A tale of two practices

Dentists frequently complain that their practices are "topped out," with full schedules and a frantic pace. The implication is that they could not possibly handle more patients.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, MBA

Dentists frequently complain that their practices are "topped out," with full schedules and a frantic pace. The implication is that they could not possibly handle more patients or produce more income. Unfortun-ately, dentists often confuse a busy schedule with a productive one. But "busyness" is not a real indicator of practice profitability. Extremely busy practices often operate with high levels of stress and inefficiency. By comparison, a well-managed practice is in the perfect position to realize practice profitability.

Let's examine two Levin Group clients who were not achieving their true potential. This case study will also illustrate how these two distinctly different practices incorporated business systems that positively impacted their production and profit levels.

Different practices, different goals

Each doctor has practiced dentistry for 12 years. Each practice has seven staff members, four chairs, and a four-day workweek. Both have similar patient bases. Approximately 50 percent of their patients have dental insurance, and each practice offers similar range of services.

Doctor A was producing $850,000 each year with a 60 percent overhead. His income was $340,000. Doctor A's primary goal was to decrease stress and systemize his practice.

Doctor B was producing $425,000 each year. His overhead was 66.3 percent, and his income was $143,225. Doctor B's goal was to increase income and save more for retirement.

Both doctors enjoyed dentistry and wanted to improve certain aspects of their practices. However, Doctor A had almost double the practice production of Doctor B and more than double the income. Doctor B believed that his practice had reached its capacity, and he had no desire to work even harder. Even with the fully booked schedule, it was clear that Doctor B's practice was not realizing its full potential.

Solution — Doctor A

Doctor A had a fairly well-run practice, but he had no documented business systems in place. Two recent staff turnovers made him realize that his practice needed to systematize in order to secure consistent performance. Following the Levin Group Method, he learned how to incorporate documented step-by-step systems for scheduling, patient finance, customer service, hygiene productivity, case presentation, and other systems in his practice. This allowed for immediate training at the implant level.

He also discovered that system refinement generated the highest income possible while creating an efficient and enjoyable work environment. After one year, his practice produced more than $1,062,000 with a stable overhead of 63 percent.

Solution — Doctor B

During Doctor B's one-year consultation period, he systematized his practice by incorporating proven business methods. He established solid systems to achieve consistency in scheduling, patient administration, customer service, patient finance, and case presentation. He introduced a new scheduling system, which allowed his practice to produce more than $824,000 in the next year with a 61 percent overhead.

As diverse as they are, both practices achieved their goals. They incorporated business systems that increased their practice profitability significantly. They were able to save more money for retirement and decrease daily stress. In addition, turnover disappeared. All staff members reported that the work environment was much more positive and that their contentment levels had increased greatly.

Though many dentists feel that their practices are operating at capacity, systematic methods can maximize their productivity. Dentists often limit themselves; however, by implementing data-driven systems, any practice can realize its full potential.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, MBA is founder and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., the leading dental management consulting firm specializing in implementing documented business systems into dental practices. Levin Group is dedicated to improving the lives of dentists through proven dental practice management and marketing consulting programs that help practices reach higher levels of success and profitability Dr. Levin has authored more than 2,500 articles and 48 books on practice management. Levin Group can be contacted at 888-973-0000 or at www.levingroup.com .

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