won’t get very far with its social media marketing plans if you simply log on, post something to your account, and then log off for the day. “Post and ghost” is a phrase that should never apply to how your marketing campaign is run.

Successful social media strategies depend on frequent and consistent interaction, both with patients and other profiles. When you post something and a patient responds, you need to acknowledge that interaction with one of your own. This works to create a dialogue, and informs the patient and all other social media users that your profile acts as portal were everyone can contact you.

Responding to comments and posts is half the battle when it comes to establishing a strong social media profile. You also need to embrace posting on other sites. Try setting aside 15 to 30 minutes a day to engage with your account and others. Like, comment, and share posts to establish your brand as actively engaged in the conversation.

Collaborate with Other Local Businesses

Reaching out to other local business is never a bad idea. Look around for other local businesses on the same social media platforms your practice uses and send them friendly messages asking if they’d like to collaborate. You can propose jointly sponsored giveaways, mutually highlight each other in posts, and discuss important mattes going on in the community.

Reaching out to other businesses on social media works to establish a connection and a community between local businesses. In turn, you help to raise their profile with your patients and your practice with their customers. This organically increases your exposure locally, and further illustrates your practice as a leader within the community.

Get Personal

Success on social media requires sharing stories, not posting overly technical medical stories or industry specific jargon that does nothing to help you connect with your audience. The type of content most engaging consists of photos that allow your audience to get to know your practice on a personal level.

Opening up by sharing personal goals, motivations, and obstacles to your audience will enable you to connect on a deeper emotional level. Emotional connections act as the driving force behind social media engagement, so the better job you do of connecting the more your campaign will thrive.

Keep an Eye on What’s Working

Make sure you know what types of engagements and platforms have yield the most successes. If a Facebook campaign fails to take off, but your Instagram account has earned you a bunch of likes, lean further into what you do on Instagram. While you should still keep up a presence on Facebook, there’s nothing wrong with spending the majority of your time managing and interacting with whatever is helping you to better connect with the audience.

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Tips on Building a Better Team Dynamic https://practiceanalytics.com/tips-on-building-a-better-team-dynamic/ https://practiceanalytics.com/tips-on-building-a-better-team-dynamic/#respond Fri, 31 Jan 2020 20:27:41 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=3962 You can never underestimate the importance of teamwork when it comes to running a successful dental practice. While many dental office management systems place a premium on creating a dynamic team structure, patients will quickly judge for themselves whether a practice runs like a well-oiled machine or if it sputters due to dysfunction and disorganization.

Cultivating a team that works in unison not only helps to improve your enjoyment while at work – the office becomes a far more pleasant place when coworkers laugh and get along with each other – it also enables an environment where you can reach maximum productivity and profitability.

Patients can sense whether an office dynamic is one of cohesion or discontent. When receiving care in an office where everyone works together and seems to enjoy each other’s company, patients will inevitably feel more connected as part of the family. When patients feel welcomed and genuinely like their oral health provider, they become far more likely to agree to the services and treatments you may recommend. This creates a win-win scenario where the patients receive the care they need and you increase the chair time and services needed to help grow your practice’s bottom line.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can help to build teamwork into your practice culture.

Incorporate Individual Goals into Practice Goals

Demonstrate to the team that semiannual performance reviews actually have meaning by incorporating the opportunity to help set practice goals.

Instead of spending the entire time during a performance review critiquing an employee’s performance, ask that team members take the time to develop goals they think would help to improve the practice and the team itself.

Team goals can prove incredibly valuable for a variety of reasons. For example, say an employee believes the team should do more within the local community in a volunteer capacity. Whether volunteering at a local food bank or providing free dental care to kids in low income households, these types of experiences go a long way towards creating strong bonds between team members. Additionally, these types of charitable activities are invaluable when it comes to establishing your practice as a community leader.

People work harder when they feel they have some actual ownership or stake in a business. Encouraging employees to set goals and create initiatives the entire practice should strive to meet works to create that bond while also generating additional value for your business.

