Dr. Lambrechts has created incredible growth in the practice, all with the same patient load.
hygiene care, systems, team development, leadership, growth
In 2017, Dr. Marcel Lambrechts, Jr. had a growing concern about his patients.
The owner of Seven Pines Dental Group in Sandston, Virginia, Dr. Lambrechts strongly suspected an undiagnosed periodontal disease was leaving his patients untreated. According to the industry standard, his hygiene department was falling short compared to other dental practices.
“For me, the hygiene department was kind of a sore subject that had grown to a higher-level of frustration,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “I had tried several times to bolster the efforts and was frustrated by no improvement year over year. I felt I needed to make the practice better for our patients here in Virginia.”
Referred to The Team Training Institute (TTI) in 2017, Dr. Lambrechts heard about Wendy Briggs and “this amazing system disrupting hygiene departments that gets them going and doing things the right way for patients.” “I am super skeptical,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “I had never heard of Wendy and had no idea what she was about, but we decided to take the entire practice to the Hygiene Diamonds course.”
During the seminar, Wendy mentioned specific ways TTI could help. “She said, there’s even one practice here that can go up $800,000 per year,” Dr. Lambrecht recalled. “And I’m thinking that can’t be real or it must be a huge practice that has all these patients in it. She hands out these sheets of paper and the one that hit $800,000 worth of potential increase was mine.”
Dr. Lambrechts was shocked. “I was thinking, gimmick,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “I’m working as hard as I can work so I don’t understand this. I went home and told my wife, ‘They said that I can increase my practice $800,000, but even if we just got $30,000 more, it would pay for itself and maybe we’d be doing something better for our patients, giving them better care.’”What Wendy said excited his staff, especially his lead hygienist, Kathy Muse. So, after seeing their numbers change upon implementing the things they’d learned, he decided to have Wendy come to their office for an all-day training in August and a second training in October 2017. “Wendy’s enthusiasm and excitement about dentistry were infectious,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “I think every time she came in; our numbers went up the next day.”
Taking the fast track, he jumped from Hygiene Diamonds to Blue Diamonds quickly. “It was one of the best things I did,” he said. A year later, when the opportunity to join the CEO Mastermind came up, Dr. Lambrechts didn’t hesitate. “Once I saw what we were doing, I was like why would we want to stop here?” Dr. Lambrechts said.
Since joining TTI, Dr. Lambrechts has experienced significant growth and improved patient care. He’s protected thousands of more teeth, increased retention, experienced higher profits, and increased revenue 55%. “The periodontal department is 1000% better. Hygiene’s better. Same-day dentistry is huge.” Dr. Lambrechts said.
Before TTI, growth only reflected the increase Dr. Lambrechts made in his fee structure, generally about 3% per year. “Our growth numbers are ridiculous,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “In the latter half of 2017, when we joined TTI, we went up 13% ($300,000), which was really remarkable. The next year we went up 17%, about $500,000. This past year, we went up 22% ($800,000) which was crazy. Now we’re a machine, every month is a record month.”
He’s protecting more teeth too, without having to increase his workload. “We’re working with the same patient load that we had,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “We’re just treating them better.” His office went from doing 68 fluorides and 209 sealants for an entire year to 3,800 fluorides and 3000 sealants in 2019. “The production of those two things alone in 2019 is right at $260,000 of our production increase compared to looking back, the production was right at $11,000,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “And that’s making things better for our patient. Plus, we lowered the price of sealants in 2019.”
Here are 11 Strategies Seven Pines Dental Group Used:
#1: Give Clarity to Your Staff
Giving staff information so there is no confusion over what you are trying to accomplish is key. “The biggest thing we’ve learned is awareness,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “There’s a whole chain of things you need for the staff to buy-in. If any of the chains are missing, they get confused or resistant and they’re not going to follow along. We’ve fallen into those pitfalls a couple of times and nothing happens. Making them buy-in is the key. If you don’t, there are lots of different ways things can go bad.”
#2: Put Systems in Place
“We use TTI’s systems,” Kathy said. “For example, we use the 2-2-2 system. Basically, we’re doing what they call closing your back door, which means the patients aren’t leaving, and our retention rate is high.” Same-day dentistry is also a huge addition for them.
#3: Hold Meetings Often
Essential to their success are daily morning huddles and monthly meetings to keep everyone informed, accountable and on track. Prior to joining TTI, they only held meetings quarterly at best, sometimes only once a year.
Meetings help staff understand the clarity of their roles and reinforce everything Dr. Lambrechts is trying to accomplish which helps with compliance. “Before, we really didn’t have a lot of inner-office discussions,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “It’s changed dramatically. Meetings make these systems stay in place. You have to hit it the next day, the next week and touch on the things that are important to your practice. you’ve got to revisit it. Otherwise, it just gets forgotten.”
Two keys Dr. Lambrechts credits to his successful meetings are being super organized and using a tool TTI introduced him to called Dental Intel. (Dr. Lambrechts credits his office manager April Epling for his organization.)
