New services add value

March 1, 2003
Every dentist wants to increase production and income without working harder.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, MBA, FACD

Every dentist wants to increase production and income without working harder. Most practices are already working at capacity, yet their production is approximately 30 percent below their potential. Growing a practice by adding even more hours is very difficult; few dentists really want to do it. Adding more hours to an already full schedule is demanding and fatiguing for practitioners and also stresses their staffs. Fortunately, there is a way to increase practice production and profit without increasing practice hours for dentist or team members.

In any business, new services and new customers create tremendous opportunities for growth. These two factors are the best ways to increase practice productivity. But of the two options, adding new services is easier — and more productive.

Adding new services and offering them to the right people within your active patient base can maximize your value to patients who already trust you. It expands your capabilities for those clients and will attract new patients to your practice.

A vast array of new services are available that are easy to implement. Visit the exhibits at any national dental meeting and you can quickly identify eight to 10 new service opportunities. From locally administered antibiotics to treat periodontal disease to the new oral cancer brush biopsy kit, the opportunities are abundant.

Advancements in restorative services also offer excellent opportunities to increase production. New materials abound that both the practice and the dental laboratory can use. Patients will receive better care and improved appearance and health, while the practice achieves increased production and profitability.

Your current patients are more likely to be interested in and accept a new service from a doctor they trust. Your existing patients know that you have their best interests in mind, and they are more willing to listen to recommendations about enhanced services.

How much can you achieve?

Below is a sample of the increases in annual production that can be achieved by adding some new services to your practice. These projections are based on statistical models developed by Levin Group and used by dentists throughout the country.

• Locally administered antibiotic: $50,000 to 70,000 gross production
• Oral cancer brush biopsy: $20,000 to $30,000 gross production
• Higher-level crown procedures: $60,000 to $80,000 gross production
• Power toothbrush dispensing: $10,000 to $20,000 gross production
• High-end composite dentistry: $80,000 to $100,000 gross production

To add new services effectively, it is important to attend continuing education courses. These courses can help you identify genuinely new services, not just small improvements on the services you already offer.

When identifying and adding new services, remember to include the necessary diagnostic components required to recommend each service. More significantly, make sure the entire dental team is educated on the new services, their value, and how to best present them to patients.

Don't attempt to completely revamp your practice overnight. Instead, add one service at a time, developing the skill set and presentation systems necessary to expand that service before offering another. Create a list of five or six new services that really interest you as a practitioner and that you believe would truly benefit your patients, then plan to implement them one at a time.

A practice dedicated to adding new services will benefit significantly. More importantly, adding new services ensures that patients always receive the best care dentistry has to offer.

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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