Business side of dentistry: the two most overlooked pieces of technology in your office

Editor’s Note: This is the eighth article in a series exploring the business aspects of the dental profession, from starting a practice and marketing to hiring and finance.

dr. Deshpande

Many of us are thinking about buying a CEREC system in our brand new office in the hopes that it will make things more efficient. We also consider buying the fanciest massage chairs for patients to use. You know what most patients really care about? Being helped on time and appreciated and cared for by our employees. Read below to learn about two technologies that are already in every office, but may not be used to their full potential.

Phones

Did you know that many calls are missed by an average dental practice? Did you know that the most common time patients call to schedule appointments? Do you know what it costs you as a practice owner not to know the above figures?

Many practices spend a lot of money on marketing and getting the “right patient” at the door. Most patients will check your online presence first: reading your website and your bio, then checking reviews, and finally taking the call and making an appointment. What if no one on the other end picks up the phone? What if the patient leaves a message and doesn’t even get it back?

Guess what, by the time you figure out what happened, that patient called another office and has an appointment on Monday.

  1. What is tracked is done. Consider having a phone tree — to route phones to the right person in your office — so the phone isn’t tied down. Insurance, emergency, or billing are three possible categories in a phone tree. Do you know which category has the longest call?
  2. Invest in software that can record every phone call (check your state allows it first), transcribe VMs, and check your front office member’s personality. It is so important that someone cheerfully and happily answers new calls from patients.
  3. Always have someone on the phone. Like most of our patients, I also make regular appointments for my chiropractor, personal physician, and dentist during my lunch break – 12-1pm, on a weekday!
  4. Maybe you couldn’t answer the phone. Fine. At the beginning of the next day, have your scheduler review all VMs and call everyone back. They should do the same for all no-shows, or late cancellations as well.

Toasting

  1. Ever thought about your perfect day in dentistry? It really exists. Every dentist has a different way of working and the great thing about this is that you can enter your own specifications in most scheduling systems. For example, I like to make root canals, implants or fillings at the beginning of the day, extractions just before lunch and new patient studies or child prophecies at the end of the day. One of my biggest annoyances is a quadrant fill at the end of the day. Find out your way of doing things and tell your front office how you want them to plan for you. After all, this is your office.
  2. Many business gurus agree that providers should not have unnecessary breaks in the day. While I agree with this line of thinking, it may not apply to everyone. Paint your own perfect day and try to make every day amazing.
  3. One of the front office managers I used to work with told me that what annoys them the most is inconsistency and lack of instruction from the dentist. “Why don’t they just tell us what they think? They only complain when it’s not done right.” Every person in the office wants their dentist to succeed. To help you, all you need to do is give them more information.

Can you think of another important aspect of an exercise? Team appreciation, bonus structures and outsourcing are other important elements. Participate in our New Dentist Business Club meetings where we go into all these matters in detail. To enter, email us at New.Dentist.Business@gmail.com.

dr. Sampada Deshpande is a general dentist based in San Francisco. Sampada, a foreign-trained dentist from India, received her DDS from the University of Washington in 2018 and is a UW-LEND Fellow for 2020-2021. In addition to clinical dentistry, she enjoys teaching at the New Dentist Business Club and improving access to healthcare technology through her involvement in Samsotech† You can reach her directly at: @dr.deshpande on Instagram or visit her website www.sampadadeshpandedds.com For more information.

Editor’s Note: We know that finding the right exercise can be overwhelming and time-consuming. That’s why the ADA has created ADA Practice Transitions (ADAPT), a service that matches you with practices that fit your practice approach and lifestyle. We provide tailored tools to ensure you are confident in your decisions and an ADA advisor supports you every step of the way. More information on ADpracticeTransitions.com



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