Do you have a specialist practicing part time in your office? Most specialists these days are traveling to more than one office in order to increase their productivity by reaching out to new patient populations. This approach works! Specialists who travel and spend a day working with a general dentist enjoy a significantly higher productivity level than those who work in just their one location. This is also a successful approach for the general dentist who hosts the specialist – benefits include higher patient compliance for referrals, more coordinated and complex cases can remain in-house, and a new stream of income for the practice.
No matter whether you are a general dentist hosting a specialist or a specialist traveling to other offices, you want to increase the production for the specialty practitioner this year. Here are several ways to make that happen:
Meet and talk together
Formal and informal lunches together are essential to maintain good communication between professionals. It’s fun to discuss cases and talk with patients together to present complex cases – and even more fun to congratulate patients on successful outcomes! It’s important to talk about staffing, equipment, treatment rooms, financial policy and insurance coverage as well. The more the specialist and general dentist have regularly scheduled meetings, the easier it is for them to tackle difficult situations.
Now is the perfect time to review the specialist’s 2012 performance. Print a few reports and meet with your specialist to look at:
- Production and collection
- Case acceptance
- Procedure mix
You should create an excel spreadsheet and keep track for your specialist how much she/he has earned in production / collection over the history of seeing patients in your office. What is the trend in production? Are you maintaining a 98% collection ratio for your specialist?
Tracking large case acceptance gives your specialist excellent feedback on how successful she is at motivating patients to accept significant treatment plans. Providing this type of feedback can be a valuable learning tool she can use to improve in her own office as well.
Reviewing a procedure mix for your specialist is a valuable conversation-starter. When your specialist sees how many of each procedure code she has completed in the last year, she gains a feel for the type of treatment she gets to provide in your office – and she can set goals for the future. For Dentrix users, an easy way to see procedure mix is to go to the Dentrix Office Manager, click the practice analysis icon, choose Reports and select the specialist and the dates for the year, then checkmark Production Summary (uncheck by category/include cross coding).
With your Dentrix Production Summary in hand, specialists can look at the procedure codes they’re doing most often and also look at the ones they enjoy & want to increase. For example, my senior dentist and I recently met with our Periodontist for our Strategic Planning meeting. During this meeting, our Periodontist evaluated her goals and performance for providing dental implants in 2012. Thanks to our reports, she could see the number of implant exams completed as well as the number of implants placed – over the last 5 years. Understanding that implant exams come from both periodic exams completed for hygienists and GP referrals, she also saw the trend in exams – and can see in black and white that the more periodic exams completed, the more implants and periodontal treatment completed as well. All this data helps our periodontist to set goals for this year and get excited about achieving them.
Plan cooperative marketing
This is one of the major benefits of having a specialist in your office regularly. The general dentist and specialist can create a marketing plan to target the type of cases they want to increase and they can share the expense. Rethink your patient brochures, website and all printed materials to incorporate your specialist. Consider internal marketing and how you will coordinate on case presentations for implants and what your specialist likes to know on her referral form. Train your staff to refer and schedule effectively. Ask your specialist to contribute to your blog and social media.
Take notes from your meetings. Document goals and projects your specialist wants to accomplish. Keep your notes in a folder with your specialist’s name – that makes it easy to grab when your next meeting comes up. You can easily review your notes and see how you’re doing at accomplishing the tasks important to your specialist. This is a big help to your specialist who is just as busy as you are and is easily distracted with the regular work of patient care. At the half year, run the production summary, production and collection reports again to see if you’re on track. Throughout the year, encourage the specialist staff to review the goals and help accomplish these tasks as well.
More and more, dentists are practicing in groups. Although most groups are two general dentists practicing together, specialists are beginning to join in on a part time basis as well. The more dentists work together, the more they need to learn how to make the most of their clinical skills and simply co-exist in the same location. This can be a challenge, but also offers huge benefits in marketing and profitability. The more successfully dentists work in groups, the more they can achieve their goals of quality care and financial reward.