Upgrading your Practice
What are the gaps in your proficiency?
As business owners, it is key to make sure that all tasks to run a successful business are defined and assigned appropriately. In many cases, this needs a sharper lens in a dental office than other types due to the size of the team completing these duties.
Although there are some variances to the norms, we typically see 3 departments in each office – admin, restorative, hygiene. In general terms their responsibilities are pretty similar from office to office.
The admin team is responsible for scheduling, collecting, filing and patient documentation.
The restorative team assists the doctor, prepares the operatory, maintains sterilized environment and works with patient care.
The hygiene team works with patients to maintain oral health through routine prophy and perio management, maintain sterilized environment and educate patients.
This is an abridged description of these positions – of course, I’m preaching to the choir and all of you could truly make each list 5 pages long, so please forgive the brief catalog of duties.
As we work with teams in various offices, we find that there are functions that do not get accomplished. Additionally, areas of the practice that require some upgrades in order to maintain a competitive edge in our ever changing world. Technology changes, systems change; yet offices rely on the existing skill set or knowledge that holds them back to, in some cases, the last century. The traditional business model of a dental office evolves continuously. Adopting & adapting to these new capabilities is a must if you want to compete effectively in the current marketplace.
Let’s review each department and some of the ‘gaps’ in proficiency that tend to exist.
Verification –verifying insurance policies for patients in the beginning saves time in the end. After all, if the policy has termed or has specific limitations, isn’t it better to know from jump street than when the EOB comes in 2 weeks later?
Proper insurance processes - the insurance aging report includes pages and pages of outstanding claims that haven’t been followed up. Again, time seems to be the issue and the money stays in the insurance company pockets.
Treatment presentations – the computer does not spit out the correct breakdown which prevents the team from feeling confident when presenting the treatment plans.
Confirming appointments – patients do not always use the electronic system to confirm which forces the offices to call (& leave a message); time, again, is the issue.
EFDA – all RDAs do not have their nitrous certification or meet the full potential of extended duties
Scanners – time savers, space savers (not keeping the models on the shelf) and truly the best in current technology.
Use of lasers – this is such a cutting-edge benefit for patients and offices by helping with bacteria control, while adding additional revenue to the office.
Proactively alerting the dentist of potential treatment – this is an efficient method for the patient, the dentist and the office.
Now that you have identified the areas that could be improved for efficiency or better patient care, what do you do with this information? Our recommendation would be to prioritize the importance of each. This will help you to determine which skill you would like to introduce into your office. There is also the option of finding another person to complete this work for you. We find if you are strategic about how to proceed, the team will be more onboard with changes. Your options could include:
Training – investing in additional training will always serve you better in the end.
Outsourcing – if your team doesn’t have time, possibly there is a company out there that could do this for you.
Setting goals to implement at a later date – however, keep it on the front burner of your mind.
What would your ‘gap’ analysis reveal? Patients like for their dental office to be progressive in their skills and technology. If you want to compete in this dynamic environment, it requires breaking the previous mindset and embracing the next generation practices.
Denise Ciardello, Consultant
Denise is co-founder of Global Team Solutions. A professional speaker and published author, her enthusiasm and knowledge about the dental profession has helped many dental teams. She brings experience, insight, and creativity into her management style, along with a sense of humor. In a profession that can cause anxiety in some dental employees.
Denise’s consulting approach is to partner with doctors and team members to help them realize the dream of creating a thriving, successful practice.
Denise can be reached at: email@example.com