Dental Management: Dentists Prefer Owning to Being a Dental Associate (video)

Dentists prefer boss to dental associateOne dentist in four prefers to be a dental associate, but three-quarters of dentists would rather be in charge, this survey found.

“I didn’t go to dental school for four years to be somebody’s employee!” declared one dentist.

“What if you could have both?” asked another. “Have your own business, be your own boss, and have a professional dental management company do all the business/marketing, etc., so you could focus on dentistry?” (Indeed, dental management consulting can make a dentist’s job a lot easier!)

Read more: Dental Associate vs Owning a Dental Practice

Warning: How Negative Dental Marketing Works

How Negative Dental Marketing WorksTalk about the wrong kind of dental marketing!

Imagine coming into your dental practice one morning to discover that a Hepititius warning about your office had been distributed to your dental patients by your local health services office?

This is exactly what happened to dentist Derek Nordstrom of Edmonton Canada, who knew nothing of the Hepititius complaint.

Apparently, a recorded voice message from Alberta Health Services was calling Dr. Norstrom’s patients to advise them that one of his staff members had hepatitis C, and recommended the patients be tested.

Upon being notified by one of his patients, Dr. Nordstrom cancelled all of his dental appointments and spent the day making phone calls to the Alberta Dental Association and various other health agencies in an attempt to get to the bottom of the complaint.

The only problem was that none of Dr. Norstrom’s staff were sick.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t the only problem…

As if the health complaint wasn’t enough, Nordstrom’s receptionist then discovered websites attacking the dentist and his brother Patrick — also a dentist. According to The Edmonton Journal, one site — nordstromdentist.com — included photos of Dr. Nordstrom alongside anonymous claims of negligent procedures, false billing and even dead ants on his dental chair. The site also included a comment about an Alberta Health Services call about hepatitis C at Nordstrom’s clinic.

Talk about a dental marketing nightmare!

Nordstrom’s lawyer sent notice to the domain registry of the websites attacking the doctor and the sites were immediately suspended.

The bigger question looms as to how someone hacked the 4,000 active patient phone records of Dr. Nordstrom to relay the Hepatitis warning and who is out to get this doctor … and why.

An investigation into the phone messages and malicious websites is moving forward.

Nordstrom told the Edinton Journal that he isn’t sure who’s behind the calls, but finds it troubling someone would raise the question of serious illness to try to discredit him.

“It’s just a sick joke,” Nordstrom said of the hoax. “They’re just trying to hurt me.”

So far Dr. Nordstrom seems to be handling the situation well. I would strongly recommend a very aggressive PR campaign rebutting each accusation separately. While over the years I’ve seen everything from ex-spouse’s fire booming offices to disgruntled employee’s falsely reporting sexual harassment, this particular attack has all the earmarks of an inside job with the help of a professional and enraged computer hacker.

Read more: Hepatitis Claim Against Wainwright Dentist a Hoax, RCMP Say

The Economics of Dental Hygienists

Analyzing Your Hygiene Profit Potential
Editorial by Jim Du Molin

Last week I started talking about dentists and dental hygienists, and how you, the dentist, need to think like a capitalist. The first step in this capitalistic venture is preparing the operatory space for the hygienist – as I mentioned last week, it’s both an investment and a risk, and it’s one you need to consider fully.

Next you need to actually hire a hygienist. Let us assume that the dentist is working four days per week and that 25% of his or her time is spent performing treatments that a hygienist could perform. This means that there is at least one day of potential hygiene production per week.

Let us further assume that based on the dentist’s fee schedule, a hygienist would average $700 per day in production. Collections at 96% would reduce this to $672, from which we have to deduct variable costs (disposable supplies and materials used in treatment), salary, and employer taxes. Our estimated profit before indirect overhead costs is $292 per day.

Daily Gross Profit on Hygiene Production

Production $700
Collections (96%) $672
Minus variable costs (9%) – $63
Minus salary – $288
Minus employer taxes – $29
Profit before indirect costs $292

This is the first level of profit to be realized from hiring the hygienist – direct profit on the hygienist’s production. Adding just one day of hygiene per week provides $1,168 of passive income per month and $14,000 per year.

More importantly, the dentist is now free to use his or her time more productively. Previously, 25% of the dentist’s time (two hours per day) was used to perform hygiene treatments. Let’s say that he or she could bill $88 an hour for those treatments. Now, the dentist can use these two hours to perform more complex and more costly treatments – at, say, $313 per hour. That’s an increase of $225 per hour, or $450 per day.

Assuming that collections are 96%, and variable costs including lab and supplies are 24%, the marginal net profit on the additional production is 72%. Therefore, if daily production increases by $450, the extra net profit will be $324. Remember, that’s $324 everyday. In an average 16-day month, that comes to an additional $5,184 in profit per month.

Adding the dentist’s additional production to the hygienist’s production, the total additional profit is $6,352 ($1,168 + $5,184) per month.
However, there’s more to the story: capitalists have to take risks, and smart capitalists can make lots of money… but I’ll get to that next week!

Dental Management & Marketing: Fun – or No?

Dental management & marketing - responsibilities and enjoymentDentists are split over dental marketing and management — almost half hate those responsibilities, but just as many say they sometimes enjoy them.

“I hate the management, but like the marketing,” said one dentist.

In this survey, 43% said they sometimes enjoy dental management and dental practice marketing, 16% say it’s not the best and not the worst, and 41% absolutely hate it.

  • “I like patient education and motivation.” (Endodontist)
  • “I like the dental surveys and hearing what other dentists are thinking.” (New York dentist)
  • “I enjoy bringing out the best in the team and coming up with a marketing plan that works!” (California dental professional)
  • “I love the marketing; it is fun and profitable. Dental websites are essential, and I have many.” (Illinois sleep apnea & TMJ dentist)
  • Internal dental marketing, where my patients tell their friends about the appointment they had at our office, is what I prefer most.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “I don’t like that we have to advertise, but the general public has been so brainwashed to accept marketing that we are almost forced to do some form of marketing in order to stay competitive.” (Florida dentist)
  • “I wish I could have someone buy my practice and do the management! I have been told often that I am an excellent manager, but it is not my favorite part of practice ownership. I never seem to get a total break.” (Alabama dentist)

Read more: Enjoying Dental Marketing & Management Dentist Responsibilities

Dentists’ Greatest Fear – Raising Fees (video)

Dental feesMost dentists have been avoiding fee increases, this survey found, even though regular fee increases are a basic principle of effective dental management.

But in a recession, dentists fear they’ll alienate patients if they raise dental fees.

“Same fees, more dental marketing…” said one orthodontist.

Read more: Dentists and Dental Practices May Have To Raise Fees

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