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Dental Consultant | Avoiding Occupational Pain

Movement is the key to keeping your body healthy. Many people may not realize that working in dentistry can be taxing on your body. From working the front desk to sitting in a chair for long periods, an average day can put a lot of pressure on your body. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you could run the risk of serious chronic pain or injury later in your life. Below are some tips to help promote a healthier lifestyle for you and your dental team.

Make stretching a daily routine.

One of the easiest steps you can take to reduce the strain put on your body is to build a stretching routine throughout the day. Even a short stretching session in the morning and at night can help loosen up your body and promote blood circulation.

Get up and move.

Moving more throughout the day can also help keep you limber and stress-free especially if your particular role requires you to remain in the same position all day.

Exercise more.

Exercising can help strengthen your supporting muscles and promote overall improved health. It has also been shown to help you sleep better at night, giving your body a chance to rest and fully recover after a long day. While strength training will be most optimal for building your stabilizing muscles, any type of exercise will be beneficial.

Assess your office.

See if there are opportunities to make your office more ergonomic. Whether that means standing desks for the front office team or better seating for chairside work, there could be ways to reduce the physical stress caused by work through simply replacing the furniture.

A healthy team is a happy team. Do you worry chronic discomfort or pain is limiting the productivity of your team and making them dread coming to work? Maybe you’re starting to feel chronic discomfort after years of working with patients. In order to address this pain and discomfort, you need to first recognize the source. For more tips on how to maintain a happier, healthier, and more productive dental team, contact Victory Dental Management today!

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

 

 
 

Dental Consultant | How Team Morale Can Make or Break Your Dental Practice

Team morale can make or break your dental practice. It’s a bold statement, but there are several reasons why it is true. The morale of every member of your team impacts other team members, your patients, and over time, even your bottom line. If you want your dental practice to be a success, team morale needs to be a priority.

Unhappy staff are less productive. When a member of your team is unhappy in their job, they work more slowly, are less efficient, and are less likely to “go the extra mile” to ensure a great patient experience. When an unhappy staff member isn’t giving a great patient experience, that patient is less likely to be a repeat patient and unlikely to refer anyone else to your practice. Over time, this could potentially cost you dozens of patients and thousands of dollars.

Unhappy staff make other staff unhappy. When one person is feeling unmotivated, unappreciated, or disgruntled, their attitude affects those around them. Other staff are forced to work harder to compensate for the lack of productivity. One person complaining about being unhappy can hurt the morale of every other person in your office. What starts as a seemingly small problem can quickly gain momentum if it isn’t addressed quickly and correctly.

Unhappy staff are more likely to quit. On the surface, this may seem like a good thing: take the poor attitude and low morale out of the equation. However, the cost of finding, hiring, and training a replacement can be high. Even more, the most common reason why an employee quits a job is that they feel unappreciated and/or unsupported by management. Chances are good that if one of your staff feels that way, others aren’t far behind.

Overcome team morale issues with good leadership. As the dentist and CEO of the practice, you are the primary person your team is looking to for leadership. Hold yourself accountable to your team for following through on your promises. Deal with conflicts as soon as they arise. Have an open door policy that makes your staff feel comfortable coming to you with problems so you can address them before they become unmanageable.

Hold regular effective team meetings to ensure every team member understands their place in your vision for the practice. Recognize individual and team successes. Show appreciation. Ensure that you are supportive of any staff empowered to make decisions. If you need to coach them on a change in policy, do so privately to avoid undermining their authority.

You are the leader of your team. The trust, support, recognition, appreciation, and respect you give to your team is the foundation of your team’s morale. When you create a great working environment, your team morale is high. High team morale creates a better patient experience and greater productivity, which benefits everyone. To ensure your practice thrives, make your team’s morale a priority. Contact Victory Dental Management.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Coach’s Corner | My Top 3 Reflections So Far During Covid 19

Covid19 has taught us many lessons and I would like to share my top 3.

