A well-run dental office leads to increased patient satisfaction, reduced stress and burnout for staff, and improved growth and prosperity for the practice.
Effective office management is all about organization, communication, and building a team of hard workers who stay on the same page and have one another’s back.
In the sections below, we’ll cover the key dimensions of dental office management and offer a few helpful tips for improving your office management in 2023.
Hire and Train the Right Staff
A dental practice typically employs 12 or fewer full-time workers. In a small staff, every single worker plays a critical role. So, it’s important to take every hiring decision seriously in order to build a team of skilled, reliable, and positive people.
To attract talented employees, write detailed job descriptions, use multiple recruitment sources, and conduct thorough and thoughtful interviews. For more detailed tips on this topic, check out our January article on dental staff hiring.
After hiring a new team member, provide comprehensive training. Training should be structured and thorough and should provide opportunities for trainees to demonstrate their competence before they assume a full slate of independent responsibilities.
Along with core job duties, provide training in complementary topics that every dental worker should understand, such as effective patient interaction, infection control, and accurate record keeping.
Develop an Efficient Scheduling System
Appointment scheduling is an incredibly complex activity for a dental practice. Compared to most medical practices, a dental office’s appointments are typically made much further in advance. As a result, the industry suffers from a cancellation rate of around 10% of all appointments.
To combat dentistry’s inherent scheduling challenges, sophisticated planning is required to anticipate factors like cancellation rates and seasonal volume trends.
Effective scheduling is more than an organizational task, it’s an advanced data management process.
To optimize your schedule, you need a practice management software system that helps you keep your schedule just full enough—but not too full—on a consistent and long-term basis. Schedule optimization helps you control appointment availability while minimizing patient wait times and staff downtime.
Prioritize Patient Communication
Clear and compassionate communication with patients helps to reduce anxiety, build trust, and establish credibility. Effective communication also improves patient engagement, leading to higher retention rates and fewer missed appointments.
If patient communication is an area for improvement at your office, consider implementing a patient portal or communication software that allows your staff to interact with patients through email and texting. These communications may include a combination of automated and personalized options, making it easier to send timely updates that reach patients via their preferred platforms.
Embrace Innovative Office Technologies
Along with patient engagement software, there are a number of technologies that dentists use to increase data storage capacity, automate tedious tasks, and improve data security. These include:
- Electronic health record (EHR) management software
- Digital imaging software
- Digital fax systems for secure and paperless document transmission
- Analytics software for tracking the practice’s growth and financial performance
If you’ve yet to fully embrace technology at your dental practice, then you have significant productivity boosts to look forward to with each new software system that you implement.
Keep Up with Regulations, Legal Requirements, and Industry Standards
Patient care is governed by regulations and industry standards, and so is office management. Keeping up with regulations, requirements, and standards is essential for areas like record-keeping and workforce management.
To stay on top of legal, professional, and ethical standards, consider joining a professional association, subscribing to industry publications, and meeting regularly with a dental practice consultant who maintains current expertise on industry trends.
Get More Ideas for Managing Your Dental Office in 2023
Duckett Ladd is a team of CPAs and advisors working exclusively in the dental industry. We offer financial services and business advice for dentists in all career stages.
Our services include:
- Dental practice accounting business services
- Dental practice growth advisement
- Dental practice acquisitions, mergers, and dispositions planning
We also provide coaching that’s tailored specifically for the essential team member who keeps your office running smoothly: your office manager. Our Monthly Momentum Mastermind is a program designed just for dental office managers, offering powerful opportunities for group coaching and professional collaboration. To learn more, contact Duckett Ladd today.