At the end of the day, a dental practice is a small business—and as in any small business, the key to success is good management. How can you more effectively manage your dental practice in all areas? In this post, you’ll find 5 dental management tools for more productivity, happier staff members, better patient relationships, and the healthiest dental practice possible.
1. Dental Practice Software: The Backbone of Your Practice
Choosing the best possible software for your practice budget is the single most important tool for improving practice management. Your dental practice management software can bring together treatment information and imaging, patient records, practice administration, and communication with patients. Some practices purchase software and then later realize it was not the right choice for them. Don’t be afraid to move to a new system if the software you have isn’t serving your current needs. The benefits of having the right software far outweigh the costs of a new system. There are ample sources of information out there to help you decide.
2. Electronic Reminders and Online Scheduling: Retaining Your Patients through Communication
While most still prefer phone and in-person scheduling, the majority of patients appreciate appointment reminders via text message. The desire to schedule appointments online is also increasing, especially among younger patients. As patient retention is a crucial issue for most dental practices, making it easy for your patients to deal with their dental appointments. Make your software and appointment systems work for you by using automatically generated reminders.
3. Quality Assurance Plan: Concrete Steps to Doing Your Best
You already know that Quality Management (QM)/Quality Assurance (QA) is integral to the success of a dental practice. But putting a Quality Assurance system in place is not enough. Make a plan for regular evaluation, frequently review feedback with your staff and make updates to your QA system when necessary. It’s also important to review the latest changes to regulations and gather more data through your practice software and patient surveys. This way, you can stay informed about the affects of your QA system on the actual quality of services and experience your practice offers patients.
4. Staff Management and Retention: Software isn’t everything
Your practice’s most valuable asset is your staff. Once you’ve attracted talented hygienists, dentists, and administrative staff to your practice, how can you keep them happy? Start with clear job descriptions and expectations, along with regularly updated procedures manuals and positive, productive staff meetings. Then, make a plan not only to evaluate staff, but also to regularly ask them for feedback on their own performance and working conditions. Research suggests that creating a “feedback-rich culture” in the workplace strengthens an organization.
5. Do Your Research: Knowledge is Power
The best tool for improving your dental practice management plan is knowledge. Don’t let your strategies go stale—use the wealth of new research and information available online from reputable sources like the American Dental Association to continue making improvements. Train your staff to use the data provided by your own practice software to analyze productivity, patient activity, and staff performance, and to identify problems quickly. In addition, use social media to look at the latest trends in management by following influencers and comparable practices on Twitter!
Develop your “Practice Vision”
None of the above tools can make up for the lack of a strong vision for how you want your practice to be. Develop a powerful mission statement, involve your staff in the process, and make sure your entire practice reads and understands it. Improving your dental practice marketing plan is a group effort!