It’s halftime! Are you winning the game?


Time flies, and here you stand at the mid-year point in your strategy for success in 2010! If this was a football game, you would retire to the locker room and analyze the first half of the game and adapt strategies to capitalize on the second half. If your team is a little behind, it’s the coach’s job to get everyone positive and focused. If you are ahead of the game, it’s the coach’s job to allow for some celebration (but not too much) and to brainstorm a plan to reinforce the successes and create even more momentum and continuous improvement. If you can’t go to the locker room … you can have a staff meeting. To avoid burnout, complacency and disregard for the finish line, it’s time to analyze your statistics and check in on the vital signs and strategies for your practice. If you and your team are using the Practice Advisor in your Dentrix software to keep score of your game, this will be easy!


Before you begin to analyze and form conclusions, here are six tips you can use for the next six months and beyond.

  1. Be sure that you are comparing “apples to apples”.  For example, if you are off goal for your monthly production, check that the number of work days for doctor(s) and hygienist(s) were the same number you projected.  If you worked fewer days, that will help explain the shortfall.  If you worked more days than expected and are still under producing, you need to look at improvements in systems and communication. Remember that numbers tell the story of your practice.  There are always reasons for hitting goals or not hitting goals and that’s what you need to discover and follow up on.
  2. Get in the habit of analyzing your practice statistics at the end of each quarter.  Total your production and collection actuals and divide by three (three months determine a “trend”).  Analyze your success points, and if you are under your goals, now is the time to correct your course! Numbers point to systems that can be created or tweaked.
  3. Do comparatives not only for the goals and actuals for the last six months but also compare the goals and actuals of the same time period for last year.  Maybe you are under goal with your current production and collection goals but are ahead for the same time period last year. Look hard for success points!
  4. Annualize your production and collections at the six month mark.  Add up your totals for six months, divide by six and multiply by 12.  This will give you projections for how close you are to your goals for the whole twelve-month period. Six months is a lot of time to make improvements.
  5. If your goals have not been met at the six month marker, do not abandon ship! Sometimes, teams get depressed and no longer want to track or discuss goals. We opened with football, now its time to discuss success in terms of the Olympics! There are three levels of success: Gold Medal, Silver Medal and Bronze Medal.  And then there’s the one that nobody really wants, the Break Even Medal.  Attach different goals to the different medals.  Even the unpopular Break Even Medal means that all of the basic expenses were covered, including doctor’s compensation.  There absolutely is a level of success to being able to cover the expenses.
  6. Remember, the game is far from over! There are six months left to create a mid-year course correction by implementing improvements that will get you closer to one of the prized medals. If you don’t already have a plan for reward and recognition, now is the time to create one and present it to the team.

If you’re new to tracking, analyzing and interpreting practice statistics, remember that it is a learning process, and you don’t stop there. What you do with this valuable information is what is really important. Numbers point to systems.  If you want to improve your statistics take a hard look at your basic systems:  new patients, appointment scheduling,financial arrangements, continuing care and marketing. Identify what improvements you can make and create a step-by-step plan of action with a timeline.  Be clear about who will do what by when and make sure that you follow up. Also, really listen to how you are communicating with patients and with co-workers.  Every team member in every dental office, bar none, can improve communication skills.

Also remember that each year your goal setting will likely be more accurate. Never give up setting goals and analyzing practice statistics.  They will go a long way to anchor the practice and set your course to success.



Author: Callie Haynes, Pride Institute Consultant
Published: 06/01/2010
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