BRINGING LIFE BACK TO YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE
Just as performing CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation can bring a person back to life, CPR or in this case a Comprehensive Practice Review is a great way to bring new life to your dental practice. In other words, a CPR gets to the heart of what matters most.
During a CPR or Comprehensive Practice Review, you will examine five aspects of your practice, or what I call the 5 Ps: Your Purpose-or your mission and your passion, Your People-or your team and your patients, Your Place-or your physical space and equipment, Your Product– range and quality of your dental services and fees, and Your Procedures-both clinical and managerial. In each area of the CPR, you will use other older CPR-cardiopulmonary resuscitation concepts like look, listen, and feel. To look means you will carefully examine each area. Listen means that during the process you will ask your patients and team questions while tuning into their answers. To Feel means that during this process, not only will you objectively think through the data, you will also listen to the deep feelings generated in your heart.
With regards to your Purpose, you, as the dentist, want to make sure that you have a clear vision of who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing. To achieve maximum joy, fulfillment, and financial success in your life, it is essential that your professional, practice, and personal values are also in synch with your team. This is an essential piece to improving and growing your practice. When this alignment occurs, you will have the buy-in and support of every team member and the voice of your practice will magically come alive. When you and your team are true to who you are, potential new patients will hear this authentic voice and be attracted to your practice. Also, when your existing patients repeatedly hear a cohesive and consistent message coming from everyone, they will become more inclined to accept your treatment recommendations. This increase in treatment acceptance will ultimately lead to more revenue and increased profits.
To next step in your CPR is to assess your People. Some questions to ask yourself in this area might include: Do I enjoy working with each member of my team? Do the team members work well together? If not, what can I do to improve our relationships as well as the dynamics? What are their individual goals and are their needs being met? Do they find their jobs rewarding? The look, listen, and feel method of inquiry works well here. First, look and observe how your team is interacting with one another. Next, after you’ve observed their interactions, schedule a one-on-one meeting with each member. During your time together, share your observations and also ask them thoughtful questions, to seek their input and inquire about their job fulfillment. When you do this, it is important to listen to their answers carefully and with all your heart. Feel your way through and make a list of agreed upon goals and solutions, ones that will improve their job satisfaction while at the same time benefit the patients and the practice.
Your Place or the physical space of your office should be updated, fresh, and clean. The best way to evaluate this area is for you and every member of your team to role play. Pretend that you are a patient walking into your practice for the first time. From a patient’s perspective, observe what you see and similar to the previous section, make a list of your findings. For example, when you walk through the office door, what’s your first impression? What are your observations? How does the practice look physically? Is the paint of the walls and ceiling fresh? Are the windows clean? How about the flooring and the carpeting or the furniture and the decorations? Time for some new pictures or paintings? Write down your observations and suggestions. What’s the condition of the dental chairs and cabinets? In addition to the actual physical space, what is the condition of your computer system? Are your workstations, server, and software up to date? Does your computer system make it easy for your patients to do business with you easily and efficiently? Is your administrative and clinical team using your computer to its maximum capacity? Perhaps they may need some additional training, or cross-training? These are a few of the physical and technological aspects that need to be considered when you examine your Place.
Next, comes the evaluation of your Product or your dental procedures. Are you up to date on the latest techniques? Should you consider learning new procedures like sleep apnea therapy or placing dental implants to generate more variety, more enjoyment, as well as more income for the practice? Are there any procedures you need to stop doing? And how about your fees? Are they current? When was the last time you raised them? Some great resources to help you evaluate your fees include the National Dental Advisory Service and www.fairhealth.org.
And finally, the last area you need to evaluate are your Procedures, both clinical and managerial. Regarding your clinical procedures, look back over your schedule for the past six months to one year. Did you regularly schedule enough time to complete your procedures efficiently and correctly? Did you run on time? How about “re-dos” or failures? How is the quality of your work? Is it where you want it to be and how would your team respond if you asked them that question? With regards to the managerial procedures, what is your percentage of broken appointments? How is your collection rate? Did you meet your production goals? If not, why not? What’s your A/R or accounts receivable and what percentage of those accounts are in the current to 30-day category? Are your collection policies clearly spelled out in writing?
In this article, I’ve touched on only a few of the questions you need to ask as you do a Comprehensive Practice Review. Perhaps you can come up with some of your own questions. If you take action on just the few I’ve mentioned here, you probably will see improvement in your practice productivity and profitability. If you want to be more methodical and complete in your evaluation, hire a consultant or coach to help you manage and prioritize the process.
To summarize, as you go through the 5 Ps of your Comprehensive Practice Review, remember to keep your eyes, your ears, and your heart open to new information. Remember to use the look, listen, and feel method of inquiry, take a risk, dive in, and make the time investment. When you do, you will get to the heart of what matters most. Most assuredly, with your dedication and your concerted efforts, the life and energy of your practice and your team will be revived. The income to your practice will increase. Everyone will experience more joy and more fulfillment.