What a year 2020 has been, and it’s not quite over yet. Everyone in dentistry has truly stood steady through unprecedented times. Here are some tips for avoiding bad habits and having your dental practice end the year strong.
Don’t Ignore Reviewing Your Practice
When patients come in for their routine checkup, what’s one of the first things you do? Take X-rays, right? This gives you insight into the current condition of their mouth and helps you have meaningful conversations with each patient about their oral health and needed treatment. Your practice is no different.
Before the end of this year, don’t forget to review where you’re at with your practice. Set aside time to do an “X-ray” of your performance in 2020 and identify what went well and what needs some attention in 2021. It might help to go through each department and find one success and one weak area.
Don’t Ignore Your Employees
Are you constantly holding meetings and communicating with those you work with? If yes, fantastic! If not, take note. Communication is key to success in any business or practice. Don’t leave your employees guessing about what’s going on.
Everyone deserves to be communicated with, especially if they’re helping you out in your practice, and not ignored. Having a chance for everyone to communicate their thoughts and ideas is great for staying in the loop with everyone and with what’s going on within the practice.
Key points to always discuss include the day before, the current day, and the next day. Also, celebrate any successes or important events that have occurred.
Don’t Overlook the Right Patients and Forget to Schedule Them
Getting the right patients on your schedule has never been more important than right now. These are the patients who have remaining insurance dollars, who pay their bills, who don’t cancel or no-show on appointments, and who accept presented treatment.
You need every one of these patients you can possibly add to your schedule. Start by identifying who these patients are and develop a plan for contacting them.
Don’t Ignore Patients with Unused Dental Benefits
Dig deep in your database and schedule patients you want to schedule. Let’s say you want to see all of your active patients with at least $500 in unused benefits, all covered by your best-paying insurance provider (however your practice calculates this), and who have at least $500 in unscheduled production. Connecting to these patients with unused insurance benefits is a great way to finish 2020 strong.
Don’t Over-Look for Unscheduled Hygiene
How many of your active patients currently have a scheduled hygiene appointment? Any ideas? Most practices think this number is at 80% or better. Fact is, most practices are under 50%, and some are as low as 20%. What a great opportunity!
Begin looking at this figure daily and develop a plan for reaching out to every unscheduled hygiene patient. Hygiene is the key to a thriving, successful practice, and that starts with making sure your hygiene re-appointment percentage is at 90% or better.
Never Ignore APV
Not a lot of practices think about annual patient value (APV), or collections per patient for all active patients, but they should. How much value does each patient represent to your practice? Knowing this can have a significant impact on how you schedule and prioritize your patients.
APV is also a great way to track the overall health of your practice. If your average APV is increasing, that’s a good indicator you are on the right track. Determining APV gets rid of a lot of the “fluff” around gross production. Knowing the annual value of each patient helps you accurately answer questions like “Is my practice healthy?” “What am I collecting per active patient?” and “Are we seeing our patients enough?”
Don’t Wait to Plan for 2021
January 1, 2021, is just weeks away. What can you do to make sure you begin the new year in the best possible condition to succeed? This one may sound familiar and seem obvious, but developing a plan for what you want to accomplish in the next year is one of the best ways you can prepare for success. Here are four areas every dental practice should pay attention to when setting goals for 2021:
- Unscheduled family members: Consider setting a goal to ask each patient during each appointment about unscheduled family members. Also make an effort when confirming scheduled appointments with patients to also offer possible times and dates for unscheduled family members to come in.
- Unscheduled treatment: Check to see what treatment has been presented but not yet scheduled with patients before they come in. Suggest they take advantage of the time in your office to get some or all of that needed treatment taken care of.
- Past-due accounts receivable (AR): Review AR regularly and assign someone with some experience and good people skills to engage with past-due patients. This is a great way to improve your cash flow and strengthen your connection with patients.
- Unscheduled hygiene: Here’s another great opportunity to fill holes in your schedule and provide better care for your patients. Review your active patient lists and focus on getting these patients who need hygiene care scheduled.
Do You Really Need to Work with PPOs?
Think about how you work with preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and third parties. A dental membership program allows you to create your own plans as an alternative to insurance. Patients pay your office a monthly or yearly subscription in exchange for benefits and discounts.
Individuals leave dental practices for various reasons. More often than not, it’s because of insurance coverage (money issues) and not poor customer service. Dental membership plans in your practice can make services more realistic for a lot of your patients who otherwise could not afford dental work. It’s also a win for your practice by creating recurring revenue.
When the last recession hit, most patients lost their dental benefits and thought they couldn’t see the dentist. By having a membership program, you can help educate patients to come see you without having insurance while still receiving quality dental care and savings.
If any of these thoughts sound familiar to you, your practice will become more profitable and easier to manage. Check out our ebook for more tips on dental membership plans and how they can work for your practice. Also, visit BoomCloud if you have any questions about quitting PPOs and becoming self-reliant.
From everyone in the dental industry, we applaud you for this year. Thank you for your incredible efforts to care for your patients. Here’s to a great finish!
Mr. Comstock is the founder of BoomCloud Apps, a successful software company that allows dental offices to quickly create, organize, track, and automate their in-house membership program. Contact Jordon and his team at (800) 260-9285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.