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We are a bit more than halfway through 2013. Some dentists out there are saying: “Where did the year go already??!! We’ve got to get on it and produce, produce, produce!!” Other dentists are calmly saying: “Halfway through the year… we’ve got plenty of time to improve things.” Where’s the reality? Maybe somewhere in between. Summer is a perfect time of year to assess:

  • Where you’ve been
  • Where you are going
  • What you want at this point
  • How you will get there

Mid-year assessments of accomplishments and challenges are an excellent business tool to celebrate successes and at the same time identify hurdles, giving you the chance to make course corrections now before it is too late.

So what do you do? Pull some year-to-date statistics from your dental software on common things like:

  • Production for each doctor
  • Production for all hygienists
  • Total office production
  • Year-to-date collections and monthly averages
  • Number of new patients this year to date and last year same period
  • Referral sources of all new patients this year
  • Accounts receivable

OK, you have all this wealth of information, so now what? Distribute to your team members two weeks prior to a team meeting and ask them to be prepared at that meeting to report out on things like:

  • Assistants – review the doctor(s) schedule(s) and see if you spot any patterns of problems or successes. Be prepared to discuss these and to lead a brainstorming session on how to prevent the problems and how to repeat the successes through the rest of 2013.
  • Hygienists – review your schedules and do the same thing as the assistants are doing with their doctor(s) schedule(s) with your own schedules.Also review the hygiene retention system and discuss what could be strengthened there.
  • Business team –review the collections stats and if you are a solo person in the business office, think through the past months to determine what went well and what didn’t go so well with collections. If there are multiple people on the business team, get input from all members. Then be prepared to lead a discussion at the team meeting about what could be done differently to boost collections and reduce the ARs. This of course is a big issue that involves over-the-counter collections, patient billing, insurance management, managing your health care financial partners like CareCredit, and accounts receivable.

At this point, you may be wondering what the doctor is supposed to be doing! Your job is to oversee this process, offer assistance to guide the department teams to do their assessments and idea generating, and ultimately to be an active member in the problem-solving process that will occur at the team meeting. Doctor-owners have the final say-so in decisions on actions,but a rich array of ideas can be generated by involving your entire team. It builds accountability in individuals and can stimulate a cooperative and collaborative team spirit.This can be a powerful process that engages your team in the destiny of the dental practice.

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