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A new trend that we are seeing among physicians across the country, especially internists, is a phenomenon called a “Concierge Doctor.” Fed up with low insurance reimbursements and the need to see a patient every few minutes, Concierge Doctors charge a yearly fee, typically $1500 – $1800 just for the privilege of being their patient!
This fee does include one very thorough physical each year; something they should have been doing anyway! It also comes with guaranteed access to your doctor by telephone and same/next day appointments. An internist with 600 patients (the maximum number) paying $1500 yearly is grossing $900,000 before they even pick up a stethoscope! Even if half of that goes to the company which administers the plan, it’s not a bad deal for the doc. And to that we say – “Way to go!!”
In dentistry things don’t exactly work that way. But we also don’t have to deal with Medicaid and insurance companies cutting our fees by 50% or more. However, just like our physician friends who decided to go “concierge,” we can have problems with our practices plateauing because we simply have a bottleneck. Many dental practices seem to be operating at or near capacity and the dentist and team are not earing nearly as much as they should.
Then it becomes a simple case of economics, and there are only two solutions: raise your fees or increase your capacity. The problem is, many of us are afraid to do either of these.
“If I raise my fees, I’ll lose some patients!” Well, maybe, but just like the concierge doctor, that’s kind of the idea!
Then there is the other choice – increase your capacity. Typically this involves hiring a new hygienist or associate, adding a few treatment rooms, performing more sophisticated procedures, or a combination of those.
“But if I do that, my overhead will go up!!”
Well, maybe temporarily. But if you really are even close to capacity, you’ll be amazed how quickly those hygiene or associate appointments will fill up. And even if they are only seeing a few patients a day while waiting for it to happen, you will be at least meeting your new overhead while growing the practice.
If your practice is not growing but you feel like you are busy and working hard, you are probably at capacity. And while you may not be able to become a “concierge doctor,” you CAN increase your fees, start doing some more lucrative procedures, increase your capacity, or all of the above! Now is the time to get started!!
If you would like more ideas about practice growth, be sure to become a member of Madow Powerhouse Coaching to share ideas with great practices all across the country! We’ll even give you a ton of free resources to get you going! Simply click here or call 1-888-88-MADOW!
What if your dental office has done nothing?
What if you’ve just watched the last fourteen years go by? No real website, no social media, no email marketing. What if you’re now ready to do something?
Author and expert marketer Seth Godin has made a list of his top things you should consider doing right now in your dental practice, especially if money is tight:
- Use gmail to give every doctor and team member in your dental office an email address.
- Use a free website creating tool or even Squidoo to build a page about your office. Nothing fancy, but list your location, your team (with descriptions) and make it clear you want to hear from people.
- Start an email newsletter using Mad Mimi or Mail Chimp. Give the responsibility for the newsletter’s creation and performance to one person and offer them a bonus if signups outweigh dropouts.
- Start a book group for every person who answers the phone, or interacts with patients and prospective patients. Read a great online media book every week and discuss it. It will take you about a year to catch up, but you will catch up.
- Offer a small bonus to any team member who starts and runs a blog on any topic. It does not have to be exclusively about dentistry. All health topics are great. Have them link it to your office site.
- Have the doctor post his or her (real) email address on every invoice and other piece of communication the practice sends out asking people to write to him or her with comments or questions.
- Start a newsletter for your vendors (labs, printers, reps, etc). Email them regular updates about what you’re doing, what’s selling and what problems are going on internally that they might be able to help you with.
- Look into using Basecamp to help with project communication among your team.
- Get a white board and put it in the break room. On it, have someone update the following: how many people subscribe to the newsletter, how many people visit the website, how many requests and questions come in by phone, how long it takes a team member to answer an email and how many Facebook fans your practice has.
- Don’t micromanage your new web strategy. Just do stuff. First you have to fail, then you can improve.
The problem is no longer budget. The problem is no longer access to tools.
The problem is the will to get good at this.