What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read "habitude"? Is it a habit, is it attitude or is it something else?
Habit hab·it/ˈhabət/ noun 1. a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
Definitions from Oxford Languages
Now, start spitting out all of your habits. Think you don't have any? How about-
Getting up in the morning on the same side of the bed?
Brushing your teeth the same way every day
Putting your pants on your right leg first
Stopping for coffee
Getting in your car, the same way every time
Created habits are usually kept. Until someone somewhere introduces something done in a new way. Tried anew the first time seems awkward, off-kilter, and possibly uncomfortable. Some master this to success, most give up.
When was the last time you tried something new?
How long did you persevere when you did try that new thing? Did the newness feel strange?
Attitude at·ti·tude/ˈadəˌt(y)o͞od/ noun 1. a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior.
Definitions from Oxford Languages
What constitutes a good attitude? You know those people. They see the glass half full, offer solutions to challenges, they don't get too ruffled when things go south. They lead with empowerment. How do these folks do this? They are usually spotted in a crowd or office environment quickly. Here are some attributes of a great attitude-
A well-rested individual
One who is willing to try change, and maybe, persevere through it until mattered
A well-balanced performer
Someone you want on your team!
How many employers out there wish you had employees with great attitudes, habits, and habitudes? They are out there, you just have to be willing to lead and guide them. At Accelerate My Practice, our coaches unveil many diamonds in the rough and polish up the moderate performers to great habituders. Most times, it is adding leadership and direction to one's plate.
Boundaries and accountability happen next. So often we hear doctors and business owners say they just want to "drill teeth" and not bother with all this other stuff.
Turn your team into a team full of habitude, by shining up those diamonds in the rough.
The Dental Patient Doesn't Care How Much You Know...
UNTIL the Dental Patient Knows How Much You Care!
Recently one of our coaches was in an office listening to the doctor present a case to a very backed-up individual. Shockingly, the patient did not accept treatment.
Here is the story.
A snowbird dental patient visiting the warm weathered community called this office for an appointment with this, “I am calling to make an appointment. My periodontist said I need three fillings.” The appointment was made. This patient entered the office disturbed, taking her sharp comments to the front desk person. This person made an immediate negative opinion and translated this to the back.
The clinical person began the radiograph process. After taking image #15, the patient said, “that was 15 x-rays, how many more are you going to take?” The dental assistant replied, just three more. Both the front office person and the dental assistant relayed a negative opinion to the doctor just before his diagnosis.
This negativism imbeds in the doctor immediately as his blood pressure raised. He proceeded to provide his diagnosis through a twenty-minute long, very dental, clinical word-driven diagnosis while the patient was cross-armed and not listening.
This diagnosis disallowed the patient’s involvement as only the doctor spoke. If you are the doctor, what are you thinking right now?
Maybe, I would have done the same.
I probably would have kicked the chair, the desk, yelled out curse words, then saw the patient?
I would have tabled my diagnosis, asking the dental patient directional questions.
Were you between 1 and 2? Most are. As humans, we tend to react with a READY FIRE AIM attitude. When, if we master the art and skill of understanding people, the people we treat, and the why of their behavior, we will succeed in keeping a friendly two-way didactic and productive conversation with the patient. And, we may have the ability to turn around a very unhappy patient to an accepted treatment plan.
Here is what the AMP coach provided.
Ask questions before any treatment discussion.
The more topical the question, the more topical the answer, dig.
Be curious. This is the easiest, yet one of the hardest skills to master.
Dentists are highly trained scientists, mostly wanting to share what they know so the patient will understand. NOT. Patients want to know first how much you care NOT how much you know. Once they have a sense of your caring attitude, doors open wide to treatment acceptance. Ask questions!
This is the first task. Use your skill to calm the patient to begin to understand. Steven Covey said it beautifully, seek first to understand, then be understood. The second task is to share this skill and technique with your team.
Need help with this? We master this teaching. Contact us!
Dental Dreary Months
The cold, rainy, snowy, ugly dreary dental months happen every year. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and many of us just yearn for this to reverse. We're waiting for that daylight savings day.
How many of you feel like your dental practice lives in these dreary months year-round?
Dentists are highly trained scientists, performing the standard of care of dental medicine to patients using a variety of methods allowing flexibility in the process, however, clinging tightly to a code of morals and ethics. Seems so simple to the outsider looking in, doesn't it? Is this your reality? Or are you the insider looking out? Is there chaos, do you choose tolerance over confrontation, do you long for a well-oiled dental machine in your day to do?
