Bulletin, May 2005

Exclusively to Clients and Friends
of Advanced Practice Management

The Rossi Dental Dow Jones—First Quarter

Comparing the first quarter of 2005 to the first quarter of 2004, we find the mature practices sampled for The Rossi Dental Dow Jones were up 6.4% in production and 8.6% in collections. In these practices average downtime per hours worked in the Doctor’s schedule was no worse or better than their averages for 2004. New patients are up about 4%.
Hygienists averaged about 7.8 patients per day.

Making the most of hygiene downtime:

Your staff works hard to keep the hygienists’ time filled. Yet, it is common for hygienists to have 10% of their available time open. Since downtime is inevitable, it is important that there is a plan to put their time to good use even when patients don’t show.

If you have not done so recently, do this experiment with your hygienists.

Ask them to write down in descending order what they see as their priorities during downtime. Do a list yourself and then compare them.
All too often, hygienists will retreat to their rooms during downtime. They will focus on instrument sharpening, restocking or even visiting the break room.

Your practice image… that extra bit of professionalism:

Quick, take a look around at the scrubs that you and your staff are wearing today. Are they all wearing the same color scrubs or at least have a matching look?

Patients can’t judge the quality of dentistry you do so they judge the professionalism of the office through other things.

I typically visit about six offices per week. In the last two weeks, not one office I visited had matching or attractively coordinated scrubs. And, amazingly, most staff persons still don’t consistently wear nametags. That is a basic courtesy for your patients. After all, you know their names (because you have your charts and schedule) but don’t assume they know your staff’s names or what their titles are. It is uncomfortable for a patient to be called by name and not be able to return the courtesy.

So identify a staff person that you feel has a good sense of taste. Ask them to check with other staff members and come up with scrubs and a schedule for everyone to adhere to.

This is an inexpensive way to reflect a professional image and enhance team identity. If you have a good practice logo, it looks great if it is actually sewn in along with the name on the scrubs.

We also recommend front desk staff wear some type of blazer, slacks or skirt. In some offices the front desk people occasionally work in the back so they have to wear scrubs but they should wear a lab jacket that will help dress up that look.

Oh, And How About Your Smiles?

While you are at it, look at your staff’s and your own dentistry. Does everyone on your team have a smile that reflects the quality and aesthetics of the dentistry you deliver? Don’t be cheap with your staff on this. They should all be models of what you can do, even part-timers. And, for gosh sakes, make sure your smile is in tip-top shape!

Yours truly,