As the owner of a thriving dental practice, it can be difficult to know where to devote your time and energy. As you expand, there are numerous elements competing for your attention. However, it’s tough to go wrong when you focus on making your dental practice as efficient as possible.
Whether you’re streamlining your website or updating your internal policies, you’ll wind up with an office that simply works better from top to bottom. This article will discuss ten ways that you can boost your dental practice’s efficiency. These tips will help you increase your patient capacity, keep your employees happy, and ensure that your office functions as smoothly as possible.
Choose a Faster Server Host
As you work on making your dental practice more efficient, it’s wise to start with your web presence. If your employees are frustrated by how difficult it is to use your online tools and visitors to your practice’s site can’t get it to load, everyone will have a bad time. One easy way to improve the user experience is to choose a faster server host.
When you select higher-quality server hosting, with a server that’s dedicated to your practice and its needs, you’ll find that everyone is able to complete their work in a shorter period of time. It’s far easier to complete daily tasks when you have the right online tools to do so, and your employees will be glad to have everything moving faster and working correctly.
Improve Your Website Speed
It’s difficult for your dental practice to be efficient if your website is slow, clunky, and difficult to use. An outdated website can cause frustration and confusion for potential patients, driving them away. If it’s been quite some time since your practice has updated your website, it may be time to consider a full update.
A talented web design agency can evaluate your existing site, research your current search engine optimization, and present you with a plan to both upgrade your site and improve your website speed. In addition, if you have specific functions that you’d like your website to be able to handle, be sure to address them with the web design agency. They can assist you with new graphics, a scheduling function, email appointment reminders, and more. Before you know it, you’ll have an attractive, updated website that you can be proud of.
Outsource Your Chief Financial Officer
When you own and operate your own dental practice, it can be difficult to manage all of the business aspects while also seeing patients. Opting to outsource the duties of a chief financial officer to a small business consulting service allows you to pass some of the tasks that you dislike while focusing on providing patient care. You don’t have to handle CFO services for your practice to be a success. Instead, you can outsource them to a highly skilled professional, so that you can focus on growing your practice and service patients to the best of your abilities.
Automate Billing Systems
If your dental practice is still billing all patients manually, you’re not really handling billing in the most efficient manner possible. The faster that you’re able to get bills out to customers and get them paid, the more money that you’ll have available for operating costs, salaries, and growing your practice. Dentists are most efficient when they can focus on treatment, not when they’re bogged down with bills and paper chasing.
Automating your billing systems means that you and your office staff have far more time to dedicate to patient care, speaking to patients on the phone, in the office, and handling urgent matters in a timely manner. Billing systems handle sending out the bills on time, as well as reminder notices and referring an account to collections. This frees you up to focus on the more important parts of patient care.
Train Front Desk Staff
Another way to boost your dental practice’s efficiency is to train your front desk staff to handle patients, online messaging, and tasks in an appropriate manner. Making simple changes to your family dental service like transitioning to electronic messaging, streamlining communication with in-office patients, and teaching staff to coach patients about booking follow-up appointments can all go a long way towards a more efficient practice overall.
Transitioning to electronic messaging allows you to maintain patient confidentiality throughout your dental clinic. Everything about your patients should be kept secure and confidential by law, including their personal information, scheduling, billing records, and treatment.
Using an electronic messaging system helps eliminate the chance that confidentiality can be broken by a lost handwritten note. Instead, all messages about individual patients are sent and responded to electronically, maintaining confidentiality throughout the process. These systems also go a long way towards streamlining communication and ensuring that it’s as efficient as possible.
Training your office staff to coach patients to book new appointments is also a good way to boost efficiency. Instead of needing to mail out postcards, track patients down, and make sure that they take the time to schedule a cleaning or a follow-up appointment, your staff can handle the appointment setting before they ever leave the office. Then you can have your automated system follow up with a call, email, or text message to confirm the appointment a few days in advance.
Teaching your staff to gently remind patients about the importance of cleaning, point out that their insurance covers the appointment, and ask to schedule before they leave can all help to add additional income for your practice, as well.
Teach Proper Telephone Communication
There are few things that are more frustrating than inefficient telephone communication. Your patients’ time is valuable, and they don’t want to waste it calling your office over and over to try to get an appointment, confirm an appointment, or have a simple question answered. Spending some time training your office staff about best telephone practices can go a long way towards patient satisfaction.
