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4 steps for building a streamlined dental billing process

April 5th, 2022 | 7 min. read

4 steps for building a streamlined dental billing process Blog Feature

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You know it’s important to have a streamlined dental billing process, but how do you build one? There are a lot of moving parts in the dental billing process. It’s important to have the right strategy in place to help it run smoothly so that you can collect on every procedure performed while keeping overhead costs low. 

Dental ClaimSupport is a dental billing company that has helped dental teams streamline their processes since 2012. Through the years we’ve seen what it takes to optimize each step of the process for dental practices to collect more money from both patients and insurance companies. 

In this article, we will share a dental billing strategy with you in the form of 4 steps. These steps will cover having the right roles and responsibilities in place to execute this process, creating systems that help your team work efficiently, keeping technology up to date, and always taking time to learn more. 

Through these steps, you’ll be prepared to streamline your dental billing process in a way that will improve the value that each employee brings as well as the financial health of your practice. 

Now let’s get into the 4 steps to build a streamlined dental billing process.

1. Assign roles and responsibilities for each task within your dental team

When there is chaos among your employees, and confusion on who is responsible for what - business can suffer. 

This is true for every place of business, but specifically for dental practices. There needs to be clear roles and responsibilities when it comes to each part of the billing process. 

Make sure your process specifies each task, and the role assigned to perform it. When you do this you’ll know:

When this doesn’t happen, some of these essential tasks in the dental billing process can slip through the cracks. 

It takes a village, and figuring out these roles isn’t always easy and might take some trial and error, but it’s crucial for a streamlined process. 

Gandalf is your guide to insurance aging reports

Make it a priority to first have a designated insurance coordinator or insurance billing service

Arguably the most complicated part of the dental billing process is the insurance billing. It’s extremely technical and requires a very systematic approach and close attention to detail. 

A huge challenge is staying compliant with rules and regulations that change constantly, as well as updating filing processes to overcome ever-changing tactics insurance companies use to minimize the amount they pay.  Efficient billing requires an expert to handle insurance billing (claim submission, claim follow-up, appeals, and aging report work). 

Finding this expertise should be the first priority when it comes to getting the right team in place to streamline your entire dental billing process. 

This might look like hiring an in-house insurance coordinator. This would be a full-time role, and you would need to make sure (during your hiring process) that they have the skills and experience to get your claims paid accurately and efficiently. 

You can also bring billing skills on board by outsourcing with a dental billing company. Dental billing service providers will assign one or more billers to handle your insurance billing (depending on the size of your practice) and have access to other experts to help them get your claims paid quickly and accurately. They typically work remotely, connecting through your practice management software. 

While both options can be effective dental insurance billing solutions, outsourcing usually produces faster payments with 62% less overhead. But either way, you need a dedicated resource – a person or a service – accountable for your insurance billing alone. 

You can dive deeper into the pros and cons of hiring an in-house insurance coordinator vs outsourcing a dental billing company in our Learning Center.

2. Prioritize efficient systems and processes - give everything a purpose in the dental billing process

As we mentioned, there are many moving parts to the dental billing process, so each step of the process must have a system and purpose behind it to minimize wasted effort. 

What we mean by system and purpose, is a clear understanding of why a step in the dental billing process is happening, especially because each step of the process depends on the previous. 

Do you perform insurance verification BEFORE the day of the patient’s appointment? Do you create your claims within 24 hours of the day of service? Do you work the insurance aging report once a week and post payments every day? Do you run reports to keep your number balanced?

All of these systems are crucial to having a streamlined dental billing process.

Dental Billing Process

Figure out what kind of schedule and system works for your dental team

You have to figure out what works best for your practice.

Everyone has a different way of doing things when it comes to dental billing. Finding the right process for yourself is hard when the work is complex. Having a timeline to follow daily is the key to professional and personal success. Everyone wants to be successful at work, AND have a good work/life balance, right? 

When your team understands the purpose of each step of the billing process, they can figure out who can work on what, and when each task should be completed by. 

To figure out this system for yourself if you don’t know where to start, follow these steps

  • Ask yourself, in what order do you accomplish the most?
  • Prioritize posting payments and tracking denials
  • Post EFT payments weekly rather than daily
  • Schedule claim submission early in the day

By adding specific timelines and structure to your dental process, you can get more organized and work more efficiently.

3. Keep your systems and dental software up to date 

When it comes to the dental billing process, technology is your friend. As we move into the future, more parts of the dental billing process are becoming automated. 

This might sound scary to some, but in the right places, automation can help you accomplish certain tasks more efficiently, and also more accurately. 

As technology advances, so should your dental practice. Is your practice management software up to date? What about your insurance verification software? Which clearinghouse company do you use?

Asking yourself these questions a few times a year can help you stay up to date.

Regularly evaluate the costs and services provided with each of your software programs

There are different questions you should ask yourself about the purpose of each software. 

Is the price you’re paying reflective of how well each works for your dental team? Do you need different service offerings than you currently have? When is the last time you looked into switching your practice management, insurance verification, or clearinghouse software?

Regularly evaluating how you feel about all of these tools, and how they perform for your team is an important part of creating AND maintaining a streamlined dental billing process.

→ Download Now: 5 Tips to Streamline Insurance Billing

4. Invest in continuing education for your dental team

If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. This is something our remote billers live by as well. 

As dental billing changes and evolves, you should as well (similar to technology). When you decide to continuously train your dental team on billing best practices, coding, and insurance regulations, you are going to see your process improve and evolve with the times as well. 

And this means your team and practice won’t get left behind when an industry change occurs, or when CDT annually updates its codes. If you choose to not constantly encourage your team to stay up to date with this information, you could lose out on money from claims, or even unintentionally commit fraud on an insurance claim.

There are webinars, videos, dental communities, books, and more resources that your team could utilize to stay ahead of the curve. 

Ready to bring in more revenue through a streamlined dental billing process?

When you build a streamlined dental billing process, you’re going to collect more. More organization, cohesiveness within your team, clearer processes, and the optimization of technology is going to add the structure needed to be successful.

Dental ClaimSupport is a billing service that can help you not only by taking care of insurance billing but also with career training in best practices to conquer the dental billing process. Taking steps to generate more revenue is how your practice remains or becomes successful.

Learn more about things your dental team can do to bring in more revenue by visiting our Learning Center. 

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