Implant Inventory Ideas

Episode 042

With the growth of implants in our practices it’s wise to have a budget and inventory plan to maximize efficiency and keep overhead under control. Today I discuss what I’ve done in the past and what I do currently in my practice. Listen in for all of that and more on episode 42 of Business of Dentistry!

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When I first started my practice I didn’t do a lot of implants or other high-end procedures. I was building my reputation and growing my brand by connecting and becoming a member of my local community.

My practice saw about five or six implant patients a year and I ordered implants on an as-needed basis, usually two at a time. And I paid astronomical prices as a result, along with high shipping fees because I wasn’t proactive and didn’t have a system or better process in place.

When you’re starting out this may be the same for you, and it’s not a bad approach as long as you shift it as the demand grows. If you do multiple implants a year like I do, then I believe it’s wise to maintain an inventory.

In my practice, I do a much higher volume today and I’m able to get bigger discounts. That volume has increased because I wanted to do more of this procedure. So I set a goal to get more implant clients. Initially that goal was 50 in a year and then up to 100, and later on I set a goal of 150 implant procedures in a year.

Setting and achieving those goals helped, but I also had to decide how to deal with the inventory of all the implant equipment and related items. So my team and I looked at our collections per month and based our budget off that.

We thought we’d try to maintain our implant costs this way; anything related to implants we would include in this budget area and keep it as a separate line item. Initially we wanted to shoot for 3% of our collections so we could maintain that for our overhead and our budget in our current practice model.

In 2015 we were at 5.5% and this year we are at 5.6%. I think we were too conservative in our percentage of our budget aloted for implants. Looking at these numbers I think we need to increase to 5.5% or even 6% of our overhead collections to maintain our implant inventory.

On today’s episode I also share how we maintain our implant inventory, and what I recommend you do to maintain yours, as well as why it’s important to talk to your rep about volume discounts. There are certain times of the calendar year that are better to talk with your rep too, listen in to find out when those times are! It’s all here on episode 42 of Business of Dentistry.

Tweetable: You want to build your goals and achieve these goals.

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What’s Behind Door #2? – Supply Organization

Episode 041

Have you ever gone into the office after regular business hours to see a patient and struggled to find all the items you needed? I have. It’s frustrating and inefficient. Today we discuss ways to reduce the need for a scavenger hunt when gathering supplies and equipment. All of that and more on episode 41 of Business of Dentistry!

Organization

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Have you ever provided after-hours for a patient? Perhaps it’s been someone who needed an extraction and it couldn’t wait, or maybe a kid who had an accident playing baseball or football. I’ve been in that position many times before,  you probably have too.

And you’ve probably had a similar experience of not being able to find what you need when helping that patient, because your staff isn’t in the office. I have, and it’s always made me realized how much I need my staff to help me! They keep me efficient and effective, and save me a lot of hassle.

On today’s show I raise this topic because I wanted to share how we’ve organized our office to avoid searching for things when my staff isn’t there to help.

In my office we have three surgery rooms, and we have cabinetry in those rooms that are identical. We keep the same basic supplies in the same place in each room: gloves, equipment, gauze, masks, etc. By doing so we make our work more efficient, we all know the same things are in the same places in every room.

That’s one of my recommendations for you: keep the same things in the same places in your different office rooms. If you take the basics of what you use for each patient and put those in the same places in each room, it is a good way to start getting organized.

We also label our cabinets and drawers in the supply closet. By doing so we don’t have to open up everything to know where something is. By labeling each cabinet and each drawer, we know what’s in that specific area. We save ourselves time, energy and headaches by using this system.

And finally we ultimately created a master list. I had my staff make a list of exactly what we have in each room, down to the drawer and cabinet in each room.

For example, in our three surgery rooms, we labeled them Room 1, Room 2 and Room 3. Then I asked my staff to go into room 1, then label each of the cabinets as 1, 2, and 3. Next I asked them to label each drawer of those cabinets (1, 2, 3, and 4). Then we made sure we have the same supplies in each of those cabinets and the drawers.

Finally, I had my staff go in and document what is in each. Then I had them go into the supply room and do the same thing. Next we put a supply list  on the outside of the supply closet’s doors.

All of our office rooms are numbered as well. I had my staff make a master list of what is in each room, each surgical room and the supply cabinet. They made that list, printed it and put it in a 3- ring binder. So now if I’m looking for my CO2 laser, I open the binder and look for its location.

It definitely takes some effort to get this set up and to maintain it, but it has worked really well for us.

I’d love to hear if you have another organizational process you follow. And if you have an inventory system that works, I’d also love to hear from you as I am still figuring out that piece of the puzzle! Listen in to today’s episode of Business of Dentistry to hear the details on that and then shoot me an email and let me know what is working for you

Tweetable: Organize each operatory in the same fashion.

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Is Being Busy Good Enough?

Episode 040

All of us are looking to have a full and busy schedule but is that good enough? Listen in this week as I explain how I took my eye off the schedule and ended up busy…but non-productive. It’s all here on episode 40 of Business of Dentistry podcast.

 

 

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Coming off of vacation I expected to be pretty busy, that’s normal. There was one morning in particular that looked really busy and productive. But as I reviewed the schedule for that day, I realized I was going to be busy but not really productive.

Here’s what I mean: I had one patient who needed an implant fixed, I had another patient referred to me and who also needed a repeat visit to fix the same problem. The first patient needed a healing collar removed and needed sedation. The second revision was for a patient’s oro-antral communication. And yet a third patient needed an update to a previous procedure.

