download_pdf_buttonBulletin, February 2014

The Latest in Area Economic and Technical Trends
Exclusively to Clients and Friend of Advanced Practice Management


Excellence in Dentistry Seminar – Come See Us in Destin, Florida April 10-12!

The theme this year is “The Godfathers of Dentistry.” Dr. Gordon Christensen is headlining. There is a great line-up of speakers, including us!

Tell Woody we sent you! We would love to see you and your team there.

CALL 800-337-8467 or go online:


bill_mobBILL ROSSI

“PPO Plays 2014”


shelly_mobSHELLY RYAN, RDA

“Collections Made Comfortable – The Team Approach”





Bill Rossi
Bill Rossi

Comparing 2013 to 2012’s statistics for the 35 mature area practices sampled, we found that practice production was up 3.25% and collections were up 2.2%. In 2012 production and collections were up 3.3% and 3.5% respectively. So the growth in 2013 was better than it was a few years ago but did not accelerate.


2009  2010 2011 2012  2013
Production Increase 0.5% 1.4% 2.5% 3.3% 3.3%
Collections Increase 0.4% 0.4% 1.6% 3.5% 2.2%

Total patient flow was up 1.8% but new patients were down 2.7%. Crown and bridge was up 3.9%. Open time in Doctors’ Schedules increased about 8% and in the Hygiene Schedules about 2.5%. The average gross collection percentage was 86%, down 1 point from last year (87%).

Dental fees went up 3.3% in the Metro Area and 2.5% in Outstate Areas in 2013, so factoring that out, all we really have to hold on to is that 1.8% growth in total patient flow (coincidentally, that matches U.S.A.’s GDP growth of 1.8%). Nothing to dance in the streets about.


It’s inevitable. Over time you will have turnover in your administrative staff. These turnovers represent a danger and an opportunity. Do not assume that the new front desk person, no matter how experienced, knows your systems. And, you certainly don’t want to be in a situation where with every turnover there is a change in administrative protocols. We’ve seen situations where new front desk people, even ones with good résumés, were found to really have messed things up – $10,000s of unprocessed insurance, unraveled recall systems, etc. resulting in significantly less production and collections.

It is unlikely that you are going to spend a lot of time up front training your administrative personnel. Yet, you want to make sure they have all the bases covered and have the peace of mind that things are being done the right way.

Subtle slips can make a huge difference. Just one less hygiene patient scheduled per day can cost you $7,000-$8,000 less patient production per month. Ouch!

However, the addition of a new staff person in the practice can also reenergize things. Help freshen things up. It’s a great opportunity to polish up your key systems.

So, if you have turnover at the front desk, please let us know. We’ll arrange for a “Systems Check Through” with Shelly Ryan or Robyn Kain. They’ll take a detailed look at everything: Financial Arrangements, Scheduling, New Patient Customer Service, etc. and offer assistance in whatever they and your new team member feel will be most worthwhile. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your staff is on the job and the basics are all covered.


Our friends at Kisco Dental have a down-to-earth approach for practice success. They speak the truth and do a great job. Our Retainer Clients get a 25% discount (just tell them we sent you!). A very nice perk for your team (and you!).

CALL 800-325-8649 or go online today:


Kelly Larson
Kelly Larson


We often get asked about “S.E.O.” (Search Engine Optimization) services. These companies promise to keep you high in the search order and therefore get you lots of new patients.

S.E.O. services are often expensive and promise unrealistic results. We’ve heard of monthly retainers of $3,000-$5,000 for these “sure fire” programs to get you high in the search order. We have yet to see any S.E.O. company live up to these promises and, believe me, we are keeping our eyes (and ears) open. Be aware that some companies use black-hat techniques that can deliver short-term results but will hurt you in the long run. The plain truth is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For one thing, being high in the search order is good, but it doesn’t necessarily mean more new patients. Google Reviews, an attractive, personalized website and “calls to action” are what turn visitors into patients.

There is a lot to building your Web Presence. Adding lines of code to your website is not enough by itself. It takes effort, time and involvement from the office. What we do see workingis a combination of factors working to build your online footprint and convey a warm and friendly place that you would want to go to for your dental care. The key is “relevancy” and it can’t be faked.

In highly competitive areas there comes a point of diminishing returns on S.E.O. strategies. We’ve come to the conclusion that it can be more cost-effective to go with “Pay per Click” through Google AdWords or Express. In other words, stop trying to outthink Google or follow their ever changing protocols and just give them the money to get on top of the page!

Again, it doesn’t make sense to do Pay per Click if you don’t have a “sticky” website.

Need help? We can help you come up with a plan, coach a team member or directly work with you to implement these steps.

Do You Have a Mobile Website?

As we’ve said in past Bulletins, experts have predicted 2013 would be the crossover year where more people would access the Internet through mobile devices than with their traditional desktop computers. In our industry, the change has not been as drastic as we had anticipated. We have the opportunity to monitor the Google Analytics dashboards of dozens of clients’ websites from across the Midwest and the proportion we see is typically 25% smartphone 10% tablet and 65% desktop computer. It isn’t there yet, but the trend is certainly leaning toward more and more people searching from mobile.


If you haven’t done it yet, now is the time! Written goals do make a difference.

Our job is to help you get what you want. In fact, I define management as “The process by which you set and reach goals.” It works! Every serious manager knows this. You will do better if you simply write down your objectives. So do yourself a favor and take 15-30 minutes to plan your coming year! You are on your way to a great year.

Click here for our 2014 Goal Setting Guide.



Matt Lahn, Robyn Kain , Shelly Ryan, Bill Rossi and Kelly Larson
Matt Lahn, Robyn Kain , Shelly Ryan, Bill Rossi and Kelly Larson