Managing your own dental practice goes way beyond merely ensuring that your patients receive quality oral health care. Enable the very best care you can provide by optimizing the business side of your practice and ensure that it’s operating as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We know that can be easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done or that you shouldn’t start the process as soon as possible. At the very least you will be a few steps closer to achieving your goals.
To get started we’ve lined out a few simple examples for improving your practice. Test them out to see if you may be able to bring increased efficiency, patients and money to your practice.
It may be an obvious answer, but you’d be surprised by how many providers spend excess amounts of time on non-revenue generating activities. Achieving financial goals is a core component of your practice, so the most practical step toward this goal is to spend as much time with patients as you can. So much time, in fact, that it should be how you spend nearly your entire week. Some suggest that each dentist in practice spend at least 37 hours a week on direct patient care (or about 93 percent of your time). How does your patient-facing time stack up?
Comprehensive and flexible schedule systems can help you move as many patients through your practice as possible. Meet your face-to-face goals and ensure you aren’t facing gaps in user traffic. By automating the process for reminders, you can increase productivity and daily patient flow. Active management of your schedules should translate into more income and the potential for new patients.
While online review portals can be daunting, in today’s digital economy, everything is online. You need to have a published profile on a site like Yelp or Google – at the very least. If you don’t already have a profile, create one now and encourage your long-term patients to take a minute to recommend your services. Securing positive online reviews can serve as a tool to recruit new patients. These reviews can help you open a dialogue between your practice and patients and maintain patient flow.
Competition for dental practices grows daily. Standing out from others in your community can be challenging, especially when it comes to staying above water on the latest dental practices in the city. If you’re providing a superior service or feature, make sure to highlight that on your social platforms and marketing channels. Differentiators can be anything from minimal wait times, extensive lists of insurance payer relationships or even low-cost care options. Even community-based efforts, partnerships and sponsorships can be ways to promote your practice and service offerings differently.
Organization equals optimization. There’s no need for clutter or congestion inside the walls of a well-oiled dental office machine. From parking to checking in for an appointment, every process during the visit needs to move seamlessly for patients to want to return. Workflows can enable optimal patient flow. Some ways to achieve this include:
– Having the reception area free from clutter so that patients can complete paperwork at the counter
– Placing exam rooms close to the waiting area to reduce migration time and maximize patient-facing time
– Organizing the office like a highway for quick flow, so there’s no need to retrace their steps
– Keeping rooms available in case there is a surge of patients in one day.
Of course, this list is just a small example of things you can do to improve practice processes, and while these tips may only be scratching the surface, they should help your practice differentiate from others and can have a dramatic impact on the future of your practice.