New Patients, Inc.

New Patients, Inc. is an advertising agency exclusively for dentists. We create and deploy advertising that brings quality new patients to our client practices.

Issue: # 3 December/2007
News You Can Use from New Patients, Inc.
Dear Barbara Carneiro,

Getting high quality new patients to call your practice is what our company has been all about for the last 18 years. Our goal for these periodic newsletters is to give helpful marketing advice that will assist you in building your practice. In this issue we have articles by Mark Dilatush and me. We're also very pleased to have a special "guest speaker" - Dr. Adam Persky. He covers the important topic of handling medical emergencies in the dental office.

Warm regards,
Howie
How to Get More Referrals from Specialists 
By William Howard (Howie) Horrocks

Recently I got this message from a client friend of mine. He was upset about the lack of referrals he was getting from an orthodontist to whom he frequently refers his patients.

 

"Dear Howie,

 

As you know, I am a solo practitioner and my office is pretty busy. I don't take ANY managed care plans so the caliber of patient I send to the orthodontist is pretty darned good.

 

I refer out about $150,000 worth of ortho each year (this represents patients who DO follow through). I pay big bucks for an advertising budget so when I send these FREE referrals (gifts) to the orthodontist, you'd think he would try to reciprocate in some way, wouldn't you? I'm sending him the fruits of MY hard earned labor. The only difference between a referred patient and a gift is that the patient does not show up wrapped with a ribbon and bow.

 

We would get together for lunch about twice a year and I would always hint that I wouldn't mind a referral or two from him. He would nod, and everything stayed the same.

 

After about five years I had sent him over $500,000 worth of ortho. He sent me not one referral, although I did get a nice assortment of chocolates at Christmas. Finally one day I asked him why he didn't reciprocate with the referrals.

 

He said that there was a dentist right across the street from his office and that it was easier for his patients to go there. I reminded him that there are many orthodontists closer to my patients too, but that I urge them to see him - AND THEY DO.

 

He said, 'Well, you are a good dentist. I guess I could refer some patients to you.' But he never did.

 

What is it with these guys?"

 

My reply:

 

"Perhaps the light will go on when your (ex) orthodontist realizes his gross just declined by 6 figures.

 

This is a hot button issue with me too. Whenever we work with a specialist we always ask, 'Just exactly what do you do for your referring GPs?' Mostly what they say is just what you've said, i.e., 'Oh we really take care of them.' But they think that means a crummy fruit basket and a thank you note once a year. It's a joke!

 

Do you know how easy it would be for a specialist to really build his/her practice fast? This baloney about taking the GP out to lunch every other month is ridiculous. In most GP offices, you know how much influence the front desk has regarding where to send referrals. It's huge!

 

Why don't specialists have their office manager take the GP's front office staff (or at least the office manager) out to lunch TO A VERY NICE PLACE to discuss helping them? How often do you think the front desk ladies are taken to a nice restaurant for lunch? Do you think they would LOVE it? And if the specialist's office did it every other month, can you imagine how many referrals that were supposed to go to Dr. Jerk end up going to Dr. Smart?

 

And the front desk would really give Dr. Smart a big buildup so the patients would be very receptive to treatment when they saw Dr. Smart. How about if the specialist did some research about the GP's likes and hobbies? Every other month the specialist could send a great (I mean like Chateau Lafite) bottle of wine, or a round of golf, or a gift certificate to a very fine restaurant, or a two night stay at a nice resort within driving distance.

 

Schooling the office staff should be a major thing in specialist's offices just like it is in yours. They need to know that they LIVE off you, and that they should act enthusiastic, like they are receiving a gift when the GP's office calls.

 

Do you think Dr. Smart would have just about every dental office referring to him? You bet!

 

Let's consider this.

 

Send a letter to all the specialists in a 5 mile radius of your office. Send it on your letterhead and with your practice return address. They'll open it because they will think it's a referral from you.

 

The letter says something like this:

 

'Dear Dr. Ortho,

 

I'm writing to you today because I'm looking for a good orthodontist.