Keep the Team Challenged and Motivated

Psychological studies have shown that people build better working relationships when forced to overcome common obstacles than through sharing positive experiences. So, while after work happy hours and holiday parties have their place in building better team cohesion, nothing replaces the type of bond that’s built when overcoming a trial by fire together.

How you choose to create challenges for your team depends on staff and your willingness to push the boundaries of team activities. Organizing a team 5K run or having members participate in team boot camp activities can create the type of stress outside of the dental office that’s needed to create better team cohesion. Of course, how physical an activity you can play depends on the individual health of each team member. For a more mental, less physical, challenge, you could consider booking an escape room as a possible stand in.

Give Back to the Community Together

As mentioned previously, volunteering in the community as a group offers a lot of value, both for building cohesion and in establishing your practice as a community leader.

Giving back to the community as a group creates a sense of pride that can permeate the office environment in way that might not seem immediately evident. Doing good together, whether at a food bank or dental clinic popup, creates a communal sense of accomplishment. Coworkers begin to see each other as not only people who work together, but as individuals filled with compassion and the ability to give back to the community.

This type of social adhesion makes it far easier for individuals to put aside the type of petty squabbles that can undermine a practice’s internal dynamic. When you see firsthand the best of someone, you’re far more likely to forgive that individual for any perceived slights because you inherently believe them a good person at heart.

 

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Create, Develop, Design: How to Help Your Dental Practice to Grow https://practiceanalytics.com/create-develop-design-how-to-help-your-dental-practice-to-grow/ https://practiceanalytics.com/create-develop-design-how-to-help-your-dental-practice-to-grow/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2019 19:35:43 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=3923 Whether a dental practice seeks to double its profits, pick up more patients, or expand to become a multi-office business, it must plan stated objectives and develop the strategies necessary to achieve them.

While dental office software can help practices better understand their inner workings, outside forces have caused dentistry to change significantly in recent years. The business of dentistry was once built on the foundation of single, dentist-owned practices that sought to meet the oral health needs of their communities. Now, thanks to the rise of corporate dental chains and dental service organizations, the field of dentistry is more crowded and competitive than ever.

The industry has seen a recent boon, with more people working as dentists than ever before. However, more dentists are not leading to more individually open practices like what was once the norm. Dental service organizations now own or control 15 percent of the total practice in the U.S. In just two years, that number is expected to climb to nearly 30 percent, according to a projection by the healthcare marketing company Big Buzz.

To stay ahead of this rising tide of dental competition, practice owners must know their goals, develop objectives that help define their overall vision, and then implement strategies that will enable them to reach those stated goals.

Developing Goals

This process starts for a practice when it defines its goals. The goal needs to be specific, and practice owners should feel free to dream big. Any goal that doesn’t make the dental staff feel a bit uneasy can be too conservative because the best goals involve setting high targets that aren’t easily met.

For example, one type of goal a practice could set is to increase monthly profits by 50 percent by the end of year. Doubling your monthly profits is no easy task, and will demand a level of creativity and dedication by everyone involved to make it happen.

Compare this type of goal with one that simply wants to increase the number of new patients a practice acquires each month. New patient acquisition is incredibly tricky, and often relies on factors that lie outside of a practice’s direct control. Raising profits, however, can be accomplished internally by increasing existing patient treatments and services.

While both goals could be considered setting lofty expectations, one is far more likely to come to fruition.

Creating Objectives

Next, a practice needs to outline its internal objectives. Often, these should be clearly written statements that detail how a practice will reach its stated goals. When creating these objectives, think of them as mission statements that define who you are as a business.

Some examples of objective statements include:

  • We provide exceptional service to every patient.
  • We specialize in providing care to every member of the family.
  • We have a team that’s committed to maintaining a positive attitude and treating patients with respect.

These are strong objectives because they clearly state some of the guiding principles that dictate how you operate as a business.

It’s easy as a practice to continue operating in ways that don’t help your business grow. That’s why setting objectives is so important. It helps you identify the problem while developing institutional standards for how you expect your practice to operate.

