21 February 2023

How to Run Your Dental Practice as a Successful Business

How to Run Your Dental Practice as a Successful Business

When you went to dental school, your training focused on how to diagnose, treat, and support patient oral healthcare. You probably received very little business training. But, as a professional in dentistry, you're also an entrepreneur. While your first venture may be as an associate in a group practice, eventually, you'll open a clinic that requires an understanding of dentistry's business side.

How will you make your office appealing to new patients and outclass your competition? Where will you find the time to create an advertising strategy, and do you know what metrics to track to ensure your business is on track for success?

Create a practice that gives outstanding patient experiences and generates revenue with our guide of insightful tips to help your dental business thrive.

The Difference Between Being a Dentist and a Business Owner

As a dentist, you're passionate about everything the oral healthcare industry can offer your patients. You attend countless seminars, continue your education in the latest treatment techniques and travel the country to conventions to network with your peers. Your profession demands dedication to knowledge and the pursuit of learning to better the lives of those you treat.

But how much access do you have to business management education? Do you find that most of your understanding comes from podcasts and magazine articles? If you find that you're mostly winging it when it comes to understanding how metrics work or streamlining your operations, you aren't alone.

Dental managers and owners often don't receive enough support to create profitable careers out of their practices. This reality often results in revenue challenges later down the road that carries long-term impacts on their business goals.

Managing Your Dental Practice as a Business

While there are plenty of business education opportunities to improve your management skills, you can begin taking firmer control of your financial aspirations with the following tips:

Managing Your Dental Practice as a Business

Tracking Key Performance Indicators Provides Important Answers

Your private practice needs leadership in more than just oral healthcare but also finances. This creates a unique business style that balances a passion for service and a desire for profit. When evaluating your current financials, how much revenue signals your clinic is thriving? Do you look at your bottomline after expenses and have a magic number in mind? Or, do you consider that you have a steady flow of new patients, so surely you must be doing things right?

Clearly, this take on metrics isn't providing a total picture. Sure, you're bringing in new patients, but how's your retention rate? And even though your bottomline is hitting expectations, is your collection rate above 95%?

As your practice grows, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) will be crucial in measuring where your dental office stands in the market, with your patients, and with long-term goals. Below are four primary dental KPIs that your practice should keep track of, and as time goes on, you can add on more as your goals and initiatives change.

Tracking Key Performance Indicators Provides Important Answers

Profitability

Like every business, your dental practice has revenue goals, but you should also pay attention to your profitability. When you only measure your cash flow, you aren't necessarily fully aware of how much your spending is compared to your earnings.

This is a helpful insight, especially when breaking down your margins based on a specific procedure or product. You may discover that combining some of your treatments could save money on your bottom line. Even your fixed costs affect your profitability, such as your mortgage, lease, and general operational expenses. So, tracking the impact of these costs on your revenue is vital.

New Patient Conversion

This is probably one of the most universally tracked metrics across every dental office worldwide. New patients indeed create crucial growth opportunities, but the first time they sit in your dental chair isn't the first time they've interacted with your dental clinic. Conversion rates track how effective your marketing and engagement levels are when trying to attract prospective patients. You need to know your new patient numbers and divide that figure by how many inquiries you received to determine your conversion rate.

If your current practice management software platform can't provide this data, consider upgrading to a system that can. With Adit, our VoIP services and practice analytics software can make tracking this data a breeze with call recording and tracking. Never wonder how your campaigns are performing, and stay up-to-date on your dental site's performance with our built-in analytical tools. Get the most for your hard-earned advertising dollars with this invaluable insight.

No-Show Rate

Figuring out why your patients regularly no-show or cancel can involve some detective work. This KPI helps you understand the frequency of these occurrences, which can help correlate other factors contributing to this common headache that dental offices experience. Understanding the pattern behind these costly schedule hiccups can help you recover the lost revenue you experience every time these instances occur.

Much like new patient conversion rates, you can track these on your own without any special software, but using an analytical tool will take care of this automatically, along with reviewing scheduling behavior.

Hygiene Reappointment

KPIs cover a wide range of metrics, but awareness of how many patients leave your practice in a given month is just as important as tracking those who join. If your clinical growth has plateaued, tracking your hygiene reappointment rate can provide some insight. Your churn rate can be frustrating, as it is for many dental offices, and by staying aware of your reappointment percentage, you might figure out the why behind patients not scheduling future appointments, such as:

  • Insurance acceptance
  • Poor reminder practices
  • Service indistinction
  • Competition

Calculating your reappointment rate is done by determining what percentage of your hygiene patients scheduled future appointments.

Dental Businesses Need to Focus on Customer Service Too

Dentistry is a customer-facing business and must be able to not only relate to patients medically but provide a smooth administrative and operational experience. A typical dental visit requires several steps from start to end, including intake, insurance verification, treatment planning, education, follow-up, and collections. Even though you might have a team dedicated to billing and clinical processes, don't assume everything is perfect just because you haven't received any complaints.

A call recording integration will prove an invaluable resource to assess and improve interactions your practice has with its patients. It can also provide an opportunity to script these encounters and create consistent messaging across your entire organization. This will nurture loyalty and trust with your patient base and improve retention rates.

