Burniston Kevin2

Getting your practice in shape

Oct. 11, 2017

Kevin Burniston

Have you ever fallen short of a weight-loss goal despite consistently checking your weight on a scale? Unfortunately, it takes more than just tracking progress to reach a goal. If someone really wants to lose 20 pounds, they can’t just look at the scale every day and expect much to change. Similarly, if someone wants to grow his or her dental practice, the person can’t just look at monthly production and collection numbers and expect those numbers to change. Having a goal and a scale are nothing without an impactful action plan to accompany them.

Set a goal

What does success look like by the end of the year? Take note of where you currently are to ensure you’re creating a realistic expectation for yourself. Be as specific as possible, include a timeframe, and make sure you have a meaningful reason behind the goal. To reach any goal, you must make changes that may push you out of your comfort zone. If your goal isn’t worth being uncomfortable, you may not follow through.

Here’s an example: I want to grow my monthly practice production from $60,000 to $70,000 by the end of the year so I can put money away for retirement. When the discomfort of change starts creeping in, think about the reason you set the goal in the first place.

Make a plan

What actions will lead to accomplishing your goal? Break the actions down into small, doable tasks that you can start today. Here are things you can do now in your practice that will impact your monthly numbers and ultimately help you reach your goal:

    • Know how many patients your team is asking for referrals. Most patients don’t realize you’d like to have more patients unless you remind them.

    • How many patients added to their scheduled treatment today? If patients are already scheduled for treatment, any additional work they choose to do adds to your production at a lower overhead.

    • Record how many hygiene patients leave with a scheduled hygiene appointment.

    • Record how many patients leave without scheduling treatment for the dental procedures you diagnosed. Case acceptance may seem high, but if patients don’t schedule the dentistry, it wasn’t really accepted.

    • Figure out how many missing hygiene patients you scheduled today.

These should be things you have control over that directly impact your goal. When trying to lose weight, the most important things to focus on are what to eat and how to exercise. The scale is simply a way to measure the effectiveness of these actions.

Monitor your results

What reports should you look at to determine if you are on track to reach your goals? You may only want to look at monthly production, collections, and numbers of new patients. If you’re more analytical, you can pull detailed reports from your practice management software weekly or daily. Keep in mind that while these reports are important, they provide only a view of the past and don’t help you reach your goal when used on their own. The measurements should be used to evaluate and change your action plan. If you don’t like the number on the scale, you must change your actions over the course of the coming week and evaluate the results again.

Use your practice management software to track the actions that will lead to accomplishing your goal. Talk to your team and make sure everyone has their own set of goals and actions to track. Hold regular meetings to review progress and celebrate successes, and come up with a new action plan if the numbers aren’t progressing as they should. With the right plan in place, anything is possible.

Author’s note: For help reaching your practice goals, request information on practice care planning from a Henry Schein consultant. Henry Schein can help you develop an action plan and track your progress to increase both patient and practice health.

During his 10 years with Henry Schein, Kevin Burniston has met with more than 1,000 dentists. They have unique hopes, dreams, and concerns about their practices and families. his goal is to help each dentist realize those dreams. Contact him at (800) 372-4346 or [email protected]. Learn more at HenryScheinBusinessSolutions.com.

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