# 1 – Why can’t people drive? Around me, people’s driving skills have gotten a lot worse than normal – what’s up with that? I am at a loss to explain this, but it is irritating to say the least.

# 2 – Relationships have never been more important – this is true in our personal lives as well as our team members in the practice. When something as stressful as Covid 19 occurs, it strengthens our ties with one another, and it forces us to see our lives from a different perspective. When stressed like this, we strip away our wants and concentrate on our needs. This is basic human behavior – google Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for more information.

# 3 – Communication is the key – in your practice, your patients and team members are under stress whether they realize it or not. Due to that stress, they may not communicate as clearly as they should or their reactions to things may be more dramatic or different than usual. This was the case last week when I was onsite at a client’s office. When the treatment plan was presented to a patient, this patient went off on the coordinator. She did not do anything to warrant that reaction, but the patient was not acting like she normally had in the past. I involved myself in the conversation and after we openly discussed her fears, it had nothing to do with her dental needs but the stress of the unknown. During lunch I shared this conversation with the team and asked them about how they were handling their stress. Much to the surprise of the doctor, everyone opened up and started sharing their personal thoughts and feelings. Now they have added some time during their morning huddle to check on everyone and encourage one another even more than they did before. This team is using their stress and this time to become even stronger.

Please reach out if you would like to chat about this or other issues. You are not alone facing all the challenges of owning or managing a practice.

Dental Consultant | Are You Setting the Right Goals?

No matter how effective you are at vision casting, dreams require hard work and strategic planning to become a reality. Highly successful business owners know the benefits of setting realistic and measurable goals. Rethink the way you are setting goals for your business. Your ambitious plans will be successful only if you have a road map to reach them. By mastering the art of setting incremental, measurable goals, you’ll be able to more effectively to reach them. For more tips on managing your practice, contact our firm today.

Plan out the steps, not just the big picture.

Start small by establishing smaller goals on a quarterly, monthly, or even daily basis. It can be easy to let ambition take over and lose track of the work required to reach your ultimate objective. Setting smaller, incremental goals provides the opportunity for you to celebrate the small victories along the journey and reassess early if something isn’t working.

Measure your success.

How will you know if you achieved your goal if you cannot measure it? Goals should have a measurable standard. Perhaps you want to see 5 more new patients each month or to increase the number of referrals by 50%. Set specific goals that are easy to track. This will help you to definitively know whether or not you’ve reached them and, if not, have a tangible metric of how much you still need to accomplish.

Make your goals visible.

The more visible your goals are, the greater pressure you’ll feel to meet them. Make sure everyone in your practice is aware of what you’re trying to achieve. This will not only ensure that they’re actively helping you reach your goals, but will also provide a source of accountability to hold you to your word. Putting up visual reminders can also be a simple way to accomplish a similar effect. The more you’re reminded of your goal, the more likely you are to work towards it.

Real growth doesn’t happen passively. In order to take your practice to the next level, you need to set goals to help you get there. Whether these goals are financial, patient-oriented, or focused on personal development, we’re here to help. Contact Victory Dental Management today to learn more!

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Dental Consultant | Schedule Blocking: Finding More Time in Your Schedule

Time is a limited resource.  Schedule blocking is a way to plan your day visually by designating blocks of time for specific tasks.  This strategy is particularly helpful for arranging your schedule to fit a variety of tasks–both inside and outside the office. 

Redirect Your Focus

As an office manager or business owner, finding more time in your schedule will allow you to focus on the business.  You’ll be able to have a better handle on the health of the business, including growth goals, finances, your team’s efficacy, and patient experience, to name a few.  Being successful takes deliberate actions, it doesn’t happen passively.

Time Budgeting

Utilizing schedule blocking allows you to delegate your time and energy for specific tasks.  By setting aside a set block of time for different tasks you’ll optimize productivity and can your team a good idea of when you’ll be available.

Stay Organized

Organization is easy! It’s easiest to practice schedule blocking using an online calendar.  Time block schedules minimize the need of keeping track of important notes and tasks on paper or needing to commit them to memory.

