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Practice production, prioritized: The production gap

Author's note: Levin Group has reviewed and prioritized hundreds of strategies to increase practice production. Each month, we highlight a powerful idea ranked in order of priority.

One of the best ways to increase practice production is to focus on it in the morning meeting. Every morning, dental practices should have a 10-minute meeting. There are numerous agenda items that are beneficial to discuss, but none is more important for increasing practice production than identifying the “production gap” for that day.

The production gap is the difference between the daily production goal (the annual practice production goal broken down per day), and the actual scheduled production that day. In most cases, there will be a gap that is often below the daily production goal. This gives practices an opportunity to use the morning meeting to identify specific opportunities to close the production gap.

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For example, let’s assume that a hypothetical practice is $1,000 below the daily production goal. There may be numerous ways to create a $1,000 production increase. Examples could include patients coming in for hygiene who haven’t completed treatment, identifying cases throughout the day that could be offered same-day treatment, and even educating patients with existing dental insurance benefits and incomplete care about the best way to use their benefits as soon as possible.

Following this protocol every day keeps the practice acutely aware of how it’s performing and what options are available that day to achieve the daily production goal. This is a powerful way to not only track daily production, but to take positive action steps to ensure that the practice stays on track.

If the practice is coming up short on production day after day, it’s generally a scheduling issue requiring a new mathematical analysis and design. When reopening their offices during the pandemic, many dental practices gave up on standardized scheduling policies and simply began placing patients anywhere in the schedule. This may have been beneficial during the pent-up demand phase of the pandemic, but we’re seeing examples where it has continued into late 2021. Our advice is for practices to go back and reestablish scheduling policies and protocols to ensure that they are able to achieve daily production.

Simply filling the schedule will keep a practice busy, but busyness is not productivity. In addition to the fatigue factor, sheer busyness often fails to meet the daily production goal. The solution is to build a new schedule based on achieving the daily production goal and follow policies and protocols to ensure that it happens.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the November 2021 print edition of Dental Economics.

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