 

Last year I referred out over $80,000 in orthodontic cases to just one practice. I've recently become unhappy with this specialist and now I'm looking for another.

 

My name is Dr. John Smith. I'm a general and cosmetic dentist located in the Briar Creek Shopping Plaza.

 

The main reason I became unhappy with the specialist I had been referring to was not because he wasn't a good orthodontist, he was actually quite good. It was because in 5 years, even though I sent him over 50 patients, he never sent me one! I felt under-appreciated to say the least. I had the idea that an $80,000 gift from me should be worth more than a few oranges and bananas. He apparently felt otherwise.

 

If you are interested in establishing a mutually beneficial cross referral arrangement with me please call the number above. We can have lunch and talk about how we can help each other.'

 

Then when you meet you can be more specific.

 

'I will refer my ortho cases to you, will build you and your staff up and see that the patient actually arrives. In return I expect referrals from you, I expect you and your staff to recognize the value we represent to you, I expect your staff to be jazzed about my practice and enthusiastically promote us at every opportunity. And I expect this to be ongoing. Periodically we will both evaluate how we're doing and make a decision on continuing the arrangement, changing it or dropping it altogether. What do you say?'

 

I bet you'd end up with a good orthodontist, one who valued your referrals and would reciprocate. And it would be a smart thing for the specialists to send a similar letter to some neighboring GPs, describing just how well they'll take care of them if they refer."


Mr. Horrocks is the author of two dental bestsellers, Unlimited New Patients, Volume One, and Unlimited New Patients, Volume Two; Trade Secrets of America's Dental Marketing Guru. His agency, New Patients, Inc. produces advertising campaigns for private dental practices all over the US and Canada. For more information call (866) 336-8237 or on the web at www.newpatientsinc.com

Active Patients: Expanded 
By Mark Dilatush
Mark Dilatush

In this section, Mark Dilatush gives you step by step homework that you can easily implement with each installment of the newsletter. If you miss an installment and want to catch up, you can see previous installments here.

 

 

Last month, we talked about how to analyze the spreadsheet we've been helping you build. This month, I want to go one step further. I want you to add a column for your new patient numbers to the right of the column for each month.

 

Why? The average solo GP that works 32 hours a week will require 19 to 22 new patients each month in order to continue to grow revenues. This is of course, a very general and average measurement. But, it's an important one nonetheless. This assumes an average retention rate, average scope of treatment, average flip rates (tx acceptance), average everything basically. But that's ok. It gives us a "center point" of reference to use when we look inside the data.

 

Last week, we looked at the data and came to the conclusion that Dr. I.M. Reddy had a wide open back door. Dr. Reddy's patients were leaving faster than new patients were coming in. Our treatment plan was to close the back door. But is that the "whole" picture?

 

This week, let's take a look at our example with the new patient column added. Maybe it will shed even more light on what's really going on in Dr. Reddy's practice.

 

Here are the instructions on how to find the "true" new patient numbers from your practice management system.

New patient numbers are retrieved from your practice management system. A simple production report of the ADA code 00150 each month will give you the true number of new patients into your practice. Don't be fooled by your practice management software and how "it" measures new patients. Your software doesn't know how to measure new patients. Therefore, you have to be smarter than your software and run the production reports yourself. Of course, before you do - please confirm with your office staff that they are indeed posting a 00150 for all new patient comprehensive exams. If your office sees children and you use a different code for new comprehensive child exams, make sure you include those in your reporting.

 

 

 

Dr. I.M Reddy Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Month

N/P

Active Patients

Revenues

Avg Rev/Pt

 

 

 

 

 

1

16

833

$750,000

$900.36

2

17

831

$761,000

$915.76

3

14

826

$743,000

$899.52

4

11

819

$745,000

$909.65

5

15

821

$739,000

$900.12

6

12

816

$721,000

$883.58

7

16

811

$733,000

$903.82

8

9

812

$738,000

$908.87

9

12

809

$716,000

$885.04

10

17

811

$722,000

$890.26

11

12

806

$731,000

$906.95

12

13

799

$719,500

$900.50

 

Analysis of Data (with the new patient numbers inserted):

What else can we learn about Dr. Reddy's practice with the addition of the new patient numbers each month?

