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a blog by Chris Barrow

Polyfilla patients

Interesting case study: Cosmetic dentist has average daily production of £3000. Usually sees 8 patients a day. Hires a new receptionist and doesn’t have the time to train her – she arrives from a big family maintenance practice. Three months later I am querying why the principal’s average daily production is down to £2100 per day? Answer – principal dentist is now seeing 16 patients a day. Why? Because the new receptionist has been trained (in her previous practice) to believe that if there is a gap in the appointment book, the practice will die and she will be sacked. So she is booking in every patient who calls with toothache, a broken tooth, a quick chat, a filling, every which way – if there is a gap in the book she fills it. Like Polyfilla in a wall full of cracks – pasting on the 5-minute, 10-minute “quickies”. The patients “don’t want to see the associate” and demand to be treated by the principal – receptionist sees the logic in that. Dentist is exhausted and irritable at work and at home. Revenue and cash flow are down. Receptionist is doing her best in the absence of a system. Polyfilla dentistry is for associates and therapists – not for principals. Beware – three months at 5 days a week and down £900 a day = £54,000 – an expensive price to pay for the lack of a few day’s training and monitoring.

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