“It is the end of the month and reports need to be run.”
It is a statement often heard in the dental office, in a medical office, and in any other business. But special attention needs to be paid for the business of a dental office. Thinking carefully, one comes to the realization that a dental office business is more than just a medical facility providing healthcare, it is a mini hospital.
A dental facility is essentially under the same scrutiny as a hospital yet on a smaller scale. Regulations must be followed, which can become cumbersome in small institutions.
Some of those regulations include:
Insurance and patient billing
Administrative duties in this mini hospital must be delegated properly and systematically. It is imperative to have systems set up to address every aspect of the regulations that govern this establishment.
Ideally, you will want to identify these systems and assign a capable responsible person for that duty. Some easy steps to ensure the processes are followed and timely could include:
Have a detailed plan of delegating duties and due dates will ease the stress and confusion on the business side of the practice.
Have a master calendar that is easily accessible to the staff members whose duties are in the administration side of the dental practice.
Include due dates for important filings for business-related tasks, whatever the dental practice staff deems important to have included.
Implement color-coding tasks on the calendar to certain departments. Assign colors based on the importance of the tasks; red for those that are more urgent.
Customize the calendar to the needs of the practice.
Delegating duties for practice staff will also help ease the stress of those involved in the day-to-day operations. Once the tasks have been specifically outlined, it creates a more productive work environment. Staff members will know what their tasks are and they can then plan their unique method of completing their tasks. There will be certain tasks that need to be a joint effort between staff and the office manager or dentist but by specifically outlining the tasks, it will create accountability for everyone.
An important process that can help with tackling the mountain of administrative work is having an administrative day. This day can either be when the dentist is not seeing patients or having a set day periodically and regularly. In smaller practices, having a day or half a day where the staff members, the office manager, or the dentist come in to take care of the administrative aspect of the practice can help create routine and keep everyone on the same page. In larger practices, an administrative team is available full time to deal with these business issues and won’t affect patient care time. The dentist can focus and oversee with the office manager or administrative staff the necessary paperwork.
In general, there are plenty of different ways that a practice can create programs to have a more streamlined process of running their “mini hospital.” That’s why it is important to investigate the needs of your specific practice and rank the needs. It is essential that the systems are identified and plans are laid out and implemented properly. Above all, monitoring is essential. The dentist-owner is the CEO of this mini hospital and needs to guide the process accordingly.
Sylvie Haber, Consultant, CFE
Sylvie first entered the dental field through her mother, who is a dentist. She grew up attending conferences and many dental meetings. Watching her mother’s passion and love of dentistry, Sylvie grew to love the profession as well. After, she earned her MBA in Healthcare Administration from Loma Linda University. She completed the ADA ‘s Executive Program in Dental Management and also became a Fellow of the American Association of Dental Office Management. Sylvie enjoys seeing dental offices thrive, become more productive and run smoothly under her guidance through management and coaching.
Sylvie can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org