Strategies for Managing A Dental Practice
For most practitioners in the dental field, it might be challenging to see the clinic whether it is a business entity or a vocation, when in fact it is actually both. Although the entire practice is centered around ensuring your patients’ oral and dental health, you won’t be able to sustain your quality services if you’re financially incapable or if your equipment is not maintained well.
To make sure you can continue giving quality care, without sacrificing any other professional goal you might have, here are a few strategies for managing your own dental practice.
1. Reassess your working hours
Most dental clinics still operate at the conventional schedule that usually starts at 9 or 10 in the morning and closes up at 4 or 5 in the afternoon. You might want to realign your clinic hours to better serve your patients, as well as open up your schedule for other opportunities. For example, some dentists who run their own clinics also work at hospitals, often on an alternating schedule.
Other clinics also intentionally work different hours, such as starting after lunch and accepting guests well into the night. This kind of setup allows employees to work half-day or get their teeth done after their shift, securing a steady market of workers, especially young professionals.
2. Invest in your people
Of course, this is particularly important for almost all dental clinics. Investing in your staff and colleagues in the clinic is similarly investing in the business in general. For starters, dental assistants perform a wide range of activities from scheduling patient appointments, keeping records, to various dental technologies like taking x-ray images and administering patient care.
By equipping them with the right certifications and training, they can perform some of the tasks that would otherwise fall to the dentist himself. This saves up time and allows you to focus on more complex work, or attend to the business side of things.
3. Include regular maintenance work on your equipment
Like any other machine, the pieces of dentistry equipment you have in your clinic also require a periodic checkup to make sure they don’t break down or malfunction right when you need them. A regular maintenance schedule might sound like an added expense for the business but it pays for itself in the long run, saving you from the hassle of having to stop or reschedule an appointment because something in the clinic doesn’t work as it should.
Of course, it involves x-ray machines, washer-disinfectors, hydraulic patient seats, lights, and more. You’ll also need to regularly check your handpieces to make sure you do your work with no worries.
4. Start automating processes
Rapid advancements in technology have made most of them cheaper and therefore more accessible for everyone. Some clerical tasks in your clinic can use this technology, saving you time and effort, all while minimizing the risks that come with manually performing them. The most common example is appointment setting and scheduling, automated solutions available today let you customize the platform and let the patients handle the rest. They can set their own schedules and the system will notify your team for confirmation.
You can even automate your HR platform for your team, making sure that everyone’s pay and benefits are automatically taken care of. It can even help you see your upcoming schedule or if someone is planning to take a paid time-off, even when you’re not in the office. Some of these automated platforms are available in web browsers or even in mobile apps, improving mobility and accessibility for you and your patients.
5. Monitor your inventory
Sometimes, it’s the small things that derail the entire operation. To make sure you never run out of the stuff you need, make sure to always keep a good handle on your inventory. You can start reviewing the rate at which you consume certain materials such as cotton balls or mouthwash. Keeping yourself updated on the inventory status makes sure that you don’t overstock and more importantly, you don’t run out of the things you need in doing your day-to-day business.
For small clinics, tight control over the inventory means you only buy what you need, when you need it. This practice frees up a portion of your finances for other purposes, such as training staff or setting maintenance schedules. Also, you can start setting up an inventory management system and train the rest of the team for increased efficiency.
Effectively managing your dental practice often starts with the small, often-overlooked parts of the job. By making sure you pay enough attention and allot enough resources, you can continuously improve the place you work in and the processes with which you do business. Not only do they create better employee and customer experiences, but they also take off things from your mind–letting you focus on providing the best oral and dental health services.
Guest Blog Author: Kat Sarmiento