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a blog by Chris Barrow

Solving puzzles

For those who have or can get back to work, this week has been about solving puzzles:

  • Furlough

  • Fallow time

  • Surgery utilisation

  • Clinician remuneration

  • Patient triaging

At the end of week 5 in England, I have a minority of clients who are looking back at the Principal's revenues and reporting June collections as being around 40-60% of pre-Covid totals AND who are now almost back to 100% of daily pre-Covid collections. Result.

Note - that's the Principal only. Note - that's a minority. It does mean it can be done.

Those reporting that degree of recovery are either:

  • General dentists using the hygiene pop-in model;

  • Those embracing a complete virtual TCO-led consultation pathway;

  • Dentists with special interests in either short-term ortho, larger cosmetic cases and/or implants who are back to work with a bang, satisfying unmet needs from an existing and new patient database.

As an aside, I wonder if the current boom in new patient numbers is a symptom of the backlog catching up, or whether it will carry on into the Autumn and beyond?

Perhaps I should be the one saying that's dependent on the quality and quantity of your internal marketing.

The majority of Principals are not up to the levels of the aforementioned collections, as they are getting bogged down in emergencies, functional repair and preventative maintenance. In fairness, they are fulfilling their promises to patients but doing most of it themselves. Honourable but not necessarily paying the bills.

This is seen as the lesser of two evils - the greater evil seen as the return of hygienists/therapists/associates unless there's an awkward conversation about pay.

I'm not sure I agree with that view.

I've created a hygienist/therapist profitability calculator for my clients this week.

I shared it in a video tutorial for clients yesterday and we will be discussing it on a Group Zoom call at 13:00 today.

At the moment, it doesn't make good reading in isolation. I'm really struggling to make hygiene/therapy profitable for the practice.

However, I'm thinking that running your hygiene/therapy service at a loss (keep the same pay rates, bring in the hand scalers, accept that not all hours may be billable) may be a temporary necessity, so that you can get your own fee per item collections up to pre-Covid levels.

Never having been a fan of the "loss leader", it's uncomfortable to encourage my clients to go down that pathway - but - needs must.

We have to get Principals selling high-value treatment again.

This may be the way to do that.

This week has been a financial reality check for some and I'm keeping a close eye on the numbers.

It's 16 weeks since lockdown. Whatever state you are in, no matter how tired - well done you.

As always - Happy Friday - get some rest this weekend if you can and give yourself a pat on the back.

We can do this.

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