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Revenue cycle management 101: What it means and how it can affect your dental business

February 24th, 2023 | 7 min. read

Revenue cycle management 101: What it means and how it can affect your dental business Blog Feature

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Welcome to revenue cycle management 101. Revenue cycle management (RCM) is a crucial process for any dental business, from small private practices, to small dental groups, to DSOs. But RCM can be a complex process to understand as it applies to dentistry. What does it really mean?

In this article, we’re breaking down the basics of revenue cycle management 101 so that your dental business can take advantage of RCM and RCM services to improve your financial health.

DCS is a full-service RCM service provider. Our years in the dental industry have shown us what dental businesses are trying to learn about revenue cycle management. And we’ve seen just how transformative implementing RCM can be. 

This article will answer 5 common revenue cycle management 101 questions: 

  1. What is revenue cycle management?
  2. Why is revenue cycle management important for dental businesses to understand and apply?
  3. What are some common challenges dental businesses face, and how does RCM help meet them?
  4. Are there resources for optimizing the revenue cycle and how it’s managed?
  5. How can my dental business benefit from RCM services?

Let’s dive in.

1. What is revenue cycle management?

Revenue cycle management is a process that reduces the time between providing patient services and receiving payment by interacting with all the dental business systems. 

Your revenue cycle begins when your patient schedules a visit, and concludes with the receipt of final payment for the treatment provided. Then it starts again with a new appointment and treatment.

When this cycle is managed effectively, RCM increases dental business revenue and time devoted to patient care.

Full revenue cycle management includes: 

  • Credentialing the providers
  • Verifying insurance eligibility
  • Creating and filing clean claims  
  • Patient billing
  • Insurance follow-up 
  • AR management

Each part affects how well the process serves the financial health of the whole. 

It’s like a machine — if one piece of it is damaged, the machine won’t work the way it’s meant to.

Related: Why a profitable dental revenue cycle depends on a good billing process

2. Why is revenue cycle management important for dental businesses to understand and apply?

RCM is essential for dental businesses to understand because it directly impacts their financial health and success. 

“Effective revenue cycle management ensures that these steps are performed thoroughly and accurately to help providers avoid delayed or lost revenue.” - PayrHealth 

RCM has become an integral part of running a successful dental business. With a focus on the tasks that directly affect your revenue, your business will transform. Here are a few benefits you’ll notice when RCM is a top priority:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Improved cash flow
  • Reduced errors
  • Better patient experience
  • Enhanced compliance

By managing your revenue cycle successfully, you’ll see not only your revenue increase, but also the patients’ experience improve. Your dental business will be more organized, with easy patient payment systems and streamlined processes.

3. What are some common challenges dental businesses face, and how does RCM help meet them?

As the dental industry becomes more dynamic, new challenges arise for dental businesses. RCM can help your dental business meet these challenges and overcome them. 

Here are just a few challenges that RCM combats: 

  • Facing the staffing shortage: RCM centralizes administrative functions for every location. For example, instead of placing one insurance coordinator in each dental office, a team serves the whole group. 

By consolidating, the business is less vulnerable to a single point of failure, such as an unexpected vacancy. The challenge remains to find experts who are qualified to perform complex tasks quickly.  

  • Improving standardized processes: In order to manage your revenue cycle at a high level, you need to streamline and standardize your workflows and processes. This takes time and knowledge of RCM best practices.

  • Using new and changing technology: Most dental businesses struggle to keep up with the ever-changing dental technology landscape. RCM services, specifically, will take advantage of the best technology platforms to increase your productivity and reduce manual administrative work. Technology will also reduce errors that could affect your patient’s billing experience. 

Read more about how RCM meets the top dental business challenges in our Learning Center.

4. Are there resources for optimizing the revenue cycle and how it’s managed? 

As your dental business grows, the administrative burdens grow even faster. 

Revenue collection demands more time, technology and expertise than most dental teams can provide on their own. 

The knowledge needed to file clean claims, correct errors, manage patient payments, and remain compliant with changing rules (all in a timely manner) grows beyond just about any team’s capacity to handle that growth.  


A great resource for dental businesses looking to implement their revenue cycle management is a full-service RCM service provider. With RCM experts as your partner, you will be able to not just handle growth, but also nurture it.

As your practice grows, so do your revenue opportunities. But with this growth comes a higher volume of administrative work. Do you have the capacity for it?

There’s so much complexity in the dental industry, and when you’re managing more than one practice, it can become overwhelming. RCM services’ goal is to simplify, unify and have everything in one place at your dental business. 

We recommend outsourcing to one source that can take on your entire revenue cycle from beginning to end. 

5. How can my dental business benefit from RCM services?

There are several benefits from your dental business partnering with an RCM vendor like DCS. When RCM is handled by a team of experts, the in-house team can focus on providing great patient care. 

A service partner allows you to focus on what you do best and bring in expertise where necessary to ensure your RCM is consistent and accurate. 

Here are 3 big benefits to working with a qualified RCM partner for your dental business: 

  1. Increased revenue. RCM services streamline the billing process and reduce errors in claim submissions. RCM services can also help identify missed charges and underpayments and ensure prompt payment for services provided.

  2. Reduced administrative burden. RCM services will reduce the administrative burden on a dental business by managing the entire billing process from claim submission to payment. This can free up staff time to focus on patient care and other important business activities.

  3. Access to expertise. RCM services provide access to a team of experts who have extensive knowledge of industry regulations, coding guidelines, and payer policies. This expertise can help ensure that claims are submitted accurately and in compliance with regulations.

Read more: 10 benefits to using dental RCM services

Ready to implement revenue cycle management with RCM services?

Revenue cycle management is critical for the success of any healthcare organization, no matter the size of your dental business. 

By understanding the basics and implementing best practices, dental businesses can optimize their revenue cycles, increase cash flow, and improve patient satisfaction.

RCM services will simplify your revenue cycle management journey. By partnering with an RCM vendor, your team will be able to hone in on providing an excellent patient experience, knowing your revenue cycle is being managed at a high level.

Schedule a call with DCS to learn more about how you can take your revenue cycle management to the next level.

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