Strategizing

How to implement a successful strategy will often depend on your goals. Growing the patient base may require making a renewed commitment to your digital marketing efforts. Expanding profits could mean mining your dental office software for data on how to expand treatment and services for your current patients. Limiting no show could require implementing new policies that hold patients accountable for late cancelations.

How ever you want to grow your business, you’ll find it far easier to achieve that success when you have taken the time to first develop goals, created objectives, and implemented a well-designed strategy.

 

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Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Dental Practice Management Software https://practiceanalytics.com/are-you-getting-the-most-out-of-your-dental-practice-management-software/ https://practiceanalytics.com/are-you-getting-the-most-out-of-your-dental-practice-management-software/#respond Tue, 13 Aug 2019 16:43:34 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=3908 Whether running multiple offices or simply trying to keep up with one, your dental practice management software offers dentists an invaluable tool that helps keep the business running. At Practice Analytics, our dental practice management software enables customers to better track their data, manage their resources, and make the most out of every patient engagement.

If you have experience working with dental practice management software, you may have felt slightly overwhelmed at first by the sheer number of options you have to explore. Having the ability to dive deep into the massive amount of data our system collects is certainly one of its many benefits, but understanding the basics only requires staying focused on a few tasks.

Here are some of the most commonly used features on dental practice management software every practice owner should know.

Perfect the Art of Scheduling

A significant portion of your workflow depends on scheduling. When the scheduling system you’ve implemented runs smoothly, your practice processes can function unimpeded. Our dental practice management software allows you to see with just a glance the type of treatments taking place, who’s providing the care, and each patient’s individual status.

Since scheduling takes such a priority when running a dental practice, it only makes sense this would be the first area to focus on when learning how to operate your software system. Whether that means getting comfortable with color coding system being used or implementing your own custom solution, maximizing the schedule features provided by your software leads to running a more efficient practice.

Plan According

Our dental practice management software helps you communicate, schedule, and document the individual treatment of each patient. Every detail you or your team may require about a patient’s treatment history is easily accessible and conveniently available with just a few clicks.

While patient records once involved keeping filing cabinets full of paper charts, dental x-rays, and patient forms, dental practice management software systems let you easily store, file, and retrieve that information effortlessly. These types of innovations have enable quicker treatment calculation, with far more accurate estimation of insurance coverage.

Studies have shown patients accept treatment recommendations more frequently and leave feeling more satisfied when a treatment plan includes far fewer questions about potential costs. Being able to forecast to a patient what the financial cost of a treatment is in advance of care makes it seem more affordable, making the patient more likely to say yes.

Charting

Without having to rely on keeping old dental x-rays lying around the office means a new form of technology has replaced the old. The tablets being used by dentists today offer a far clearer and more defined dental x-ray when compared to those found on grainy celluloid images.

Digital charts offer more detail, including color specifics and numbering, along with the added convenience of never having to worry about them ripping or fading. Digital charts also make it far quicker for your chairside staff to answer any patient questions about their oral health or their planned oral care.

Note Taking

Our dental practice management software includes a note-taking feature that makes it fast and simple to create, track, and locate your patient notes. Digital note taking removes one of the biggest hurdles in the medical community – having to read a doctor’s handwriting. Our software keeps everything looking perfectly legible, which eliminates any costly mistakes caused by illegible handwriting.

Better note taking also helps to ensure that you keep your practice protected from a liability standpoint. A set of detailed and accurate notes will enable to fully explain your side of any miscommunication that occurs between you and a patient or insurance provider.

 

These are just a few of the many helpful tools available with our dental practice management software. To find out what Practice Analytics can do for your dental practice, contact our office today.

