Planning for 2018

It’s hard to start thinking about 2018 when you are still trying to fill openings in your December schedule and get patients in before their benefits expire on the last day of the year. When you are in your element working the systems to fill your schedule, collect money, prepare treatment plans and follow up with patients who are over due it is very comfortable and systematic. To look ahead at the future and try to forecast what system should be tweaked or modified that takes a whole other level of thinking. This level of planning takes time analyzing reports and meeting with team members who can help provide the information you need.

There are many elements that go in to planning out the year and what that looks like on paper. In today’s article I want to point out a few things that you will want to discuss and more importantly what information you can gather from your Dentrix software.

  • Are you booked out weeks or months in advance for hygiene? Now would be a good time to evaluate your hygiene capacity and see what you’re your recare base is currently.  In order to find the total number of patients in your recare system by looking back on history of procedure codes billed out and forecast for the future.  Run a Practice Analysis Report by Procedure Code for all of 2017 and find out what the total number of D1110 (Adult Prophy), D4910 (Perio Maint) and D1120 (child Prophy) and this will give you the number of visits.  If your new patients are scheduled with the hygienists make sure to factor in your goal for new patients and allow for 60% of your new patients needing SRP and 40% of new patients needing a prophy visit.  Getting these numbers for the year and then breaking them down by month, week and day will help you better forecast your hygiene department for 2018.
  • Downloading your current fee schedule into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet will allow you to forecast what your production might be if you increased fees by a certain % or if you increase your total number of porcelain crowns this year. Or even better . . . what would happen to production if your recare program started including more adult fluoride or sealants into the mix.  Its fun to play around with numbers and see what the possibilities could be.
  • Speaking of hygiene numbers, my good friend and hygiene coach Heidi Arndt, has an amazing tool that I give out to offices that want to evaluate their hygiene department to see how strong their perio program is. If you have no clue what your mix between healthy adult prophy’s and perio patients is then 2018 might be a great time to run some numbers.  Having a strong perio program helps provide your patients with the level of service they need and help increase your production numbers in your hygiene department.  CLICK HERE to download Heidi’s “Enhanced Hygiene 6 Key Success Indicators” eBook for reference and then reach out to Heidi if you are looking to grow your hygiene department.  You can pull the numbers from your Dentrix software using the Practice Analysis Report by code just like in the first example.
  • Once you know the numbers you want to reach in your hygiene department and you have met with your financial advisor to determine how many days you need to work this year to reach your goals then you can start plugging in your production goals in to the computer and mapping out your appointment book. I really like using the production goals inside of Dentrix so you can see on a daily, monthly and yearly calendar where you are at.  When you enter goals into the system you can see where you are at by using the Daily Huddle Report and the monthly calendar in the upper left corner of the Appointment Book.

Numbers tell a story and when you evaluate your dental practice as a business you will be able to provide better care to your patients, share your profitability with your team and live a the lifestyle you wish.