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Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is known as a top dental consultant by Dentistry Today.

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Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

Less Equal’s More

By: admin

February 15, 2010

Case in point:

Dr. Patterson is a client of Dental Practice Solutions and he has experienced a significant growth in his profits since January 2009.

At the same time, due to the economic climate the office became stagnant in its new patient numbers. During the last 9 months of 2008 he began to see a decline in his production as well as his new patient numbers. He took action and asked a dental expert why this might be happening.

Dr. Patterson’s practice statistics prior to January 2009:

  • Averaged $100,000/mo in collections
  • Doctor producing $5,900/day in gross production
  • 2 Hygienists who together average $2,200/day with an assistant
  • Averaged 25 New Patients per month
  • Collections 95% of production

Improved systems and training during the first six months of 2009:

  • Average Monthly Collections increased 34% to $134,000.00
  • Doctor’s daily average increased 7% to $6,300.00/day
  • The 2 hygienists now exceeded their new goal of $1,600 per day each for a total production of $3,200.00 for 2 RDH’s each day.
  • New patients increased to 30/month
  • Office is now collecting 105% of the production; including past due collections from 2008

Many of you are reading this and wondering why Dr. Patterson wanted to ask for our guidance. You are thinking “what is the problem?” He is the type of person who you may hear people call an “over achiever”. He is always looking to improve whatever he does in life. So with his open mind let’s take a closer look here at what this did for his dental business:

  • Collections are up 10%
  • Doctor’s daily average increased
  • Hygienists experienced a 45% increase in daily production
  • New patients are up
  • The team at the front desk is now collecting 105%.

How did this happen?

During Dr. Patterson’s time spend with our coaching he gained knowledge about improving the treatment recommendations to patients. He learned how to add value to his existing patient base. Systems were put in place for a seamless day and harmonious team. As a result, 95% of all new patients as well as the large majority of hygiene patients now respond “yes” to treatment. These are a few of the added tools which increased production and collections significantly. As patients returned for their subsequent professional hygiene appointments there was no additional treatment diagnosed. The restorations and non-surgical periodontal treatment was now complete. They did however have new patients in the practice over the past 20+ years that were now receiving non-surgical periodontal treatment and were on the schedule for the 90 days of periodontal maintenance which needs to follow the initial phase of non-surgical treatment. The office and all the team members were on board with the new CAMBRA protocols and patients who are considered moderate to high risk for caries came in more frequently for the appropriate treatment which is now the standard of care.

The entire team was implementing home care systems for their patients individual needs. It used to be that patients left the office but now they were able to purchase and take home these products. It saved time going to a drug store and they were offered the appropriate product for their needs. These products were also professional grade, very high quality products which can be necessary for specific types of restorations and also post –op care.

With the newly implemented treatment protocols patients feel an added value to their treatment. These patients became the disciples for Dr. Patterson’s dental business. Previous to implementing these protocols and systems, the practice’s number of new patients was beginning to drop off significantly. Was this due to the economy? This, most likely, didn’t help any. What made the change was the internal marketing done with the current patients through added value and various tools. Some of these added tools they had available but were not utilizing to their full advantage.

This is one of example of why your hygiene department is so valuable to you; it provides passive income that is dependable. If you have a solid hygiene recare system in place you will retain approximately 95% of your active patient base.

New Patients are important

As in this illustration with Dr. Patterson; approximately 50% of a doctor’s production comes from the hygiene department during the hygiene exams. The remainder of treatment will come from your new patients once all the treatment plans are completed for the existing patients. You will also find that treatment production will exist due to emergency patients and new patients. If the number of new patients is less than 20-25 per month, on average per doctor, production is going to decline compared to the practice production when it is closer to 30. Dr. Patterson just added an additional 5 new patients each month which also helped increase the profits.

Another example of what happens when adding just a small percentage of new patients each month to a dental office is that it will create a much more mature practice with unimaginable growth over just a 10 year period of time. This is how you can retire and have a valuable asset as well as many other golden nuggets.

When talking about new patients and a healthy number of new patients; you are keeping not only the hygiene department practice alive but your entire dental business will thrive. The statistics here will make or break your dental practice when you want to sell and/or retire. These are the tools which will increase your bottom line and profitability year after year.

Lessons learned

What did Dr. Patterson do differently? It is this phrase “Take action”. Don’t wait around until you have a declining schedule and profits.

“If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.” Charles Kettering