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How to Successfully Avoid the Pitfalls of Dental Practice Partnerships https://practiceanalytics.com/how-to-successfully-avoid-the-pitfalls-of-dental-practice-partnerships/ https://practiceanalytics.com/how-to-successfully-avoid-the-pitfalls-of-dental-practice-partnerships/#respond Sun, 28 Jul 2019 18:50:11 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=3899 As a dental practice management consultant, our team at Practice Analytics understand that dental partnerships differ from the classic organizational flow chart of most businesses. While most standard businesses have a clear hierarchy that runs from the CEO at top, who has the final word on executive decisions, on down, group dental practices often have multiple dentists who all equally share in ownership. This, in effect, creates a multiple CEO scenario where competing voices all have equal claim at saying what should happen in a practice.

In our role as a dental practice management consultant, we’ve seen this type of structure typically play out in one of two ways. Either these types of partnerships foster a remarkably supportive environment where everyone’s opinion is heard and valued, or they create a gridlocked bureaucracy where nothing ever seems to get done. What seems to separate one type of practice from the other are the conditions dentists create that either allow their partnership to thrive or become choked with indecision.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common partnership pitfalls that cause group dental practices to suffer and what you can do to avoid them.

Not Taking the Time to Communicate

We all know the demands running a success dental practice place on a dentist’s time. The time required to hire and train staff, manage overhead, and stock equipment and supplies all take away from the most valuable part of a dentist’s day – the time spent chairside with patients. It can then be difficult to find the time needed to properly communicate with the other partners in a group dental practice, especially if each dentist works out of a separate office.

Not taking the time to schedule meetings can lead to decisions being made at the last minute, or, even more troubling, not at all. A partnership where everyone has a say only works when each voice sings in harmony with the rest. That’s why it’s so important to hold regular partner meetings. Whether your group dental practice involves two or 20 dentists, scheduling regular meetings is an essential part of any successfully functioning partnership.

Letting Individual Goals Take Precedence Over the Group

Let’s take a look at this common scenario – A senior dentist who has partnered with a younger dentist try to find common ground when it comes to investing in the practice long term. The senior partner may want to avoid any long-term investment as he or she continues to save money heading towards retirement. Conversely, a younger dentist may see such an investment as vital to helping the practice continue to grow in the future. This is the type of scenario that typically leads to no decision being made, as each side rightfully has concerns about giving in to the other.

Partners must always place the practice’s interest before their own. When dentists find themselves at a loggerhead, the should consider seeking the input of an outside consultant. By accepting expert advice, it becomes easier to make a decision that’s based on what’s best for the practice, not your individual goals.

Not Staying Honest

In many business relationships, partners often feel they must keep their honest feelings a secret least they cause hurt feelings that can permanently damage a partnership. However, partners have a responsibility to openly share with each other. The most successful partnerships are those where each member is given the freedom to talk about anything as long as it’s in the spirit of self-improvement. A partnership where each member fails to be honest with the other is one that will eventually cause the practice to operate well below its potential.

The partnership behind a group dental practice should always be about promoting the best interests of the practice itself, not it’s individual partners. Meet regularly, avoid the trappings of self-interest, and always make honesty the best policy. That’s the way to enjoy success.

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Successful Strategies for Improving Patient Retention https://practiceanalytics.com/successful-strategies-for-improving-patient-retention/ https://practiceanalytics.com/successful-strategies-for-improving-patient-retention/#respond Tue, 14 Aug 2018 23:19:01 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=3783 When it comes to ensuring a dental practice maintains and improves on the number of chair hours you have scheduled, focusing on patient retention is an absolute must. No practice enjoys losing a patient, especially if the patient simply leaves your practice for the competition. Most practices spend so much of their marketing budgets on attracting new patients that failing to maintain those patients proves incredibly costly, as you lose a lot of your return on that initial marketing investment.

Fortunately, a state-of-the-art practice management system can help your practice identify which patients are in danger of leaving and even enable you to bring some of them back. Here are a few strategies your practice can use to steer former patients back and prevent other patients from ever leaving to begin with.

Ask for Feedback from Fleeing Patients

In cases where a patient calls your practice to ask for medical records and inform you of their departure, instruct your front office staff to ask whether your practice can do anything to change the patient’s mind.

