Dental Marketing: Hard Times Increase Dentist Spending (video)

Dental marketing: dentists spend more during recessionWhen it comes to dental marketing, more dentists increase spending during hard times than cut spending on dental practice marketing, this survey found.

“It’s a good idea to keep your name out there. An economic downturn does not mean people will not need dental implants and dental care!” advised one dentist.

While 38% of dentists in this survey say they're increasing marketing and internet dental marketing, only 33% report cutting spending.

Read more: Dentists Increase Dental Marketing in a Recession Economy

Dentist Believes Better Economic Outlook is Government Brainwashing Propaganda

Economic Outlook is Government Brainwashing PropagandaRecently the U.S. Central Bank reported that the economy continued to expand at a moderate pace from mid-February through late March indicating a brighter outlook for most Americans, but is the recession really over?

Only 9% of the dentists we surveyed think so.

“More government brainwashing propaganda. This recession will never be over!” said one dentist.

In fact, only 37% of the dentists surveyed feel things are starting to improve. For 56% of dentists, the recession is still going strong. However, these numbers have declined since 2010 when The Wealthy Dentist asked if the recession was over. In that survey, only 4% of dentists felt the recession was over and 78% thought the recession was still going strong.

But there’s still not much optimism out there, judging by some of the dentists’ comments to this survey —

“Do not believe the Government cheerleaders. Read what real economy PhD’s have to say. It is not pretty, but with the real facts you can plan your financial future better. Good luck to you all and God bless.” (General dentist)

“It is not over. People are simply comfortable where they are at. Big difference.” (Suburban orthodontist)

“I am seeing pent up demand coming through, although I don’t believe it will last. There are many things in the economy that are yet to be fixed.” (Texas dentist)

“Better inform my poor unemployed patients!” (South Carolina dentist)

“We didn’t go through a downturn because we quickly assumed that a “new normal” was in place and adapted to it. This meant becoming even more patient centered in terms of economics,i.e. insurance friendly, willing to phase treatment, many financial options, willing to do build ups instead of crowns. The office philosophy became “keep ’em in the practice” in 2009 and stays that way today.” (New York dentist)

“It won’t be over for at least another 5-10 years.” (General dentist)

“Not in New Jersey!” (New Jersey dentist)

“If the recession is over, then why aren’t the banks, yes the same banks that we, the American people bailed out, willing to lend again!?” (General dentist)

“The gas increase reduced the new patient calls.” (Indiana dentist)

“Dental patients who have never been concerned about being out-of-network are beginning to turn to the network to save money. Big-box offices are coming in to town and luring patients from single doctor offices. The message that the best dentistry will win out is not accurate at this time. Patients will go where they can save money. They are not as concerned about changing their standard as they have been in the past. Mediocrity doesn’t matter!” (General dentist)

“Insurance companies are continuing to lower reimbursement yet costs rise and fees are stagnant.” (Missouri dentist)

“I’ve had patients put off fillings, crowns and routine cleanings, examinations, and radiographs because they had to pay their mortgage, car payment and utility bills instead.” (Illinois dentist)

“We went from an average monthly collections of $120k last year, to $142k/month for the first quarter of 2012.” (Indiana dentist)

“We are noticing a slow improvement, but we can’t bank on that continuing. It’s way too early to tell at this point.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“A lot of employers now have cut out dental insurance or lowered the maximum coverage. Patients now have many other expenses that they have been waiting to pay off before having elective dental treatment.” (Washington dentist)

“My practice is doing well but what about my real estate and the cost of gas? I appreciate the practice situation but it’s only part of the puzzle.” (California dentist)

“The recession is over for everything but large cosmetic cases.” (General dentist)

Dental Marketing Intelligence Report™

Dental marketing from Internet Dental Alliance, Inc. (IDA) now features a subscription to the Dental Marketing Intelligence Report™. IDA uses dental marketing intelligence to monitor economic trends in general, and dentist market trends in particular.

Dentists can use the Dental Marketing Intelligence Report™ to predict their economic future – especially whether patients are going to feel confident and secure enough to show up at your door for dental treatment. Visit www.internetdentalalliance.com/dmir to check out a sample of this valuable report.