So these first three visits were busy but not profit-producing activities. Each appointment was to update or revise an existing problem; the patients couldn’t be charged for additional work because it was either within the scope of the original visit’s work or within the 90 day insurance time frame. In other words, these were busy appointments but not appointments that would bring in additional revenue for the practice.

I’m not complaining about these procedures, I am sharing them to highlight my mistake in allowing them to be scheduled all on the same day. Because I didn’t inform my staff on how to schedule these types of appointments – the repeat visits – we took a big hit that day and it was my fault.

If you schedule your day the way I do – heavy lifting in the morning, consults and follow-ups in the afternoon – then this is a great lesson for you to heed. Decide how you’re going to schedule these types of patients and inform your staff so they can implement your decision.

Before this happened to me, I hadn’t sat down and looked at how to spread out repeat patients like the ones I just saw. Take note and choose for yourself if you’re going to stack patients like this into one day or if you’re going to spread them out. From now on, I will be spreading them out and I have talked to my staff about how to schedule them accordingly.

And that’s your for-action item for the week: decide how you’re going to treat repeat/revision appointments and then sit down with your front desk staff to explain how you want to proceed. If you want to spread these types of visits out across a period of time, tell your staff how to do so. And if you want to stack them up on one day explain that too and explain how to schedule them.

Take a look at your upcoming week and see what’s going on. Make sure you have scheduled your appointments in a profitable and sustainable way, and train your staff on how to do so from now on. Be sure to listen to today’s episode first and then let me know how you’re going to change or update your schedule to stay busy and productive!

Tweetable: Be aware of what you have on your schedule.

Episode Resources

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A Vacation From Difficult Patients

Episode 039

We all deal with difficult patients in our practices. At times we just need a break. This week I discuss my recent approach to dealing with a couple of difficult patients. Listen in to find out how.

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On today’s episode I share two experiences I had recently had with difficult clients, as well as why it’s so important you schedule vacations regularly. To emphasize that point I recorded this episode live from the deck of my vacation spot in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. You may even hear thunderstorms and crickets in the background!

The first patient was an elderly woman. She wasn’t the difficult one, it was her caregiver. The elderly woman suffers from a number of health problems, including severe dementia and an intense fear of dental work. She was a referral from another dentist so naturally we requested she come in for a consultation with her caregiver, before we would do any work on her. That is when the problems arose.

Her caregiver was very upset and wanted my office to simply do the procedure in one visit. We explained repeatedly why it was important that we all meet and talk first; she and her elderly client would hear what the procedure would entail, what instructions they would need to follow, and we needed to know what medications she was on, etc.

Despite our attempts to help the caregiver understand our standard procedures and the safety reasons for them, she continued to be very agitated and upset.

To add to that experience, I had another difficult client the day before my vacation started. A 17-year old boy and his father came in for a wisdom teeth removal consult. His father began asking a series of detailed and specific questions. They were so specific that I asked if he was in healthcare. He said he wasn’t but his wife is.

So I suggested we call his wife since she couldn’t make it into the office to talk in person. We called and she seemed somewhat aggressive at the beginning. But I remained calm and professional, answering all of her questions ranging from licensing to anesthesia, etc.

By the end of the call she seemed less aggressive and more reasonable. After we finished, I asked if she had more questions and she said no. So I told the family I would send in my staff to explain the treatment plan, go over insurance, estimates and scheduling. Everyone agreed and I left, sending in my staff members to outline the details.

Later I ran into one of those staff members and she was visibly shaken. She explained the father had become very aggressive during the estimates and insurance conversation. He refused to pay upfront, which we require and wouldn’t agree unless he had exact quotes.

As I was talking with other staff members about this situation, another surgical assistant said she thought the situation sounded familiar. We dug in a bit more and it turns out the mom had already spoken with her; my surgical assistant remembered talking with a patient’s mom who was a nurse. The mom had peppered her with the same questions!

My marketing director walked past and overhead us at that time; she then recalled this mom also talking to her and scheduling the procedure. The reason my marketing director remembered was because the mom had a litany of questions.

At this point, I had an uneasy feeling about the entire situation. Although this patient had been referred by one of my top-tier referral sources who is also a great friend to me, I wasn’t certain whether or not I should keep the procedure on the schedule. It weighed on my mind the rest of the day and into the next morning.

So I asked a group of dentists in a private Facebook group I am in what they would do. It started a lengthy and healthy discussion, the consensus being to trust my instincts and take the patient off the schedule.

And that’s what I did: I called the mom and explained why I would be taking her son off the schedule. Naturally, she wasn’t happy but it didn’t go as badly as I thought it might! I also called my friend who referred to the patient and thanked him for his support and explained why I would be passing on this particular patient. He graciously understood.

The reason I share both of these experiences is to show you why it’s so important to take a vacation! Both of these clients came in the week before I was scheduled to leave and both hammered home to me how much I needed a break from the office.

Which is my for-action item for you this week: sit down and look at the next 6-12 months. When can you schedule a week away from your practice? Make sure it works for your spouse or significant other and then add it to your schedule. And be sure to plan what you’re going to do and where you’re going to go. You can even take it a step further and plan a second vacation while you’re at it!

Tweetable: Sometimes you’ve got to take the direct approach!

Episode Resources

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