Profit from a practice analysis

Every year, dentists meet with their accountants to review financial and tax issues. Many consult with attorneys regularly regarding specific decisions they have to make. We also attend clinical continuing-education courses to help us keep pace with advancements in clinical dentistry.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, MBA

Every year, dentists meet with their accountants to review financial and tax issues. Many consult with attorneys regularly regarding specific decisions they have to make. We also attend clinical continuing-education courses to help us keep pace with advancements in clinical dentistry.

But how do we evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of our practice-management systems? Most of us don`t. Although we`re usually very quick to seek the advice of experts to help us with tax or legal issues, we basically choose to go it alone when it comes to our business-management systems.

Over the last year, I`ve come to the conclusion that many practices can benefit tremendously from an on-site practice analysis. I didn`t realize the powerful advantages of this approach until earlier this year when The Levin Group began offering it as part of our package of services to practices.

I`ve spoken with many doctors who have been through an on-site practice analysis. They tell me, without exception, of the importance of adding practice analysis to their list of practice-building tools. Having an outside, objective source take a look at your general-business systems yields tremendous benefits. A practice analysis can help you build your practice!

Two big benefits

The two greatest benefits of practice analysis are:

* Total objectivity. We`re all so close to our own practices on a day-to-day basis that we frequently aren`t able to step back and properly evaluate our strengths and weaknesses.

* Step-by-step method. Modern practice analysis uses a step-by-step, organized methodology to evaluate where that office has opportunities for improvement in areas such as profitability, overhead control, business- systems design, and stress reduction.

What`s involved?

Practice analysis gives you the chance to take a close look at overhead, management systems, growth strategies, technologies, staffing, and short- and long-term goals, as well as how all of these affect practice profitability. The process also enables you to compare your results directly with those of leading practices across the nation. An objective, third-party analyst can identify the strengths of your practice, as well as areas that need upgrading and steps you can take to improve.

A practice analysis basically consists of a preliminary telephone conference with the practice, followed by a review of an initial questionnaire and, most importantly, an on-site visit from a trained practice analyst who is experienced in identifying practice-growth opportunities. To be most effective, your on-site practice analyst needs to observe your practice engaged in typical, everyday functions. (This keeps the day productive as well.) The on-site visit should occur when you`re seeing patients in your practice, so that the analyst can see how current systems and processes all come into play.

Summary

On-site practice analysis has allowed many practices to develop strategic direction for the future. What is most amazing is that many of the recommended changes are rather easy to implement, yet they can have a dramatic impact on the short- and long-term success of the practice.

Practice analysis eliminates personal bias and gives you an objective assessment that helps you eliminate profitability killers, identify areas for improvement, target key business systems, and allocate your assets more effectively. The result is a protection and enhancement of your professional investment - a reassurance that you`re really getting your money`s worth for your investments in time, talent, and technology.

If you would like more information on The Levin Group Practice Analysis Program, call (888) 973-0000 and ask to speak with Jane Reidy, practice analysis director.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, MBA, president and CEO of The Levin Group and the Levin Advanced Learning Institute, provides worldwide leadership in dental management for general dentists and specialists. Contact The Levin Group at (410) 654-1234.

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