To give your dental practice the best shot at success, you probably make every effort to run it as efficiently as possible. Strategic management of workflows, using practice management software, and integrating new applications as needed are just a few of the tools needed to improve your practice's production rates.
If you're finding that your administrative and clinical teams are struggling to collaborate or regularly experience productivity issues, you may be scratching your head wondering why.
The reality is that even though everyone in your office looks busy, it doesn't mean their efforts are productive. So, how can you tell the difference between beneficial productivity and just being actively busy due to disjointed operational processes? And, what can you do to change things around in your dental office? In this post, we'll explain everything and help you get your dental team back on track.
Common sense would tell us that someone who is busy is being productive. So, when you walk into your dental practice and see staff actively working and moving about, you would think a lot of work gets done. However, if you notice your team is struggling to meet production goals despite all this effort, this is the first red flag that there are elements in your operations that are not optimized. No matter how full your schedule might be, if your office can't perform efficiently, you may notice some of the following signs that everyone is busy but not productive:
You probably identify with one of these symptoms indicating everyone is busy but not productive, so let's go over ways your dental office can change things around.
Transforming a frantically busy office into one that gets things done can take time and careful planning. However, the long-term payoff will benefit your team, your patients, and your bottom line. Making the shift from busyness to productivity requires care and attention.
To help you get started, consider the following suggestions for both your clinical and administrative production goals:
To achieve a production goal, take the time to evaluate your overhead expenses. For example, when it comes to payroll and facility bills, let's say you spend $25,000 a month on these costs and want to keep overhead less than 50% of your receivables.
Since $25,000 is 50% of $50,000, you may have a goal to achieve a 98% collection ratio. This means your practice needs to generate at least $51,000 monthly. You can take this a step further and determine your net production per day if you want to set up daily goals.
Another important productivity goal you should set relates to your schedulers. It's essential they do more than simply fill the practice calendar with appointments. Loop them in on your production efforts and have them book patient visits to achieve this expectation.
Have you ever had issues at your dental practice, and when you reached out to a staff member that was off for the day, they couldn't do anything to help until they returned to work? Remote access to your practice management system keeps your team connected even when not on the premises.
This is an invaluable tool and has quickly gained popularity in modern dental clinics after COVID-19 forced many dentists to work from home. Having an additional avenue to provide your patients with the best dental care possible by empowering your team to continue working despite unexpected challenges can eliminate time delays that hamper productivity.
Your dental office needs a baseline to compare recently implemented productivity improvements to know if your efforts are transforming the busy nature of your practice into a productive one. The best way to go about this is to establish KPIs for regular review based on any changes you make.
Below are popular KPIs that many dental practices rely on to assess their productivity levels:
One of the easiest ways to boost production levels in your clinic is to expand your teledentistry services. This allows you to reach more patients in a more convenient setting. Your desk staff will have less responsibility for these appointments since patients will simply join a call with their dentist on the phone or via video chat.
Thanks to online scheduling, automated reminders, and real-time EHR updates, it's never been easier to divert and increase dental appointments to virtual office settings and ease the workload on your scheduling team. It's a win-win for all involved and makes it possible to generate more patient engagement, increase revenue and reduce how many tasks your staff has to perform for appointments.
If your front office still hands out clipboards full of paperwork for patients to fill out each visit, without a doubt, your productivity is being hampered. Traditional forms that require completion by hand take time, are prone to more mistakes, waste time on data entry, and hold up your appointment schedule by creating waiting room delays.
Electronic patient forms that can be sent in an email or text message attachment and then transmitted back by the patient are a time saver. When integrated with your current dental practice management system, this data can be processed and automatically updated to patients' EHRs in real-time. This is a game-changer for your team and can bring a new level of consistency to your data storage while boosting productivity significantly.
Disrupted and disruptive communication processes are counterintuitive to productivity. It leads to breakdowns in crucial operational processes, can frustrate patients, and directly impact your bottom line. Centralized communication integrations can streamline how your team communicates, collaborates, and performs everyday tasks.
Platforms like Adit Voice use a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to empower your team to communicate from anywhere in the office across multiple device options to minimize the need to physically seek out other dental staff for information. This means less distraction during patient appointment times and more time focusing on the tasks at hand.
