Thanks For Asking: Answers to your practice concerns

2014-04 PST 1

A: There isn’t a single, “magic idea” available to gain new patients. Ideally 70-75% of your new-patient flow is generated from internal referrals. The remainder will come from outside marketing strategies. The budget we recommend for marketing is three to five percent of collections depending on your “busy-ness” level. Internal strategies are the most successful, cost-efficient means to gain new patients. They start with making sure the patient experience is referral-worthy. Are you building
relationships that promote patient trust? Answering the phone by the third ring? Greeting them by name as they walk in? Consistently transitioning information from the hygienist to the doctor that engages the patient at exams? Accurately estimating the patient portion for treatment diagnosed? Finally, is your team asking patients for referrals? Are you? Sometimes patients simply don’t know you are accepting new patients. If you’ve spent the time to build a good relationship, and a referral-worthy experience, your patients will be happy to refer family and friends if you ask them to!

A: An effective bonus motivates and rewards your staff as the practice becomes more profitable. Structuring your bonus system on the total staff overhead can meet these objectives. A healthy benchmark for staff overhead for general dentists is 25-30 percent of collections. Select a healthy overhead percentage and calculate what your collections
ill need to be to keep staff overhead in the target percentage. If you collect beyond the goal, 20 percent of the “extra” money is shared among staff. It may be more effective to calculate the bonus quarterly; this ensures a large enough bonus to make it worthwhile and lowers payroll costs to cut extra checks. The bonus pool can be divided in one of three ways: equally; based on the number of days worked (part-time staff will earn less than full-time); or use a performance review formula that rewards higher contributors with a larger share. You will gain consistency by calculating a daily goal. Each month varies in the number of working days; multiply your daily goal by the number of working days each month to determine your monthly goals.

A: We recommend your AR (Accounts Receivable) over 90 days stay under 10 percent. Review the balance to determine if the outstanding monies are for barter or trade accounts, outstanding insurance claims, or patient balances. If it feels challenging to keep this under ten percent, you may need to analyze a few systems that contribute to a healthy (or unhealthy!) AR aging. The doctor may need to clearly establish and communicate in-house finance options for the practice. Thorough transitions from clinical personnel to front-desk personnel when checking patients out needs to take place for accurate collections. A verbal and written review of the procedures performed and the next steps to take will help solidify the plan for the patient as well as help the front desk collect and schedule accurately. Finally, if treatment is added chair-side, a “PIT Stop” needs to take place: inform the patient as to the newly added Procedure, additional Investment required, and additional Time anticipated for the appointment. This eliminates surprises for your patients and awkward conversations for your front desk.

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