 

Remember our initial conclusion? Previously, we concluded that Dr. Reddy had a practice with a back door that was wide open. Well, that's not the whole story here is it? Dr. Reddy averages about 13 to 14 new patients a month. That's about 30% less than Dr. Reddy needs to productively feed a 32 hour work week.

 

We also see that there aren't really any wild swings in new patient numbers month to month. Everything is fairly steady. That's good. This is Dr. Reddy's performance base. Dr. Reddy's marketing dollar (whatever and wherever the practice is spending money to promote itself) has created a fairly predictable and solid base.

 

We also know by looking at the average revenue per patient column that Dr. Reddy's marketing dollar is bringing in good, solid, quality new patients. If it weren't, the average revenue per patient would be going down.

 

Conclusion:

We already knew that Dr. Reddy's back door is wide open. But now we know Dr. Reddy needs to take a look at the front door as well. Thirteen to fourteen new patients a month is good. But, even if the back door is closed, it is unlikely that revenues will make significant gains in the short term. Dr. Reddy needs to:

 

Review the marketing budget. Is it a reasonable, responsible budget?

Review the allocation of the budget (where the practice budget is invested).

Review the deployment of any marketing. It could be a simple volume adjustment that does the trick.

Make any necessary changes and track the future results vigorously.

 

Prognosis:

Short term, Dr. Reddy will probably "feel" a bit overwhelmed. After all, Dr. Reddy needs to work on the patients leaving the back door, while figuring out how to get good patients through the front door. But, long term, because Dr. Reddy is aware of what needs to be done - it will get done. Long term, Dr. Reddy will be fine.

 

Next month we take a look at how to analyze your new patient sources. That topic gets pretty involved, so it may take a couple of installments.

 

As always, if you have any questions at all about what is written here, feel free to email me at markd@newpatientsinc.com.

 

Have a fantastic holiday season everyone!

 
Mr. Dilatush has a unique combined background in dental technology, dental practice management, practice marketing, and dental business analytics, which was built over the past 23 years in dentistry. He and his team are responsible for building client marketing plans that pose the least risk to client marketing budgets with the highest potential return. Howard Farran said of Mark, "multitudes of dentists have benefited from the wisdom and integrity that Mark brings to every project. His thoughtfulness and sincere approach has aided scores of dentists in finding their path to greater dental success."
Medical Emergencies in the Dental Chair - Are You Prepared?
By Adam Persky, DMD
 

"Don't wait until it's too late!" That's what I tell every dentist I meet. You really never think that it is going to happen to you and it may never happen, but when a medical emergency occurs in your dental chair you need to be prepared.

 

We all have that expensive "black box" with the emergency medications for our dental practices.  I know from speaking to hundred of dentists that when the box arrives, we unpack it, and put it in a safe place. We never open it, never read the instructions, never learn how to use any of the contents and only open it when we get the updated medications. Again we open the box, take out the drugs that are expired and replace them with the new ones. We then put the box away and hope we never ever need it.

 

We hear and read stories in the press about patients having heart attacks, allergic reactions, choking, seizures and the worst of all, dying in the chair. And again we say to ourselves "it will never happen to me, I have an emergency drug box in my office."

 

Your Black Box May Be Obsolete

 

One of my very good friends is an Emergency Room Physician. Dr. D. is the medical director of the Las Vegas Emergency Department, Ringside Physician with the Nevada Athletic Commission, and a medical consultant to several Las Vegas arenas and venues.

 

Bottom line is that he has extensive experience in the area of medical emergencies. One day while we were sitting in my office, I received the shipment of the updated emergency medications for that wonderful black box. He opened the box and asked me if I really knew how to use any of the drugs and gadgets in the box. I said I could use a few but really would not know how to use all of them. He laughed as he looked through the box and was amazed on how complicated it was.