Dental Practice Burnout: 5 Symptoms and 5 Remedies

Dental Practice Burnout: 5 Symptoms and 5 RemediesAccording to the University of California, Irvine Department of Medicine, the health professionals most at risk for burnout are physicians, nurses, social workers, dentists, care providers in oncology and AIDS-patient care personnel, among others.

In many of The Wealthy Dentist surveys dentists have complained of career burnout.

Burnout is considered either emotional or physical exhaustion, usually caused by stress at work. It was initially described in the 1950s by Hans Selye as ‘the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it and discouragement in the work setting’.

According to the U.C. Irvine report, burnout is viewed also as a complex of psychological responses (strain) to the particular stress of constant interaction with people who are in need. Differing from other interactional symptoms related to job stress is the effect on others seen as a depersonalization of clients.

Symptoms of Burnout –

1. Negative Feelings.
Feelings of disillusionment and being ‘stretched too thin’. Feeling that you aren’t making a ‘difference’ in your approach to lifelong goals. Other feelings of burnout are the feeling of being ‘run down’, easily frustrated and feeling that you are unable to concentrate.

2. Interpersonal Problems.
Your tolerance level drops as the burnout grows and you find yourself increasingly unable to handle social interactions. You begin to dehumanize your relationships by thinking of your dental patients not as people but as objects.

3. Physical Manifestations.
Burnout shows up physically as exhaustion, muscle pain, headaches, insomnia, respiratory illnesses, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, and hypertension.

4. Substance Abuse.
Often people suffering from burn-out will self-medicate their anxiety, depression and insomnia with drugs or alcohol.

5. Inefficiency at Work.
Burnout causes productivity to wane as you become less effective overall, either by hiding in your office or staying away from work more often.

Remedies for Burnout –

1. Take a Two Week Vacation.
Quite often by distancing yourself from your work you will be able to make some decisions on things you can do differently to alleviate stress when you return to your dental practice.

2. Cut Back Your Work Hours.
Sometimes burnout appears from an unwillingness to delegate job duties. Consider cutting back on your work load by delegating tasks you don’t enjoy and consider cutting back your dental practice hours if you can.

3. Schedule Time For You During the Day.
Make sure you always take a lunch break. Make it at least an hour and a half three days a week and schedule some light exercise for the last half hour like a brisk walk around the block or a yoga class.

4. Put Your Health First.
Go to bed at the same time every night and work on getting enough sleep. Look at your diet and see where you can cut out high sugar foods, and make time to relax with good friends on weekends.

5. Write Your Thoughts Down.
Some people find that keeping a journal at home and expressing your feelings of frustration on paper can go a long ways towards helping you deal with burnout. Commenting anonymously on this blog might even help too.

The most critical thing about burnout is to recognize it’s a shout out from your exhausted self. Try changing things up a bit in your life to break out of your routine. Come into the office thirty minutes later, drive a different route to work, learn a new hobby, or work on something you love. Take a break and list all the reasons you chose dentistry as your profession in the first place.

Have you ever suffered from burnout?  What advice would you give dentists for dealing with burnout?

Dental Practice Management: Raising Treatment Fees Driven by the Economy

Raising treatment feesOne of the most complex decisions when it comes to running a dental practice is raising treatment fees.

Many dentists are hesitant to increase their fees over fears that they will see a reduction in patients.

The fact that the U.S. is currently reentering a second major economic slowdown in three years turns a fee increase into a serious dental practice management issue.

As one Illinois dentist put it, “I am concerned about raising fees and losing patients who already have money woes.”

The Wealthy Dentist decided to survey dentists and ask them when was the last time they raised their
fees. Here is how dentists responded:

  • 27% raised their fees in the last 6 months.
  • 29% raised their fees in the last year.
  • 26% raised their fees in the last 2 years.
  • 11% raised their fees in the last 3 years.
  • 7% raised their fees in the last 5 years.

Suburban dentists were 3 times as likely to have raised their fees than their urban or rural counterparts.

