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CPR: Comprehensive practice review

March 1, 2020
Just as performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can bring a person back to life, in this case CPR is a comprehensive practice review and a great way to bring new life to your dental practice.

Just as performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can bring a person back to life, in this case CPR is a comprehensive practice review and a great way to bring new life to your dental practice. In other words, CPR gets to the heart of what matters most.

During CPR, you will examine five aspects of your practice, what I call the Five Ps: 

• Purpose—your mission and your passion

• People—your team and your patients

• Place—your physical space and equipment

• Products—the range and quality of your dental services and fees

• Procedures—the clinical and managerial procedures you offer 

In each area of CPR, you will use actual cardiopulmonary resuscitation concepts such as look, listen, and feel. Looking means to carefully examine each area. Listening means that during the process you will ask your patients and team questions and tune into their answers. Feeling means that during this process, not only will you objectively think through the data, you will also listen to the deep feelings generated in your heart.

Regarding your purpose, you as the dentist want to make sure that you have a clear vision of who you are and why you do what you do. To achieve maximum joy, fulfillment, and financial success, it is essential that your professional, practice, and personal values are also in sync with your team. This is an essential piece to growing and improving your practice. When this alignment occurs, you will have the buy-in and support of every team member, and the voice of your practice will magically come alive. When you and your team are true to who you are, potential new patients will hear this authentic voice and be attracted to your practice. Also, when your existing patients repeatedly hear a cohesive and consistent message from everyone, they will become more inclined to accept your treatment recommendations. This increase in treatment acceptance will ultimately lead to more revenue and increased profits. 

Next CPR steps

The next step in your CPR is to assess your people. Some questions to ask yourself in this area might include, do I enjoy working with each member of my team? Do the team members work well together? If not, what can I do to improve our relationships as well as our dynamics? What are their individual goals and are their needs being met? Do they find their jobs rewarding? The look, listen, and feel method of inquiry works well here. 

First, observe how your team interacts with each other. Next, after you’ve observed their interactions, schedule a one-on-one meeting with each member. During your time together, share your observations and ask them thoughtful questions to seek their input and inquire about their job fulfillment. When you do this, it’s important to listen to their answers carefully. Feel your way through and make a list of agreed upon goals and solutions, ones that will improve their job satisfaction while also benefitting the patients and the practice. 

Your place or the physical space of your office should be updated, fresh, and clean. The best way to evaluate this area is for you and every member of your team to role play. Pretend that you are a patient walking into your practice for the first time. Observe what you see and make a list of your findings. For example, when you walk through the office door, what’s your first impression? What are your observations? How does the practice look physically? Is the paint fresh? Are the windows clean? How about the flooring and the carpeting or the furniture and the decorations? Is it time for some new pictures or paintings? 

Write down your observations and suggestions. What’s the condition of the dental chairs and cabinets? In addition to the actual physical space, what is the condition of your computer system? Are your workstations, server, and software up to date? Does your computer system make it easy for your patients to do business with you efficiently? Is your administrative and clinical team using your computer system to its maximum capacity? Perhaps they may need some additional training or cross-training. These are a few of the physical and technological aspects that need to be considered when you examine your place.

Next comes the evaluation of your products or your dental procedures. Are you up to date on the latest techniques? Should you consider learning new procedures such as sleep apnea therapy or placing dental implants to generate more variety, enjoyment, and more income for the practice? Are there any procedures you need to stop doing? How about your fees? Are they current? When was the last time you increased them? Some great resources to help you evaluate your fees include the National Dental Advisory Service and fairhealth.org.

Finally, you need to evaluate your procedures, both clinical and managerial. Regarding your clinical procedures, look back over your schedule for the past six to 12 months. Did you regularly schedule enough time to complete your procedures efficiently and correctly? Did you run on time? How about re-dos or failures? How is the quality of your work? Is it where you want it to be? How would your team respond if you asked them that question? With regard to the managerial procedures, what is your percentage of broken appointments? How is your collection rate? Did you meet your production goals? If not, why not? What’s your accounts receivable and what percentage of those accounts are in the current to 30-day category? Are your collection policies clearly spelled out in writing? 

I’ve touched upon only a few of the questions you need to ask as you do a comprehensive practice review. Perhaps you can come up with some of your own questions. If you take action on just the few I’ve mentioned here, you will probably see improvement in your practice productivity and profitability. If you want to be more methodical and complete in your evaluation, hire a consultant or coach to help you manage and prioritize the process.

To summarize, as you go through the Five Ps of your CPR, remember to keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to new information. Remember to use the look, listen, and feel method of inquiry, take a risk, dive in, and invest the time. When you do, you will get to the heart of what matters most. Most assuredly, with your dedication and concerted efforts, the life and energy of your practice and team will be revived, the income in your practice will increase, and everyone will experience more joy and more fulfillment.  

ROBERT M. MAGUIRE, DDS, MASCL, is a general dentist, speaker, coach, consultant, and owner of Dynamic Dental Communications. He received his doctorate from Georgetown University, and his master’s degree in strategic communication and leadership from Seton Hall University. His sole focus now is helping dentists bring life back to their dental practices through leadership, team building, and communication training. For more information about Dr. Maguire and his approach, visit dynamicdentalcomm.com or contact him at [email protected] or (603) 759-2931.

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