Cheryl Hayes explores how to optimise your team and utilise automated technology.
When running any business, it’s important to have a good understanding of how best to maximise revenue. The same applies when running a dental practice, as the way you utilise your entire dental team and manage your patients can have a huge impact on the success of your business. Enabling your dental team to use their entire skillset is essential for boosting productivity. When all members of the team are able to work effectively, they can maximise their time with patients, and therefore the practice as a whole will benefit.
The challenges of running a dental practice
Managing a dental practice can be very time-consuming and can often require a team approach with a range of different skills. The time required to balance appointments, cancellations, and communicate with patients can mean that non-clinical team members are not able to utilise their time effectively. Often, they spend a vast amount of time contending with those who fail to attend appointments, rather than connecting with patients.
Additionally, it can be difficult to monitor the productivity of each member of the team as part of practice management. From dentists and dental therapists to dental nurses and administrative staff, it is important to ensure each team member can work effectively, carrying out their full range of administrative duties. By effectively managing the dental team’s time and workload, you will help to increase footfall and generate increased revenue for the practice.
Utilising dental therapist’s and hygienist’s skillsets
Dental therapists and dental hygienists offer wide-ranging skillsets which, when utilised to their full potential, can help boost the productivity of your practice. Dental hygienists and dental therapists are able to carry out day-to-day exams, oral hygiene appointments, and treatments which are included in their scope of practice. This makes these team members valuable assets, as they can provide crucial preventative care.
By using the skills of the entire dental team, you will have the facilities available to offer the preventative care and treatment your patients need at the right time. Encouraging patients to attend regular hygiene appointments has multiple benefits. By scheduling dental hygienists to see more patients per day on a regular basis, they are able to bring in an additional revenue stream. In addition to this, enabling dental hygienists to provide patients with preventative care, rather than relying on a dentist to treat any resulting disease, allows you to optimise profitability. In a similar fashion, by introducing a dental therapist to the dental team, you enable your dentists to share some of the other treatment areas and focus more on complex procedures (outside of a dental therapist’s scope of practice) helping to generate increased revenue.
Automation in the dental practice
The use of automation technology in practice management can help to maximise productivity. Managing patients’ appointments is of particular concern here. Each year, around 3.5 million dental appointments are missed in Britain. This wastes the dental team’s time and increases waiting times for other patients as appointments cannot be filled quickly enough. Using practice management software which sends out automatic appointment reminders to all patients, is incredibly useful for minimising the number of missed appointments by reminding the patient to reschedule. Because reminders are sent in advance, software can identify cancellations and highlight available appointments to maximise the number of patients seen per day.
In addition to this, using smart technology can enhance communication with patients by optimising messaging. By identifying areas of decreased productivity, clinicians are able to harness practice management software to create patient-specific messaging to drive footfall in certain areas.
Patient Bridge, a Sensei product from Carestream Dental is the solution you need if you are looking to maximise patient footfall in your practice – available for both R4+ and Sensei Cloud practice management software. With the addition of Patient Bridge, communication with and management of patients is streamlined. This innovative add on for the R4+ software allows practices to track the efficacy of communication with patients, minimising missed appointments and ensuring messages are reaching patients in the best possible way. Plus, communication is automatic, relieving the burden for your administrative team. Not only this, but Patient Bridge allows patients to complete their pre-visit forms in a virtual waiting room which feeds directly into R4+ and Sensei Cloud, helping to enhance the patient experience.
Practice management can bring with it a number of challenges, requiring the time of your dental team, and draining resources. By utilising practice management software effectively, you may be able to better manage your dental team, ensuring they can use their full range of skills, and conduct more appointments per day. In addition, automation can facilitate enhanced communication with patients, reducing the number of missed appointments, and saving time when they arrive in practice.
For more information visit https://gosensei.co.uk
References available on request.