A recent poll on the internet asking: What is the single biggest factor limiting practice success? The choices were: (1) clinical skills, (2) location, or (3) practice management? Answer: 8% “clinical”, 25% “location” and 50% “practice management”, and 13% “other factors”.
The three aspects could be likened to a three legged stool, where if you take away any one of the legs, the stool collapses. In other words, all are important issues to growth and success.
With respect to clinical skills, most healthcare professionals including denturists, have continuing education requirements on an ongoing basis, and there are many courses and options available for continual upgrading of clinical skills.
Location is an entirely different matter. Your main concerns should be visibility – i.e. is the practice easily seen and found, how is the accessibility (parking and no stairs), and so on. Another issue is the appearance, external as well as internal; many practices are overdue for facelifts and this is a promotional action in itself.
WE KNOW WE’RE BIASED, BUT …
However, it is clear from the above poll that practice owners feel that the practice management leg is the most important one, and we couldn’t agree more. Yet it is also a well-known fact that this is the arena where you have little to no training.
For instance, few practitioners know what to do when they have a practice that is rocketing upwards and how to isolate, strengthen and reinforce the correct growth factors to maintain a consistent growth pattern. Likewise, few practitioners know what to do when the practice stats all of a sudden take a nosedive, or even a slow coast downwards.
We find it amazing how many practitioners manage their practices with no idea of statistics, whether they are going up or down on a weekly or monthly basis and further, how profitable the practice actually is on a monthly basis.
HOW TO ACHIEVE PRACTICE SUCCESS
Here is the big question: What exactly does “successful practice management” encompass? Below is a partial compilation of management issues we have found to be key areas to improve upon in order to achieve practice success:
- A visible, attractive location with enough space to expand into
- A hiring system for acquiring ideal staff
- An updated practice policy manual and job descriptions
- A system for training staff efficiently and effectively
- Practice service points identified and enhanced
- Financial management including budgeting, inventory control and monitoring thereof
- Managing by statistics for maximum speed of growth
- Treatment presentation skills well trained in on staff and denturist for ideal care to the patient
- An established fee guide and discount policies
- Computerization to streamline procedures and protocols
- Sterilization standards as required by local authorities
- Making the patient’s visits as enjoyable and informative as possible
- A formalized, organized and implemented external marketing plan that attracts into the practice an abundance of new patients
- Properly scheduled appointment times, etc. that maximize efficiency and minimize stress
- A well systematized lab which regularly provides well constructed dentures in a timely fashion
- Continuing education for the denturist AND all staff
- Quality control procedures handling complaints and correcting dentures and staff
- Develop and implement an effective recall system
- Set up cross-referral system with dentists
- Create enthusiastic patients who refer all their friends.
THINK SMALL, STAY SMALL- THINK BIG, GROW BIG
While this is by no means a complete list, working on getting at least the above would cause your practice to be a LOT more successful. Growing your practice DOES NOT mean more trouble, more stress, out of control, or any other bad word. With properly trained management skills, it is way more fun than sitting and wishing. Thinking small and staying small can be painful and non-remunerative, and can lull you into an apathy and close your mind to the bigger world. THINK BIG instead!
We have been nonstop training and consulting healthcare professionals (including 150 Denturists) since 1989, and would be delighted to be of service to you as well.
Call us at 416-466-6217 for a FREE Practice Assessment!
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