Good dental practices rely on systems and processes to thrive. Learn how you can streamline your dental practice operations to see immediate profit gains.
Your workflows and processes impact your dental practice operations, your staff, and your patients. They might seem trivial when you think about all the tasks and projects you have to address on a daily basis, but they matter because they can directly impact your bottom line.
With processes in place, your staff will feel more efficient and increase their work quality because they’ll have a clearer picture of their daily responsibilities and the outcome expectations. Additionally, communication between staff will be enhanced, giving rise to greater levels of transparency.
All of these benefits can boost dental practice profitability, but what specific steps can you actually take to streamline your dental practice operations?
Here we’ll discuss the three areas of dental practice operations you need to focus on to achieve optimal results across your front office, mid-office, and back-office.
Front Office Dental Practice Operations: Streamline for Better Patient Engagement
Disorganization is the biggest trigger of stress in the front office of a dental practice, according to the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM), adding that it usually indicates outdated management systems.
If a patient walks into your dental practice, do they see scattered files, unattended phones ringing, and scrambling employees? Or do they see a front office that’s running smoothly and efficiently? A disorganized practice makes patients uncomfortable. They may even question a dentist’s ability to provide quality dental care if they can’t keep their front desk organized.
Streamlining your dental practice operations, especially the front office, can lead to better patient engagement, and implementing the right tools will make the task much easier. For instance, with RevenueWell Phone, your front desk staff can have more personalized patient conversations with features like ScreenPop where important information appears on your screen when you receive a call. Packed with 100+ powerful features, RevenueWell Phone routes your patients to the right person on the first attempt without bogging down or distracting your front office team. It’s particularly useful when your staff is pulling double duty—welcoming patients while also handling the phone on the opposite side of the office.
Disorganization affects everyone–patients, dentists, and front office staff. Patients become frustrated, which can result in unscheduled and rescheduled appointments, inadequate care, and an undesirable cocktail of mix-ups and misunderstandings. An unorganized front office makes team members uncomfortable too, and this discomfort ultimately results in poor efficiency as workers exhaust themselves trying to keep up. And when your front office team is overwhelmed, it can be hard for them to fully engage with patients.
When you streamline your front office operations, you are more likely to have happy and returning patients who will recommend your dental practice to family and friends. Issues, however, will inevitably arise, and to prevent such bottlenecks from occurring and help streamline your workflows, implementing the following tips can help:
- Assess the work environment. It is critical to keep distractions to a minimum so that each staff member can complete their tasks. For instance, administrators should work in a separate area, away from the front desk.
- Standardize. Create standard operating procedures suitable for your dental practice. With everyone following the same process, you’ll save time and effort but also have a template to use during employee training.
- Go digital. Automate wherever possible. For example, instead of contacting patients by phone, use an automated text message system to send them a reminder instead.
Middle Office Dental Practice Operations: Streamline to Improve Efficiency
Streamlining dental practice operations also impacts efficiency—reducing repetitive tasks, speeding up processes, improving quality of work, increasing employee satisfaction.
When you concentrate on improving your operations, you also help to outline roles and enforce accountability. This boosts staff morale and enhances the levels of employee engagement, ultimately leading to bigger profits.
A few of the steps you can take to start boosting your operations to maximize dental practice productivity:
- Huddle. Start the day with a quick team meeting and look at the daily schedule. Keeping a daily agenda helps you stay on track and lets your team members know each others’ areas of responsibility. You can also use the huddle to celebrate staff wins and identify opportunities to personalize a patient’s visit that day.
- Assign tasks. Consider your team’s abilities and interests while developing a work delegation plan. When you give your employees something they are generally good at or interested in, this keeps them happy and increases productivity.
- Leverage technology. Invest in an all-in-one dental phone system that plugs directly into your PMS to route patients to the right person on the first attempt, and keeps all communications in one place. The cloud-based VoIP system integrates phone, two-way text, fax, email, and even video conferencing, and ties it all back to the primary dental practice phone number!
Back Office Administration: Streamline Dental Practice Operations to Improve Work Process
While your front office is answering phones, greeting patients, and tackling their to-do list, your back office staff is processing and posting payments, managing staff conflicts as well as handling insurance-related questions.
Back office processes include accounting, bookkeeping, HR, and payroll system management. And even though most back-office dental practice operations happen behind the scenes, they’re critical to ensuring the more visible aspects of your practice continue to function. If your team is still using outdated performance systems and manual data processing, you are wasting time and money (not to mention compromising your data’s integrity). Back offices must cope with the challenge of ensuring their staff understands what to do and when to do it.
When you improve the efficiency of your back office, you not only set your practice up for success in terms of greater productivity and cost-effectiveness, but you also make it easier for the team to concentrate on delivering results instead of worrying about internal chaos.
Here’s how to do it:
- Examine your work practices. For example, consider the process around handling payments. Some of your patients may or may not have insurance. And those that do can have high-deductible health plans. Examine your work procedures to assess your patients’ unmet deductibles and either request payment at the time of service or reduce their collections cycle to guarantee prompt payment. Find ways to make it easier and accessible for them and efficient for you.
- Go completely paperless. Invest in dental electronic forms, such as the solution offered by RevenueWell. This solution expedites check-ins, simplifies operations, and makes life simpler for both patients and staff members in the dental office.
- Make the most out of technology. Explore the many automated solutions available, and you’ll be better able to manage time and resources. One integrated solution eliminates the need for multiple-point systems and dramatically raises productivity levels as your staff doesn’t have to constantly switch back and forth between systems.
Efficiency Without Sacrificing Quality
There are tools available that simplify the process of running efficient dental practice operations without spending too much time (and money) trying to organize everything yourself. Find a solution that can help you optimize your existing processes and allow you to create new ones if needed. There are many solutions out there, so make sure you have a clear idea of what you need in a product and vendor. Any technology you invest in should be flexible as your practice evolves. Your processes will change as your practice does so it’s important your technology can adapt with you.
Leveraging technology to automate and simplify all your tasks will result in overall productivity gains, happier employees, better patient engagement, and ultimately increased profitability.
Use RevenueWell for Easy Streamlining
Naturally, streamlining all three areas simultaneously can be daunting. So to make the process easier to implement, leverage the dynamism of an end-to-end dental communication solution offered by RevenueWell.
Streamlining your dental practice operations through a single platform will make it easier to implement best practices and SOPs with less strain on your team members, and help you keep better track of patients’ needs. With this innovative software, dental teams can save time on tedious administrative tasks while making patients feel more engaged–leading to happier patients and increased revenue! Schedule a demo today to learn more about how RevenueWell can help you accomplish that.