Believe it or not, there is an answer to the chaos. Here's how to tame the chaos;
Admit the challenges you are unwilling to address
Believe this can be changed
Reach out for help
Try something new, perhaps something you have always wanted to try but didn't know how to start.
If you find yourself to be in a cycle of; failed, try to change, change, retreat to old habits, this is normal UNTIL you hire a company that holds your hand, guides you as an owner on the how-to in dealing with your team, and finishing the race (your day to day) feeling accomplished.
Overcome the dental dreary months.
The video here is of a doctor in Spokane, WA who was visited on the fly a year after coaching with us.
How can we help you overcome the challenges and leave you like this and many more of our doctors?
These months come and go, but it is your decision on how long they last.
Reach out to us, we're here to listen, plan and overcome.
The Insurance Paradox
Let's talk insurance and tools to use to get past the general feeling about it. Here is an exercise that I do with dental offices all around the country. We sit in a group, and we play a word association game. I will say a word, and then you immediately say the first word that comes to mind. Let’s try it.
I have no idea what you said for the first few words, but I’ll bet I can predict what you said for INSURANCE. You probably said something like “sucks” or “write off” or “thieves” or another negative word. Was I right? If so, read on.
This is what I call the Insurance Paradox. Many of us as dentists have decided to voluntarily join up with certain PPO insurance plans. We are aware in advance that this will involve a contract with very specific terms. Primarily, we will have to abide by a fee that is often significantly lower than our standard fee. Will have to be aware of maximums, frequencies, waiting periods, and many other contractual obligations. We enter these contracts with our eyes open, knowing the negatives, and understanding the positives. And then we turn around and moan and groan and complain about it while voluntarily re-signing that contract every year.
My first suggestion, of course, is to grow your practice to a point where you can reduce or even eliminate your dependency on network Insurance. However, many dentists live in areas or have practices where they are simply unable to do that. In San Diego there were several huge employers, all of whom seem to carry Delta PPO.
This is where my thinking seems to diverge from many dentists. I decided long ago not to be Mister negative about insurance. Not to constantly complain about it. And certainly not to transmit to patients that insurance was bad, evil, sucks, etc. Instead, I came with a positive view of insurance. The fact that it could significantly reduce patients costs was a good thing for me because I like my patients. I was their cheerleader in this.
There is a video in our library where we talk all about how to see and portray Insurance in a positive light. You will be shocked how this simple mindset change can increase your production.
If you find that being an in-network provider for dental insurance is increasing your blood pressure and decreasing your bottom line, I'd love to chat with you. Let’s fix it!
A Win-Win Situation
At AMP, one of our primary roles is to identify areas of opportunity at dental practices. It's no secret that in most practices there is a lot of treatment that is recommended but goes undone. Sometimes, the amount of this is shocking. I have seen practices with literally millions of dollars of treatment that was recommended and never done.
But the word “treatment” can encompass many things. It could be an x-ray, a cleaning, or a crown. Or something bigger. I'll bet that your case acceptance rate on cleanings is pretty high. It's those bigger treatment plans that most often go undone. A dental implant is a good example of this. When a patient has a missing tooth and is asymptomatic, an implant just doesn't seem to be that important. Until the patient realizes the importance of replacing that missing tooth or teeth, he or she will be very price sensitive. And it's not comparing your fees to other dentists’… It's comparing your fee to items they want more, like that new flat-screen TV or iPhone.
One of my primary functions as a coach is to help doctors and their staff explain things better to help build value to the patient. We never recommend aggressive treatment plans or over-treating. We help you to better address those items that you normally would treatment plan. And we don't recommend a hard sell or special techniques and tricks to bully the patients. Instead, we work on honest narratives that the doctor can have with the patient to gain understanding, build value, and therefore increase case acceptance.
When a treatment plan consists of, for example, three fillings and a dental implant, it is common to hear the patient say “I'll do the three fillings, but I need to think about the implant.” Do you hear this a lot? To do more of the implants you recommend, we have to figure out how to get past this barrier.
If you need help with your narratives, please let me know. You might find that some simple changes can do two great things: help your patients return their mouths to a state of dental health, and help your business grow. Isn't it wonderful when you can do both at the same time? That is a true win-win situation.
"I'm too busy"
AMP is often in offices coaching team members that are consistently ‘too busy.’ These folks are usually too busy to get ordering done properly. Too busy to get things done on time, to do their clinical notes while the patient is still seated in the chair, to call unscheduled treatments. They are just too busy!