Your front office staff should be experienced with the telephone, familiar with customer service, and skilled with basic computer software.
They should also be trained on how to suggest new appointments, services, and follow-ups to customers with grace, as well as how to politely handle anxious and irate patients.
Many people are scared of the dentist and have difficulty calling to make an appointment. If they have a negative experience with someone on the phone the first time, they may not call again. Likewise, if an existing patient is treated poorly by a staff member on the phone, they may leave the practice or write a negative review online that can stick around for years. These factors all make training front desk staff on proper telephone etiquette exceedingly important.
Reduce Energy Costs
You can also boost your dental practice’s overall efficiency by working to reduce overall energy costs. Working to have a greener, more energy-efficient office will, by default, mean that you’re using more modern electronics, lights, and appliances. In addition, you’ll save money on your heating and cooling bills that can then be redirected to other items your practice needs. If you aren’t sure which adjustments you should consider making, it may be wise to speak to someone in your area that provides professional energy conservation services.
These consultants often visit homes and businesses to help them evaluate the best ways to reduce energy costs. You may be able to use less energy by adjusting the type of light bulbs you use in your practice, switching your thermostat to a different temperature, or turning off computer monitors at night. Often, relatively small changes can make a large impact on the amount of energy your practice consumes. Skilled energy conservation services may be able to save your practice quite a bit of money over the course of a year.
Estimate Procedure Times and Costs
As you work to make your practice more efficient, it’s wise to spend some time estimating the various procedures that your practice provides and pricing them out. Estimate each procedure, how long it usually takes you, and how much you charge for the procedure. Different dental care procedures have different costs associated with them, and many are reimbursed by insurance at different rates, as well.
Spending some time analyzing each procedure and the costs and profits associated with it can help you in a variety of ways. First, you can decide if there are any procedures that you want to eliminate from your list of offerings or outsource to other local providers. Sometimes when you spend some time in analysis you may realize that certain procedures just aren’t worth the time.
Second, you’ll have a much better idea of how many procedures you can book in a specific period of time. You may be dramatically over or under estimating how many patients you can schedule in an afternoon, for example. This can lead to patient frustration and overall stress within your office. This analysis can help you understand that you need to make changes such as scheduling fewer appointments, hiring additional staff, or both.
Reduce Waiting Room Time
Another easy way to streamline your dental practice’s efficiency is to work to reduce your overall waiting room time. You can do this by registering patients in advance, asking them initial questions on the phone, and having new patient paperwork posted online. These steps can all help reduce waiting room time, moving patients through your pipeline more quickly. No one wants to show up for a dentist appointment to see a packed waiting room, so reducing the number of people filling yours can only work to boost patient satisfaction.
Utilize Employee Satisfaction Techniques
You can also improve the overall efficiency of your dental practice by working to increase the satisfaction of your employees. Individuals who are happy with their jobs and invested in the success of their employer tend to work more productively and complete their work more efficiently.
Consider surveying employees to find out their initial satisfaction levels, then putting measures in place to help improve the situation. Relatively simple measures like adding online scheduling, setting up a system to process employee complaints, and asking your employees what will help them work more productively (and then providing it) can all dramatically improve overall satisfaction.
There are many components to managing your own dental practice, including keeping up with your online presence, ensuring your patients can communicate with you privately, training employees, and billing in a timely manner. It can be difficult to manage all of these on your own.
However, with the right tools and consultants, you can dramatically boost the overall efficiency of your practice. Having a more efficient dental practice allows you to free up your time to focus on patient care, as well as to plan for the growth of your business.
From there, the sky truly is the limit. You can decide if you prefer to limit yourself to a single practice, or if you’d rather set a goal of opening up several in your local area. Consultants like CFO services, web design services, energy consultants, billing professionals, and more can all work in their own specialized niches, completing their individual tasks quickly and effectively.
This outsourcing process lets you focus on what you’re best at – treating patients. You don’t have to make all of these changes at once, either. Instead, pick one of our tips and get started. You’ll dramatically boost the efficiency of your practice with just a few simple adjustments. Then you can use that time to move on to the next, and the next. Before you know it your dental practice will be running more smoothly than you’d ever have imagined.