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5 tips for increasing dental practice efficiency

August 25th, 2022 | 6 min. read

5 tips for increasing dental practice efficiency Blog Feature

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Dental practice efficiency is crucial for profitability and a low-stress work environment. Knowing how to optimize your dental practice efficiency is the challenge most dentists face. Where do you start when it comes to increasing your dental practice efficiency? There are so many moving parts of a dental practice. 

Dental ClaimSupport is a trusted dental billing solution that dentists have been using for over 10 years. Through our experience in helping dentists collect more from insurance claims, we have seen how much dental practice efficiency can affect billing and patient experience. 

Spoiler alert: dental practice efficiency has a huge impact on your cash flow and patient experience.

In this article, we’ll share 5 tips for increasing your dental practice efficiency. These tips cover the following topics: 

  • Creating standard processes for each task in your practice
  • Hiring the right people to run your practice
  • Modernizing your scheduling process
  • Optimizing patient check-in
  • And taking advantage of technology

By applying these tips to your dental practice, you’ll see your dental team thrive. They’ll be stress-free at their job, and your dental practice will become more profitable through increased productivity. 

Let’s dive in.

1. Create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for every process in your dental practice

A great way to increase efficiency is to have a process for everything. SOPs are step-by-step instructions for tasks at your workplace. They are documented and are available for anyone to refer to when completing a task. 

SOPs also create a sense of accountability. When there is a clear, laid-out way of performing tasks such as insurance verification, claim completion, claim submission, and claim follow-up - everyone will know what’s expected of them.

This can help your dental team members move through their workday with confidence because there is a process for everything. It can also be helpful if you ever have a team member out of town or out sick. 

Even if someone is out of the office, productivity doesn’t halt because another team member has instructions on how to do the other’s task.

2. Hire people with experience working in a dental practice

Hiring the right people can make a huge difference in dental practice efficiency. 

The less time your team has to spend training one another, the more time they can spend on checking patients in, collecting payments, and submitting insurance claims. 

There are a lot of moving parts to run a successful dental practice, so having a top-notch office manager, dental team, and biller (or billing service) is key. Ideally, the people you hire have at least a few years of experience working in a dental practice, in their respective positions. 

The two most important positions that need experience are your office manager and whoever (or whatever) is handling your billing. 

Your office manager runs the ship. They will oversee everything at your dental practice, so you need to have someone confident and organized with leadership skills. 

And your biller is going to make sure all of your patient and insurance payments are collected. 

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Dealing with dental insurance billing is a very niche skill. There are a plethora of rules and regulations to keep up with, so you need an expert person or service handling your billing to ensure dental practice efficiency AND steady cash flow. 

3. Modernize your scheduling process

What does your scheduling process currently look like?

Make it easy to schedule appointments on your website or easy to make a call. Having an availability calendar on your website is an easy way for patients to find a day and time that works for their schedule and yours. 

You should also modernize your appointment confirmation and follow-up process. Send out text messages and emails to remind your patients of their appointment a month, a week, and a day before their appointment. This can prevent cancellations and no-shows. 

Related: Dealing with dental cancellations: Are no-shows effective?

When patients have to reschedule, it can throw a wrench in productivity. Try to fill the chair if you can by calling your list of patients that are waiting for the next closest availability, AKA your VIP list. This can help maintain your dental practice efficiency and make your patients feel special. 

4. Optimize the patient check-in process

Your patient check-in process is crucial not just for efficiency, but also for the impression it gives your patients. What’s your average wait time for patients after they’re checked in? Try to get it down to 5 minutes or less if you can. 

This goes into modernizing your scheduling process as we mentioned above. This means there is a set time slot for every part of your patient’s visit, including check-in time. 

Make sure you double-check their insurance coverage one last time when they check-in, or at least ask if anything on their insurance has changed (the first time should be done prior to their visit when they made their appointment). 

If the adult patient will be orally sedated for their next appointment, it is ideal to complete all of the paperwork when you are scheduling the sedated appointment.  

You would then review the informed consent, collect their estimated amount due, and give them their prescription. Some offices will have the patient arrive early to the appointment, complete their paperwork and then take the medication in the treatment room to relax as they wait for the medication to work. 

Dental patient in chair benefitting from dental practice efficiency

Be sure to follow the rules, regulations, and laws on monitoring an orally sedated patient in your practice. Whatever your policy is, remember the patient is unable to legally consent if they took their medicine prior to their appointment and their driver cannot consent for them.

If they are having major work or surgery, you may want to also take care of their paperwork, receipt, and date of the next appointment before they go to the treatment room. Sometimes patients struggle with talking while numb or have gauze in their mouths. This way they can just walk out the door when they are finished.  

This will ensure a smoother check-out process and ensure you’re paid!

5. Take advantage of technology

From your practice management software to your own website - taking advantage of technology’s functions will modernize your practice and increase efficiency.

Your practice management software, for example, has tons of tools you can use to increase efficiency. Many dental software programs now have automation features that can take care of some extra work for you. It all depends on which software you currently use. 

If you don’t feel like your current practice management software is helping your practice be efficient, you can also switch to another one that fits your needs. 

Do you have an iPad or notebook for patients to perform self-check-in on? This could be an easy way for patients to check themselves in and notify the dentist that their patient is ready for their appointment.

Even your website could likely be affecting your efficiency. How user-friendly is your dental practice’s website? Are patients having a hard time finding your dental practice, resulting in showing up late? It could be because your address is not on your Google listing, therefore not populating on Google Maps. 

Taking advantage of even the smallest parts technology has to offer can have a huge impact on your efficiency. 

Ready to run a profitable dental practice through outsourcing your dental billing?

Dental practice efficiency is crucial for financial and professional success. When you have clear processes, experienced team members, seamless scheduling and check-in process, and technology on your side - you’re sure to have a well-run dental practice. 

This will lead you to be more profitable and your team to be less stressed. 

Dental ClaimSupport is a tool that dentists use to take that profitability to the next level. Our billing experts take care of insurance billing so that your team can focus on making your dental practice efficient for your patients. 

To learn more about how you can increase your revenue through outsourcing your dental billing, schedule a call with us. 

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