Incredibly, we made it through January, the province wide shutdowns did not affect most of the patients attending our practices. In fact many offices had patients commenting that coming to the dentist was actually a great reason to get out of the house. Our teams did struggle with having school aged children learning online but most have settled in at this point and what is usually the longest, darkest month of the year is now over. Time to look at whether we rocked it, for our 2021 goals in January or did we just survive.
I feel strongly, that we need to be looking at our results in regards to our goals on a monthly basis and not just quarterly. If we look monthly then we can correct any areas quickly, without the same concern hanging around for three months.
I would like to provide some areas for you to look at when reviewing your January results:
- If one of your goals was increased production, did you make that increase? To achieve this, you need to do more than wish and pray that it happens, you need to have specific steps in place to achieve the goal. Perhaps you need to institute changes in your hygiene systems to increase production by offering more hygiene hours or calculating the balance of your available hygiene hours with the needs of your patients. Look specifically at your treatment acceptance in January, did you have 75% acceptance of your major treatment diagnosis and 90% acceptance of your basic treatment diagnosis? Without making current changes to your existing systems a goal is just an idea.
- Your goal may have been improved cash flow in the office. To do this you will need to have some accountability with your administrators to ensure that 98% of all of your production is collected and your accounts receivable over 90 days are less than 15% of your overall receivables. You will also want to ensure that your sundry supplies are less than 6.5% of your collection from the previous month, if this wasn’t the case you may want to institute a budget for those doing purchasing in the office.
- If your goal was decreased open time for either the hygienists or the dentist’s chair and you didn’t see that, I feel that you need to stop blaming the pandemic or the weather. To correct this, you may want to look at how the software lists are being used and verbiage between your team and the patient. We all expect that our team is doing the best they can, but if their tools aren’t sharp it makes an uphill climb feel like a mountain trek.
- Many offices are finding that they have had to hire more team members to help with tasks in the office that may be pandemic related. These tasks won’t go away with the vaccine so your salary expenses may have had goals as well. To keep your office within the 25% to 28% range for staff salaries then I suggest looking at where production can increase to accommodate the new salaries so that your trained team members can be doing the tasks that make the office money. An example of this may be having an office concierge, to check in patients, complete pre- screening and other tasks so that your experienced team members can be making hygiene calls or following up on treatment diagnosis which will increase production.
Always keep in mind that goals need to have a plan along with the final result. It’s okay to know your goal without knowing the path to get there. You can always contact your software provider, a coach or even sometimes a colleague to help you understand where your systems may need tweaking to achieve your results. Creating the path with intentional steps will help you achieve the goals, monthly check ins are a necessity rather than waiting to say it’s too late to change anything.