Winter 2002

Table of Contents

Cynthia McKane-Wagester
President, McKane & Associates

Ten Savvy New Year's Resolutions
Make your practice better in 2002!

Cynthia McKane-Wagester

Cynthia McKane-Wagester is the founder of McKane & Associates, a full-service business management and public relations firm servicing health care practices. Her company's expertise is in developing excellence in staffing, systems and work philosophy, and ensuring that all team members, whether proven or inexperienced, adapt their skills to meet the ever-changing workplace. She is the author of "Dental Hygiene, a Practice Within a Practice," and "Dental Hygiene, Pulse of the Practice." She can be reached at her offices in Maryland at 1-800-341-1244 or you can e-mail her at


For a more productive and profitable 2002, try implementing some or all of the following New Year's Resolutions in your practice:

  1. Enjoy your work. Since we are on this earth for such a short time, we should all engage in work that we are passionate about and that makes us feel happy and satisfied. Take the time to think about the excitement and enthusiasm you felt when you first began to practice dentistry. Remember what it was that made you feel that way and try to rekindle that spark.

  2. Smile More. Do it even when you don't feel like it. More often than not, someone will smile back. Smiles are contagious. The positive outlook you project through your smile will empower your entire staff and give even your crankiest patient something to think about. It's a sure-fire way of making your practice a much friendlier place to be.

  3. Acknowledge your team. Make it a personal policy to compliment someone on your team every day for a job well done. Provide opportunities for growth and advancement. Recognize the long-term value of job satisfaction, good working conditions and a pleasant work environment.

  4. Make the office a nice place to visit and to work. Do a walk-through of the entire office and make a note of everything that should be cleaned, upgraded or patched within the next 12 months. Set a realistic deadline for each item that needs fixing or correcting. Treat yourself, your staff and patients to an attractive new watercolor painting, pleasant scenic photographs, or a dental cartoon for the practice.

  5. Make your practice a household name in the community. Contribute to worthy community projects by sponsoring a walk-a-thon or an athletic event for a charitable cause, or maybe offer your services as a guest lecturer at a community event. Show support for the community, and the community will support you and your business.

  6. Set Goals. Have your staff set goals with realistic deadlines and consistently encourage their commitment to achieve those goals. To build interest, offer a reward for the best idea or goal. Also, find space in the office to post everyone's goals as well as the corresponding deadlines.

  7. Re-commit your practice to providing the highest professional standards. You and your staff should make a firm commitment or re-commitment to ensuring the provision of fair and ethical standards for patients and the practice as a whole. Everyone should commit to at least one continuing education course for the year to keep abreast of the regulated standards.

  8. Incorporate the "Collection Begins Before Production" philosophy. Explain all fees before performing the prescribed treatment. Never allow patients to think that making a payment is unimportant. Resolve never to allow a tooth to be drilled, or an x-ray to be taken, without a firm and pre-set financial arrangement.

  9. Improve your case presentation skills. Review your exam and treatment proposal scripts, and your closure statements. If they are out-dated and over-used, spruce them up. If they are boring, spice them up. Make sure they motivate and educate. Allow your team to role-play in order to perfect your chairside manner and their front desk communication.

  10. Commit yourself to a great program. Resolve to retain 90% of your existing patients for the coming year. Make an effort to call, write and encourage previous patients to return. Focus on creating value by educating all of your patients so they become loyal customers of your practice.


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