5 Simple Process Improvements for Dental Operations Managers

Behind every dental group practice, there’s a team of people keeping things operating smoothly. And behind them, there are SOPs helping them work more efficiently. As a dental operations manager, you know that a lack of SOPs or inefficient processes can cause unnecessary stress, be a HIPAA-compliant nightmare, and impact business growth. As your group practice or dental service organization (DSO) scales, you need to know where to standardize processes so that you can improve the bottom line. When’s the last time you reviewed your existing SOPs and processes? Check out these five ways dental operations managers can step up to better processes.  

1. Revamp the dental morning huddle.  

Do each of your locations have dental morning huddles? How do the office managers lead them?  Huddles are a small, but impactful way to ensure the office team is aligned each day. They set the tone for how the day will go. While you don’t need to dictate how each location leads their huddle, you could offer guidance with an SOP. You can provide recommendations on what to focus on so they’re using the meeting time efficiently. For example, each location leads with personalized touches, like a patient’s birthday, and ends with the financials. A format adds structure to the huddles and offers each location’s team the flexibility to discuss what’s happening at their individual practice. Dental morning huddles increase efficiency, productivity, and it’s a nice way to get the entire team together to build camaraderie.  

2. Use your patient relationship management (PRM) software as the one-stop-shop for everything you do.  

These days it’s a struggle to find a healthy balance between becoming too dependent on technology and using it to get more done. At work, your PRM should be a central workspace that you check each day to manage all your operations. This is a practice that office leaders at each location should also get into the habit of doing. Cassie Tallon, marketing administrator at Partnerships for Dentists says, “Create a healthy dependency for technology. Your PRM system should be the first thing you view in the morning and used throughout the day because it’s where you get that 360-view of what’s happening across practices.”Check out this on-demand webinar where she dives further into the ways dental operations managers and other group practice leaders can create a patient experience using the right PRM system.[embed]https://revenuewell.wistia.com/medias/xxpz3i662w[/embed]

3. Partner with your marketing team on a dental patient experience strategy.

Patient communications play an important role in building a sincere relationship with each patient. When patients trust their dentist, then they’re more likely to schedule regular appointments, take an active interest in their treatment plans and show up for their scheduled appointments.  There should be a strategy behind how each location communicates with their patients. And there should be SOPs to enhance the strategy. Dental operations managers and marketing managers should work closely together to ensure the messaging and operations are consistent so that each patient receives a high-quality experience. Additionally, this helps to maintain compliance and standards at the corporate level.

4. Evaluate your existing tech stack.  

When you open your phone, do you ever feel like you have too many apps that do the same thing? Consolidating them is one method for keeping your phone organized. As you're evaluating SOPs, look at your tech stack to see if you can consolidate tools. Instead of having multiple point solutions, consider investing in a PRM software that’s customizable and will grow along with your group practice or DSO.  Point solutions become costly and inefficient as your group practices grows.  Also, you probably spend more time shuffling between tools than you’d like to. As your organization continues to scale, then it’s important to ensure your PRM system is meeting your needs. A platform solution will save you money in the long run, help you manage user permissions, and benefit the marketing and individual teams at each practice.  

5. Utilize automation in group practice communications.

Sticky notes are great for some things such as writing a note to yourself or using it as a to-do list in your personal life. But, at your group practice or DSO, they’re inefficient and risky, particularly if they contain patient information. Patient communications can impact both the entire dental patient experience and the company’s overall goals. If a patient has a negative experience at the practice, then they may not return. Or, if a patient feels like the practice is only interested in making money, then they might choose to go to another location. Automating communications can help you build a genuine connection with your patients if it’s ongoing, consistent and most importantly, educational. Here are some areas to automate and create SOPs around:  

  • Intake forms
  • Appointment checklists
  • Marketing campaigns for patients
  • Post-op follow-ups and re-care
  • Case acceptance

Additionally, automating certain manual or repeatable tasks ensures your practices are compliant with dental, state and federal and HIPAA guidelines. This information can be stored in a central portal where only certain users have access to it. This protects the group practice or DSO as a whole and reduces the need to store paperwork on site. It’s also convenient for patients because they can view their information on their own time instead of having to call or email the location.  SOPs and processes should be adjusted on a regular basis. If they aren’t helping you and the teams at each location, then it’s worth reviewing them. You want everyone, including you, to feel set up for success and to be efficient in your roles. When everyone has the right tools and processes in place, then you all can focus on the activities you all enjoy. If you're looking to spring into quality processes and SOPs this quarter and beyond, then check out our DSO Marketing Software to help you do just that. Request a demo.