Sponsored ContentBy Roger P. Levin, DDS
There are no magic bullets when it comes to increasing practice production. In a current research study, the Levin Group has identified over 200 ways to increase practice production. The top 40 of them will achieve 80% of the increase. This extremely broad base of viable production growth opportunities also indicates that a gradual and consistent approach to applying them will yield the best results when it comes to increasing practice production every year.
Production metrics need to be analyzed on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis and must be compared also as a ratio with other key statistics such as average production per patient, average production per new patient, average production per hour, average production per doctor and others. When the statistics are in the proper ranges it indicates the practice is performing at an elevated level.
Here are three of the most effective strategies that will have a significant impact on increasing production in your practice.
1. Reactivate all inactive patients
Before we delve into this strategy let’s start with a definition. Today, Levin Group defines an inactive patient as one that does not have their next appointment. Prior to the pandemic of 2020, an inactive patient was typically defined as not having been in the practice within 18 months. This is the typical measurement used in practice valuations. However, in terms of increasing practice production, the definition needed to change. Any patient without their next appointment is in danger of being lost, and if a patient is overdue for any appointment they are already off-cycle which reduces practice production.
Start a campaign in your office to contact any patient without their next appointment. You can begin by texting, but eventually, you will have to move to phone calls and emails. Sending one text sporadically is not a campaign and will not be effective. You might get a few patients responding to a text, but the bulk of your inactive patients will remain inactive. You should plan to contact patients at least nine times using different modalities from text to phone to email over approximately a nine-week period. (Obviously, stop contacting them once they respond.) Excellent scripting needs to be in place for phone calls, texts, and emails that position the outreach in a positive manner to encourage and motivate a patient to schedule. In general, when the system is properly applied, most of the inactive patients become scheduled in approximately four weeks.
2. Reduce no-shows to under 1%
This strategy increases production by reducing waste. When a chair is unfilled that time can never be recovered. In economic terms, this is referred to as a non-recoverable resource. Unlike a product on a shelf that didn’t sell today but can sell tomorrow, if your chair is unfilled that time can never be recaptured. This is why it is so ineffective to have no-shows over 1%. We believe that over the course of a career this can add up to $2,000,000+ in lost revenue.
To reduce no-shows, start by creating more value in the mind of patients about their appointments. Instead of calling their hygiene appointment “a cleaning,” refer to it as what it really is, “a periodontal maintenance and oral cancer screening” appointment. Don’t simply tell them that they need a certain procedure. Focus on the benefits of the procedure as well as the consequences of not having it. This can all be done in a positive polite way, but building value encourages patients to keep their appointments.
You should also develop a system that works to confirm patient appointments. We start with the basic recommendation of confirming by text message at two weeks, two days, and two hours. If a patient no-shows once there needs to be scripting to help them understand that the time was reserved for them and that further no-shows would have a fee for the time that was reserved.
It takes about 90 days to reduce no-shows to under 1%. As a quick warning, in a challenging economy no-shows typically rise. Therefore, you want to apply a no-show reduction system as quickly as possible.
3. Increase case acceptance by having conversations, not presentations
Case acceptance has traditionally been about doctors telling patients what they need. In most case presentations doctors do about 90% of the talking. As an entirely novel approach that is proving to be highly effective, the Levin Group recommends that you start having conversations with patients and not just presentations. Conversations engage the patient more deeply in understanding why the treatment is necessary, helping them understand the benefits and value of treatment regarding optimal dental health. Try not to do more than 50% of the talking. Ask questions and take time to answer fully. Always ask the patient if they have any other questions. It’s also important to mention that there are several financing options including interest-free financing.
Increasing practice production has many components and is not typically an overnight process. When consistently applied the strategies above, and others, will help practices to increase production regardless of external economic conditions. The key is to identify key strategies, develop a plan, and implement it quickly.
Author: Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 clients to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world.