August 18, 2020
2020 will be a year for the history books. The COVID-19 pandemic has forever altered the lives of millions of people and at the least, temporarily disrupted the lives of almost every person on earth.
Dental practices were among the hardest hit of any business during the economic shutdown, and many are still trying to recover. The unprecedented shutdown of an entire industry for several months has left its mark on thousands of offices and has impacted the economic and emotional health of countless practice owners, team members, and patients.
The good news is that there is, in fact, some good news in the midst of all this havoc caused by the pandemic. In spite of being shut down for a sustained period, many dental practices have come out of this crisis stronger than they were when it began. How is that possible? How does a business dependent on a consistent, daily influx of patients survive when that source of revenue is significantly or even completely lost for weeks or even months?
According to analysis by Dental Intelligence, the leader in actionable dental practice metrics, a significant number of U.S.-based dental practices were able to re-open their doors at a level of production equal to or even exceeding the levels they were at pre-pandemic. How did they do this? Although many factors contributed to this remarkable performance, there are several principles followed by these practices that can be replicated by anyone. These include the following:
Here are brief examples of how several practices implemented these principles in order to experience growth in the middle of a global pandemic. If they worked for them, they can work for you.
Focusing on Actionable Data
Dee For Dentist
Dee For Dentist in Las Vegas knew they wouldn’t be able to treat as many patients once their practice reopened. With all of the new required safety measures in place, each patient visit would require more time. In their analysis of their Production Per Visit (PPV) using Dental Intelligence’s Growth Platform, they saw an opportunity. Either prior to or during each patient’s appointment, Dee For Dentist reviewed unscheduled treatment and discussed how important it was to get that taken care of in a single visit. Their patients responded and led to a significant increase in same-day dentistry and their PPV.
Sullivan Dental Partners in Brentwood, Tennessee had a similar experience. According to practice co-owner Dr. “Sully” Sullivan, “We focused on our ‘high value’ patients, i.e. the ones with the most urgent cases, to help us bounce back quickly,” he said. “Instead of trying to add a bunch of new patients, we instead used Dental Intelligence to do a deep-dive on our existing patients and see where our greatest opportunities were. This included reviewing our existing treatment plans according to total dollar value and scheduling strategically from that data.”
At Enamel Dentistry in Austin, Texas, teamwork during the shutdown was key to their record post-shutdown growth. Using practice insights provided by Dental Intelligence, the Enamel team discovered they had over 2,000 active patients without a scheduled appointment. This represented over $250,000 in unscheduled production. Using Dental Intel’s Recare Metric, they prioritized these patients according to their need for treatment and began contacting them to schedule future appointments.
Enamel Dentistry practice owner Dr. Hardik Chodavadia shared how this impacted their team’s effectiveness: “Although it might seem easy to just print out a list of patients to call, there is actually much more work involved in that process – both in generating the list and then babysitting the process of making sure those calls were made and captured. DI makes this so simple and easy to complete. Our philosophy is to take as much of the busywork out of our day as possible so that our team members can focus on the patients as people while they are in the office instead of focusing on tasks. We get a much better ROI from spending five minutes having a conversation with a patient vs. trying to print out another report.”
For the team at Spitzer Dental in Costa Mesa, California, holding a daily team huddle has been a crucial part of their recovery. Using Dental Intel’s Morning Huddle app, Dr. Spitzer’s office manager Maria focused on involving every team member in managing their daily schedule. As Maria’s team meets briefly each day, they are able to quickly see who needs to be contacted, who is coming in, if they have any unscheduled treatment or past-due balances, unscheduled family members, and so much more. “I love asking my team how much production they think they can schedule by the end of the day,” Maria said. “It’s been really fun to watch them rise to the challenge.”
Margaret, Practice Administrator at Greenwood Dental, used the Dental Intelligence Patient Finder to identify and schedule the patients that needed the most urgent care. Previous to having this resource, she would’ve had to print out a 120-page unscheduled patient report and go through the report page by page. Unlike Dental Intel’s Patient Profile, which groups patients into families, these printed reports require someone to make multiple calls to the same household, which is a hassle for both the patient and the practice team member required to call them. Margaret also didn’t have to worry about missing a patient. She could see every single patient in a single report and track every interaction she or other team members had with them.
At Dee For Dentist, strategic scheduling was critical to their fast re-open. “We had a goal to increase our Production Per Visit (PPV) but had been stuck at the same figure for a while,” Mike Cruz, office manager at Dee For Dentist recalled. “The pandemic shutdown gave us a chance to fix this problem. With the combination of fewer available appointments and the heightened requirements to protect patients and team members, we made sure patients understood it would be far better to complete more treatment in a single visit. This has led to much more same-day dentistry and has increased our PPV significantly.” Again, this practice used Dental Intelligence to quickly see their Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) so they knew what to focus on and what to do.
No doubt there are many other important principles that will contribute to the recovery of dental practices going forward. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Much hard work is ahead. The underlying key for success is how each practice understands and acts on the critical data found within their practice management software. Is your practice a data-driven dental practice?
If you need help in your post-pandemic recovery, Dental Intelligence is here to assist. Visit us today to get started. For a limited time, you can even receive a free practice analysis to learn exactly where you are, and what you need to do to get where you want to go.
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