Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Planning for the New Year

Happy New Year! As you are preparing your practice for the upcoming year, I suggest you reflect on the previous year. What worked for your office and what didn’t, and what does your practice hope to achieve in 2020?

First, have a meeting with the practice owner. What do they hope to achieve this year? By gathering that information, you can come up with a game plan to help them achieve those goals. Here’s some ideas of common practice goals and some thoughts on how you can achieve them.

Attract More New Patients To Your Office

  • Plan a new marketing campaign. This could consist of many things including a mailer introducing your practice or a referral reward program.
  • Consider becoming contracted with an insurance company to attract more new patients with that insurance plan.  Make sure you review the fee schedule carefully to be sure it will work for your practice.

Develop a More Productive Hygiene Department

  • Extend hygiene hours. Having an appointment available early in the morning or later in the evening can be very popular with patients because it’s more convenient with their work schedule. Adding just one additional appointment per day will increase your overall hygiene production.
  • Encourage your hygienists to do more procedures during each appointment. Hygienists can do many procedures to manage and improve the patient’s oral health:
    • They can place an antimicrobial agent like Arestin in periodontal pockets.
    • They can offer the patient a fluoride treatment. Even if insurance won’t cover the fluoride treatment, patients are often willing to pay for it.
    • They can regularly record patient’s periodontal probe depths and treat periodontal issues with scaling and root planing.
    • They can even place sealants for children.
  • Remember that your hygienists are producers in your practice, and there are many procedures they can do to increase their daily production.

Build a Solid Online Reputation

  • Use a reputation building service, such as Reputation Manager to send patients surveys to review their experience with your office. Requesting feedback can help to increase patient satisfaction and loyalty.

Reduce Cancellations and No Shows

  • Use a confirmation service, like Dentrix Patient Engage to conveniently send appointment reminders by text, e-mail or automated phone call. This saves staff time from making confirmation calls, and gives patients an easy option to confirm appointments. 
Once you’ve had a conversation with the practice owner and come up with your 2020 goals and how you want to implement them, have a meeting with the entire team. It’s important to have everyone on the same page and understand the direction the practice is heading.

If you have any questions, e-mail me at I wish you all a productive and prosperous 2020!

Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at

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