When asking dental team members about their role in the office most will respond that they are a clinician. This is a perfect answer. The entire office needs to be happy about this response and most importantly the patients. Most dental professionals have had hours of training and the dental hygienist spends many long hard hours not only studying but practicing in the mouths of volunteer patients. After years of practice the dental hygiene student will pass national and state exams to be licensed as a professional.
As healthcare professionals we are dedicated to our profession. The business owner and dentist is considered the CEO and team members in the dental business are the VIP’s of each department where they actively participate as a team member in the dental office. This is a time in history where these roles and how they are defined become very important. Now we have dentists who are cutting out their dental hygiene department all together. Some dental businesses are cutting their auxiliary salaries in half. Now is the time for dental auxiliaries to become very serious about the health of their career in the dental office. Each team member needs to be analyzing their production and what they bring to the dental practice
Every team member needs to be on board with the knowledge of business skills. Now is the time for the entire team to look at the numbers they produce in their dental department. Each team member needs to understand the business skills for running a dental practice = a business. The reasons for doing this are not only about employee compensation and job security but most importantly to be an active participant in the business of dentistry.
The majority of team members in a dental office are usually not personally invested as a business owner but when it becomes apparent that the team may need to take a cut in wages, benefits or reduce their hours, team members will pay attention to either directly make a change in what occurs or the business will make the unwanted change for them.
The dentist and business owner is the CEO of the business and the team members are the VIP’s. They are the Very Important Members of a dental business.
Each day, the previous day’s production needs to be discussed at the morning team meeting. This is also a great time to discuss the dental business goals for the year and where the business stands year to date.
During the morning team meeting (Morning team huddle) the VIP of Finance needs to give a report on the financial health of the dental business. Each team member should keep a log of patients they see; if they cancel, no show and all procedures performed. Along side of patient information team members should also keep a log of the number of hours they are paid each day. Track how many hours each day you work with non-patient time. Keep a record of the fees for each patient seen and the amount of production produced from the operatory you work in. These are minutes or hours which the CEO- your dental employer pays you for and has no income to support your salary.
Once you have created your log you can now begin to determine production per hour, add up your total production for that day and divide it by the hours you were paid, not just the hours you saw patients. If you’re paid for an eight hour day but only saw ten patients, you will take the total daily amount, let’s say it is $10,000, and divide it by ten. This means that the office produced $1,250.00 per hour. You can take this same formula and apply it to only the amount of production produced by the patients you saw in your operatory. Divide this amount by your paid salary. If you bring in $1,250.00 and are paid $300.00 then the percentage of salary to your production will be 42%. If the employee benefits should be approximately 1/3 of the production this would be over and above the amount the employee should be making.
This entire process can be eye opening. It can tell you if the office is losing money during the day while you worked. It can also be a guide to increasing your salary when the time comes. It gives team members a reason to ask for a raise and it can also give the CEO a reason to decline a raise. The CEO, business manager or practice owner will now with reason explain the dental business can’t afford to give an increase in benefits and the proof is written in ink.
It has been well written that the hygiene department needs to produce three times what they are paid. What are you getting paid per hour? When you do the math from the information given above you have reason to rejoice and find a solution to increase the profits. The math can produce a winning solution.