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There is no one road that leads to the success of your dental practice. However, there are several areas where focus can increase productivity and profit. At a continuing education session at the 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting, on Thursday, March 23, 2017, Mark E. Hyman, D.D.S., M.A.G.D, gave a presentation on how to become a top tier dental practice.
Mark E. Hyman, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., lectured on becoming a game changer in dentistry at the 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting.
Real success in the business of dentistry boils down to changing the game of dentistry itself.
In order to do so, Hyman told his audicence on Thursday, March 23, you must let go of limiting beliefs. You shouldn’t wait for things to go wrong before you make a change. Instead, the time for change is “when things are going really well,” because you never know when disaster is headed your way. “You either change or you die.”
During the session, Hyman outlined 20 topics to put you on the fast track to success in your private practice. Here are just some of those topics.
THE DENTAL TEAM
In order to have an agile team, each member needs to do quality and efficient work. Hyman stressed that if each employee gives just one percent or one degree more, your practice’s productivity will increase exponentially. The self-professed lover of analogies explained that at 211 degrees, water is hot, but at 212 degrees water boils.
The difference between good and great is just one degree.
“There’s always just a little bit more,” he said.
Everyone must be willing to work and go the extra mile. He suggested that team members be X-ray certified. This would help a practice run more smoothly and faster.
“Do what you have to, to get the numbers,” he said
However, you can’t just ask for more without giving back. Although he encouraged incentives, Hyman uses a method that exemplifies the value of each team member and shows appreciation. He does this by encouraging the staff to recognize the work and efforts of others. At the end of the day, rather than ask “how did you put in that extra one percent,” he will ask a team member how another member put in that extra percent.
Patient retention is an essential characteristic of a successful dental practice. Offering free consultations where the dentist has a one-on-one conversation with a new patient, where they get your complete undivided attention, can be a game-changer.
One of the most important things to ask a new patient is, “Why did you leave your last dentist?” This will help you determine what you can do differently in order to not just gain the new patient, but keep them coming back. You need to know why they “fired your colleague.”
It’s also very important to pay attention to the patient’s language. A patient may say they fired a dentist because that dentist kept trying to sell them on treatment. However, if that same patient explicitly says that they are not happy with their smile, don’t follow that up with, “You don’t have to fix it if you don’t want to.” You should follow this up with, “What was your last treatment plan?” and work from there.
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Once the patient is satisfied with the consultation and the new treatment plan, keep the ball rolling. Hyman suggested that the easiest way to book a new patient appointment is to make them feel that they have an opportunity.
He gave the example, “We just had a change in our schedule, let’s start!”
Consultations aren’t only for new patients. Hynman believes each dentist’s patient files are filled with “millions of dollars of undone dentistry.”
To avoid lawsuits, it is important to provide each patient with a free cancer screening test. “You don’t want someone to come back and say you had the technology and you didn’t use it,” he said. If you’re used to providing $10 cancer screening, just raise the exam fee by that amount and provide everyone with the screening. That way your patient won’t see it as an extra fee to be paid.
Perhaps one of the most underrated pieces of dental technology is the digital dental camera. There was a time when dentists could say, “You need four crowns,” and expect to not be questioned. However, now it’s important to “create that sense of urgency.” And what better way than to show the patient the actual condition of their teeth?
Each exam room needs one camera and all the practice’s staff need to use it on every single patient and every single tooth, said Hyman. Using digital photography, Hyman was able to convince a skeptical patient to undergo necessary procedures that the patient had been putting off. The work ended up netting thousands of dollars.
The pictures won’t only convince your patient to get the extra work, they will also convince the insurance company that the patient actually needs the work. It will be the end of filing pre-denials.
According to Hyman, “a dead last finish is better than a did not finish, which is better than a didn’t even start.”
It’s never too late to make some changes that will increase employee morale, raise productivity rates, and keep your patients happy with the quality your practice delivers.
By “under-promising and over-delivering,” you will always exceed your patients’ expectations, he said.