SMART Goals in Dentistry

Posted by Square Practice on Nov 5, 2018 9:39:50 AM
When you became a dentist your main focus was on finding a good practice to join, mastering your skills, and focusing on patient care. Somewhere down the line you discovered there was a lot more to being a dentist than you may have thought. You started hearing about practice and provider goals, production, case acceptance rates, reactivation percentages, and so on. Dentistry expanded from treating patients to including growing a business. This is why you need goals for your dental practice. There are goals for every statistic in your practice but without a foundation for how to set SMART Goals for your dental practice, achieving them can feel like a shot in the dark.


SMART Goals are:SMART Goal Square Practice Blog

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Using the SMART goal format helps ensure that the goals you are setting are realistic and have parameters in place to achieving them. Let's break down each word so you can start creating your own SMART goals.


1. Specific

Your goals need to be specific in order to create motivation and focus around them. If you say, I want my to grow my practice that doesn't give you any specifics.

Ask yourself a few detail oriented questions:

  • Who do you want involved?
  • Who does this goal affect?
  • What specifically do you want to grow in your dental practice (i.e. production, recall, case acceptance, etc...)? 
  • Why is it important?


2. Measurable

In order to achieve a goal, you need to have something you're aiming at, something you can measure. If you say, I want to increase production, you have chosen a specific category of your practice but not anything measurable. However, if you were to say, I want to grow my production by 10% this year, that is specific. Now you can take last year's numbers, add 10% to it and have a very specific number you and your practice are aiming at all year.

The big question you are trying to answer here is, "how will I know when I've achieved my goal?"


3. Attainable

Creating an attainable goal is key for many reasons. If overestimate your practice's performance capabilities then you might as well have not even made a goal. People need something they feel like they can achieve. On the other hand, if the goal is too easy you'll end up reaching it early and your team may not perform to the level they are capable of. This is a delicate balance and can take time to master. You can always re-evaluate your goals and adjust as you go.

Questions to ask yourself are:

  • What obstacles are there to achieving this goal?
  • How will time off play a factor?
  • How do I account for unplanned closings of the office (i.e. natural disasters, unplanned sick days, etc...)
  • Are there any team members planning on leaving? How will that effect the goal? How can I plan ahead to minimize the effect?


4. Relevant

Your goals need to align with the overall direction of of your practice, where you are, where you're going and who is going with you.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this the right time to pursue this goal?
  • Do I have the resources I need to achieve it?
  • Do I have the buy in of my team?
  • Will the current economy effect my numbers?


5. Timely

This is the final and most important piece of creating a SMART goal. You need a timeframe. Time creates a sense of urgency for you and your team to achieve the goal. If you say you want to grow production by 10%, that is a specific, measurable, and even relevant goal for your practice but it's missing a crucial piece that will define whether or not is actually is attainable for your practice. If you want to increase 10% over last year in the next week, that won't be attainable for your team and will just create frustration, stress and low moral. However, if you said, I want to grow 10% this year over last year, that gives your team a realistic goal that has a deadline. 

Another suggestion is to break down a yearly goal into monthly goals to better measure how you're doing over that year. That ensures the goal stays top of mind for you and your team. Breaking yearly goals into monthly goals increases the likelihood that you'll hit the goal or even surpass it by the end of the year. This is especially important when measuring your dental KPIs.

Also, make sure to checkout our continued post about SMART Goals for dental hygienists.

Final Thoughts

SMART Goals are a must for dental practices. There are so many statistics and variables you are measuring on a daily, weekly, monthly,

Dental Practice Hygienequarterly, and yearly basis that it can feel overwhelming. Breaking those goals down into bite sized chunks that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your practice and are timely will help you stay on track and not only reach your goals but surpass them, increasing team morale and productivity.
Use our fre
e Dental Practice Hygiene Checklist to get started with small goals everyday!

Topics: Grow Dental Practice, Improve Dental Practice Operations