Many find using a color coding system to differentiate tasks helps them stay organized and keeps their schedule easy to read at a glance.

Sounds Great! How do I start?

Take a few minutes now to jot down your goals for the next few days.  As you prepare to put them in your calendar, review some of these tips to help you get started with blocking your schedule:

  1. Set Goals and Due Dates

With your list of goals for the next few days, take some time and set deadlines for each task.  When you have a written set of goals with due dates, you hold yourself accountable to getting them done.  It’s a lot harder to push something off that you have a written, visual deadline for than something you’re only mentally keeping track of.

  • Make Every Minute Count

Schedule your whole day and include everything–from morning emails to closing procedures. When you schedule your entire day it helps you get more done and leaves you with more free time.  By accounting for all the tasks–big and small–you’ll find you have less stress throughout the day knowing you haven’t forgotten anything. 

  • Prioritize

When reviewing your schedule for the day, prioritize the most important tasks to be done.  Schedule blocking helps you prioritize tasks based on what’s most important. And by color coding, it’s easy to stay organized and arrange your schedule based on levels of importance.

  • Maximize Your Schedule

Set realistic time goals for your daily tasks. If you know a task usually takes one hour, you can allocate an hour by blocking your schedule without worrying about where you’ll find the time for the task. Time blocking prevent overbooking yourself and affords you the appropriate amount of time to finish your tasks each day. Time blocking also reduces the amount of time you spend planning for a task and offers you more time to execute the task.

We hope these tips help you take control of your day instead of allowing your day to take control of you!

If you need help with schedule optimization in your practice or other practice consultation services, please contact Victory Dental Management to learn more and to get started today!

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Dental Consultant | Organization = Efficiency

Organization is a vital part of what keeps your practice growing and thriving! Every aspect of the patient’s visit, from the moment they step foot in the office until the moment they leave, must run smoothly in order to insure the patient’s satisfaction and encourage a return visit.  It all starts with the organization your office.

Tips for Optimizing Office Organization:

  1. Clear the Clutter.  Keep the receptionist area near the entrance and free of clutter. Patients need to be able to complete and return paperwork as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to for the office to run smoothly.  Having a clutter-free lobby and front desk helps ensure the patient a comfortable experience.  Be in the habit of cleaning these areas regularly to boost productivity and reduce stress. 
  1. Don’t overcrowd.  Make sure your patients are comfortable in your waiting area, and don’t overschedule patients. You don’t want to have an unexpected surge of aggravated patients sitting in a cramped lobby.  Each patient should feel like they are being treated like an individual, not made to feel like they are lost in a crowd.  Also keep extra room available to accommodate a sudden patient overflow.
  1. Smooth and seamless.  Organize your office to ‘flow’ in one direction. From the time a patient enters the office throughout the entirety of their visit, they should remain moving forward in the same direction, never doubling back where they’ve already been at any point.  Ensure exam rooms are easily accessible from the waiting area, patients should move seamlessly from one station to another.
  1. Clear Digital Clutter.  Make sure you have a system in place to help organize and filter your emails and digital files, in addition to a system for paper documents. Learn to prioritize different types of emails so you can easily and distinctly separate what’s important and needs an immediate response, from what’s less important or junk.

These are a few ways that organizing your office can insure a more enjoyable experience for your team as well as your valued patients, leaving them eager for a return visit.

If you’re ready for a practice consultation or other helpful tips, contact Victory Dental Management for more information.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

 

 
 

Coach’s Corner | What If…

What if….

With practices just reopening or preparing to reopen, there have been many practices that have had to rethink how they want to do dentistry. When you were forced to close, you never intended to have team member changes when you reopened and that is exactly what has happened to many practices across the country.  So now you are dealing with changes in how dentistry must be done along with changes with your team members.

If this is your situation, please do not despair – you are not alone. I have helped many dentists navigate these waters already. I want to encourage you with a question, what if you could create a new way to practice dentistry – what would that look like?

