The like button is one of the best inventions since sliced bread. But where is the dislike button? If someone posts a picture of me that I do not like, it would be very nice to hit "dislike" in those and other situations. In the case of Dr. Ohio and his four-chair practice, the dislike button wasn't where he thought it might be. How we located the dislike button and turned it into a like button can help your practice thrive.
I am the Naked Dentist. No, I am not a dentist nor do my clients practice dentistry naked. With a powerful analytic tool, I strip a dental office of all its clothes, makeup, and accessories to reveal the true problem areas. Once the problem areas are identified, the doctor and I then tone or, occasionally, perform surgery to achieve lifestyle and financial success that he or she desires.
My good friend in Ohio, we will call him Dr. Ohio, is a new dentist that has taken over a four-chair practice that is scheduling 128 exams each month. He is staying fairly busy, but he knows he could produce more. With his case acceptance at 65%, there are many reasons to hit the like button for his office.
Yet Dr. Ohio is not living the lifestyle he planned on living as a dentist. Several months ago, we had lunch at a conference where I was presenting the "Four Important Case Numbers." He knows that case acceptance is the pulse on his practice, so it would figure that his only option is to get more exams. To do this he needs more patients, but he didn't want to spend a fortune on a new marketing campaign.
So often when case acceptance starts to decrease, the doctor instantly looks for more new patients, but that is only one factor to case acceptance. Here are the top four case numbers that need to be monitored daily:
- Number of exams: The actual number of new/existing patients who are scheduled an exam.
- Percentage of diagnosed: The number of exams divided by patients with treatment diagnosed.
- Percentage of accepted: The number of patients accepted out of the patients diagnosed.
- Case average by dollars: The total number of cases divided by the total number of dollars presented.
When you can look at all these numbers together, you can find the real problem that is happening in the practice. When Dr. Ohio and I started to look at the numbers, we saw that the percentage of diagnosed cases was at 33%; it should be at a minimum of 48%. The 33% number would get the dislike button for sure. Dr. Ohio did not need more new patients, what he needed was to know his numbers and how they affect the practice.
What to do
Whenever I see a low percentage of diagnosed treatment, three things could potentially be happening:
Knowledge -- Without knowing where you are in comparison with other doctors, it is difficult to fix any issue. Percentage of cases diagnosed is no different.
Education in diagnosing procedures -- Look in your own dental toolbox and think about what you feel confident in diagnosing. If you don't feel confident recognizing what the patient needs, you might look into some additional education for yourself. You can find these from study groups and continuing education courses.
Being the "nice dentist" -- I see this so often! The doctor comes in and obviously sees something that needs a bigger diagnosis, but instead he or she tries to be the nice dentist, because the patient doesn't have the time or money to have it properly done. The doctor justifies a root canal, buildup, or crown down to a "really big filling" until the patient can afford it.
You are not helping the patient when you try to be the nice dentist. When looking at many treatment plans, I ask the doctor, "Is this the treatment plan you would offer to your spouse?" Often the answer is "No."
Properly diagnose what the patient needs, and let your front office help with working out money and the patient's time concerns. You are the professional.
With the help of our proprietary sync tool, we quickly identified that Dr. Ohio's case average was at $804 and the percentage of cases accepted was at 65%. We know that his diagnose percentage was at 33%; so if he sees 128 patients per month, he is producing $22,074.62. If he would just increase the diagnose percentage to 48%, he would produce $32,108.54 per month. Without adding anything to the marketing budget and without more overhead, he would net almost $10,000 extra per month. What would you do with an extra $10 grand a month?
Six months later, I was looking over Dr. Ohio's numbers again. He had been monitoring his numbers daily. To my delight, his case acceptance was up, the diagnose percentage was above 50%, and, best of all, his confidence in his own dentistry was up. He learned that his education didn't stop when he got his diploma from dental school. Education is something that is lifelong in the dental field and is so beneficial.
As a dentist you can live the life you always wanted. No matter your location, debt, staff, or other factors, you don't need to have any dislikes within your practice. Strip down all the fluff and see what areas you need to focus on. You will be amazed at what happens when you make slight changes to areas that truly need focusing on, rather than focusing on what you THINK or what others tell you needs changed.
Let's get naked together.
Curtis Marshall serves as the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel. If you would like your practice to be in the next Naked Dentist column and have your practice undressed, contact him at email@example.com or 801-380-7070.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.