If the patient expresses a disinterest in returning, have your staff specifically ask for a reason why they’re leaving. Perhaps the patient found your chairside manner cold, didn’t like their hygienist, or found the front office staff difficult to work with. Unless asked you won’t know what motivated the patient to find alternative dental care. Even if you don’t agree with their answer, you’ll still gain a better understanding of how you might be able to improve your practice.

Some patients won’t give you a heads up that they’ve decided to move on. This is where a dental practice management system proves invaluable at easily identifying patients who are overdue for an appointment. Once you identify patients that need to be reached out to, you can send them a follow up email or phone call asking if they’d like to schedule an appointment. If the patient responds by saying they’ve moved on, consider sending them a survey to gather feedback on why they decided to leave.

Online tools such as SurveyMonkey and Google Forms make it easy to create a professional looking survey you can send to patients. To encourage more patients to take the time to fill out your survey it’s important to keep them short and to-the-point. A good starting point; ask your patients to select a reason for their departure from a list you’ve provided. These reasons you could list include:

  • Did you move out of the area?
  • Did you change insurance providers?
  • Did issues – such as limited parking or hours of operation – made vising inconvenient?
  • Did you have trouble scheduling an appointment by phone or online?
  • Did you experience dissatisfaction with the service and of level of care provided?
  • Did you experience trouble with billing or working with the front office staff?
  • Other (please explain)

Continue the survey by asking patients for more information on why they decided to leave. The answers you receive to this kind of feedback can prove invaluable.

Use the Feedback to Make Changes to Your Practice

Once you gain a better understanding of why patients are leaving, make the determination of whether you can make the changes necessary to bring those patients back. If you get a lot of feedback about your office hours being inconvenient, consider expanding appointment times. If patients express their dissatisfaction with the available parking, consider renting a nearby lot or offer a valet service.

While you won’t be able to resolve every complaint you receive, you can prioritize those changes that can be made easily in order to attract back the most former patients possible.

Let Your Former Patients Know About Any Changes Made

If you decide to change your practice based on patient feedback, you need to let patients know their voices have been heard. Take the time to inform patients about the changes you made and that their concerns have been addressed. To boost the chances of a patient returning, try offering a gift, such as a free consultation or teeth whitening should they return.

Don’t forget to let your current patients know about the changes you’ve made. Just because they haven’t yet left doesn’t mean they weren’t frustrated about something and were considering leaving. Letting them know you’ve address an issue also demonstrates to patients that you take their feedback and satisfaction seriously.

 

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4 Keys to Success as a Multi-Practice Owner https://practiceanalytics.com/4-keys-to-success-as-a-multi-practice-owner/ https://practiceanalytics.com/4-keys-to-success-as-a-multi-practice-owner/#respond Tue, 03 Apr 2018 13:33:54 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=3753 Most dentists know at least one former colleague, classmate, or associate who took the plunge into becoming the owner of his or her own small group dental practice. If you look around and see your peers running their own small group practice, have you ever wondered how they made the transition and how you could as well?

Owning and running a group practice enables you to maintain total control over all business and clinical decisions, while also benefiting from scaling out your practice from one centralized operations center. Owning multiple practices, however, does come with some inherent risk, so understanding how to maximize production, eliminate unnecessary costs, and streamline operations becomes paramount to enjoying lasting success.

At Practice Analytics, we understand what it takes to successfully run multiple dental practices. That’s why our dental practice management software is designed to help multi-practice owners increase profits and productivity by aggregating data from individual offices into a holistic view of the business as a whole.

Of course, state-of-the-art dental practice management software works better when supported by a strong organizational structure. Take a poll of most successful group practice owners and you’ll find that they all broadly followed four steps that enabled them to set a solid foundation for their business to flourish.

If you’re thinking about starting your own group dental practice, or have just launched your new empire and need a few tips, here are a few central points to keep in mind when becoming a multi-practice owner.