How busy are you?
Do you leave your day ‘undone?’ Does your ‘busy’ never go away? Perhaps a call to us. We can help you un-busy yourself and your team and return to a fulfilled day!
Someone said to me once, if you tell me you are too busy, you just took the time telling me you are too busy and could have taken that time to get the task done! Think about that. How many times in an office is a question asked only by the last word of the sentence did the asker answer their own inquiry? Talk about wasted time. Or, how about the confirmed crown delivery patient that must be cancelled because ‘we didn’t have time to order the proper cement.’
Here are some things to try to undo some of that busyness!
Make reminder calls to your patients at least TWO days out. This minimizes stress, giving the caller 24+ hours to fill the schedule.
Ask the patient to call back to confirm the time they blocked for their appointment. If they don’t, fill the spot with someone else!
Enter all clinical notes while ‘the butt is still in the chair.’ When the patient leaves, you are done! The patient does not mind sitting there while you do this.
Ask for all patient portions before the treatment is done. This eliminates chasing the patient for payment, and one more thing to eliminate in your day to day.
These are just a few things we do onsite while coaching a dental team. One of our biggest goals is to create team empowerment by ‘un-busying’ the day to day. It works! Give us a shout! Be glad to get you and your team from too busy to fulfillment!
The Junk Drawer
When was the last time you cleaned out your junk drawer? For those of you out there, odds are, you have one, and it is a mess!
Why we keep some of the things we do in that space often has me asking myself – what is this and why in the world does it sit anywhere but the trash? Random things like felt furniture protectors, pencils without points, dried up markers and, of course, tons of tiny flashlights that have not worked in years.
Then there is the feeling of completion. The recycle bin is full. The Goodwill donation pile is bigger. The junk drawer is organized! WHAT A FEELING.
What’s in your junk drawer? So, all of you out there, what does the junk drawer in your practice look like? Does your business have items within its walls that are redundant, do not belong or that are just there? Is the junk drawer of your business messy, unorganized and flatlined?
AMP can help! Our specialty is not your streamlined consultant. Our team consists of life coaches with dental backgrounds. If this catches your interest, read on!
Compared to our colleagues in this space, we differ tremendously. Our drive is your success, although like our counterparts, here is how we differ. This approach is vastly different. Our goal is to teach everyone on your team to fish for a lifetime! This may sound cliché, however, the service we provide allows sustainability in your own future growth, even after we have completed our time together.
We do this by addressing the drive behind the individual. If Sally is your office manager and going through a divorce, how effective will she be in her day to day during this hardship? What about employees who are distracted by their phones? Think, what is that costing your business? Although these may seem like trivial things, distractions cost your business, making it less productive, messy, and reflective of an overfilled pile of junk in a proverbial junk drawer.
AMP comes and begins to clean the drawer by addressing human issues first. Course correcting as we go resulting in the business behavior being empowered by the doer. When self-empowerment is evident, the business skyrockets in production, behavior, and sustainable success.
Allow us to look at the junk drawer of your business. We will address one messy item at a time!
Contact us at acceleratemypractice.com or our CEO directly at 719-357-9564. We make ourselves available.
Dentistry: Salary Increase
We have been having a lot of conversations lately with clients around the topic of a salary increase for their staff. Most of them seem to believe that longevity or loyalty has a lot to do with whether the employee receives an increase. Most employees think they deserve a salary increase simply because they have been there “a long time”.
Why have we forgotten that these are MERIT increases. These are not a reward for longevity or loyalty. Maybe some have forgotten the definition of merit.
merit [mer•it] verb to be worthy of or entitled or liable to
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/merit?src=search-dict-hed Establishing Merit Increase for Employees. Three things to determine merit increases:
If you are ending 2020 in a comfortable position and after speaking with your accountant have determined you can give increases to some or all of your employees, look at the body of work your employees have accomplished. Give your highest performers a bigger percentage and your lower performers a smaller percentage or no salary increase.
Three things to determine merit increases:
Risk there may be for the coming year
Financial capacity of the practice
Do I give out a salary increase this year?
Employees only do what is in their job description earn their current pay rate and the benefit of keeping their job. Unlike the employee that goes beyond that and shows initiate or refrains from water cooler talk that is toxic to the practice. That employee deserves an increase.
More importantly communicate with your team on how you are determining increases. Make sure they understand how to earn a salary increase. Merit increase are not a given. No longer the days of cost-of-living increases. They were never enough to keep up anyway.
