Welcome to the Dentist's Office

Welcome to the Dental Office blog. On this site we will share information on how we conquer the real-world challenges that we each face in our pursuit of running high-quality, successful, profitable and harmonious dental offices.

The Dental Blog invites you to share your knowledge, successes, failures and crazy stories with fellow dental professionals. Sharing our combined knowledge, we can each create our own unique dream practices.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You are never private on Facebook & Twitter

Be careful what you write on your Facebook Wall and tweet on Twitter!
br/> You need to be aware that what you post for your friends and family can usually also be seen by your current and potential patients.
br/> While comments that you write may make sense to your buddies it will often sound crazy to a patient. Pictures that are fun to share with old fraternity buddies just appear creepy to a potential patient.
br/> Be aware that potential patients will often Google or Bing your name in searching for your office. This means they are most likely to see your social media accounts during their business search.
br/> I am a social media fan but I am also aware that everything I write or picture I share will be online forever. I am also aware that no social media is truly private. If you don't want your patients to see it - then don't post it or tweet it.
br/> Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Private Practice vs Group Practice

There was a time when all physicians were private practitioners, today most doctors work in groups to be cost effective. Is this same phenomenon headed towards dentistry?

Today you see more and more dental groups. Often these groups contain a few general practitioners working as a collective. More recently you start to see dental groups that include a few specialists with many general dentists.

The trend is that there are and will be fewer single dental offices and there will be more groups and mega-groups in the future. The economics of dentistry is driving this model at warp speed.

Why would a single dentist want to rent 2,000 square feet and put in 5 dental chairs when a team of five dentist can use 3,000 square feet and 10 chairs. By grouping the dentist in the group is only paying for 600 square feet and 2 chairs - but has access to everything.

Why would a single dentist want to hire 4 staff members when a group can function with 10 staff members - thus paying for only 2 staff members?

Why would the Brits want to have live phone hours 40 hours a week when the group phone will be manned 70 hours a week?

With the complexities of insurance continually increasing, the group can afford to hire a t quality person to handle this area.

Dental groups is the direction that delivery of dentistry is heading. It is not a better direction or a worse direction - it is just the more economically feasible system.

Sad but the day of the sole practitioner is going the way of dial up Internet and fax machines - they will still be around and work but you will see less of them each year.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Get Excited

As the leader of your office, you set the tone. If you are not excited about your mission and goals, why should anyone else be. If you are fired up and excited abut making each day and case great then your staff will follow your lead.

Come in with energy and passion each day. Ask your staff to be their best. Try to do your best work each patient.

I see so many offices that appear to be zombie land. Everyone is just going through the motions. Ground Hog Day offices that aren't passionate about their work.

I would want to be treated by a doctor and staff that are highly motivated to do their best work. I would refer patients to an office that I thought was devoted to their craft.

Patients are more likely to accept your treatment plan when they believe you are really giving it your best.

You owe it to yourself, staff and patients to lead with your enthusiasm, energy and passion.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Walls Have Ears

Every staff member needs to be aware that patients can most often hear what staff members are saying in other parts of the office.

Private conversations between staff or staff and patients can be overheard by people throughout the office.

Now that everyone has cell phones, private conversations are also heard by patients as well.

Your patients need to see the office as being professional and trustworthy. Make sure your staff fully understands that what they see is heard by others. That their behavior is being judged all the time.

I had my staff members sit in the operatories when I made a phone call from the break room and they all heard the call. My staff now goes out back if the have to make a call that they would not want being overheard by others.

Just be aware, the walls have ears.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thanking Patients for Referring

Dental offices often spend tens of thousands of dollars a month in marketing efforts. While I am a big fan of external marketing for new patients, I am even a bigger fan of marketing for new patients INTERNALLY.

Nothing says more about the health of your practice than your office receiving patients from happy current patients!

Happy patients referring new patients should be the life blood of your business building efforts. I would spend lots of time and money in encouraging internal referrals and thanking patients who help build your dental business.

In my office we gave out Starbucks cards to our patients as a thank you for referring new patients. My patients loved them and my staff enjoyed sending them out. Very often my patients would bring me a coffee when they came for their visit and said they used the gift card we gave them.

Be creative. Find ways to thank your referring patients. Send thank you cards, gift cards, movie tickets, just do something!

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Who Makes Financial Arrangements with the Patient and Who DOES NOT!

In a typical, well-run dental office treatment planning is the responsibility of the dentist and the financial arrangements are made by the front office staff members. It is vital that these two areas stay separate and neither side encroaches on the others area of authority.

As a dentist, I would not be happy if my front office staff changed my treatment plan for the patient – in fact – I would be mad. If a patient had financial challenges and could not arrange for the treatment we had agreed upon, then I needed to be brought back in to re-explain the treatment plan or plan an alternative approach that solved the patient’s issues. The treatment plan is not to be set by the front office staff – that was not their area of expertise or responsibility.

Likewise, the dentist should never be involved in setting fees, insurance, payment plans or other financial issues that are the front office staff’s area of responsibility. The dentist should be the passionate dental professional and not involved in the money matters (from the patient’s perspective). The staff are the people who know the insurance and understand the office’s financial policies. It is their job to set the plan and then execute it. They talk money and payments – you the dentist do not.

It the patients believe that they can go around the front office staff to change the financial arrangements with the dentist then you have taken all the power and authority away from the people tasked to collect the money. The staff cannot set plans or collect moneys effectively if the patients know they can ignore them and go straight to you – the dentist.

Your staff will resent you usurping their responsibility and complicating their job. Your daily life will be harder as the dentist/CEO if the patients are asking you to make financial arrangements and are asking you for special considerations.

Do yourself a favor and just say “NO”. Tell the patients that you are awful at all the financial stuff and would most likely just screw it all up. Tell them you are the wizard of the oral cavity but that your staff is people who know the insurance and other financial stuff. Tell them the staff can help you the right way and that you don’t even know how to turn the computer on. Kid around and point them back to the front office staff.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Who is in Charge of YOUR Practice?

The dentist as a CEO is a strange arrangement. As dentist you are often the boss and co-worker at the same time. This places many dentists in the role of wanting to be a liked co-worker more than wanting to be an effective CEO.

If the dentist CEO worries too much about being liked by the staff then they cannot effectively run the office as they truly wish. They are always afraid of making changes that the staff won’t like and are worried about losing their popularity with the team. They are also worried about the staff making their day more difficult or giving them the cold-shoulder treatment.

I am NOT suggesting that the dentist CEO act as an authoritarian and not take into account the effects of change on the staff members but I am saying that ultimately the dentist CEO must make business decisions that let them reach their business goals. As the dentist CEO, you are responsible for setting the business strategy for your business.

Most dentist CEOs are sole practitioners, they have spent considerable time and money to go to school, purchase and build a practice. The success of this practice directly influences the financial future of their family. Being a wise CEO and looking at the long term success of the dental business is absolutely necessary.

Although it may be difficult, as dentist CEO you must be willing to make strategic business decisions that you know are good for the long term health of your business, even if they are not popular. Your dental staff depends upon your business to be successful for their employment, they will either get on board your decisions or in unusual cases – they will have to leave your practice.

Being CEO is a big responsibility. A lot of people depend upon your decisions – your family, staff, and others. You cannot delegate the success of your practice to staff. You should ask for input, access the pros and cons of change and then decide how best to proceed for the long term success of your business. Don’t be afraid to build the practice you desire – be bold – chase your vision – make your dental office one you are truly proud of. Charge!

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advance Continuing Education Systems