By Roger P. Levin, D.D.S.
Just as clinical skills are essential for becoming an endodontist, business skills are critical to succeed as a practice owner. That has always been true, but business knowledge has taken on even greater importance over the last 10 years as the competition for new patients has intensified.
Endodontists need to be more business-savvy than in the past. Here are five practical things steps you can take to bolster your business knowledge-and results in 2017:
1. Commit to learning more about the business of endodontics
Most endodontists subscribe to several clinical journals to stay abreast of advancements in endodontics. Seek out practice management, marketing and leadership articles in top dental and association publications. If you’re attending AAE17, consider sitting in on some of the many practice management courses offered, and subscribe to the AAE’s Live Learning Center to access more than 140 business-related sessions from past meetings. Search the internet for articles on specific issues where your practice needs improvement. Most dental publications also have robust websites with many useful resources.
2. Join or start a study club
These groups can be a great way to deepen your knowledge on a wide range of practice-related subjects, including business and management skills. The other members would be your peers, other doctors who are facing many of the same issues you are, making it easier to ask questions about running and operating a practice. In addition, many groups bring in guest speakers to lecture on relevant subjects.
3. Track performance
You can only make specific improvements to your practice if you know what areas to improve. We recommend that every practice track 12-15 key performance indicators (KPIs). These provide a quick snapshot of how the office is performing in the areas of production, collections, referrals, case acceptance, and overhead, to name just a few. By monitoring KPIs, you will see trends in important categories and can make necessary adjustments to build on success or stem decline.
4. Hold effective daily and monthly meetings
Meetings often get a bad reputation as time-wasters, but they’re necessary for running an efficient office. Here’s how you can get more out of your meetings: stick to an agenda, start and end on time, and encourage participation from all team members. The morning meeting should be a preview of that day’s schedule, including what patients are coming in, the type of treatment expected to be performed, and any open appointment slots. This meeting should take 10 minutes or less. The monthly meeting should be focused on larger issues, such as customer service improvements and marketing activities. A goal for both meetings is to share information that helps staff members perform their jobs as well as possible.
5. Be open to change
Change is a fact of life. It can be difficult at times, but it doesn’t have to be. Many practice owners and team members get into a “we’ve always done it this way” mindset when faced with a different approach to a problem. Not every suggestion for improving the practice will be actionable, but holding on to the status quo will undermine any attempts at creative problem-solving.
Practice success requires that endodontists possess better business skills. Use the recommendations in this article to continue to improve as a practice owner. The more business skills you possess, the better your practice will perform.
Dr. Roger P. Levin is a third-generation general dentist and the chairman and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America.
He offers tools to help endodontists run more profitable, efficient and satisfying practices through the Levin Group Resource Center atwww.levingroup.com/endo.