Independent dental practices are often run by a very small team. You may have staff to complete the day-to-day tasks, like billing and office maintenance, but ultimately the overall management of the practice falls on you. Being a good dentist doesn’t always mean having a good practice. Without even realizing it, inefficiency and waste may be plaguing
you practice, ultimately resulting in lost revenue. However, there is hope for getting your practice back on track with small changes that will increase efficiency. Implementing the following 5 strategies may mean real benefits for you and your dental practice – less waste, more time, and more money.
1. Automate parts of your practice.
In a highly connected society, doing day-to-day tasks manually is often a waste of time. Appointment reminders, scheduling updates, and billing calls are among the functions that can be automated. Don’t underestimate digital technology, either. Email and text messaging can be effective (and easy) ways to communicate with patients. While it may not be the type of personal service your patients have come to expect, it will free up staff time to give your patients their full attention once they are in the office.
2. Train your staff to wear different hats.
Every member of your staff has specific responsibilities, but sometimes it’s necessary for them to wear different hats. If someone in the office is sick or otherwise absent, their work still needs to be completed. Your staff should be expected to pick up the slack, but only after they have been appropriately trained. Everyone in the office should know how to handle most front office responsibilities, along with simple tasks like restocking the office kitchen and taking out the trash.
3. Improve communications.
The main time-waster in many dental practices is poor communication, both in the office and with patients. Communication isn’t just limited to conversations in person or on the phone. Billing statements and patient information forms should all be straightforward, easily accessible and easy to understand; become user friendly and house all of this on a patient portal. Also, educate your staff to the types of questions and issues typically raised by patients. Staff should to be able to respond knowledgeably, or if they do not know the answer, at least know who to ask.
4. Outsource when possible.
Dentists are trained to be dentists – not office managers, payroll specialists, insurance filers, or let’s be honest, business owners. Caring for patients is obviously your number one priority, but in order for your practice to succeed, the day-to-day tasks of running your office must be attended to. Before it comes to a point when you can no longer keep up with the mounds of paperwork needing your attention, consider outsourcing. There are many reputable third-party companies which can take over tasks like payroll, accounting, and record keeping.
5. Identify and correct wasteful practices.
Unless you are completely on top of every aspect of running your practice, you probably don’t know whether time and money is being wasted. Doing a full inventory of your day-to-day operations can help you find those inefficiencies. Even small issues, like supplies, can impact your bottom line. For example, if you are stocking too much of one item, and continue to order that product, you are in essence, wasting money. If that item cannot be easily found, that is wasted time searching for what you need.
You may not need to implement all of these t strategies, but every practice has room to improve. By simply taking a look at your practice’s day-to-day business, you can save a lot of wasted time and money.
Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.