If you’re a busy dentist, but you just aren’t seeing your dental practice grow the way you envisioned it, you may be wondering where things are going wrong. All medical practices require the important balance of clinical skill and office efficiency, and dentistry is no exception. Keeping those things balanced can be tough, so if you find that you and your staff are always on the go but you’re still falling behind on important tasks, consider these tips to increase productivity in your dental office.
Make Way for the Digital Age
Becoming more productive means learning to work smarter not harder. Office staff are already busy enough submitting insurance claims, greeting patients, and countless other responsibilities. With a multitude of systems and software available to create a patient portal, it’s easier than ever to allow your patients to take on the task of making appointments from their phones or computers. Patients may even be more likely to schedule an appointment online just to avoid the hassle of a phone call and the dreaded hold music. With an online booking system, you save your office staff and your patients time for the more important things in life.
Not only can you go digital with appointments, you can automate things like patient check-in and billing. With automated systems for things like checking in to appointments and billing patients, the time and energy it takes to do these things is drastically lessened. If you’re feeling like taking a walk on the wild side, you could even try offering tele-health for certain patients who may not necessarily need an in-office visit for a specific appointment. Offering telehealth options for patients who just need an appointment for something like a consultation can mean one more chair open for a patient who is in need of an office visit.
A key piece of productivity in any setting is communication. Communication is important between you and the dental staff at your practice and it’s just as important with your patients. It’s also important that your staff are able to effectively interact with your patients, including communicating longer than normal wait times or an unexpected need for appointment cancellations. For example, when every staff member is made aware what procedures are scheduled for the day and the approximate time frame for the procedure, patient communication can improve about expected wait times and how long they may expect a procedure to last.
Effective communication also means allowing space for complaints or suggestions from patients. Even negative feedback is an opportunity for you to increase productivity in your practice. In the same way that patients need a space to provide negative feedback, communicating with your patients about how you’re using their suggestion gives them a reason to trust you and feel confident about the care you provide.
Paying close attention to how well you’re communicating with patients can also improve no-show and cancellation rates. Following a no-show or a consultation are two great times for dental staff to be taking advantage of the opportunity to follow up with patients and identify their needs.
Create an Enjoyable Work Environment
While it’s obvious that the patients you serve are of the utmost importance, your staff should feel just as valued. No matter the job, when employees feel overworked and underappreciated, productivity will be low. Make sure you are treating your dental staff well, and you may avoid employee burnout and high turnover rates. If you want to know how to improve your dental office as a workplace, go directly to the source. Communicate with your staff about what it is they feel they need to be part of a happy and productive environment.
A few things that are certain to make your dental staff happy and productive employees are monitoring the amount that an employee is working overtime and making mindfulness a habit within your dental practice. Ensuring staff aren’t consistently working overtime also ensures a more productive staff who are less exhausted and less frustrated and therefore less likely to make mistakes.
In addition to better rested-employees with a good work-life balance, practicing mindfulness has several research-based benefits to be aware of. Employees may feel better centered and focused allowing them to be as productive as possible. Mindfulness can also reduce feelings of stress and anxiety while increasing an overall feeling of well-being.
If you’re a dentist who would like to see your practice become as effective and successful as possible, Strategic Practice Solutions can help you get there. With us, you never have to feel like you’re alone or left wondering if you’re doing everything you can to see growth in your practice. When you consult us about your dental office needs, we will provide customized coaching to meet the needs of you, your dental staff, and your patients. Contact Strategic Practice Solutions today for a consultation that will help you take control of your dental practice.