During morning huddles, they use the data from Dental Intel. “We know going into that day how many patients we have, how much we have scheduled, what we need to do to meet that daily goal,” April explained. This also helps them with seeing where opportunities lie. For example, when reviewing the schedule, if a patient with a treatment plan is coming in that day, they will try to fit in additional treatment that day.
In addition to daily huddles, regular meetings are scheduled for the entire staff, the hygiene department, admin staff and the team leads. April Epling and Dr. Lambrechts meet weekly to discuss where the numbers are and what they need to focus on. Plus, monthly meetings with TTI coach Sherri focus on strategy to keep them on track. “We go over our success loop, look at the numbers and see where we need to target better,” April explained. “It really has been helpful to have her (Sherri) guiding us as to what we need to do.”
#4: Take Immediate Action
Immediately after attending TTI meetings, Dr. Lambrechts and his team leads use their travel time to create a plan of action. “On the way home, we discuss ‘What did we learn? What do we want to implement? How do we want to make this happen?’” Kathy said. “Then on Monday we put it in place and have a meeting to discuss with the staff. We tell them this is what we learned, and this is what we’re doing so we can get it in place before we forget.”
#5: Develop Protocols
“TTI assisted us in developing protocols,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “Now when we onboard new employees, it’ll be a lot easier for them to integrate into the office.”
#6: Schedule an Office Reboot
“Through TTI, we did what we call an office reboot,” Dr. Lambrechts explained. “The reboot reorganizes all of your inventory to make it visual so you can see everything you have... the ordering has been better and that system and protocols definitely have helped with keeping costs down. We no longer end up with four real expensive things hidden in drawers.”
#7: Develop Team Leaders
Dr. Lambrechts is setting himself up for growth by developing team leaders. Currently, his team leaders include a hygiene lead, an assistant lead, treatment coordinator, office manager, and himself. He also brings team members to every meeting. “Responsibility wise, I have definitely felt relief off my shoulders with people like April and Kathy taking the lead on some of the office responsibilities,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “And as we move forward, April’s role will shift into more about a practice administrator role for multi-practice administrator which takes a load off my mind so I’m able to implement the changes in the new practices as we grow.”
#8: Trust Your Staff
“I trust my staff to do the right thing,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “I don’t care who the doctor is, if he doesn’t rely on his staff and give them the empowerment to do what they’re able to do and free them up, you’re going to fail. That’s all there is to it. You can’t lead by being a dictator. You’ve got to have people help.”
#9: Get a Coach
“Everybody needs a coach,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “And that’s where people like TTI coach Sherri and Team Training Institute come into play. They’ve been very helpful in helping us guide our team leads and so forth.”
Coaching is an asset to his staff too. “When you get to a frustrating point or you’re not sure about something, it’s nice to have somebody you can shoot an email to and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s happening. What do I need to do?” April said. “And Sherri will shoot you back an answer.”
#10: Tiger-Proof Your Business
“Dr. Lambrechts is in the process of hiring another dentist to take over some of the production. “I’m a strong provider, but I don’t want to make the practice crash if something were to happen to me,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “We all face health issues and other concerns and so being tiger proof is really up there on the list of things I want to be.”
#11: Replace Your Income with Profits
At the time of this interview, Dr. Lambrechts was purchasing a second practice with plans to continue adding practices. Being a member of the CEO mastermind group has been instrumental.
“Dr. John is excellent,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “He’s a good sounding board for a lot of the questions that come up. It’s nice to have a guy that has many practice opportunities under his belt that I can trust and ask without the fear of sounding stupid.” He’s also developed a network of peers through quarterly meetings and the CEO mastermind who openly share information. “The other dentists and I ask questions of each other all the time,” Dr. Lambrechts continued. “It’s nice to have that because if you’re trying to ask questions in your own neighborhood of other dentists, it’s not the same. You don’t feel like you can open up. Most people are very private about their numbers, their job, what they do and how they do it. With TTI, it’s a lot easier to talk to somebody because I’m not a competitor.”
While growth is up, frustration and overwhelm are down across the board. Plus, clinical changes are providing valuable extra minutes so his staff doesn’t feel rushed. “I was working harder than I had ever worked in my life and I was frustrated,” Kathy recalled. “Since joining TTI, I see fewer patients and we produce better care and more production... Offer your patients better care, better treatment, and the money follows just like they say.”
Dr. Lambrechts’ associate, Dr. John Peroutka agrees. “I feel like it’s a much better, well-oiled machine,” Dr. Peroutka said. “It’s more efficient and allows us to be even better and more professional. We get a lot of great feedback from our patients. And my income has gone up dramatically. But to me, that’s secondary to working in a great place that I feel very good about treating all of our patients. It really trumps everything.”
Dr. Lambrechts stresses if he can do it, anyone can. “I’m just an ordinary guy,” Dr. Lambrechts said. “I do work hard, but had we not found TTI, my practice would still look like it did in 2016 with 68 fluorides and 3% growth. Now every month is a record month and the nice thing is we’re providing better services for our patients. We’ve done a lot because of the growth we’ve had. If you stick with it TTI will work for you.”