Simple Steps for a More Efficient Dental Practice
Running a dental practice entails so many business areas that dentists were simply not trained for in dental school. Between hiring a staff and worrying about patient care, there are so many dental practice management areas to focus on to ensure your practice is running smoothly and you are producing revenue to pay the bills (and pay yourself too!). When you sit down and take a hard look at your practice, is it running as efficiently as it could be? Do you have the right amount of staff? Are you overpaying for supplies? Make a list to start learning how your office can become a dental practice success story.
1. More Efficient Scheduling
Scheduling a patient seems simple, but there is a lot more than most newbie front desk coordinators realize. Effective scheduling can literally affect how your day runs and its production. Yes, you want to fill in your schedule, but remember to book more complex procedures in the morning. This way if there is a complication or an emergency, you have time to manage it before your office closes. Schedule from the middle of the day first, that way if you can condense your schedule, you can save time and money on payroll. Also, always, always try to schedule appointments six months in advance for hygiene, so you have revenue coming in.
2. Confirm, Confirm
Once you schedule a patient, most patients will actually forget they made an appointment. There are so many ways to confirm a patient: reminder cards, a courtesy phone call, an email—but, the most effective communication tool is a text reminder system, because people spend the most time on their smartphones. It is more difficult for a patient to forget they have an appointment with text reminders, and you save time for your administrative staff so they can handle more important tasks.
3. Become an Expert
As a general dentist, you may offer all areas of dentistry in your practice, but perhaps you’re looking to become a master in one area. Do you prefer to work with dental implants, surgery, or orthodontics? If you are looking to become an expert in one area of dentistry, really master it by taking continuing education classes like orthodontic courses to understand the foundation of orthodontics and be able to diagnose, treat, and manage your own cases.
When you take an orthodontic course like the Basic Straight Wire course with Dr. Brad Williams, you will surround yourself with other like-minded professionals who are looking to master orthodontics. Offering orthodontics will easily increase your revenue and give you a new, enjoyable passive income.
4. Collect Up Front
If your aged receivables are high, you need to sit down with your office manager or front desk staff to discuss how you can decrease it and prevent it from reaching that high in the future. To increase your revenue, consider collecting co-pays upfront. Request a credit card to be kept on file so you can charge it (with the patient’s permission) when they have a balance. Also, consider adding a no-show fee to entice patients to attend their appointments and prevent empty chair time.
5. Watch Your Dental Practice Overhead
Dentists are notorious for having extremely high overhead. In fact, Dental Economics reports that the average overhead for dental practices is at a high 74.62%. The higher your overhead, the less income you, as a dentist, takes home. Overhead consists of all areas aside from a dentist’s income, including mortgage or rent, payroll, equipment, supplies, and utilities.
Try to decrease your overhead by keeping the appropriate amount of staff and not over staffing. You don’t want to have extra people on your payroll for the sake of it if your office does not really require the help. Instead, cross train staff members so they can help out if someone is out. Look at your supplies and consider working with smaller supply companies or using disposables that may be more affordable.
There are several ways to improve your office’s productivity and see a greater return at the end of the year. When you focus on your overhead costs and how you can effectively schedule patients, you will see greater dental practice success.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.