Bulletin, March 2005
Exclusively to Clients and Friends
of Advanced Practice Management
The Rossi Dental Dow Jones 2004 Wrap-Up:
In 2004 average production was up 5.9% and collections were up 4.5% in our “Dental Dow” sample of mature practices.
Patient traffic was up slightly at 1.7% and new patients were up 3%. Cancellation time in hygiene was up 3%. Crown and bridge production was up 5.7%.
The APM Frame of Reference:
Some other sample statistics from our total client data base (over 220 dentists represented):
Maniacs and Morons:
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the comedian George Carlin. I remember one of his routines years ago, “Maniacs and Morons.” It was about driving. If someone was ahead of you and going slowly they were a “Moron” and if someone was going faster than you they were a “Maniac.”
When I talk to doctors about their production per hour I often get the same kind of reactions. If the doctor is producing $300 an hour and he hears of a doctor doing $600 he figures “Twice as fast and probably half as good…has to be cutting corners.” If you told a doctor doing $400 an hour that another doctor does $250 an hour he figures “What the heck is the guy doing with all his time?”
What’s the point of all this? Often when we talk about increasing hourly production (essentially your capacity to deliver care per patients per unit of time), it can cause doctors and their assistants to clench up. They assume that in order to produce more per hour you have to do what you are doing now faster and faster. However, it’s been our experience that the actual clinical speed is only one of several factors, and not the main factor, of how much a doctor produces per hour.
Unless your schedule is exceedingly light (booked out less than four days), you can increase your income by increasing your hourly productivity. Obviously if you want to make more per day, month, or year you have to do more per day, month, and year.
It starts by increasing your expectations. Others with the same level of skills, experience, resources and standards can produce more and you can too.
In our data base of over 220 doctors, hourly productivity ranges from $184 to over $2,200 per hour. We don’t lean on our clients hard to schedule to goal everyday like some consultants, but it can be a useful way to help you be aware of what you are doing and how you can put your days together better.
As many of you know, through our consultations, the five major functions of your capacity are:
- Clinical speed.
- Procedure mix
- Staffing, delegation, and teamwork
- Facility, equipment, instruments and materials
- Appointment book control
So, you can increase your hourly productivity by doing bigger cases and/or more organized treatment planning (so you get the most done per appointment with a minimum number of appointments), delegating more to your staff or adding staff and making sure as a result you do more treatment each day. Too many times a doctor adds an assistant and the assistant just assists the assistant! Then there’s no increase in hourly production. Typically, you need to see another 2 to 3 operative appointments per day per additional assistant you hire to have the numbers work right. You can add rooms or equipment. You can cost justify another operatory if it means you can comfortably see just one more operative visit per day. Your time is much more valuable than equipment. You can’t go wrong as long as whatever equipment you buy you actually use.
Now, appointment book control. Does your front desk really know how to put the days together? Have you told them what you want besides just keeping your schedule busy?
We are working with many of you on these concepts in our on-site visits. At your next staff meeting brainstorm with your staff (using the 3-minute brainstorming method we often use) to come up with ideas in each of these categories. Every little improvement can add nicely to the bottom line.
If you have an associate: It’s obviously in your and the associate’s best interests to maximize their hourly productivity. A good starting target for a new associate is $250 per hour. Profits go up dramatically as associate production increases. Not surprisingly, if the senior doctor does a good job getting work and patients to the associate, in a matter of time the associate is usually producing at an hourly rate similar to that of the lead doctor, so there’s an added benefit in increasing your own hourly productivity. It means that your associate will produce more too, because an associate rarely has a higher hourly productivity than the senior doctor. So the better you do the better they’ll do.
You Deserve Credit
Advanced Practice Management is an accredited Continuing Education provider for the Minnesota Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you wish to receive Continuing Ed. credits for your meeting, simply let us know and we’ll send out a certificate stating the course title, content, date and hours attended. Then you and your staff can make a copy of the certificate and put it in your Continuing Ed. portfolio.
We are Continuing Education providers for fundamental competencies. As you know, the new rules require increased Continuing Ed. hours so this is a nice side benefit of our meetings with you and your staff.
Please keep us in mind for your study club meetings. We can talk on almost any topic and you can count on our presentation to be current, practical and tailored to the marketplace realities of our area.