Dental Businesses Need to Focus on Customer Service Too

Leverage Online Branding for Your Practice

As a dental-trepreneur, marketing will prove essential to finding success, so don't wait. You need to establish your dental office within your community early, but take time to craft a market strategy that attracts ideal patients to your practice. Be distinctive about your brand and highlight what sets your clinic apart from the competition.

If you're worried about advertising expenses, take advantage of social media to share news about your practice. Many online platforms like Instagram and Facebook offer free business pages and intuitive digital ad services.

Finally, don't let your dental website go to waste. It's one of your most valuable assets and is often the first point of contact that prospects will have with your clinic. To ensure you get the most advertising value out of your page, be sure to:

  • Optimize for mobile
  • Provide adaptive display
  • Offer fast load times
  • Have an intuitive navigation menu
  • Optimize for SEO
  • Provide an online scheduler synced with your internal calendar

If you took a do-it-yourself approach to constructing your site or settled for a cheap cookie-cutter design, consider investing in a professionally designed webpage instead. At Adit, our digital marketers have years of experience creating online patient portals, websites, and ad campaigns specifically for the dental industry.

It's vital that your page converts, not just serve as a resource for contact information and directions. By incorporating virtual tours, educational content, and links to your social media pages, you can increase traffic and the likelihood of visitors booking appointments.

Leverage Online Branding for Your Practice

Running a Dental Business Requires Next-Level Efficiency

Dental professionals are all about technology and creating smooth patient experiences, but this goes beyond the latest tools, products, and procedures. The right dental practice management software can improve every aspect of running your business and create next-level efficiency that benefits your team and those coming to you for care.

A great example of how a tech-forward PMS solution can streamline how you run your operations is an online scheduler integration. Instead of patients having to play phone tag with your front desk to reschedule or cancel an appointment, leading to a potential no-show situation, they can go online and reschedule on your website. If your list of inactive patients seems to be getting longer, cloud-based software like Adit tracks this data with advanced KPI analytics and provides you with an intuitive, easy-to-interpret report.

Running a Dental Business Requires Next-Level Efficiency

When evaluating possible practice management software, consider the following three categories when deciding if it's a good fit for your office:

Streamline Operations

As a business owner, your overall operational performance impacts everything from collection rates to insurance claim processing and billing. Consider what processes are currently in place for these and other operational functions. Are you still handing out manual intake packets to patients? Consider going paperless instead and save both patients and your team time. This simple change can boost productivity, improve patient confidence, and cut down on wait times in your lobby.

Centralize Communications

At Adit, we understand the critical nature of efficient communication between your office, its patients, and team members. It's commonplace for a dental practice to have multiple communication integrations, some of which won't communicate with one another and require staff to spend additional time crossing this information over to the other system. Instead, look for an end-to-end solution that offers advanced VoIP (voice over internet protocol) functionality. Say goodbye to siloed processes and bring them all under one application.

Empower your staff to send text messages, fax transmittals, emails, connect with team members, and answer phone calls all from their workstations. Incorporate additional features like call tracking, automated appointment reminders, and synced scheduling to maximize patient interactions with your dental office.

Keep Production in High Gear

Productivity in your office can make or break your bottomline, so you must have a clear understanding of performance rates by procedure and team member. These numbers can help you determine how to market services more effectively and maximize productivity.

Some common factors that directly impact how productive your office is includes:

  • Imbalanced workloads
  • High no-show and cancellation rates
  • Failing to automate time-consuming routine tasks, such as appointment reminders
  • Running an unbalanced appointment schedule

With these challenges in mind, re-evaluate what aspects of your daily operations could benefit from added PMS functionality.

The Future is Bright for Business Savvy Dentists

Without a doubt, running a dental practice requires passion and dedication. Between running a busy office and managing patients, staff, and finances, some days may be overwhelming, leaving you unsure if you're heading in the right direction. The good news is there are practice management solutions out there which can help ease this demand and ensure you get the most out of your business.

The Future is Bright for Business Savvy Dentists

At Adit, we provide an all-encompassing solution that can stand alone or seamlessly integrate with your current PMS to smooth out workflows and eliminate troublesome bottlenecks caused by siloed software tools. Our platform boasts over 15+ practice management tools that empower your team to make important decisions quickly and efficiently by automating time-consuming tasks like billing and reminders.

We save dental organizations 15 hours a week and nearly $12k a year on average with our continuous innovation of new features, including:

  • Adit Pay
  • Patient Recall
  • Online Scheduling
  • Adit Voice
  • Electronic Patient Forms
  • Practice Analytics
  • Appointment Reminders
  • Call Tracking
  • Telemed
  • Pozative Reviews
  • Internal Chat
  • 2-Way Patient Messaging
  • And so much more!

As a dentist, you need to be more than a successful clinician to create a thriving practice. You also have to wear the hats of a business executive and manager. To provide your office with the best opportunities in a highly competitive marketplace, it's vital that you follow a business model supported by advanced management technology. 


Take the first steps in controlling the business behind your practice by scheduling a free demo with Adit today.

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Angela Ledford

Angela Ledford

Director of Marketing

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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Cut your software bill by up to 60% when you merge everything your dental office needs to run under one roof.

Centralize Communications

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