Bulletin, November 2005
Exclusively to Clients and Friends
of Advanced Practice Management
The Rossi Dental Dow Jones—Third Quarter 2005
The mature practices sampled showed growth of 4.2% through the first three quarters of this year compared to the same period of time last year. Patient traffic was down .4%. New patients were up 3.7% and the production per exam was up 4%. So, as a group, these practices are experiencing a small decline in patient flow even though new patients are up slightly.
In 2004 practices grew 6% so this represents slower growth. As usual, every fall I get a number of calls in the office from dentists concerned about lightness in the schedule. On one hand, we have to recognize the reality of the seasonal flow. On the other, I’m certainly not coaching complacency or despair. In fact, downturns in a practice are opportunities to re-examine how you do things and can energize you to bring things to the next level. People, including dentists, don’t usually take action unless they are in a state of fear or desire.
Average Sunday Want Ad Counts
Number of Advertised Openings
The most dramatic trend is in hygiene want ad counts. These averaged 23 back in March of 2002. The Dental Assistant ad count was 22 so that has shown a decline too. The irony of the situation is that it’s easier to find hygiene help now but practices are growing more slowly and need it less! Obviously related.
Before you reach for that PPO!
There have been several occasions over the last year where clients unbeknownst to me signed up for a PPO (like Met Life or Delta Preferred). This can be a problem. In the case of the practices that signed up with Delta Preferred, they were unaware that there were a lot of Delta Preferred patients already in their practice “latently.” Once the practice joined the network, “normal” Delta patients were revealed as Delta Preferred patients with the related deeper discounts. So while they hoped to gain a few more new patients per month from being on the Delta Preferred list, they ended up taking substantial discounts on patients they already had.
Those of you who’ve worked with me for a long time know that I’m not a purist. There are times where PPO participation makes perfect sense. However, I strongly recommend not impulsively joining a PPO if your schedule is light. It’s important to make sure you’ve thoroughly checked out other alternatives before taking on more discounts. So before you reach for that PPO, call me already!
A Statistical Snapshot
Production per Patient: Your prosperity comes through being of service to patients by delivering more care. Except for fee increases, you can’t deliver more care unless you see more people (which we measure by exams) or doing more per patient seen (which we measure by production per exam). Here are our Year-end 2004 Statistical Averages.
Production Per Exam:
Outstate fees are lower than the Metro Area and that accounts for much of the difference.
Now, compare your production per exam to the above. You can increase your production per exam through offering more services to patients (implants, endo, perio, cosmetics, etc.) and by getting better follow through on the services you currently recommend (by refining the entire process; from the time the patient is welcomed into the practice, the hygiene co-diagnosis, your exam, your presentation, your pass-off to the front desk, financial arrangements, scheduling and delivery).
The surveys are done:
We recently completed our 10th Annual Current Dental Practices and Procedures Survey. We hope you participated but, if you didn’t, you’re welcome to call our office for the results. They are free of charge to current clients.
The same goes for the nearly completed 2005 Wage, Fee and Benefits Survey. We strongly encourage your participation but, if for some reason or another you didn’t get a survey or were not able to get one in this year, just call. We’re happy to forward this information to you. The fee survey information is also updated each year on our website.
Advanced Practice Management has grown over 40% in the last three years thanks to you. Most of our new clients call us because we did good work for a friend of theirs. In our business, like yours, we depend on the good words of our clients to help us grow. We really appreciate your help.
Every client we get adds to our frame of knowledge which in turn helps us in advising you. The Upper Midwest has a very strong and decent dental community and we’re proud to be part of it.