If there’s one thing that’s sure in a post-covid-19 world, it’s that the future of dental practice cash flow will be different. That doesn’t mean it has to be worse, just different.
So how do we position ourselves to ensure the future of our practices will be strong? One way is to be very intentional about how we open back up. We must take social distancing and PPE requirements into account when we open up.
If we plan our opening to minimize the impact of social distancing and PPE requirements on our patients and our practices, everyone benefits. Patients benefits by ensuring they get the best care as safely as possible. Our practice benefits by opening up with stronger cash flow to support our team members and operations. And we benefit by being in more control of the future of our practice.
Here are three ways to get cash flow back in your practice as fast as possible while continuing to provide incredible care for your patients.
1. Use block scheduling to maximize production.
When we operate at full capacity, it is easier for the patient and the practice to break treatment plans across multiple appointments. With limited capacity, this could cause issues to go untreated for months. It was also easier to mix less urgent care with more urgent care with so many available appointments.
With lower capacity and additional time required between patients, we will have fewer available appointments for patients. Thus, we must look through our patient population and prioritize.
That might mean prioritizing patients who need scaling and planing. These patients have infections or inflammation and have already delayed treatment. They need to be a high priority. It might also mean prioritizing perio patients. In my practice, we are also focusing on patients with more extensive treatment plans, such as crown and bridge patients.
In addition to prioritizing, we want to have conversations with patients about doing more care in one appointment because of our limited capacity. If they need to spread out the care to spread out the costs, we should be prepared to help them spread out the costs through financing even if they do all the care in one appointment.
Having your patients come in and do more per visit is going to allow them to be able to get their treatment done without gaps in time. And it’s also going to allow you to be able to have fewer patients in the practice. That will also increase cash flow because you’re going to be doing higher production and higher profitability types of procedures.
2. Minimize patients per day.
I’ve long been a proponent of block scheduling for your dental practice. It helps us maximize productivity by prioritizing high-value procedures. But with new PPE requirements, block scheduling also saves us money.
The more patients we see, the more PPE we need to buy. And with it being hard to get and more expensive than ever, those costs add up. Some practices are passing through the charges. We chose not to in my practice. Instead, we are minimizing the number of patients we serve as well as the number of appointments for each patient so we can minimize our PPE use.
We’re talking with our patients about how they can help us care for more people and minimize the PPE we need to serve people by maximizing their procedures per visit. With financing options available if they need to spread out costs, they understand. We’ve built amazing relationships with our patients over the years.
So we are asking our patients to help us minimize PPE use. We’ve gone from seeing twelve patients per day to six. That alone can cut your PPE expense down quite a bit. And your patients can get the care they need without having to take multiple days off of work.
Many doctors are uncomfortable having conversations about what’s going on in our practices with patients. But if you have always been there for your patients to take care of them, they’ll understand and support you.
But you can’t minimize your need for PPE without block scheduling for productivity and minimizing the both the patients per day you see and visits per patient for each patient to complete their treatment plans.
3. Set specific goals for your practice.
There’s an old saying in business: “What gets measured gets done.” If you open your doors without specific goals, you will never maximize cash flow and production, even with more efficient scheduling.
Setting goals and actually monitoring and tracking them gets you results as fast as possible. Some of you have been through our past marketing and practice growth challenges, where we help you implement a whiteboard system and set goals for your dental practice and get your team on board. Others are just getting started.
No matter what your history is with setting goals, setting new goals for your practice can help you get all of your team members focused on the same outcomes. Once you set your production goals, bring your team together each morning, and take a look at your progress.
If you’re falling behind on some goals, ask team members what can be done to get back on track. What can the scheduling coordinator do? What can your doctors do? Do you need to jump onto Facebook and do a Facebook Live discussing a procedure you want to promote? Do you need to bump up your marketing?
Setting goals and monitoring production is the best way to get your entire team focused. With a focused team comes production. And with production comes cash flow.
What are you doing to maximize cash flow as you reopen from the Covid-19 pandemic?
Are you block scheduling, minimizing PPE needed, and getting all of your team members working together to achieve common goals? If not, now is the time to get started.
If you don’t want to go at it alone, we are helping hundreds of practices during this time in our Dental Boss Academy Program, and are offering special value for you and your teams!