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7 ways to painlessly introduce change in the dental practice

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Identify the starting point

A team should never want to just change for change sake. Instead, they would want to change to improve, which logically requires they have complete understanding of their current situation – or the starting point. They also would want to have a definitive goal – an ending point. In a dental practice there are key metrics that must be measured, monitored and managed that will indicate if the changes implemented are having a positive and sustainable effect.

Non-emergency new patient acquisition.

Patients who seek a practice’s services to fix an emergency problem may—or may not—be long-term patient opportunities, so they should not be counted as a new patient to the practice. Therefore, the goal should be 25 to 40 non-emergency new patients a month.

Preventive hygiene conversion.

This is the percent of non-emergency new patients who appoint and commit to regular hygiene. A practice’s conversion goal should be 80 percent, measured at a three-year interval.

Case completion.

Most practices have very high case acceptance, which is when the patient says “yes” to the doctor. But somewhere in between the treatment and fee discussion, the “yes” turns into a “maybe” or a “some, not all.” Case completion is the percent of treatment that is actually accepted, scheduled and completed. (In my experience, this averages a very low 50 percent, when it could and should be 80 percent.)

Once the starting and ending points, or goals, have been established, it’s time to implement small changes and measure their impact against the identified benchmarks.

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