Bulletin, February 2006

Exclusively to Clients and Friends
of Advanced Practice Management

The Local Dental Economy, The Dental Dow Jones:

The 37 mature area practices sampled showed an average increase in production of 3.9% and collections of 4.4% in 2005.
Hygiene visits and exams were down about 1%. New patients were even with the previous year. Crown and bridge was up 3.4%.

The average practice collected 91% of it’s gross production with 32% collected at the time of service and an accounts receivable ratio of 1.26. Twenty-seven practices grew, one was even with the previous year and nine were down.

  2003 2004 2005
% Production Growth 6.6 5.9 3.9
% Collections Growth 4.7 4.5 4.4

You’ve heard me say it before but every year we hear talk of slow times and concerns about the economy. We heard this even when the economy was great in the 90s! Still 2005 both statistically and anecdotally (based on what I hear from the field) has been a tough one, particularly in the last quarter.

The Dental Dow Jones is our effort to contribute more rationally to the scuttlebutt about area dental economic trends. Too many Doctors rely on calling a couple of their buddies and maybe the lab guy. Although it might feel good to commiserate with each other and realize you’re not alone if you’re having a slow month, the problem with this is that it can unnecessarily lead to negative expectations. As I’ve said many times before, you have far more control over the fate of your practice than outside economic forces. If you doubt that for one second, call me.

It’s that time again: set those goals!

We’ve continued our tradition by enclosing the goal setting outline. This is the time of year when we set statistical goals and line up projects with our clients for the coming year. Do yourself a favor. Take time to write down your goals. It works!
Plan your time off too. As much as possible, synchronize the staff’s time with your time. This is much more likely if you plan in advance for vacations and Continuing Ed.

It’s all online

Our fee and benefit surveys are online for you to refer to any time. Also, previous bulletins and articles are below.

Looking for a great team meeting?

The Richards Report guys are coming to town!

Drs. Rich and Dave Madow have had a significant impact on America’s dentistry. Their annual T.B.S.E. seminars have featured the most prominent people in dentistry and practice management. They also are the creators of The Richards Report Newsletter and The Richards Report tape series.
They have rubbed shoulders with the likes of Gordon Christensen, Howard Farran, Bill Dickerson and Kit Weathers. They’ve interviewed the top clinical and management gurus in the country.

If you’ve ever been to the Richards Report seminar in Las Vegas, you know these guys know how to put on a show. They’re coming to town April 20th for a one day seminar. How to “Love Dentistry, Have Fun and Get Rich!”

If you’re looking for an event that’s more fun and edgy than the typical convention presentation, I recommend this one. The Drs. Madow have kindly offered $50 off the tuition of each Doctor client of Advanced Practice Management. For a zippy and information packed meeting that will be a blast for you and your staff to attend, sign up now! Tell them I sent you. I’ll see you there.

$15,000,000 per month worth of perspective:

We receive data from over 200 offices representing over 250 general dentists in the Upper Midwest area. Thus, each month we track over $15,000,000 worth of dental activity.
Matt, Shelly and I make over 650 on site visits and travel nearly 80,000 miles per year.

Busy Bees!

We’re always watching out for what’s working (and what’s not). Clients and their staff constantly build on and improve our ideas. I call this pollination and cross-pollination.

When we ask you, we find the number one thing you want from us is, “An informed third party perspective”. All of this is to say that we are dedicated to offering you just that, along with solid advice backed up with deep local knowledge and experience. We know you can’t make good decisions unless you have good information.

No other firm, locally or nationally even comes close to this depth of local knowledge. So, for example, when we tell you that the average hygienist in the Twin Cities now produces $116 per hour that gives you a valuable frame of reference to evaluate your hygienist’s performance. Likewise for markers on cancel time, collections, case acceptance, perio activity, and other key aspects of successful practices.

“We don’t know much about motivation, we just write books about it.”
—Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker was the grand dean of American business management and I’ve always taken what he has to say with great respect.
Motivating people is still an art but we do know this…you’ll get better results if you direct your staff and hold them accountable. And to do this you need to be able to run staff meetings. Yes, you have dentistry to do and you can’t take time off every other day for a staff meeting but the practices we work with that run the best and make the most profits spend more time in meetings. I’ve never had to advise a Doctor to take less time for staff meetings because it was hurting productivity.

Consultant Shelly Ryan has put together a very practical guide for running good staff meetings and we’ve had great feedback on this from clients. If you’d like some meeting pointers just call our office and Shelly will send them to you.

Two personnel mistakes to avoid:

1. Never give a raise without getting something for it in return. Each staff person should add to their contributions each year. Tell them exactly what you want when you give them their raise. Do “Performance Deals” not “Performance Reviews!”
2. Never keep a staff person, no matter how competent, on board if they have a bad attitude or are not a good team player.

If you are considering firing someone you probably should have done it months ago! Not once in 25 years have I had a Doctor tell me they regretted letting go an incompetent or “stress-carrying” staff member. Not once.

Dental mission in Dominican Republic requests supplies:

Dr. Mark Valliant of Red Wing asked me to pass along this request. Supplies needed:

Anesthetic, 3M prompt-1-pop or 3M clinpro sealant, cotton products, sm/med/lg gloves, oral surgery instruments, burs, rubber dam supplies, gelfoam, suture, etc.

If you have supplies that you don’t need or are outdated please consider donating them. Call Dr. Valliant at 651-388-6709 or 952-994-2432