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Take your SOPs to the next level: 3 dental practice management SOP tips

January 4th, 2023 | 5 min. read

Take your SOPs to the next level: 3 dental practice management SOP tips Blog Feature

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What are the best ways to run a dental practice for greater success?

Here’s the key: Successful dental practice management is achieved through the use of SOPs (standard operating procedures). 

It seems almost too simple to be true, but having SOPs in place for each process at your dental practice can lead to higher revenue and more productivity from your dental team. And this makes dental practice management easier. 

Quick recap: SOPs (standard operating procedures) are documented, step-by-step instructions on how a task is completed. SOPs create easy-to-follow processes for work-related tasks that, ideally, anyone can follow.

DCS is a full-service revenue cycle management provider. SOPs for dental billing processes have been created, adjusted, and perfected by our experts for more than a decade. And we’ve even worked with dental teams that already have their own SOPs. 

Through this work, our billers have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to creating and properly implementing SOPs for dental practice management. 

In this article, we’re sharing 3 tips when using SOPs for dental practice management. These tips will help you understand what a good SOP looks like, how they should be created and managed, and who should be creating them. Here's a preview of our SOP tips:

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Let's dive in.

1. Update your SOPs regularly for more productive dental practice management

SOPs aren’t useful if they haven’t been updated in years. We see this often with dental teams. They have SOPs for tasks in their office, but they haven’t been updated. This is where the phrase, “this is the way we’ve always done it” comes in. 

Would you be surprised to know that neglecting to update your SOPs may actually harm your productivity and revenue?

When you’re stuck in your ways, you aren’t moving forward or growing. And this is bad for business. Evolving and learning new, more efficient ways to complete tasks around the dental office will make your job easier, and also help you be more productive.

Related: 5 annual responsibilities for a busy dental office manager

As technology advances and dental insurance policies update, it’s impossible to go a year without at least a few updates to your SOPs, especially surrounding your dental billing processes. Dental practice management software has updates too! These updates are something to take note of to revise your SOPs where necessary. 

2. Make your SOPs accessible to everyone at the dental practice

The entire purpose of SOPs is to make completing tasks easier. But the other purpose of SOPs is to have instructions for your tasks if someone else needs to complete them. So, make sure everyone has access to the SOPs in your dental practice. You never know when they might need to refer to them. 

For example, you’re in charge of calling patients for unscheduled treatment. Your SOP would ideally list every step of this process. But let’s say you go out of town for vacation for a week. Does that mean unscheduled patients are not called for an entire week? That leads to a halt in production, and you want to avoid that.

Thanks to your trusty SOP, one of your coworkers should be able to pull it out, follow the instructions easily, and be able to complete this task for you until you return. 

We recommend creating SOPs in a document that includes: 

  • The name and purpose of the task the SOP is detailing
  • Step-by-step instructions for each task
  • Short explanations for each step (the “why” behind each step)
  • Easy to read, brief instructions — the more broken down into details, the better. But use easy-to-read language 

You may want to save a PDF copy of your SOPs on your shared network drive with a shortcut on each workstation desktop. You can also print the SOP out and put it in a binder with other SOPs. It is also a good idea to add a footer with the name of the SOP, the date of the last revision, and the author’s name.

Related:  Measure your dental practice’s productivity by taking this 10-question assessment

New employees should also have access to any and all SOPs

SOPs are your friend when it comes to profitable and productive dental practice management. They will cut time on instruction and you’ll spend less time training new hires yourself. 

SOPs are a great resource for training new employees. When you already have step-by-step processes in place, and they are documented, your new hires can easily refer to them to learn their job. 

“Once you have developed your step-by-step SOP, you can create your checklist using a bullet point summary of the key components of the procedure. This checklist summary is a great tool to keep at your desk on a clipboard for easy reference until you become familiar with the procedure.” - The Nitty Gritty Details of SOP writing by AADOM

When steps are clear, easy to follow, and accessible — there is rarely a question of how to do something. This will lead to a less stressed-out team (or new hire) and more productivity from everyone! And this, in turn, will lead to higher collections.

 3. Put the person who performs the tasks in charge of creating and adjusting the SOP

So we’ve shared why it’s important to update your SOPs and why they should be accessible to everyone. 

But who is responsible for creating SOPs? 

It’s easy to put all SOPs on your dental practice manager, but truly the best people to create SOPs are the ones who regularly complete the respective tasks. Who knows your job better than you?

So, if you’re just getting started with SOPs, have your team members make their own SOPs for each of their tasks. Give them an example or create a template for consistency.

If you’re the dental practice manager, you should review these SOPs, and add or remove what you’d like to change about their process. But overall, the SOP needs to come from the person who knows the ins and outs of that task. And you’ll review it to be sure it’s easy to understand as someone who does not perform that task.

Take your dental practice management and SOPs a step further by hiring an RCM provider

You now understand how SOPs will make your dental practice management easier, more efficient, and more productive. The ease with which your team can follow these step-by-step instructions will ensure that they complete their tasks quickly and accurately. 

Take your dental practice management’s efficiency a step further and hire an expert revenue cycle management service provider. When you do, you’ll update your SOPs to take best advantage of this partnership. DCS’ services will provide a worry-free billing process that empowers you and your team to put patients first. 

To learn more about DCS’ RCM services, schedule a call with one of our experts. 

Put patients first and get cash flow you can count on.

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