For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: drive revenue up, market your practice. Dr. Barry Musikant, purchase wisely.
By Barry L. Musikant, DMD
At this point in 2010, chances are you or someone close to you has been directly impacted by the state of the U.S. economy. In the past, clinicians were able to be particular about the products we use, the cases we refer out, and the way we market our practices.
However, in present times, it's more important than ever to make decisions that enhance our practices. Whether it be learning new techniques, using new marketing techniques, or spending more time researching the products we use to practice, there are several simple changes we can make that will enhance our practices, our patients' experiences, and infuse revenue into our practices.
Here are some ideas that will help drive revenue back into your practice:
Incorporate a new technique or specialty that you would typically refer out
Perhaps in the past when business was booming you referred cases not in your comfort zone to specialists. A less than perfect economy is a great time for you to refine your skills and retain lucrative chairside revenue you once referred out. Take endodontics for example. Instead of referring out, learn about the systems that interest you. You may think that endodontics is hard, expensive, and time consuming.
Maybe in the past you were doing endo and had a file break and have been hesitant to try again. For some reason, some general practitioners are turned off by the idea of implementing endodontics into their daily repertoire of procedures.
The fact is that endodontics is a highly profitable area. More importantly, it does not need to be expensive for the dentist, it does not have to be labor intensive, and it does not require an insurmountable amount of extra education to do well.
Market your practice in new ways.
The entire sales and marketing industries have been changed by the addition of "social media." Web sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter have changed the way people receive and filter messages. You may ask how this affects dentistry. Well, it does, in a major way.
With Facebook becoming the second most popular Web site behind Google, all industries have joined the trend and set up sites. It's a free way to share information about your practice, talk about specials you may have, staff changes, and more. Join groups in your area and ask patients to add you as a "friend."
Seek out manufacturer lists, trade journals, meetings, and study groups that interest you. It's a way to connect with people you may have lost contact with or to meet new people with things in common. This should help you build your business through referrals, and also stay in touch with your peers and industry contacts.
What I mean is be more aware of the items you purchase to do your job. The phrase "you get what you pay for" rings true when I think about this point. I learned a long time ago that when you buy cheap, you usually end up paying for it in the long run.
When you purchase wisely, meaning you purchase products that give you long-term results and clinically superior results, you end up saving money.
If you purchase sub-par products because you initially save money, chances are you will end up paying. These are risks that are not worth taking, especially in a very competitive market. Patients want quality work for a price that makes sense to them. I encourage my peers to take the time to research the goods they use in their practices and to make educated decisions on what products to use, even if they cost more upfront.
Dr. Barry L. Musikant is a practicing endodontist in New York City and the president and cofounder of Essential Dental Systems. EDS manufactures several leading products, such as Flexi-Post, EZ-Fill, Ti-Core, and the Endo-Express and SafeSiders Instrumentation System referred to in this article. Dr. Musikant can be found online on the dental message board at www.endomailmessageboard.com.