Quotas and Production Goals
In order to run a successful operation, businesses, such corporate dental practices, utilize “daily, weekly, or monthly production or sales quotas for patients or procedures, such as exams, crowns, or root canals” that dentists must fulfill (Lionberger 2017). Usually, corporate practices have these quotas, but private practices can implement them as well (“Do Sales Quotas Belong in Dentistry?” 2015). While some corporate practices do not prioritize quotas and profit over patients, others may do so, making them seem more focused on revenue instead of “quality care” (Gissey 2017; Lionberger 2017). While quotas and production goals give guidelines on maintaining the practice’s financial stability, primarily focusing on these quotas may lead to subpar or even unnecessary work and disconnection with the patients.
These quotas may harm the dentists’ and hygienists’ ability to focus on their patients’ well-being. Quotas and production goals help practices make enough income to pay for their expenses and any debt dentists may have (Sugden 2011). However, quotas may reflect the corporate practice’s focus on “the bottom line, leading to overscheduled workdays with a high volume of patients. Time to spend with each patient to consider treatments or recommendations may be reduced” (Loinsberger 2017). Some practices may want dentists to fit many treatments, such as fillings and high-end crowns, in one day or even one appointment (Apex360 Editors 2016). As corporate practices encourage dentists to perform many treatments “in less time” for more revenue, dentists may not be able to properly focus on the details of these complex procedures for the patients (Apex360 Editors 2016). Furthermore, hygienists have little to no time not only developing relationships with patients, but also teaching them to better care for their teeth at home (Apex360 Editors 2016). Along with these appointments, these quotas may unfortunately cause dentists to perform more treatments, some of which may be unnecessary for the patient (Stromberg 2014). Some corporate owners may expect dentists and hygienists to perform more expensive treatments on patients in order to meet their production goals, regardless of whether less costly procedures can still improve the patient’s teeth (Apex360 Editors 2016). This expectation to meet their quotas may result in treatment plans that overtreat the patients by performing “[scaling and root planning] on four-millimeter bleeding pockets with no bone loss,” for instance (Apex360 Editors 2016). Some corporate owners may even encourage workers to offer extra treatments and services, such as implants and Invisalign, even though the patient’s insurance plan may not even cover them (Apex360 Editors 2016).
Quotas and production goals could help dental practices make consistent revenue every year. However, some practices may focus too much on meeting those goals to the point where they forget their patients’ needs. They want to make more profit, making dentists and hygienists perform potentially excessive procedures for patients. Consequently, the patients become their least concern. Instead of emphasizing profits through quotas, dentists and hygienists must still care for their patients’ oral health, using quotas as a financial guideline for their practice.