Let’s face it doctors. We didn’t attend dental school to become MBA’s and skilled business executives. Dental schools only have four years to equip us with the basic skills to deliver quality patient care. There is little time to teach us how to run a business. While a lot of dentists initially become associates or employees for a while after graduating, many of us will eventually own or co-own our practices. At that point in time, we become small business owners.
CEO’s and most small business owners take an active role in overseeing their companies. For these business owners, managing their company is their full-time job. As healthcare providers, our primary “job” is delivering quality patient care. Our next responsibility is communicating with patients, colleagues, laboratories and third-party payers among others. Then, we are expected to become the CEO of our practices. There’s plenty of time left at the end of the day for that, right?
No wonder many doctors are frustrated with the financial performance of their practices. Yes, we are small business owners and must oversee our business processes. However, to accomplish this, we must enlist the help of a dedicated dental team and utilize outside advisors so that we can manage our business-related duties while delivering patient care. To accomplish this goal, the dental team must accurately input data and understand which reports to generate. Doctors must, at the very least, possess the basic knowledge to interpret these reports and, when needed, seek assistance from outside advisors for ongoing monitoring and analysis.
The goal for doctors is to monitor the financial performance of their practices and to detect worrisome trends. The sooner these trends are detected, the quicker doctors can address and reverse them. The question is, which reports need to be generated, and how do doctors interpret them properly? Obviously, the answer to this question varies, but there are some fundamental reports that should be common to all dental practices. For the purpose of this article, I want to address perhaps the most basic report of all: the Day Sheet Report. Every dental practice management software program that I have encountered provides this report, albeit in differing formats.
So, just what is a Day Sheet Report? In my opinion, a true Day Sheet Report should, at a minimum, consist of the following daily totals: production, collections (all payment types), adjustments and the beginning and ending accounts receivable balance. Ideally, the production, collections and adjustments should be recorded as separate entries on a patient-by-patient basis. These individual transactions should be totaled at the end of the report. Depending upon the practice management software program, these transactions may be recorded in a single report, or may require printing multiple reports. By reviewing these transactions on a daily basis, doctors are in a better position to monitor and detect significant changes in their practice performance indicators.
At the end of each month, a summary Day Sheet Report should be generated that provides total monthly production, collections (all payment types) and adjustments along with the ending accounts receivable balance.
While the Day Sheet Report is a good starting point for most practices, there are additional reports that should be generated and monitored, and these reports will be discussed in this continuing series. The goal is to be able to balance your primary responsibility of delivering quality patient care with efficient monitoring of your business processes and still have a life outside of dentistry.