Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 01 New Year 1

2017 offers fresh start for dental teams. A new year checklist

Jan. 19, 2017
There are steps you can take now to ensure that 2017 is a successful one for your dental practice. Start by making sure vacations are scheduled!

It’s another new year. Time to find places for all the new presents, exchange the items that weren’t the right fit, drag the old Christmas tree to the curb, and look forward to 2017. It’s safe to say that 2016 was one heck of a roller coaster ride, so many people are excited to get on with 2017.

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As you begin the new year, make sure to start it off right. Here is a list of ideas to ensure you put your best foot forward and don’t miss a step.

1. Reconcile the books for 2016—Make sure that every penny in your software is accounted for in the bank account. All expenses need to be put in the proper category for your accountants. Reconciling throughout the year helps to speed up this process, but it is always a good idea to review all transactions, as a whole, from the previous year.

2. Schedule vacation time—Too often I see teams that do not schedule their vacation for the year, and when the end of the year comes (one of the busiest times in a dental practice) everyone is trying to use their vacation time so they don’t lose it. This can leave your office short staffed and everyone scrambling. One of the offices we work with gives full-time employees two weeks of vacation. One of those weeks must correlate with the doctor’s vacation, and the other week can be chosen by the staff.
Look at your calendar for 2017 and decide when you want to take your vacation(s) this year, and have your team submit their vacations. This will keep the office running smoothly and prevent any surprises at the end of the year.

3. Schedule CE courses—Along with your vacation, schedule when you and your team will take CE courses this year. As dental professionals you’re required to take CE hours to maintain your licenses. Decide if you need to close the office, book flights, make driving or hotel accommodations, etc. Research the courses you want to take and when they are offered. Nothing is worse than finding a course you want, only to learn it’s already full or you can’t go because your office has a full schedule. (Check for CE courses that we provide.)

4. Schedule performance reviews—Your office manual should state when employees can expect to receive performance reviews. This is a great way for you and your staff to grow through communication. It’s the best time to review past performances and set goals for the future.

5. Salary reviews— These often come at the beginning of each year. Salary reviews are different than performance reviews since they are determined by the health of the practice. Sometimes they occur during the same meeting, but we prefer these be conducted separately.

6. Check your emergency kit—Make sure that your emergency kit meets all requirements, and specifically check the expiration dates.

7. Dental licenses—Remember, these have expiration dates, whether the license is for the doctor, hygienist, or assistant. Determine when all your licenses expire, and go through your calendar and mark the months that they expire. This will be a great reminder and will give you plenty of time to fill out the appropriate paperwork. There’s nothing worse than filing an insurance claim only to be denied because your provider’s license expired. That’s a denial you cannot fight.

8. Purge inactive charts—There will be patients who leave your practice. The new year is the best time to review who has not been to the office in the past two to three years. Prior to inactivating their charts, we recommend sending them a letter or email to them in the event that a patient has not gone to another provider.

9. Review last year’s numbers—As a team, it’s nice to look back at all things operational. Did you prep as many crowns as the year before? How about whitening sessions? Do you feel your perio program remains strong? Get a list of key performance indicators and see how you measure up.

10. Set your 2017 goals—How many new patients keep your practice growing? What is the number you need to produce on a monthly basis? Then break that down weekly and daily for individual goals.

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The best part about January is that it is a new beginning. You can learn from the past year and gear up to change and improve. Now, follow this list to plan out a successful 2017.

If you feel that you could use some coaching in any of these areas, reach out to me at [email protected]. I’m here to help. Happy New Year!

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As a practice management consultant with Global Team Solutions, Chris Ciardello is passionate about sharing his expertise in the areas of technology and marketing as it pertains to the dental office. Chris has a knack for understanding the needs of an office and he communicates those needs to the team, which creates a cohesive, productive atmosphere. He can be reached at [email protected].