Top Strategies for a Highly Efficient Dental Practice
When you’re a dental office manager, wearing multiple hats goes with the territory. Your days are filled with making decisions that need to meet several goals at once:
- Deliver an outstanding patient experience and the highest quality of care
- Create strong staff morale and inspire your team to be highly productive
- Ensure the practice is healthy, competitive, and profitable
Because our temporary dental professionals spend time in multiple practices, we asked them what tools and strategies seem to help practices run more efficiently. Here are their top recommendations.
Embrace modern technology and software
Look at all areas of your practice and see if you have opportunities to create more efficiency using technology and software solutions, including:
- Digital appointment scheduling and reminders allow patients to book appointments when convenient (and reduce admin work and phone time for you). Plus, these systems can send automated reminders to patients, which helps with no-shows and last-minute cancellations.
- Electronic health records and paperless billing ensures that patient data is accurate, up-to-date, and easily accessible to everyone. And EHRs streamline how information flows among everyone on your team, leading to better patient care.
- Online patient portals provide a secure platform for patients to ask questions or access their records, lab results, and treatment plans anytime. In turn, this leads to better patient engagement and satisfaction.
- Dental imaging software enhances diagnosis and treatment planning and can integrate with other software systems, allowing for seamless sharing and storage of imaging data.
Implement efficient appointment scheduling
A well-thought-out scheduling process helps you better manage patient flow, creates a less stressful environment for your team, and maximizes productivity.
- Group similar treatments together and have a plan for when your dentist will complete hygiene exams and need to step away from their operative appointments.
- Balance the workload among staff members by having your hygienist get the doctor’s patient numb or have another staff member clean or turnover a room.
- Plan for buffer time between appointments so you have flexibility in your schedule if procedures take longer than planned.
- Book your appointment durations based on the service and provide ample time so you don’t fall behind.
Ensure seamless communication and collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration can significantly boost your practice’s productivity, patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and overall success.
- Kick off the day with a morning team huddle and briefly summarize the day’s appointments, challenges, and goals. This sets the tone for the day and helps everyone feel prepared.
- Encourage open communication so everyone on the team feels comfortable sharing their thoughts or asking questions. If you don’t already, be sure to have regular staff meetings to share your successes and challenges.
- Use practice management software to track tasks and share updates.
- Find ways to build team trust and create an intentionally positive environment. This can be as simple as planning some team activities just for fun.
- Maintain clear communication with patients so they understand treatment plans, costs, and what to expect during and after their procedure.
Have a plan in place for temporary staffing needs
Operating with a small staff means everyone on the team has a role to play. As a result, if even one person is out of the office, it can greatly impact your team, the patient experience, and practice profitability.
- Review your current staffing solution and determine whether it’s meeting the needs of your team, patients, and practice.
- Estimate how often you’ll need temporary staff due to illness, paid time off or medical leave. Don’t forget to include additional staff if your practice is growing or already short-staffed or if staff hours are required to clear a backlog of patients waiting for care.
- Consider alternatives to traditional staffing agencies and online platforms, such as Kwikly.
Focus on patient experience
Creating a positive patient experience fosters patient loyalty, increases referrals, and differentiates your practice in a competitive marketplace.
- Create a welcoming environment and look for ways to make every space within your office feel comfortable and put your patients at ease.
- Train staff on your customer service expectations and remind them of their important role in the patient’s experience. Because they spend the most face time with patients, they often create the primary impression.
- Share cost-related information with patients early and often so there are no surprises. Remember that many patients find it stressful to understand or navigate the costs associated with their care. Being transparent and sharing all of their available options for financing reduces the chance of misunderstandings.
- Invest in continuing education for staff members so they’re up to date on the latest dental practices and technology.
Optimize daily workflows and processes
A smooth-running dental practice means happy patients, engaged staff, and more profits.
- Implement protocols and establish clear processes for how patients flow through your practice – like checking in and out and having standard procedures.
- Organize supplies and equipment for easy access so everything is logically arranged and within reach during procedures.
- Train your staff to use new equipment and software so they’re more efficient and make fewer errors.
- Review your workflows regularly and invite your team to share feedback about how to operate more efficiently. Ask temporary professionals for their input as well.
Maintaining an efficient office is even more challenging when someone on your staff is out sick or on vacation. Just one day without a hygienist or assistant leads to extra pressure on your team, frustration from patients, and loss of productivity.
This is where Kwikly can help you. We’re an on-demand dental staffing company connecting you with talented dental professionals looking for temp assignments. Our founders created Kwikly using feedback from dental office managers just like you. Hear their story.
See what Kwikly can do for your dental practice
Schedule a short call with our team to learn how Kwikly can help you overcome your staffing challenges and achieve your practice's goals.Schedule a Call