The Naked Dentist: The numbers that really matter

2016 10 24 15 35 17 421 Marshall Curtis 400

My father-in-law and two brother-in-laws are dentists. I also have three sister-in-laws who work in the dental field. We are such a dental family that we have a code word that tells everyone to stop "talking dental." Last week at a family dinner, several of the adults were talking dental and my 8-year-old niece yelled the code word. The talk stopped instantly.

Curtis Marshall is the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.Curtis Marshall is the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.

I am the Naked Dentist. No, I am not an actual dentist, I am not usually naked, nor do my clients practice dentistry naked (my apologies for any unwanted visual images that may have occurred). I do have a powerful analytical tool that strips a dental office of all its "clothes, makeup, and accessories" to reveal the true problem areas. At that point, we can maintain dental performance or systematically improve performance to reach forecasted goals.

Today I want to talk to you about how numbers have changed the lives of my own family.

My wife has told me how hard her dad worked while she was growing up. Dr. Father-in-Law was determined to provide for his family and be successful. He was available to his patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. He had emergencies in the middle of the night and on weekends. He spent many late nights missing dinner, and he almost missed our wedding doing an emergency procedure.

This leads to a question that we often don't mention when we are studying a practice. What is your practice doing to enhance your personal life? Is it taking away from your life with the insane work hours, constant stress, and panic about money?

Dr. Father-in-Law's practice

Talking to my father-in-law about running successful practices in the not-so-distant past gives me a pit in my stomach. As he recounted late nights not being able to sleep because of stress and missing some important life events of his kids, he specifically mentioned the heartache and regret that he experienced when his oldest son moved away to college. He realized how much of his son's childhood he'd missed.

“I know that there are dentists everywhere desperately working themselves to exhaustion and missing out on the very life they are trying to create for their family”

His work motto was "Work as hard as you can, and then work some more." I know that he isn't alone. I know that dentists everywhere are desperately working themselves to exhaustion and missing out on the very life they are trying to create for their family.

Fast-forward to today. I stop in on one of the family dental practices to say hello to Dr. Brother-in-Law. I find him in his office sitting at his computer. He is looking over his week's schedule and also looking at his practice's dashboard. He shows me how he is able to produce and collect what he wants by following the information and guide of the numbers. He also shows me an area of the practice he needs to improve and support through acting on the insights found in his practice data.

He smiles and says to me, "It's pretty cool that I get to have a job I love and still make time for my family." The whole process of reviewing and responding to his numbers takes about 10 minutes each day. After we look at the numbers, he sits back in his chair looking relaxed.

He has to get his kids to cheer practice and karate practice that evening, and he's blocked off his schedule for family time.

I ask him if he remembers growing up with his dad always working. He nods.

"That is how Dad knew how to make it," he said "He kept his head down and worked as hard as he could. He didn't have the tools to support his practice."

As we finish talking, Dr. Father-in-Law pops his head into the office to say hello and mentions that he is leaving work early to pick up my daughter and take her on a bike ride. He leaves to get back to his patients and I see Dr. Brother-in-Law smiling ear to ear.

"That is what it is all about! We do dentistry for our profession, but we need to live our lives," he said. "I love seeing my dad live the life that he has always wanted."

Numbers do matter. But not just your practice numbers. You, doctor, also have a life outside of your practice that deserves your time and attention. You have your kid's activities to attend, hobbies to pursue, and wonderful opportunities to nurture outside of work.

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 protected] or 801-380-7070.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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