Being a good dentist is a prerequisite for running a successful dental practice, but it is not all there is. A dental practice is a business, an enterprise, which means that its efficiency lies in its ability to make a profit. In other words, to run a successful dental practice, you also need to be a skilled manager.
Organizing a dental practice is not a simple task. In fact, the dental industry is unique in many aspects. For instance:
- All your workforce consists of professionals.
- Having the lowest prices doesn’t make you the most appealing.
- You have a unique business structure available (LLP).
So, with all of this in mind, how do you improve your managerial skills and elevate the efficiency of your dental practice in 2021?
Scheduling Makes the Difference
The simplest way to improve patient satisfaction is to reduce the time they spend in the waiting room. But, unfortunately, some people are afraid of the dentists, while others feel uncomfortable about the whole procedure. The best way to solve this problem is to figure out the importance of scheduling your checkups and procedures in the most efficient way.
Your main objective is to organize your daily schedule so that the patient arriving spends the least possible amount of time in the waiting room. Reducing this overlap might reduce the total number of patients you can work with within a single day. This means sacrificing some of your profit to improve your reputation, patient satisfaction, patient loyalty, etc. All in all, it’s a good trade-off.
The most efficient way to do so is to find efficient scheduling software.
Outsource to Professionals
Running a successful dental practice requires one to have two qualities. First, they need to be a skilled dentist and a great dental manager.
Which of the two is more important?
Well, it’s tough to tell. The truth is that in the field of medical care, people are drawn to professional reputations, and no amount of marketing investments are going to make up for it. People want the best of the best, which is why your skill as a dentist will be essential for the success of your business.
At the same time, you need to run your business as a medical practice to profit and turn this into a lucrative career. Fortunately, you can always outsource your dental management and decide to focus on the other aspect of the job.
Like in any other industry, doing everything yourself is usually not the best or smartest option. This is why looking for third-party management might be a better idea.
Stay in Touch with Your Patients
This might not seem like much but staying in touch with your patients after the procedure is essential. Ask for their contact and follow up to see how they’re feeling and if there’s any progress. Like in many other service industries, your profit greatly depends on returning patients. Post-service follow-up is, therefore, incredibly efficient.
This can be done via phone, email, or even instant message on social media. The channel you use can be as important as the message itself.
The timing of this is also critical. It would be best if you reached out to them after the checkup but not too much after. This is because of their perception of your agenda for reaching out. If you wait too long, they might interpret this as trying to make them come back (or checking if they have the intention to, at all). On the other hand, reaching out immediately after the procedure is interpreted as genuine interest/care because you seemingly have no financial interest in doing so.
Choose the Right Team
Picking the right team for your medical practice will make the biggest difference in its day-to-day operations. Your receptionist, dental assistant, and your partners (other dentists in your employ) are the essence of your company.
Remember that you can’t pick your future staff exclusively based on their professional record when hiring people for a dental practice. In the healthcare industry, empathy and communication skills make all the difference. In other words, the personality of a potential hire is just as important. Many people are scared and uneasy, which is why you need someone who understands them (someone they can trust).
One more thing worth mentioning is the fact that you might choose to team up with another dentist (or other dentists). While making sure that you’re working with a professional may reduce medical malpractice risk, this solution is not always 100% fail-proof. It’s far safer to register as an LLP since this business structure provides you with greater legal liability protection.
Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
The best way to track the performance of your business and know whether you’re on the right track is to understand the crucial KPIs of the industry. Things like practice profit and practice production are obvious KPIs, but there are also other things you need to consider.
For starters, you need to focus on the number of new patients and return patients every month. Then, since the dental industry depends on returning patients, you also need to consider average production per new patient and patient attrition. Finally, seeing as how this is a unique industry, the case acceptance rate is also worth keeping track of.
Then, it would be best if you also thought about logistical issues. For instance, your overhead directly determines your profit, profitability, and (if you are a new business).
Staff labor percentage may be hard to keep track of, but it allows you to check whether you’re using the full potential of your business or if there’s more room for growth.
The more KPIs you include, the better (more accurate) picture you will get.
As a dental practice, you’ll face more regulations, and your need for different insurance types will be much higher than in other industries. This means that you have more logistical issues to deal with from the very start. Still, you can never neglect basic operational requirements or ignore the needs of your patients. Keeping track of all these aspects is the main requirement for making it in this industry. Sure, it takes a lot of work, but success in this industry was never meant to be easy.