Are you looking for practical ways to improve operational efficiency at your dental practice? Perhaps you want to know how to increase patient volume in a dental office? As your client base expands, it’s important to adapt to the increased demand by identifying areas for growth and capitalizing on your practice’s best qualities.
Managing your office to the best of your ability is a good starting point in terms of improving your practice. Place patients’ needs at the forefront, and stay organized as you work to maintain the best practices in dental care. Learn the most effective ways to increase profits, streamline your office and retain your valuable clients and staff.
How Does Good Management Maximize Your Staff’s Efficiency?
If you’re concerned with how to improve your dental clinic, work on your management routines. The benefits of good management include:
- Best possible organization: When you are proactive and stay closely involved in your office’s management routines, you will help maintain order.
- Higher morale: Employees are happier when they like the way they are managed.
- Lower turnover rates: Employees stay longer at offices where they are happy with the leadership.
Ways to Improve Your Dental Office Practice’s Management
While you’re learning how to grow your dental practice, focus on honing your management skills, and consider your own flexibility as you adapt to the needs of your valued workers. Your staff members rely on your leadership and each other to learn and understand the nuances of their roles. Apply the following tips on how to manage a dental practice well by preparing your employees to carry out their daily responsibilities:
1. Prioritize the Patient’s Experience
In the health care industry, patients are at the center of operations, and we strive to meet their needs safely and effectively. When they trust you as a provider, they will recommend you to others by giving you good reviews online and by word of mouth. Teach your staff to communicate effectively with patients, which is one of the best ways to ensure they have a positive experience.
If you feel that you need to improve your office’s communication and engagement with patients, try some tips for increasing the quality of your provider-client relationships. Knowing how to improve the patient experience in your dental office starts with asking yourself which areas your office needs to engage more effectively in. Here are some common strategies in dental practice management that you can use to ensure that patients feel comfortable in your care:
Always inform your patients of the best possible options, and if they ask for details, describe why you believe the treatment would work for them. Avoid obligating your adult patients to undergo a procedure that they are uncomfortable with. A patient can refuse any procedure by law.
In the case of pediatric dental care, the parents have the authority concerning the treatments you may provide to a child. However, a younger patient’s autonomy is still important, even when a child becomes anxious or noncompliant. For children, tell your staff to use techniques such as the Tell-Show-Do strategy to respect patients’ autonomy while still providing the required care.
Practice With Empathy
It’s always best to put yourself in your patient’s position and consider how everyone’s background differs. Your patients may have limited information about the corrective treatments they might require. They could also have assumptions about those treatments based on personal research or what other patients have told them. You might need to explain how a procedure works for them to feel fully comfortable.
Your patients will appreciate learning about how their treatments are assisting with their oral hygiene or bite alignment. You can educate your patients by printing pamphlets with specific information about standard treatments for them to take home. You could also make a short slideshow explaining common procedures and broadcast it in your waiting room.
Gain Trust to Establish Loyalty
When your patients enjoy coming into your office, they will gravitate towards trusting you and your staff. Their trust will create loyalty to your office, making them more likely to return or refer other clients. Get patients to trust you by giving them honest and accurate information. If you are uncertain about something, it is best to let them know that what they’re asking is unpredictable rather than telling them the most likely scenario.
2. Automate Your Office
Using the latest software to automate repetitive office tasks will increase your staff’s availability while they work face-to-face with patients. Your team will be able to build relationships with patients more easily with some of the busy work automated, all while saving energy and time.
The expenses of new software are worthwhile when you consider how automation increases productivity. What makes a dental practice successful is often the smooth scheduling. Ways to automate your office include:
Using Inventory Management Software
Inventory management software is a valuable tool for dental business management because it makes your supplies simpler and easier to track. The staff responsible for making business purchases can access all relevant data without having to sort through layers of paperwork. This will also be helpful during tax season for collecting a list of write-offs.
Investing in management software will reduce the hours your staff spend counting your stock and predicting when the office will need more items. An automatic inventory system will help your office avoid making last-minute orders or overstocking.
Using Appointment Scheduling Software
Giving patients access to a portal where they can view their appointments and treatment plans will reduce the number of calls to your office. Implementing a self-service appointment system for patients is another way to automate your office. When patients can go online to reschedule appointments at their convenience, your office staff can focus on more critical tasks. This process is helpful for an office that sees a large number of patients relative to the team.
For new patients, automated appointment systems make your practice more accessible. Many patients gravitate toward online systems where they can avoid speaking directly to an employee. You can also collect personal information about patients via your online forms. They can update their email address or phone number at any time and receive information and appointment reminders over these convenient channels.
3. Promote Elective Dentistry
Offering elective dentistry services will improve your dental practice by drawing in more patients. Many oral hygiene clients are interested in improving the appearance of their teeth along with their oral health. Elective services might be unnecessary, but many patients seek to improve their smile’s attractiveness while undergoing other procedures.