Develop a Foundation

Creating a vision or mission statement for your practices can serve as the foundation for a successful business plan. Your plan needs to cover a variety of basics that include management, marketing, strategy, expansion, and succession. Not only will your business plan be used to help secure financing for your practice, it will also help to guide your practice development over the first three to five years.

As you develop your plan, take the time to improve your understanding of the minutiae that defines running a successful practice. Knowing corporate structures, current tax and labor laws, and financial terminology suddenly become increasingly important when making the transition from associate to owner. The development stage is also the time you can work on improving your public speaking skills and confidence as an emerging CEO.

Build from the Ground Up

Unless you plan on purchasing an already existing group practice, you need to plan out your expansion strategy as you transition from owning none or one practice to a group.

Use key factors, such as population growth rates and socioeconomic status, to evaluate potential expansion sites to determine which areas offer the greatest opportunity for success. Develop a system for implementing a centralized administrative system that will help to oversee the day-to-day operation of all your practices. Brainstorm on how you can lay out your practices to improve productivity, use technology to connect each office, and hire the right personal needed to operate and manage each location.

This is where dental practice management software can make an enormous difference in how you coordinate and operate your small group practice. To successfully run multiple practices, you need a system that allows you to accurately measure each practice both individually, and as part of an organization as a whole. At Practice Analytics, our online dental practice management software tools streamline the information from each practice to find data that can enable multi-practice owners to better manage all of their locations at once.

Be Ready to Lead

Develop your understanding of nonclinical positions, when you need to add to support and administrative staff, and how to recruit, hire, and keep the right people for each job. You also need to work on improving your own leadership skills, while finding successful strategies for instilling leadership in others within your practice.

Becoming a successful manager takes more than just being able to inspire your workforce. You also need to gain a complex understanding of state and federal labor laws so you can mitigate risk by staying in compliance. This will enable you to implement policies and procedures to reward team success while still protecting your assets and minimizing HR risks.

Lean Management Eliminates Waste

Owning multiple practices enables you to spread out your overhead costs across a larger production base. Using a lean management philosophy, you can reduce inefficiencies and waste as you continue to expand your total production.

There’s no reason to employ multiple people to do the job that one person can handle with the right support. This is where investing in technology over people can have an enormous impact on keeping your practices lean, while boosting your bottom line. With the use of the right dental practice management software, you will find areas of redundancy that you can trim to form a leaner machine as a whole.

Contact Us to Learn More About Our Dental Practice Management Software

Owning multiple dental practices offers both risk and reward. But with careful and diligent planning, the right people, and the right dental practice management software, you can build a foundation of success that will leave you with a thriving business.

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Multi-Practice Owners Need a Dental Practice Management Solution https://practiceanalytics.com/multi-practice-owners-need-practice-management-solution/ https://practiceanalytics.com/multi-practice-owners-need-practice-management-solution/#respond Tue, 30 Jan 2018 16:58:52 +0000 https://practiceanalytics.com/?p=3739 Successfully owning and operating a profitable dental practice takes time, energy, and money. Successfully owning and operating multiple profitable dental practices takes 3x as much time, energy, and money – it’s just that much harder!

The vast majority of dentists capable and determined enough to open or buy their own practice do so within a few years of graduating from dental school. Once they start enjoying the success generated by their hard work, they begin to believe that if one practice can make them X number of dollars then opening a second practice will double their revenue. Unfortunately, the real math of operating multiple practices is far more complicated.

Running multiple practices means doubling your monthly fixed costs like rent, utilities, insurance, salaries, etc., while the amount you spend on variable costs like dental and office supplies, and your lab bill will also increase. This means your second location must generate a significant amount of revenue in order to help raise your overall income rather than become a drag on your profits, time, and stress levels.  

Even though multiple practices don’t share a roof, they do share among them the finite resources a dentist or group of dentists have to work with. If one branch of a multi-practice tree underperforms, it can fatally weaken the health of the business structure overall.

In order to determine the individual success of each practice, dentists need a system in place that enables them to determine whether all three key aspects of each dental practice is working as effectively and productively as possible. Failing to determine which practice in a group is underperforming can make achieving profitability that much harder. Considering the current state of dentistry and the true costs of running multiple practices, having just one branch underperform could make it impossible for you to generate the revenue needed to succeed.

