I like dealing in black and white rather than grey ideas or systems. Last week we looked at the “math of direct referrals”. I want to dig little bit deeper this week to help you understand the importance of the patient/practice interface.
Last week we defined Consumerism as giving patients what they want, when they want it, and at a price they can afford.
• Giving them what they want: If you are plateaued and not growing, you are not meeting your patient’s needs. You can’t get better at giving them something they don’t want. That’s why understanding demographics is so important. Demographics dictate the type of practice, hours, and services you need to present to be successful.
• When they want it: Surely everyone can accept that the public is unique in how they choose a dentist or any other consumer driven business. Right at the top of the list is convenient hours. Monday through Thursday is no longer in the realm of realistic in our current dental economy. Ask your patients when they want to come in and they will say early (7-9), late (3-6), and Saturday. It’s that easy.
• At a price they can afford: We have to become more sensitive to the financial budgets of our patients. A single outside source of financing is not enough, and especially not enough if all you have is Care Credit. We have to learn how to fit what the patient wants and needs into their individual budgets. This takes a talented front desk team that knows how to work the system to the patient’s advantage while not creating risk for the practice by being the bank for patients who are not credit worthy.
Having a direct referral rate of over 50% means you are doing all of these things, but let me give you a similar statistic and another math lesson in the key practice indicator that is more important than production, profit, or numbers of new patients. The Practice Management Index (PMI) has been around for 3 decades. Its origin has been lost over the years but its relevance and importance to you is perfect in its simplicity and stark reality of truth.
Consider this as your “practice management batting average”.
Doctors who want to Summit bat over 300.
Michael Abernathy, DDS