Work with your employees. Help them understand where you stand on salary increases. Increases are earned by those who do MORE than the job description.
The Other Dental Recall List
A majority of dental practice management software has an easily-used function to view patients who are due or overdue for recall. These lists should be constantly managed and specific systems should be in place to contact and schedule these patients. The fact is, in 25 years of practice, I have found that patients who are otherwise high-functioning adults are completely unable to remember that it’s a good idea to visit the dentist twice a year without one, or even several, reminders. Crazy, huh? So, let’s keep texting, emailing, and calling the folks on the recall list.
Today, I’d like to talk about a different list. This is a list of patients that do not appear on the recall list and yet still need to be contacted. There are several reasons why patients might be in such a situation. Generally, they fall into two categories:
Patients who have only been seen for emergency treatment and have never had a new comprehensive visit.
Patients who have never been seen in the office, yet are still are listed as active patients.
First: Patients with NO comprehensive visits
The first category is easy to solve. We can run a report of people who have a specific last visit date shown in their charts and yet no continuing care or recall schedule. These people need to be contacted by the office and hopefully will become comprehensive care patients. I always suggest going in order of date, starting with the people who were seen most recently and going back in time from there. The most recent ones are the easiest to contact. Once we get a few years into the past, it will be harder to have up-to-date contact information. Many of these patients simply need to be inactivated.
Second: Never Seen before patients
The second category has several possibilities as to why a patient is active yet has no last visit and/or recall date. Therefore, a bit of research is necessary on each individual to figure it out. Here are some possibilities:
The patient is incorrectly categorized in the chart as an active patient. This person may in fact be a guarantor or policyholder and not a true patient. This is a matter of correcting the error.
The patient may be scheduled as a new patient in the future. This will self-correct, of course.
There may be an error in the chart where the last visit date is blank. Correct this.
The patient may have been scheduled as a new patient and failed the appointment. The decision needs to be made whether we will contact this person for another chance or not. This should be done in conjunction with the office manager or doctor on an individual basis.
In sum, it is very important that we continue to encourage our patients to maintain a proper recall. The very basis of this is proper maintenance of our database to make sure each and every patient is correctly shown on the appropriate reports and contacted when due. If you have a lot of people who do not have a proper recall or continuing care schedule set up, I suggest you solve just a few, maybe 5 to 10, per day. This effort will go a long way over the years to keep your database clean.
If you need help generating the necessary reports for this, please let us know! We are happy to help.
PPP Forgiveness – Now What?
I am seeing a lot of dental practices ignoring or perhaps forgetting that they need to apply for their PPP Forgiveness by the end of the year. I know, out of sight, out of mind. However, it is time to get in gear before the end of the year to avoid having to make payments in the beginning of 2021.
Many large banks have been “slow-walking” their Forgiveness process due to the many last minute changes that continue to creep up from the Small Business Administration. Smaller banks or credit unions have been a bit better about their client outreach. I understand why the big banks are slow to be proactive on moving their clients forward as I survived the PPP hell earlier this year in my prior career as a banker. The banks had little time to prepare and even when they thought they had everything in order the government would change the rules. It was a nightmare for all. Now we are in the Forgiveness phase and things are still changing.
Unfortunately, a delay on your part could mean you will begin making payments early in 2021 even though you expect the full loan amount to be forgiven. Begin the process immediately by contacting your bank and banker. Each bank will have it’s own process and some will have their own application. Others will have you complete the SBA application for Forgiveness. Save time and headache by contacting your bank now. They will guide you through their process, their application and the SBA’s documentation requirements.
The banks has sixty (60) days to certify your loan application is complete with all documentation and you qualify for some or all loan proceeds forgiven. The clock starts ticking only after the bank has received all the documentary proof of what you spent the funds for. Ie., payroll, mortgage, utilities, etc. After that the SBA can take up to ninety (90) days to approve you and send the money to the bank to payoff or pay-down your PPP loan.
To complicate matters when you received your PPP funds will make a difference in your documentation. As I started earlier, the rules kept changing. Do not try to do this on your own. You must contact the bank that gave you the funds to apply for Forgiveness. Good Luck and remember to be patient with your bank and banker. After all it is the government they are working with and they must be extra careful when submitting your application for Forgiveness to ensure you have the best chance possible of getting all your loan forgiven.
Below you will find the link to the SBA’s PPP Forgiveness page as a resource.