The Dental Industry Remains Stagnant

Dental spending remains sluggish six years following the economic recovery from the Great Recession, according to a recent study conducted by the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute. The current amount of empty chair time, combined with the recent wave of new dental school graduates, forecasts that dental earnings will continue to remain stagnant, concluded the study’s authors.

The average dentist’s income has seen a consistent drop since 2005, which researchers attribute to a steady decrease in dental care among adults and shows no signs of rebounding any time soon, noted the authors. The researchers anticipate a shift towards a “new normal” in dental spending, dental care, and, as a result, dental earnings.

While the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 6.5% between 2009 and 2014, average household incomes grew by only 1%, noted researchers. This indicates that while the U.S. economy has rebounding from the financial collapse of the late 2000s, wages and household incomes have not.

The average net income for general practitioners (GPs) in 2014 was just under $175,000, while specialists earn slightly over $322,000. For owner GPs, the average net income was over $183,000, and $134,00 for non-owners.

Incomes for dentists have significantly dropped on average for all general practitioners since 2005, when the incomes levels were at a peak of over $219,000 a year. Today, the net income for general practitioner owners was just $183,000, while non-owners made $134,000. While specialists have seen a slight increase in earnings since 2013, their average income is still far below 2005 levels.

With empty chairs on the rise and incomes continuing to remain low, the difficulty of running multiple successful practices becomes even more challenging.

Let’s assume that as a single practice owner you’re generating $500,000 a year in collections. Your fixed yearly costs are roughly $250,000, and you pay about 15% in variable costs. As such, your total overhead comes in at $325,000, making your net take home $175,000 – about the average yearly income indicated in the study above.

Now let’s say that you open a second practice with the goal of increasing your income by just $50,000 a year. To meet this goal, you now need to collect an additional $352,000 more from both practices. Your fixed costs are going to double to $500,000, while your variable costs will rise to over $127,000. Your overhead is now more than $627,000, making your net take home roughly your goal of $225,000.

However, in addition to making this additional income, you’ve also taken on more debt, staff, and uncertainty that could cause far more stress and longer hours than you experienced before.

Operating multiple dental practices isn’t the money printing machine that many people with a direct interest in dentists owning multiple practices (i.e. sales reps, real estate agents, bankers, contract lawyers) would have you to believe. To successfully run more than one practice, you need a system that allows you to accurate measure each practice both individually and as part of your organization as a whole.

Data Analytics Helps Dental Practices Thrive

While Moneyball may have helped to introduce the concept of improving performance through data analytics to the general public, businesses have long understood the value of using data mining, performance monitoring, reporting, and benchmarking to improve decision making, identify new areas of business, and day-to-day functionality.

In recent years, the healthcare industry has taken the lead in adopting data analytics as a means of reducing costs, improving patient care, predicting patient behavior, and cataloguing pharmaceutical research. As the field of healthcare analytics continues to expand, experts predict the industry to grow into an $18 billion industry in the U.S. by 2020.

The dental practice management software tools developed by Practice Analytics were inspired from the concept that data tells a story. Where data exists, there’s usually untapped information waiting to be uncovered and utilized.

The majority of dental practices that use a practice management system have no shortage of undiscovered data that could be better utilized and leveraged. This is especially true of practices with multiple locations attempting to manage all of their offices together using software designed to meet the needs of single-office practices, or with growing groups running different practice management systems.

At Practice Analytics, our online dental practice management software tools streamline the information found deep inside a practice to uncover data that can help multi-practice dentists better manage their all of their locations. Our software aggregates information from individual offices with different systems into a group wide view of the enterprise. The data then becomes platform-agnostic to the source or system used across the organization. Practice Analytics can map several offices into regions and the regions are mapped to an enterprise or corporate level.

Click here to find out more about what Practice Analytics can do to improve the success of your dental practice.

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