Running a successful dental office is no easy feat. From improving patient retention to meeting regulatory requirements, running a dental practice involves juggling many different things at once so you have absolutely no time to waste.
To help you run an efficient business and increase practice productivity, we’ve compiled a list of nine dental office management tips on how to run a successful dental practice.
1. Optimize your schedule
A large part of improving your practice productivity is ensuring you have an optimized dental schedule. This includes allocating sufficient time for each appointment type, properly staffing shifts so dentists can rotate between chairs, and staggering appointments so hygienists can take on cleanings themselves. Another part of optimizing your schedule is to invest in your dental marketing so that you always have a steady stream of new patients coming in the door.
2. Keep electronic files
Some dental practices still keep paper files. But with paper files, there is only one copy. If the dentist is reviewing a patient file, the office manager has to wait until the files are free to process claims or add notes. With electronic files, multiple team members can access and work on patient files at the same time.
Collecting and storing patient information electronically also allows you to secure data with encryption and grant appropriate access to the right people easily with a few clicks. This helps make compliance with national and provincial privacy acts, as well as college recordkeeping guidelines that much easier. Patients are becoming increasingly more concerned about their information being compromised or stolen, which means it’s more important than ever to reassure patients that their information is safe and secure.
More and more dental practices are going paperless to reap the benefits of time and money saved in the long run, which by and large outweighs the slight upfront work to convert.
3. Automate patient communication
Another way to increase productivity is to automate patient communication. This is especially important when it comes to confirming appointments. Rather than calling each patient, you can set up automated reminders at the cadence of your choosing. Sending appointment reminders is the number one thing you can do to help reduce no-show appointments, late cancellations, and lost revenue. Plus, automating them will help you save time.
4. Improve communications within your practice
For a dental office to run smoothly, there needs to be clear communication between the front-of-office staff, dentists, and hygienists. Many dental practice management software have communication tools built right in, enabling your team to chat easily, preventing multiple trips back and forth to gather important patient information. This saves your team time, allowing you to focus on patient care.[ClearDent’s Team Chat enables seamless team communication – see how it works]
5. Electronic billing
Traditional methods of patient billing take time and are subject to human error. Automated billing helps you improve accuracy, save time, and provides you with more access to insurance programs and payment options. Paper billing is being phased out of many insurance companies because it can take days, even weeks, to receive payments and process claims. With electronic billing, you will be able to make adjustments in real-time if there is a problem with the claim.
In addition, it’s worthwhile to check the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) to see what level of certification your dental software has. Software vendors that have passed the CDAnet certification have the ability to send dental claims electronically but there are a few dental software providers that are certified by CDAnet with the highest level of support. This means that they enable you to attach digital x-rays and other supporting documents when you submit claims electronically – this can reduce the turnaround for insurance payment by as much as a whole month. To find these vendors, look for those that have “Supports CDAnet attachments” beside their name.[ClearDent can be found under ‘Prococious Technologies’]
6. Incorporate digital employee scheduling
A built-in electronic system that records your staff’s timesheets enables you to easily keep track of hours worked for your whole team. For example, with start and end times tracked by signing in/out of your practice management software, there is no possibility for hours to be tracked inaccurately. Also, with this information on hand, allocating the correct amount of hours and avoiding accidental or unneeded overtime for employees will be easy.[ClearDent’s Team Hours is the easiest and most accurate way to keep track of staff hours worked – let us show you how]
7. Hold morning huddles
Morning huddles are a very effective way to increase communication and productivity. They bring the team together to address any barriers or roadblocks for the day, provide an open forum to give relevant updates, and prioritize focus for the week ahead. A truly seamless and paperless dental software gives you quick and easy access to relevant reports and features, helping you run efficient morning huddles. If you can incorporate opinion gathering and decision making into these meetings, your staff will gain the feeling of an internal locus of control which is very beneficial to the productivity and enjoyment of work.
8. Delegate and share responsibility
For your dental practice to truly succeed, everyone has to work together as a team. This means delegating tasks and sharing responsibilities. Whether that’s ensuring there’s proper cybersecurity for the practice, responding to online reviews, or being on dental triage duty, everyone has a role to play.
9. Establish goals and bonuses
The best way to align your team and ensure you’re all working towards the same goals is to set clear expectations around performance, for both individuals and as a team. Consider implementing a bonus system to celebrate achievements and share the results to motivate and encourage your team to perform their best.
These nine productivity tips will help you increase revenue, improve team morale, and provide a better patient experience.