Bulletin, March 2007

Exclusively to Clients and Friends
of Advanced Practice Management

The Dental Dow Jones 2006 Wrap-Up:

In 2006 the 37 mature area practices showed an average increase of 3.3% in Production and 1.6% in collections compared to 2005.
Total patient exams were up 1.4% for the year. New patients were down 5%.

Want Ad Counts:

Want ad counts are an indicator of a sector’s economic vitality. In stronger economic times there is more hiring and more want ads.

Average Sunday Want Ad Counts
Number of Advertised Openings
  Hygienists Assistant Front Desk
Mar ’02 23 22 12
Mar ’04 11 18 6
Mar ’06 6 9 4
Jan. ’07 2 4 4

The want ad counts continue to show a decline in openings for hygienists and assistants. There are much fewer openings for all dental office positions since 2002.

Every cloud has it’s silver lining. The economic situation means it’s an employers’ market. Don’t settle for poor performance or bad attitudes. In this economic climate you need all your players to be key players.

Good times ahead? Off to a good start in 2007:

Our statistics for January 2007 show area practices were off to a leaping start. Compared to January 2006, practice production is up 13% and collections are up 12%. This was driven by an 18% increase in crown and bridge. After a slow Fall, January was a big month for many offices. Let’s hope there will be many more to come!

Love dentistry, have fun and get rich:

(The Madow Brothers are coming to town again soon!)

I’m pleased to announce that on Friday, March 23, Rich and Dave Madow are again presenting their “Love Dentistry, Have Fun and Get Rich” Program. This is a fun one-day meeting for you and your staff. If you’re looking for an event that’s more fun and edgy than the typical convention presentation, I recommend this one. Staff especially enjoy it.
Rich and Dave have kindly offered $50 off the tuition of each Doctor Client of Advanced Practice Management. Call 1-888-886-2369.

No kickbacks: By the way, please note that we never accept any financial kickbacks for any product or service we recommend. If we recommend something it’s because we feel it’s worthwhile for you.

The flat stat phenomenon

As you know, we monitor the statistics from more than 240 dental offices every month. Sometimes I see something I call the “Flat Stat Phenomenon.” A Doctor’s production per hour will be within a dollar or two of what it was the previous year. The number of new patients will be within one or fewer! Sometimes it’s units of crown and bridge or even downtime in the Doctor’s or hygiene schedule that is amazingly constant from year to year.
This is especially mysterious when it comes to new patients. There are a lot of variables that affect the number of new patients who come to any given practice; the economy; dental insurance; competition; heck, even the weather. So it’s amazing to me in a world of infinite variables that you’ll see some practices get almost exactly the same number of new patients from year to year.

When I see statistics that are level it almost certainly means that something is restraining further improvement. Usually this points to a capacity problem.

Want more new patients? Then hold aside more room for them by blocking out prime times and holding onto them! If you want to get promotional you can increase new patients…it is possible, it just isn’t easy! It takes a focused effort and you have to prime the well with energy and money.

Want to get the practice busier… then add hygiene time! Here we get into a Catch-22. A Doctor may be reluctant to add hygiene time if his/her practice isn’t growing (because he/she doesn’t want to pay a hygienist to stand around) but a practice can’t grow unless you take the “risk” of adding more hygiene slots. These slots may not fill perfectly throughout the day (particularly mid-days) but having the peak hour capacity enables the practice to grow.

Want to be more prosperous? Add to your mix of services to patients. The plain fact is in dentistry, except for fee increases you can’t do better unless you see more people or do more for the people you see.

There are a lot of ways to add to your services nowadays: keeping more endo in-house, Invisalign, laser caries detection, implants, perio, cosmetics… and most of all getting patients to follow through on dentistry you’re already recommending

In short, if you want to do better next year you have to do something better! What’s your plan? Practices simply can’t expect growth automatically like they could in the 90s. You may get some fee increase growth but Delta and others limit the real gains you get out of fees. Like any other business if you want to be prosperous you have to earn it. There is no shortage of good ideas but there is often a shortage of execution. That’s why we are focusing much more on accountability in our client meetings. This means we’re pushing you and your staff harder and we may occasionally experience staff pushback. However if you’re going to break through to the next level we simply must make sure that everyone is not just doing their job…they have to be doing something better or something in addition to what they were doing last year.

So if you want to do better, stop blaming things on the economy, Delta, competition, etc. You have far more control over your practice than any of these outside factors have… as aggravating as they can be!

We can and will show you how to get what you want. Year after year we’ve seen that when clients act on our advice they benefit accordingly. It works!

Destin harkens:

Again, we want to extend Dr. Woody Oakes’ offer to our clients. Advanced Practice Management clients who attend this year’s Destin seminar get next year’s attendance for free. Plus you get a discount of $50 for each staff member. You also get a complete 2007 DVD set of the meeting. Call 1-800-337-8467 and tell them we sent you! Or visit the their web site.
If you like the Florida scene, golf and want to earn a lot of continuing ed hours in a short period of time, call Woody and tell him I sent you! See you there.

We have a lot of information posted for you; Fee Surveys, Bulletins and Articles.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is more in touch with the local dental economic scene than your friends here at Advanced Practice Management.

Current Dental Practices and Procedures Survey

Speaking of that, get ready for our 12th annual where we survey Upper Midwest Doctors on everything from Delta participation to technology to staff incentive programs. What would you like on this year’s Survey? Just email or call us.

Yours truly,