Think of your practice as a bicycle tire supported by several spokes. One spoke represents revenue collections, while another represents finding a location. Other spokes represent attorneys, negotiators, real estate agents, marketing managers, and all the various disciplines that go into making a practice successful. It takes extensive planning and time management (on top of running the practice!) to bring all these resources together to support your practice, just as the spokes support the bicycle wheel.
Now think of a practice advisor as the hub. All of the spokes stem from this hub, and this one firm provides access to multiple resources across the board. Instead of scrambling for information in areas where you aren’t an expert, the practice advisor—acting as the hub—ties it all together. The result? Seamless motion in all aspects of your practice.
While dentists, optometrists and other medical professionals can do their own research, this places them at a disadvantage: They may not be aware of the latest trends and issues within a given area, but every minute spent learning about a new resource is time that could be spent building the practice.
A PROFITABLE PRACTICE
There are times in life when it is beneficial to be a “jack of all trades,” but your practice is too precious and too valuable to take chances. Did you know that seeing one new patient a day can equal an additional $45,900 a year in income? Or that even a five percent decrease in your collection ratio can have a devastating impact on your bottom line?
The Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu, once said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” While you aren’t walking a thousand miles, you are on a professional journey, and that’s why it’s so important that the steps are thoughtfully and carefully planned.
In short, a practice advisor can go a long way toward helping your practice become profitable and outline strategies now that will increase the value of your practice. Following are just a few of the ways a practice advisor can help you become profitable:
REAL ESTATE AND DEMOGRAPHICS
Consider the demographics of your area: Are you surrounded by young career professionals, college students, or retirees? Is there a new business scheduled to be built next to you? Are there plans to build another road that will cause traffic to bypass your practice?
A practice advisor is connected to the professionals who know the pulse of the community and the direction in which it’s going.
Maybe building isn’t for you, and you’d rather rent an office instead? Are you sure you’ve received the best deal from the landlord? Practice advisors are experts at rental negotiations and can help ensure you have received a fair price. In addition, practice advisors can analyze the rate of insurance participation within strategic target marketing areas and negotiate reimbursement rates.
How much time do you allow for routine dental hygiene appointments? This area is the backbone of many dental practices, and delays there can affect the profitability of the entire practice. Timely, appropriate assessments, knowledge of non-surgical periodontal therapy, and the variety of services your practice offers can not only improve customer service and your brand, but it can show patients they may need additional help beyond a regular cleaning.
What does this have to do with a practice advisor? They specialize in pinpointing areas of inefficiency in order to maximize profitability. They also search for missed opportunities. For example, do you have a room or an office that is not used, but has instead become a storage space? Why not rent that space to someone who may provide services that complement, but not compete with, your practice?
KPI AND EFFICIENCY MONITORING
It’s easy to notice when things aren’t going well, but why they aren’t going well may be another matter. KPI monitoring not only helps your practice set concrete, measurable goals, but it can also help you see why you’re falling short. A practice advisor is in an ideal position to help your practice with KPI monitoring.
PROVIDING A FINANCIAL PLAN OR POLICY
Does your dental office have a written financial policy? It’s important that all patients understand the policy and acknowledge this by signing the document. A practice advisor can provide guidelines for a solid financial policy that maximizes your revenue.
Should you offer incentives to encourage patients to pay early? What kind of payment options work best for both your patients and your practice? Don’t learn by trial and error! Ask your practice advisor.
ADDING VALUE TO YOUR PRACTICE
If you’re just out of dental school, retirement seems like a distant and far-off echo. But it’s important to set the stage for your retirement by ensuring that your practice is gaining value throughout your career instead of barely staying afloat. Often, the main difference between successful practices and unsuccessful practices lies in the quality of financial advice they are given.
If you’re considering transitioning or selling your practice, a practice advisor takes on all the legwork, working with attorneys and appraisers to ensure you are getting paid what the practice is worth. Many practice advisors not only offer tri-layered valuations, but they can also evaluate earlier appraisals to ensure accuracy.
TRAINING AND CUSTOMER SERVICE
Practice advisors also offer:
Project management task lists
Communication and customer service training
Case acceptance training