I ask that question since it helps you think outside of the box. Maybe due to team member changes or lack of PPE, you are not able to move from op to op and see hygiene patients like you did before covid 19. This is a great time to think creatively and differently about your schedule.

Some practices are needing to get creative with their availability to see hygiene patients, doing same day dentistry, or mixing it all up. On certain days there may be no hygiene or switching mornings and/or /afternoons for hygiene appointments.

One client of mine always felt rushed to move from one operatory to the other and being creative with blocking the schedule, he is much happier now.  He has gotten used to Monday and Wednesday morning there is no hygiene, only his schedule. During those afternoons, there are hygiene patients. Then he switches that with Tuesday and Thursday mornings accordingly. This has helped him in several ways. He is not using as much PPE with his schedule blocked in this manner, and he is able to see and take care of hygiene patients.

Another way for some creativity in your practice is making wise choices with insurance participation. During the closing of offices for non-emergent care, I have helped many practices make great business decisions regarding insurance networks. I think insurance participation is neither good nor bad, it just needs to be a part of your business plan. There are great business reasons to be in and out of network with insurance companies.  You need to understand your financials and your profitability. Understanding how all of this relates to one another is crucial to making the best decision for you and your practice.

Dental Consultant | Boost Your Case Acceptance by Connecting with Patients

For many dentists, treatment acceptance can be a difficult topic. Nobody enjoys feeling pushy about a service they provide or a product that they offer, and the same concept holds true in dentistry. However, did you know that you can improve your case acceptance rate by simply reworking the way you talk to your patients? Learn how to have two-sided patient communication in our latest blog.

Help Them Understand the Benefits

When approached with an important decision from an outside source, people tend to be on the defensive — especially when it comes to something as intimate as healthcare. That’s why you should rethink the way that you handle case acceptance.

  • Your patient needs to understand their situation, whether it is a cosmetic issue, a preventative measure, or an urgent oral health concern.
  • Patients need to be able to follow your reasoning for why the service is necessary and how exactly it can change their oral health for the better.

Once they have a true understanding of the ‘problem’ and the ‘solution,’ they will feel more compelled to accept the treatment they need.

Stop Speaking and Listen

During your patient appointments, don’t simply run through the checklist of explaining their treatment. Patients want to feel that they’ve been listened to, not talked at. 

Ask what their goals, needs, and concerns with regards to their oral health, confidence, and quality-of-life. Then, let them speak. Giving them the chance to voice their own opinion shows you care about them and how they feel, both before and after their treatment.

Educate and Elevate

Patient education is important. While there is a fine line between explaining and over-explaining, you should do your best to educate your patients about their oral health.  Avoid judgment and being too graphic, but provide a thorough explanation of their current dental and oral health. 

If they are curious about tiny cracks in their teeth, explain craze lines. If they want to know why their gums bleed when they floss, explain periodontal health and how to prevent it. When patients feel that you are invested in not only their wellbeing but their education, too, they feel more confident in the care you’re providing.

You can increase patient acceptance by having a two-way conversation with patients and including them in their oral health.  These conversations will ensure patients understand their problem and are given a solution, are allowed to discuss their own concerns and goals, and are educated on treatment and services.  Patients will feel that your suggestions are being given with their best interest in mind — that you care about your patients as individuals, not just as a mouth to fix or a goal to meet.

Schedule a consultation with Victory Dental Management today to discuss more techniques on how you can boost treatment acceptance and improve your practice.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Dental Consultant | Revitalize Revenues through Increased Investment

Every business experiences trends of increasing and decreasing revenues. When new business slows and income begins to dip, many business owners react by cutting back on the item in their budget they think is most expendable: marketing.

The unfortunate reality is that this is almost definitely the wrong step to take. When you cut your marketing budget, you reduce your revenues as well.

Today’s business cannot survive through only word of mouth referrals. Your company needs to attract new clientele on an ongoing basis, not just in the weeks following a postcard blast or mass email. In addition, you need to engage and maintain the loyalty of your existing customers.

