Archive for July, 2013

What’s The #1 Fear for New Dentists?

Monday, July 15th, 2013

The Competition. Ironically, it’s not the competition most new practices need to be concerned about. Rather, the bigger concern should be what they are doing and what they can be doing to set themselves apart and to establish their niche in the community. Then the whole matter of competition quickly becomes irrelevant. If you’ve done your homework and studied the demographic and psychographic reports available and have opened your new practice in an area that can support a dentist with your skill set/specialties then the rest is a matter of doing what you do best, starting with superior customer service.

 

Many dentists think their practices deliver excellent customer service, but few train their employees to ensure excellence and even fewer monitor customer service. Most business staff have no understanding of how to most effectively manage new patient phone calls, how to build rapport, how to make the prospective patient feel good about calling this office. Something as fundamental as doing what they promise they will do is often overlooked by staff.

 

Additionally, rather than worrying about the dentists down the street, go visit them. Walk into their offices and introduce yourself. Check out the interior, pay attention to how staff and the doctors make you feel when you walk in the door. If you don’t feel welcome there, I can virtually guarantee that their patients don’t either. Study your competition, get to know them, and offer to take their emergencies when they are away.

No Need to Fear Insurance

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Many dentists starting out in their careers fear that their practice will be dependent on insurance. Insurance is largely demographic driven. However, in this these economic times, taking insurance, at least a few of the better plans, is an excellent way to quickly build a solid patient base. The practice can still be primarily fee-for-service, but it is important that the new dentist make an informed decision based on demographic information about the community.

 

Making insurance work for the new practice requires that it be treated as you would any other practice payment system. Co-pays and deductibles should be collected from the patient at the time of service. Additionally, once a year the fee schedules must be updated for each preferred provider organization that the office is affiliated with. If the fee schedules are not updated in the practice’s computer system, over time the practice is billing the insurance provider for less than what it could be. For example, XYZ PPO had an exam reimbursement rate of $55 in 2012, but in 2013 that rate was increased to $60. Yet a practice will continue billing the insurance for only $55 because the business team hasn’t updated the fee schedule, the years go by, the fee schedules change, and the practice loses money it can never recoup.