Dr. Mahesh Patel’s practice in metro Chicago has kept him and his five staff very busy for the last twelve years. He’s been a Sterling client since March of 1998: “My personal feeling toward dentistry was going downhill. I didn’t have the energy or push to drive the practice to the next level. We didn’t have a problem with profit margin or production, per se. The main thing we were going through was staff turnover and not having any type of goals for the future. We weren’t doing anything in a successive step way toward completing our goals. Those were the situations I wanted to improve that led me to Sterling.
“Aside from the actual knowledge that you gain of the different steps to go through to get the practice where you want it (which was all great!), you gain the feeling from the Sterling program that you could basically accomplish anything you want to. That it is just up to you. That feeling was the real major gain that I got, apart from the information I learned. I didn’t have that feeling before I got there, and I did when I left. That has made a big, big difference.
“It really hit home when my two staff members went to the Sterling workshop, because then it became very real to them and pulled us together as a team after that. Going to that two-day practice management workshop in Chicago was a very important thing.
“We wanted to get the staff in first before we started working on the organizing board. We have that now. We got a full-time hygienist last week. My receptionist is being trained to be a manager and we have a part-time receptionist in training now. In the back we have a full-time assistant. It is starting to come about where we have a full array of staff. Now we can put in the organizing board and put more of the technology into use.
“Production has increased. I’ve had more time off. I had a vacation. Our collections run about 98%. We’ve had collection agencies tell us that we don’t need them.
“One of the things that you get coming out of Sterling is a different frame of mind (after the courses), a different feeling of how patients should be cared for. We used to do a lot of soft selling, and that ends up with the patients suffering in the long term. So, we’ve stopped that. In the long term we are really caring for them on a much higher level now. We are applying that now, caring about the person and insisting that they get the service they need. When you talk to them in that way, they understand what you are trying to do. The treatment plans are better for the patients. We are doing more treatment planning now; our patients are better educated.
“There was a big change in my leadership after Sterling. Before, I was carrying all the jobs myself, doing very little delegation. I didn’t have a full understanding of how to help someone attain her job. I was almost impatient with that, which meant that I ended up doing everything! Delegating is a continual process. There’s still a whole bunch more that I need to delegate to the staff; it takes time, but we are doing it.
“The consulting we are getting from Sterling is very, very good. It’s been an important part of keeping me focused on where I want to go. For a long time we’ve been looking for a hygienist. I talked with my consultant just before I interviewed the person I just hired. Some of the things she suggested as far as questions we should ask were very good, and she gave me some ideas on how to lock her in if I decided to hire her. I used that to lock her in, hired her starting now even though it will be a week before she gets her license. She’ll be working on the office re-call system while she’s waiting for her license. That really helped. Small things like that make a big difference in the long run.
“It is a lot easier in the office now. One of the biggest comments that struck home with me, was when my new office manager said, ‘You know, we used to be scared of you. Now we’re not scared of you, but we really respect you.’ That said it all, as far as how the Hubbard management technology works. That was a big thing for me, to have her say that out of the blue.
“I’ve had quite a few personal gains from the Sterling program. Aside from practice production and all of these things we’re doing in the office, I have been able to be at cause a good portion of the time. This is something I’ve never been before. In my life, this has really changed me, how I control things around me, my surroundings. I am causative in the way I approach life now rather than being the effect of life’s situations. It has changed my whole life. As far as what I want to do, where I want to be, I learned you can do anything if you want to do it. It is just a question of going through the steps and doing it. That feeling has meant so much to me!
“The Hubbard management technology is a nice, simple way to organize anything. You really could organize anything! I can’t stop talking enough about it. I’ve sent books about it to everyone in my family who is in a management position, so it will help them. It is so amazing! I don’t know how one person came up with all this in one lifetime.
“To another doctor I’d say I don’t care at what level your practice is, how much money you are making, do the Sterling executive program. The feeling that you’ll have is worth its weight in gold. You’re not going to get that feeling from any management course, per se; it just really fixes you and keeps fixing you. There’s a big difference. I’ve gone to a number of speakers and seminars in the past. It works fine for a couple of days or weeks, and then you go back to your old ways. They certainly don’t fix how you feel about your practice and your life.
“I feel very good about my practice right now. We have the people in place now and soon we’ll be at that level where I will feel that we’ve made some major accomplishments. We’re doing well now, but we’re headed to a totally new level of production in the office!”
Mahesh Patel, DDS