Short on employees? 4 Quick Efficiency Tactics for your Dental practice

By Priscilla Derr November 1, 2022 3 min read

While most dental practices say they’re managing through the crunch, more than 90% of dentists recruiting dental hygienists say it has been extremely or very challenging, and nearly 90% of dentists indicate the same for recruiting dental assistants, according to recent figures from the American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute (HPI).70% of owner dentists have said recruitment of administrative staff is extremely or very challenging too. These shortages are contributing to an 11% reduction in practice capacity.  And after personally attending the DEO Conference and Dykema we’re hearing groups can’t hire dentists fast enough. 

How can solo and multi location dental practices thrive in today’s market without increasing the stress of more production and double booking the schedule as staffing strains continue? 

Simple! Be smart and efficient. What does efficiency mean? 

To be efficient means achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. 

Here are 4 Proven Methods to Increase Efficiency In Your Dental Practice: 

1. Reduce The Amount of Manual Admin Work

Take some time to evaluate the resources and tools available to help reduce admin work. Technology can help you reach out to patients to bring them back in for hygiene or treatment. Or if RCM is an issue for your practice, then consider outsourcing tracking down insurance reimbursements.  

2. Schedule Smarter 

Everyone has the same 24 hours in their day, but how you use them matters. Prioritize the most important tasks at the beginning of the day so you can ensure they get done. Then manage your patient schedule with the mindset of production goals. If you constantly pack in new patients, where are you going to fit in the emergency patients and restoration appointments? If you have limited staff and limited chair time wouldn’t it make sense to fill those seats with higher production patients. Maybe it’s time to rethink how you are spending your time versus sheer volume of patients. Before you offer another new patient special, when’s the last time you sent out an offer on overdue treatment plans to get existing patients back in the schedule? 

3. Maximize treatment presentations with payment options 

When the economy is unstable, people can be a little tighter with their budgets and expenditures. It seems like everyone is talking about dropping your worst PPOs ( we are too!) it may not make sense for your business to completely sever all insurance networks right now, so have options ready. Instead of thinking in the terms of all or nothing, have 3 stable options readily available. 

  1. Offer payment plans and/or financing with a company that suits your office needs and demographics. 
  2. Then have an insurance alternative for your uninsured patients like your own membership plan, 
  3. Break down treatment plans into several visits where it makes sense.  

Take the time to talk with your patients about their needs. Restorative treatment for the patient already in your chair is worth more than 4 new patient visits. Anyone can attract more new patients with a free whitening special, but the goal is to attract and retain patients that stay with your practice and get the treatment they want and need. 

4. Partner with companies invested in your success 

There’s no shortage of companies claiming to help you gain more new patients, market your practice, and grow your revenue. But when you read the fine print, what are these companies really offering you?  

Membership plans are a great alternative to offer uninsured patients. We will partner with you to launch and grow your plans. We’re a team of career dental professionals who wanted something better than what was already in the market, hence we launched Plan Forward.  

And once you’re comfortable with your progress, consider dropping your lowest performing PPO and offering a membership plan instead. Some payors haven’t updated their fee schedule for in-network providers in 14/15 years. Calculate the current appointment rate and revenue generated to get a sense of the revenue you would have to replace.

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