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The Economics of Efficiency

Part 2 - What becoming efficient can do for your practice

Dr. Chris Griffin, DDS
Dr. Griffin describes what becoming efficient can do for your practice.

So that’s where we come back to the economics of efficiency. I don’t know that anyone thinks about this a lot. Probably, certainly don’t think the way that I do. But let’s just take some even number for example. Let’s say you have eight hours in a day. Now most dentists work four eight-hour days a week. That’s just from my experience coach and dentist all around the country that’s just about what we usually do. Most dentists take Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays off. According to the ADA it’s a little bit less than this actually. But let’s just say the average hourly production in America is about $400 an hour. So according to that the average dentist is producing about $3200 a day. Now you know the old saying in dentistry. If you’re doing more than that you think somebody doing that they’re just super slow and awful dentist. If you’re doing less than that you probably think dentist doing that much are crooks. But that’s just what the ADA says is average. Now the $400 what makes that up? May be a couple of filling, a few new patient exam, a couple of extractions, a third of a crown. I mean not much. Four hundred dollars an hour is not much. So what you have to assume is there’s just not good patient flow. But if there were consistent patient flows coming through practice then I guess that’s all you’re able to do is you’re able to crank out a couple of extractions, a couple of fillings. The goal that I’d like to set for dentist around the country that I coach is $1200 an hour. Now you know that’s a number that I’ve been in a lot of groups with a lot of guys that were half producers. For one doc, $1200 is pretty good. A lot of practices can only get to $1200 an hour if they do a lot of specialty stuff for implants or something like that. That’s about, you know, I do a little bit more than that but not a lot. In my area of course we had very low fee. So if you have higher fees you wouldn’t have to do quite as much as we do. I was like $1200 maybe that’s a crown equivalent. It’s a couple of quadrants of filing instead of just fillings. Let’s say six extractions. It’s a good full mouth extraction for a guy with six teeth. But then if you can get your production up close to that level and you’ve been doing a lot less than that like the ADA average then you get choices. So $3200 a day that now becomes $9600 a day. So what was $12800 a week that’s going to become $38400 a week. The beauty in this, you can actually cut out a full day of practice if you’re producing at those levels and still do $28,800 a week if you were doing about 10,000. So that’s nearly triple by moving a full day out of your schedule and giving yourself instead of a three day weekend, a four day weekend if that’s what you were doing. You can do more. And you have two choices here. So you can do like I said and like I’ve actually done in my practice and cut a whole day off. Let’s say I want to be with my family or something that’s what I would prefer to do. But you could also just keep working the amount of days you’re working and gosh I guess you could start building your assets. And that’s something we all have to be conscious of these days is building your assets right. So I’ll just take quick minute. We’ll talk about three types of assets that everybody has these three types of assets. It’s all we have and I’ll tell how your practice fits into that. So you got passive assets. Now that’s investments of any, whatever we take our money out of practice we put into assets. We don’t have to do anything and it brings us money back, that’s passive. I don’t spend time on that. But that’s one of the ways you can do it. The active asset is very important. That’s where your practice fits in. Your practice actually gives fuel to the other assets you have like your passive assets until you finally reach a tipping point where you got the kind of money coming in that you really need. Now if you neglect your practice over time it’s going to take multiple times to get it back. If you neglect your practice for ten years in your prime earning years, I just don’t think you’ll ever going to be able to get that back honestly. And here’s the other asset we all have and that’s your time asset. Now I really think time is very important. I love spending time with my family. But you could take time off. You can spend time with your family whatever you like to do. Hobby stuff like that. Heck, you can do take time off to recharge and things. You know something a lot of dentists just don’t take the time to do. Me personally, I wanted every single minute in my practice just to be optimized for production. So I could spend fewer hours at the office, generate more income and spend a lot more time with my family. So just real quick and just run through some slides and show you what I decided to do with my extra day off that I've taken. We farm, you know I live in Mississippi, I live on a, well I don't live on it but I have a farm that's in my family, been farmed for over a 100 years, we grow pumpkins or corn or whatever we decide to grow this year. We do a lot of fishing, me and my kids. I'm able now to do a lot of giving back, I went to Mississippi State University, I've been down there, I've been able to speak to some of their classes, they have interviewed me as far as being a business owner. I've been President of the Alumni Association a few times. Get a few chances to go fishing with the coaches that is pretty cool. I was able to serve on the board of a Bible College, met a lot of cool guys through that. That's something that I would not have been able to do if I did not have this extra time. I was also able to do a lot of charity dentistry over the years. In 2010 Mississippi elected me as the Humanitarian of the Year for Dentistry because we got to do a lot of that charity work, me and my staff. Every year we go and do feel good dentistry, dentistry with a heart stuff like that and that's just something that I love doing. Coaching, now I've gone from a terrible coach to now I actually coach kids in sports, basketball, I've spent actually 750 hours of my time this year coaching baseball. I was the baseball coach for both of my sons on a twelve and under traveling baseball team. And of course vacation time, stuff like that. But my mission with all this that I'm telling you about is very simple, so I want you guys to be able to have the security and the lifestyle that you thought you were signing up for when you got into dentistry to begin with right? So you can have a bunch of stuff that you can talk about that you are not currently able to do. So as we go through these eight steps that I'm about to share with you that I think eight steps are highly important to building any kind of successful productive office. Just keep this thought in the back of your mind, How would your life be different if your practice produced to peek potential and you weren't there nearly as much to produce that amount. And I really think when it comes down to it, you shouldn’t have to wait to retire, to have all the fun you want, to be as rich as you want, have a good rich life. I really think you should be able to find a way to do it now and really do it through dentistry. Now if you want to do the other staff that’s fine. But use that active asset to your practice to do it through dentistry. Now I really believe that the age we’re living in, a lot of cosmetic dentistry and implants and ortho and sedation all those things are wonderful. They’re great things. But I think you need to build the base of your practice, the general dentistry base as big as you possibly can. To do that you’ve got to find a way to get a lot of patients in the door and then you got to make them happy. Now I’m going to flash a photograph up. I always tell my seminar audience this is my practice back home on a regular Monday morning. Now of course this is a photograph from the great depression one of those backgrounds but you get the idea. We’ve had months where we have 150 new patients in a month and those months are stressful on three days a week. I’m not going to lie to you. But we found a way to titrate that down to a good solid flow of patients. Of course, I’m a solo dentist. I’m not a group practice guy. I’m a solo guy. But you do have to find a way to get a lot of patients in and make them happy. We’ll talk about ways to do that faster, bigger and faster. Faster is something that I really believe in. The clinical efficiency that I started learning that day on the way to the institute from Scott Perkins actually originally, those things have gone with me through the years. I’ve actually modified a lot of things that I have learned from dentist. Actually when I learned a procedure I try to take it, really focus on it, distill it down to its most basic elements. I will not do a lot of steps just for the sake of doing a lot of steps. And we try to find a way to do the fastest entry possible while maintaining a real high clinical outcome. I want my dentistry to be as good as the next guy. I really do. And I also think one thing that is lacking in a lot of practices are those real winning systems. The Olympics were earlier this year and you had all these teams that came together and it's the same way in a dental practice. You know a dental practice, a lot of the practices that I coach they have these warring factions, you know they have the back staff and they have the front staff and a lot of times they are just locking horns. They are just going at it. But a really good coach if you can learn to be a really good coach is going to learn to bring those to factions together, give them a goal together and let them find a way to work towards the bigger, greater good goals for the whole team. The best question of the day. How are we going to be twice as productive in our practice, and then find ways to have more fun on the free time that we have off okay.