 

He told me that there are simple tricks, techniques and drugs that would make this box obsolete and give me the confidence to handle a medical emergency in my practice and in my home.

 

What Kinds of Emergencies Can Happen?

 

I have put together the following list of the most common:

 

1. Airway obstruction

2. Bronchospasm

3. Aspiration of foreign objects

4. Angina pectoris

5. Myocardial infarction

6. Hypotension

7. Hypertension

8. Cardiac arrest

9. Allergic reaction

10. Convulsions

11. Hypoglycemia

12. Asthma

13. Allergic reaction to anesthesia

14. Syncope

15. Hyperventilation

16. Respiratory depression

17. Use of an AED

 

We started having lunch meetings where Dr. D taught me how to handle that list of 17 possible medical problems. I learned probably one of the simplest fixes for a patient having an allergic reaction. I would like to share this with you.

 

We all know that that "black box" has Benadryl that needs to be injected. The questions are; where do you give the injection, how do you give the injection, and when do you give the injection. Questions that now only take seconds to ask but in the middle of an emergency most of us will panic and not know what to do. Here's what to do:

 

Keep Benadryl 12.5 mg/tsp oral suspension in the medical emergency kit. If an adult has an allergic reaction, give 50 mg (4 teaspoons). The oral suspension is as fast acting as giving Benadryl subcutaneous and much less complicated. Patients will also be less frightened of drinking the oral suspension versus a subcutaneous needle injection. This can be done with any syringe, quick and easy.

 

After he told me how simple this I called the CVS next to my office purchased the Benadryl and stocked it. I cleared a shelf in the sterilization area and made a promise to myself and to my patients that in the next several weeks I would be prepared for any emergency.

 

Dr. D reminded me I had to should also develop an "Emergency Plan" for my office. Each staff member and doctor should have a specific job to do if an emergency occurred creating a controlled chaos, comforting the patient and also reducing the possibilities of future litigation. Each staff member should know what to do, when to do it and how to do it!

 

The Unthinkable Finally Happened

 

I had a patient experience a severe allergic reaction to some stimulus in my office. I had my assistant immediately get the drugs Dr. D. told me to have on hand, called out to my office manager to activate the 911 system. I took the Benadryl solution, filled a large plastic syringe with "4 teaspoons" of the medicine and gave it to the patient directly into her mouth as Dr. Dr had taught me. Within no time the patient positively responded. She didn't need an ambulance, she was a little shaken but after the fact told us she was very impressed on our professionalism and techniques.

 

If I didn't know Dr. D and if he didn't teach me this simple trick, who knows what would have happened.

 

Thanks to Dr. D. I am now confident that I can handle most emergencies in the dental office. It makes me feel good knowing that I am prepared.

 

Learn How

 

I decided right then and there that I needed to take this knowledge and experience of medical emergencies and teach it to other health professionals. Dr. D and I have developed a course on medical emergencies in the dental chair. It's a one day course on the list of emergencies above and the use of an A.E.D.

 

Along with Guy Nelson, North Las Vegas Fireman, we teach dentists, staff and family members on how to handle medical emergencies, how and when to use an A.E.D. and we teach you C.P.R.

 

If you are interested:

 

www.specialeventdocs.com  (click on "seminars")

Friday January 25th 2008

Suncoast Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

8AM to 5PM

$399.00   

 

Approved by Nevada Board of Dentistry for 6 C.E Points

For more information call (702) 220-7966.

 
Howie and Mark will also be speaking at this event! Register now.
 

Adam Persky, DMD, graduated from Tulane and Boston University Goldman School of Dentistry 1990. He is currently in practice with his wife, Dr. Silva Battaglin in Las Vegas. Recently he conducted a study on Mouthguards for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, involving 36 MMA and Boxing events for the purpose of making mouthguards more effective.

We hope you've enjoyed our newsletter. Please let us know if there's a particular subject you'd like to hear about. And we always appreciate your feedback.
 
Wishing you a pleasant holiday season,
 
Howie
In This Issue
How to Get More Referrals from Specialists
Active Patient: Expanded
Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office
Quick Links
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