What dentists had to say:

Economic woes …

“I am hesitant to raise fees due to present “slow” period.” (Kansas dentist)

“I raised them in the last 6 months, but I had not raised them for 3 years because of the economy.” (Texas dentist)

“We wait and see how the economy does.” (Tennessee dentist)

“It’s tough-as-hell to do in this economy.” (Illinois dentist)

“With this economy and my competition, I felt I should lower some of my fees.” (Missouri oral surgeon)

Keeping pace with inflation …

“We at least raise them annually to cover for inflation (approximately 3%). We raised our gold crown fees significantly more due to the increased price of gold and the lab fees.” (Ohio dentist)

“We raise them every year usually by about 2 – 3%.” (Minnesota dentist)

“Gold is up, so fees must follow. Our distributors adding gas surcharges, so they need to be addressed.” (New York dentist)

“Fees should be raised every year to keep up with inflation, increased supply fees and the loss of value of the dollar.” (Kansas dentist)

“We raise them every year on Jan. 1.” (Florida dentist)

“We raise our fees on a rolling schedule. We raise fees in certain areas (hygiene one quarter, crowns the next quarter etc.) every quarter. We base our fee increases on the prevailing fees in our zip code which we obtain through an annual fee survey which we purchase. While it may not be 100% accurate, it gives us a guide as to the fees in the area.” (Illinois dentist)

Insurance is a problem …

“How can we raise fees when insurance dictates everything anyway? One time a patient has Met-life that pays the fee for a service and the next time that we see them they still have Met-life, but the fee-schedule plan is at greatly reduced fee. Our fees don’t seem to make much of a difference. The insurance companies set fees at 1995 levels.” (Texas dentist)

“Are other dentists experiencing denied, or reduced fees that are submitted to the insurance companies lately (e.g., Delta)?” (California dentist)

“I haven’t raised fees for 3-4 years. I used to raise them every year. But raising fees is almost a moot point because the majority of my patients are on PPO insurances that are not raising fees at all, and in some cases, lowering reimbursements.” (Nevada dentist)

Have you raised your treatment fees? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Dentists Say Dental Practice Revenue for 2011 Depends on US Debt Ceiling

dental practice revenue 2011The contentious economic theater playing out over raising the debt ceiling has some dentists worrying about practice revenue.

The Wealthy Dentist decided to ask dentists if they projected their dental practice revenue for 2011 to be more than it was in 2010.

A Illinois dentist replied, “It depends on when the debt limit is set.”  Another Illinois dentist agreed by saying, “If Washington can just get it together, we’ll be fine.”

Dentists were evenly split with their responses: 38% of the dentists surveyed said their revenue in 2011 will be greater then 2010; 30% said their revenue will not be better than 2010; 29% felt their revenue would be the same, while 3% weren’t sure.

Here’s what dentists had to say about 2011 dental practice revenues

Revenues are down for some –

“We are probably down about 5-7% from 2010.” (Illinois dentist)

“So far we are 3% less.” (Louisiana dentist)

“My gross revenues are about 1/2 of what they were before 2008.” (California dentist)

Too many dentists worry others –

“We have too many dentists in same small area.” (Oklahoma dentist)

“There seems to be too many dentists here.” (Florida dentist)

“Can we turn off the flow of new dentists? Or at least reduce it? I don’t know one general dentist with revenues up in 2011 and more numbers of dentists than ever going to managed care practices driving fee prices down. It’s terrible.” (Colorado dentist)

Some dentists are thriving –

“Up 40% over 2010 which was a good year.” (California dentist)

“An office with good leadership will thrive in any environment!” (Kansas dentist)

“We are projecting to do 2.2 mil this year with one doc and three hygienists.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

Reinvention is key –

“I’m taking courses and adding more treatment options to increase profitability.” (Virginia dentist)

“In spite of the weak economy we have had increased revenue the past three years. We have advertised using discount based ads based on the economy. They have worked well.” (Colorado dentist)

“Every 3 months we examine how many unscheduled treatments are out there and make a personal call to the patients to see what the issue is and work with them to get them into treatment.” (Oregon dentist)

“I am currently ahead in production about 20%, but collections are behind and we are readdressing our financial policy.” (California dentist)

“A 5 percent increase over last year. We work 4 days a week about 9 hours a day. We noticed for us in downtown Philadelphia, that patients do not tend to show up on Fridays and Saturdays in the summer. We have a summer schedule where we work Mon. Tues. Wed. and have a long weekend. That has been the best change of schedule and thus our time at the office is more productive.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

How is your dental practice revenue in 2011?

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