Expand your services by offering elective treatments to patients who want bright, shiny teeth. Common forms of elective dentistry include:
- Teeth whitening: Polishing and whitening services will help patients keep their teeth clean and white. Whitening can be beneficial for oral health while also boosting the appearance of your patients’ smiles.
- Veneer installation: Veneers are one way to alter the shape of the teeth without moving them. Their purpose is to make the teeth look whiter and more attractive. Various options are available, from durable porcelain to removable acrylics.
- Invisalign: Clear aligners have become popular for straightening teeth. Invisalign and equivalent aligner services are advanced enough to correct many bite problems with effectiveness equivalent to traditional braces. Clients like Invisalign because they can take out their aligners to eat without food restrictions.
Dental insurance will usually only cover certain elective dentistry options when some aspect of the service treats the patient’s oral health. For example, veneers are generally purely cosmetic, but some insurance plans might cover them if their purpose is to strengthen weak teeth. It is important that patients request these services enthusiastically. Make sure patients are aware of all options by listing these services on your website.
4. Provide Expert Follow-Ups
Another way to improve a dental practice by focusing on patients’ experiences is to schedule routine follow-ups. Encouraging patients to go to their follow-up appointments with text or email reminders will result in the best possible plan for their care and your business. Some of the many benefits of follow-up visits include:
- Increased quality of care: Follow-up visits are routine for specific procedures for a good reason. Patients with braces should come in for standard check-ups and fine-tuning regardless of the policies for other treatments. Providing follow-ups allows you to ensure that the patient’s treatment is working as estimated.
- Saved time: If your staff members schedule follow-up appointments before the patient leaves, they will spend less time making adjustments to the office’s schedule later on.
- Improved patient relationships: When you ask patients to schedule follow-ups, you show them that you care about their treatment. You want patients to feel like they can approach you with questions or concerns. A follow-up visit gives them another chance to ask about anything they want more information on.
- Positive outcomes: Follow-up visits increase the likelihood that your treatment will be effective. They will also help you avoid unforeseen changes in the patient’s treatment plan.
Giving your patients access to an online system where they can make an appointment on their own works well for when you are accepting new patients or for when patients want to make return visits. However, it’s best to have your team members schedule follow-up visits with existing patients undergoing treatment.
5. Create a Positive Office Culture
If you own your dental practice, a healthy office culture begins with you. Productivity goals and financial gains are always beneficial, but having a social culture where people enjoy working will help increase your success. Building a reputation for having excellent care and a friendly culture is also how to attract new patients to your dental practice. An office culture expresses personality and good character, making the atmosphere both unique and cordial.
Ways that you can build an office culture on a foundation of respect and collaboration include:
- Hold regular staff meetings: Holding monthly or semi-monthly meetings is a good way for any office to stay organized, but it also brings the staff together for important discussions. Use this time to encourage your employees with brief praise reports about what has been running smoothly.
- Give regular feedback: Deliver constructive feedback to your employees with a focus on the positive. They want to know that they are meeting expectations and will appreciate hearing when they have exceeded them. Focus on performance indicators and provide guidelines for how your staff can improve.
- Make policies that promote a friendly and inclusive work environment: Give your employees security by creating policies that focus on building a friendly and inclusive environment.
- Discuss attendance policies and sick leave: Make sure that employees understand the attendance policy, and allow them to take time off even if your office is small. Employees expect recuperation time, but you will encourage a positive work environment by showing your support.
- Train supervisors to be empathetic: Encourage any employee in a supervisory role to communicate clearly, be honest but kind and understand that all employees make mistakes. Work with your supervisors when assigning employee evaluations so you collect accurate information that you can frame positively.
- Set measurable goals for your office: Employee goals should encourage productivity while being reasonably obtainable. Recognize improvements with a rewards system to show your support.
- Donate snacks: Some offices keep a candy dish at the front desk for customers or employees to grab the occasional sweet treat. Dental offices that participate in this cultural staple tend to give away healthy snacks like granola bars or mini vegetable and fruit packs. Work with a promotional company to order the perfect snack packs for your dental office.
- Give away promotional materials: Promotional grab bags prepared with a new toothbrush, dental floss and other small items are popular with children. You can also show your appreciation for employees by stocking promotional or seasonal items just for them.
- Organize community activities: Holiday parties and promotional activities might seem better suited to a large corporation than your practice, but they are also beneficial for the medical field, from large hospitals to small dental clinics. Get your customers involved in the fun by letting them participate in contests or prize drawings. Special events will engage your patients and raise morale in your office.
Order Supplies for Your Dental Practice With ProDentUSA
As you automate your practice and promote a positive office culture for the maximum comfort of your patients and employees, you can also update dental instruments and supplies. Our available new dental instruments include everything from curettes and periodontal sets to excavators and forceps. Whether you aim to improve the quality of your tools or try a new brand, ProDentUSA offers reliable, long-lasting dental instruments.
ProDentUSA stocks disposable supplies and reusable instruments for dental practices of all types. We meticulously craft our premium instruments for efficiency and durability. Contact us to learn more or order now.