I graduated from Loma Linda University’s School of Dentistry in 1996 and in 1999 bought my own general dental practice in Redlands, California. There are three dentists, one specializing in pediatric dentistry, and two hygienists.
We used to do a lot of HMO-type insurance work which wasn’t paying very well. A year ago, I was in that fearful moment where I was going to drop all the HMOs, but I didn’t know if I would survive the transition. They do bring in some money, but you have to work too hard for it.
At that time I received a letter from a doctor telling about his experiences with Sterling. Some issues he wrote about—problems with staff and also with insurance companies—were the exact things I had on my mind at that moment in time. Realizing I could use some help with making the transition away from doing HMO work, I decided to call and find out more.
I went out to Sterling’s offices for two weeks of management training in August. What I really liked was that I was learning the information and coming back to implement it rather than just having a consultant come in here to do it for me. The material and the knowledge I have received from doing the courses myself is invaluable. Now I can continue to keep up the organizational actions and I can apply it to a second office or however I want because I now have the knowledge.
The experience with Sterling was very fun, relaxing and enjoyable, but it was also very focused. The courses in statistical management and how to manage staff were very eye-opening. As a result of what I learned, the staff respect me more and see me as more of a leader rather than just a nice guy. I also learned how to prioritize and organize my life so I was getting things done instead of just piling things up.
I came back with a lot of energy, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The next month I had a consultant come out to the office so I was able to implement the program much faster than I could have on my own. We reorganized the staff duties for each position in the office to achieve greater efficiency and created staff manuals so the employees know what they should be doing. In addition to knowing their main functions better, they also know what they should be doing when they have down time so all the little things get done which otherwise might slip through the cracks. And, since all the duties are written down, it means they don’t always have to come ask me what they should be doing next.
Our production nearly doubled that month. That was a huge increase, but the great part is that it didn’t then crash back down to the earlier level the following month. No, instead of going up and down the way it would previously, the practice stayed at that new higher level and has continued to go up from there. Our bottom line went up as much as 80%!
Being organized and with the priorities straightened out has made me more relaxed and more comfortable rather than being stressed about work. Although I’m running a busier practice than I had before, I still have more time at home than I ever used to have. I have a three month old daughter and a two and a half year old son. That little boy, he’s daddy’s boy. It’s helped a lot being able to be home with him in the evenings. We’ve been having a great time together the last six months.
The help that I got from Sterling has been invaluable in increasing the productivity and success of my office. The practice is running smoothly and expanding, while I spend my evenings playing with my son.
Tres Hoffer, DDS