Production = revenue. There are a lot of ways to try to cut costs to increase revenue but when the belt is tight and you're still not hitting your goals, the only thing left to do is increase production. Production has the greatest impact on your revenue. If you work more, you make more. It's that simple. However, you need to be strategic about how you increase production. As the saying goes, "work smarter, not harder."
Here are 10 strategic ways to increase production in your dental practice:
1. Run on time
The #1 patient referral is existing patients. If you leave your patients sitting in your waiting room and don't administer their appointment on time, you are inconveniencing them and will most likely get a bad online review and lose that patient if it continues to happen. People already dread going to the dentist, don't make it worse by dragging it out. Provide on-time, friendly service and you will win them over as well as the people they speak to.
2. Expand procedure mix to include new services
Have you looked at your procedure mix lately? Are patients requesting new services?Adding a new procedure like Invisalign can keep patients coming back as well as help acquire new patients. Make sure that you've done your research and know what both your current patients are wanting as well as the market you are in are requesting. The worst thing you could do is add a procedure, buy all the equipment, and no one actually wants or needs that procedure.
3. Be a total health focused dental practice
Don't just focus on one aspect of patient health. So many diseases start in the mouth and can be prevented with total health dentistry. There are many tests that can be done to find diseases throughout the body that originate in the mouth including inflammation, bone issues, and even cancers. Make it a goal to become a perio disease fighting hygiene department versus just doing prophylaxis cleanings.
4. Same Day Dentistry
Why wait to perform the next procedure in your patient's treatment plan if it can be done the same day? The little things that can be done easily add up during the day and increase your production. Unscheduled production helps set up to not only achieve your goals but exceed them.
5. Unbooked Dental Operatory
Having an unbooked dental operatory provides many benefits to a dental practice and only costs the practice a few dollars a day that could be made up in a few minutes of use each day. Both the dentist and the hygienists can utilize an extra operatory by either filling it with same day treatment, emergency appointments, or to keep your practice running on-time if other treatments are taking longer than expected. Make sure the operatory is equipped with all t he necessary tools and equipment so that anyone can use it. This alone will exponentially increase production.
6. Incorporating Technology
Technology isn't just cool, it serves a purpose to help increase efficiency in your practice. It also helps you easily show your patients the issues you are finding and how you can treat them easily with the new tech available today.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Cerec same day crowns
- 3D Xray Diagnostic Imaging
- Intra oral camera to show and tell
While you may think that is more money out the door, it is actually quite the opposite. These are investments into your practice that are sure to bring dividends. Just make sure when you choose new technology to incorporate that it fits the demographic you are currently serving or want to serve. If you incorporate a technology that could attract new patients, you'll reap the rewards of your investment if you market it well and have done your homework to find out the people in your area want that technology.
7. Fee Analysis Adjustment
When was the last time you increased your fees? Heavily insurance providing dentists should consider fee negotiations with insurance companies (Unitas PPO Negotiations). Non-insurance dentists need to keep up with inflation/cost of living at a minimum.
8. Utilize Auxiliaries
A well trained assistant is nearly priceless. Having expanded-function dental assistants can do more services to increase number of patients seen in a day. Training them in the 4-handed dentistry approach increases efficiency and thus production. Make sure that all aspects of your practice are running efficiently and operating in the roles you've established for them. Your practice should run like a well oiled machine where each person knows their role and are cross-trained (where appropriate) to fill in the gaps on days where some of the team may not be there due to sickness, time off, etc...
9. Have a dedicated team member for scheduling
A scheduler should be looking ahead a minimum of 2 weeks and filling the schedule consistently with patients with pending treatment plans. You should also keep patients pre-appointed for their 6-month hygiene appointments. Don't let patients walk out the door without being scheduled. If they do, or they break an appointment, you need to have a well thought out recall strategy to win those patients back. The scheduler should be in charge of executing this plan and keeping the appointment book filled and the loss of income at a minimum.
10. Incorporate a clearly defined cancellation policy
If you find you're having trouble with patients keeping appointments, invoke a clearly defined cancellation policy. It will minimize costly broken appointments and unneeded stress on the practice. Many practices use a 24-hour cancellation policy that requires the patient to pay a pre-determined fee if they cancel the appointment without a 24-hour notice.
These are just 10 ways you can increase production in your practice this year. Production is just one of the many dental KPI's you should be track in your dental practice analytics. We'd love to hear other ways you've found to increased your production. Leave us a comment below and let us know!