The biggest mistakes dentists make: Not having documented step-by-step systems

December 14, 2015

Based on his extensive experience with dentists in the past 30 years, Dr. Roger P. Levin has authored a new book entitled The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make. His premise is simple. As he says in the introduction, “We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?”

Based on his extensive experience with dentists in the past 30 years, Dr. Roger P. Levin has authored a new book entitled The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make. His premise is simple. As he says in the introduction, “We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?”

Following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book.

The biggest mistakes dentists make: Living above your means

Mistake #12: Not having documented step-by-step systems

All practices have systems or procedures for accomplishing administrative tasks and handling interactions with patients. Unfortunately, most of these systems came about without much thought given to what they should achieve or what steps would lead to the desired results. Even carefully constructed systems often fall short simply because they were created years ago and have not kept up with changing conditions.

To avoid this common mistake, start with performance targets and then figure out how to reach them step by step. Suppose you set a target of reducing no-shows and cancellations to 1 percent or less. What would it take to reach this target? You’d quickly recognize there are many situations in which patients can be influenced to present as scheduled, as well as measures that can be taken to “train” patients to do so in the future.

Hot read: 5 steps to lower your overhead

Continue to page two for more...

 

A list of steps to be integrated into improved systems might include:

  • Building value for appointments as part of the new patient experience

  • Explaining the fee policy regarding patients who fail to show or cancel at the last minute

  • Confirming appointments via cell phone numbers or texting with permission

  • Thanking patients for showing up on schedule

  • Calling immediately if patients fail to show, reminding them of the value of an appointment and the unrecoverable loss for the practice and rescheduling them

  • Threatening to charge chronic no-shows (with scripting that also waives the penalty fee)

  • “Training” problem patients with corrective scheduling protocols

The biggest mistakes dentists make: Not setting goals

All of the steps in practice systems and subsystems have a specific purpose, and all contribute to your success so you mustn’t make the mistake of leaving it up to the front desk coordinator to decide what to say. You decide how calls should be handled, step by step, and then document those steps as the basis for staff training and scripting.

The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Makehas now been published and is available for just $59 at the Levin Group Store.

Save $50 on doctor tuition for Dr. Levin’s “Ignite Your Production” seminar in San Francisco on Feb. 11 or in Atlanta on Feb. 18. Use code DPM50 during sign-up to receive your savings.

Interesting read: Four simple systems to get your office in tip-top shape