As any dentist who runs his own practice can tell you, setting up your own dentistry office requires not only a strong educational background, it also requires a keen sense of business and the skill set of a leader.
Most dental school graduates or those new to the field don’t realize that a great deal of a dentist’s time is spent behind the scenes doing administrative and management work. These responsibilities are of course in addition to treating patients, consulting and screening potential patients, while simultaneously attracting new business.
With all that it takes to run a successful dental practice, it’s no surprise that many new dentists struggle to find a balance and eagerly look for tips, like the three below, to help run their practice more efficiently and effectively.
- Use Scheduling Programs and Software
Investing in a quality dental scheduling system will ensure your practice runs smoothly and can free up the time of your receptionists and hygienists, so they can get more work done. The latest scheduling software goes far beyond the old systems that simply booked appointments.
These new tools are able to balance patient flow and maximize productivity, leading to an enhanced customer service experience, which can ultimately lead to word of mouth referrals.
- Know Your Inventory
You would be surprised how quickly an organized stock room can become a cluttered and tedious mess. Utilizing an inventory management system is helpful to ensuring you have the right tools and products on hand.
A well-organized inventory can also save money.
“Inventory management is an essential skill for dentists,” points out Dentist Sheri Doniger. “Proper ordering ensures that you always have the right products on hand to treat your patients, but it also ensures that you aren’t sitting on piles of extra products – essentially, “wasted” money.”
Dr. Doniger recommends having two separate spaces, one for office supplies and one for dental supplies. You can assign a staff member to regularly assess the inventory of each space and place orders for whatever supplies need to be restocked.
- Enhance Patient Experience
Look at your practice through the patient’s eyes. Is the waiting room open and inviting? Do the receptionists greet each patient with a smile and friendly hello?
As we all know, many people dislike going to the dentist. Making the experience as pleasant as possible is key to creating repeat patients and making those who visit your office happy.
Dentist Mark Walker, who practices in Dutton, Ontario, is a keen supporter of the patient swag bag as a tool to make patients happy and more aware of oral care.
“Everyone likes getting a little gift, even if it’s just a toothbrush, toothpaste and some floss,” notes Dr Mark Walker. “I also recommend going the extra mile and having the brushes labeled with your dental practice information.”
At Dutton Dentistry, staff also work to schedule all follow-up appointments while the patient is still in the office. This helps to create and balance patient flow and shows patients the dentist and his staff are invested in their dental care routine. Tying into guidance point one above, Dutton Dentistry uses Tracker Software sold by The Bridge Network to organize their scheduling system.
Most seasoned dentists also advise adopting technological advances whenever possible. From digital x-rays to laser tools, the latest dental technology offers better tools that have been known to enhance overall patient experience.