Another time-consuming process that can lead to mistakes and wasted production time despite being very busy is patient and dental insurance billing. If your billing team is still creating batch invoices to print, then stuff in envelopes and send out, your dental practice is losing a significant amount of production time. Plus, when you figure out the usual day-to-day tasks in addition to running this process, errors can happen more frequently, causing delays in collection.
Automated billing software can streamline this entire process and cut processing time in half for most offices since it relies on sending out the majority of your invoices via electronic communications, like via email or secure text message to the patient. Plus, your team will likely gain additional access to dental insurance program features that can further speed up the reimbursement process.
The turnaround time for traditional billing payments can take weeks, whereas automated software can provide several flexible options for patients to settle their dental bills. Having to spend less time processing card payments over the phone and allowing a patient portal to do the heavy lifting can also save your team time when preparing claims.
These forms can be populated automatically because your billing integrates with your dental practice management system to quickly pull all the needed data and complete the process. The level of productivity enhancement will save you money, ease the workload on your already busy team and create an efficient billing strategy that boosts your collection rate.
Have you ever walked into your dental office on a slow day but had a full complement of staff on-site? This scheduling scenario is a common problem and leads to wasted production time and higher payroll overhead costs.
Ensure your employees are scheduled efficiently and only have needed staff in the office. If you're still printing out an excel sheet with everyone's work hours on it, you may want to invest in an online scheduling system instead. This makes it easier to adjust shifts to patient demand and helps you better track business trends to help you better forecast staffing needs.
More importantly, a digital employee schedule can ensure you stick within your budgeted hours for the week or month. You can also provide access to your team so they can be better prepared for particularly busy days ahead and plan how to manage their time in your dental office.
While negative reviews about your clinic are never something to look forward to, these provide an opportunity for improvement. How productive your practice can be measured in several ways, including through patient feedback. You can always wait until a Facebook or Google My Business review comes through, but you might want to take a more proactive approach.
Start off by investing in a review management software integration like Pozative Reviews by Adit. This platform centralizes all your feedback across multiple channels to give you a clear picture of your dental office's performance and patient satisfaction. It's important that you address all reviews, even the bad ones because these can reveal production issues you may not be aware of. For instance, if a patient complains they were in your waiting room for half an hour before going back to the dental chair, you may be able to use this information to figure out if your scheduler is booking appointments too close together.
We've already mentioned the benefit of billing software in eliminating traditional paperwork and data entry. The same can be said for patient charting. Manually entering this information is time-consuming and easily automated, streamlining your team's workflow further. This means spending more time on activities that contribute to your production goals, like treating patients.
Below are just a few ways your going paperless can benefit your dental clinic:
There are many reasons a dental patient doesn't bother to show up or regularly cancels appointments with their dentist. For many, all it takes is a quick reminder text to ensure they come to their dental appointments as scheduled. If you aren't already using an automated appointment reminder option to recall or follow up with patients, you're missing out on production opportunities.
Online scheduling is a fast and easy way to adjust appointment times. Sometimes, just that single reminder will be enough to remind dental patients about their upcoming dental care visits. If they have to cancel, your online calendar could potentially show these changes in real-time, increasing the likelihood you can still fill that time slot and earn revenue.
While this article shared some great ideas to boost your dental office's productivity, it's important to carefully consider what areas of your practice are hurting production-wise. Maximizing this aspect of your business can be daunting at times, and that's why Adit has customer service standing by to assist.
As a premier cloud-based practice management provider, Adit's primary goal is to help dental practices achieve long-term growth and success. We help you achieve this goal by creating balanced workflows that foster productivity. Your dental office needs to run smoothly and efficiently, and our team of digital marketers and developers has developed over 15 tools to help you do just that.
Our most popular platform features and integrations that boost our clients' productivity include:
Discover how our platform can help you reclaim up to 15 hours of lost production time each week and save up to $12k/year. Schedule your free demo today!
Angela is a former English teacher turned marketing content specialist. Over the past 10 years, she’s developed marketing strategies to forge enduring bonds between B2B, B2C and SaaS companies and their clients through holistic education, effective communication, and captivating storytelling that moves audiences to act.
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