Dentists are always looking for ways to increase production. In my 30 years of experience in helping dentists reach maximum practice production, I have catalogued approximately 250 different ways to increase practice production. Of those 250, 42 of them will generate approximately 80% of the production increase.
While the prospect of increasing production 80% sounds great, the thought of having to implement 42 strategies sounds exhausting. Different strategies require different levels of time and complexity, and in the interest of both your time and sanity, I’ve whittled those 42 strategies down to three that will give you very quick results.
Consider the following strategies for immediate improvement in your production:
Make sure everyone gets an appointment
Train the front desk staff to appoint every patient for their next visit prior to leaving the office. Keep in mind that getting patients to make their next appointment is not as easy as simply asking the patient when he or she would like to come back. In a study by the Levin Group Data Center, it was found that over 50% of offices simply ask patients when they want to come back, and 20% don’t even offer to make the next appointment unless it’s for specific treatment or the patient requests it. That means that patients at 70% of dental practices are not being approached properly when they come to the front desk after their appointments. When asking patients to make their next appointment, highlight the benefit of maintaining their appointments and give them a choice of two appointment times.
Design an effective confirmation process
Many practices lose 3%–10% of their production annually to no-shows and last-minute cancellations. A strong confirmation process can help curb these losses. Our extensive research on the confirmation process revealed that texting provides the best results. Home voicemail often goes unchecked or is half listened to. We suggest that you employ a confirmation process of texting right after the patient leaves the office, two weeks prior to the appointment, two days prior to the appointment (asking for confirmation), and two hours before the appointment. Some may view this as overkill but we advise clients that their no-shows and last-minute cancellation rate should be under 1%, and using this process can help you achieve that within 90 days.
Diagnosing complete dentistry on every new patient
Most practices have new patients see the hygienist first and then the dentist performs a five-minute exam at the end of the appointment. However, we train offices to bring new patients over the age of 30 directly into the doctor for a Five Phase Exam that includes periodontal, tooth-by-tooth, cosmetic, implant, and occlusal exams. When this is done, we find that production increases for new patients almost immediately.
Increasing production is much easier than most practices may believe. By concentrating on making sure every patient has an appointment, effectively confirming those appointments, and providing a through five-phase exam for all new patients, it will not be hard for you to experience great results in your practice production.