Consistent, effective marketing helps you achieve both ends.

One recent study examined the marketing budgets of several publicly-traded companies. The researchers found that businesses that were spending an average of 16.5% of revenue grew up to 15% annually, and those that spent an average of 22% grew 16% – 30% annually.

When your marketing budget increases, your revenue follows suit.

There are several factors that can influence how much your business should be spending on marketing.

  • Are you a new startup company? You may need to invest more until you have established a client base.
  • Is business established and you want to maintain growth? Compare your current rates of new customers to those lost annually to determine how your current budget is doing.
  • Is business stagnant or decreasing? Consider investing an additional 5% or 10% above your current marketing budget, at least until the trend reverses.
  • How competitive is your local market? Higher competition requires greater investment to grow business.

For more advice regarding your marketing budget and business growth, contact Victory Dental Management.

 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

 

Coach’s Corner | Prepare Yourself – There Will be Changes

Prepare yourself – there will be changes when you reopen your practice. With that thought in mind, I want to share some tips and ideas that should be considered at this time. We know that getting accustomed to the new PPE protocols are going to be a big change for you and your team. Schedule some time where you can practice taking them on and off, and doing the things that you need to do so you are more comfortable once your practice opens .

Consider the changes that you may have planned a year or two ago. Is that direction still the same in this new environment? I want you to think about your practice from a different standpoint, from a patient experience perspective. Let me give more details regarding the patient experience, as there are several things to consider. We know they have seen the CDC studies and the news during the quarantine and shelter in place at home. Since they may believe the virus is going to live on paper, your patients may not want to handle it like they did before. It is best to assume they are going to be concerned about contact with any common surface, so it is from that standpoint that I wanted to make a couple of comments. Now is a great time, no matter what software you use in your office, to switch to electronic forms. You could be putting them on your website using an online portal or an iPad in your office that can be wiped down with disinfectant between uses. There are so many different companies now that can help you with that process. I encourage you to investigate that because the less paper you can have in your practice is going to make your patients feel a lot more at ease.

Look for opportunities to streamline the administrative portion of your workflow and keep patients from encountering one another. Payments may need to be received chairside, or before proceeding to the operatory, since there will be no waiting at the front of the office anymore. Perhaps this is something that you may have always wanted to do but did not think your patients were going to be open to the idea. By installing a “Pay Now” button on your website, or credit card swipers in your operatories will give you this flexibility. As you can imagine that is very popular and it streamlines a lot of your processes. There is also text to pay technology that is out there as well.

Your clinical team should start to input the treatment plan into your software in the operatory. In addition, they should start learning some specifics about insurance to be able to answer questions for your patients. Plan on using technology to its fullest extent so that you keep all the paper away. There are many ways to do this and I am throwing out some ideas to get you and your team thinking how to change items in your dental practice. Here is a cool thing – we already know that our dental assistants really influence treatment plan acceptance. I know as soon as the doctor leaves the room, the patient will ask if they really need to have this treatment done. Your dental assistant gets hit with all these questions, so this is an opportunity for assistants to be like rock stars and knock the ball out of the park.

In order for your entire team to cohesively make this happen, your admin team is going to need to input all the information into the computer and figure out how you’re going to communicate quickly between the front and back in case there is a question. Whether you choose to use a radio or a chat function on your computer, there are a lot of options available for you.

If your clinical team needs to learn how to have successful financial conversations – please get in touch with me. Now is the time for you and your team to be focusing on those changes that keep your team and patients safe and comfortable in your practice. This is going to be new to all your patients, so whatever changes you are going to make, please make sure the correct expectations are explained up front to your patients so that there are no surprises. We can assume that patients coming in are going to be concerned, and now is when you and your team build trust and alleviate the fears that they have of coming to your practice. I think, at least for the short term, this is just how business is going to be done from now on, so your team needs to be prepared.

I know I covered a lot of different topics so if there is something that I can help you with, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. If you are still preparing to open, please click the link to see more about my Evolve program that I can modify for your needs. Stay safe!