6 Secrets to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

improve dental practice efficiency

In case you aren’t aware, your patients don’t enjoy spending time in the dentist’s chair. They come because they must or because they know they should. But while they are getting their teeth cleaned or trying to remain still while you fill a cavity, they are anxious for you to finish. And they will notice every little thing that gets in the way of efficiency in your dental practice. After all, an inefficient office will keep them in that chair longer.

The fact is—you are most likely already dealing with patients who don’t want to be there. It is, therefore, critical that you optimize their visit to help nudge them toward a positive experience.

Dental practice efficiency also helps your bottom line. Efficient dental practices see more patients and perform more procedures than inefficient practices.

My name is Jennifer Pearce. I am the founder, CEO, and lead executive coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. With twenty-five years of dentistry experience, I have seen it all. And today, I am going to share some secrets with you about making your dental practice more efficient. Because the truth is, the efficiency of your dental practice impacts the satisfaction of your patients. This, in turn, impacts all other aspects of your practice.

Secret #1 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Start the Day Prepared

If you don’t start each day with a team huddle, why not? A team huddle allows everyone to get on the same page and know what to expect for the day. You can include whatever is important to your team, like daily goals, openings reserved for emergencies, cancellations, or a list of patients to call who have yet to respond to appointment reminders.

A couple of ground rules for a team huddle, however, are to start on time and keep it brief. You don’t want to start the day off already behind schedule.

Secret #2 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Accurate Estimates of Procedure Times

Who decides the amount of time to book patients for on your schedule? When estimated times are off, things can get out of hand quickly. Do patients who need 45 minutes get stuck in 15 or 30-minute timeslots? If this happens for even one appointment, the entire day can run behind.

Or maybe you are on the opposite end—left with large timeslots with nothing to do.

Depending on how things work in your dental practice, you may need to consider more than your chair time.

It’s important to keep the whole picture in mind. For instance, you may know how much time you spend with a patient needing a root canal, but what about the time they are in the chair while you aren’t present? And how long did it take the assistant to prepare the operatory? You need to consider how much time each patient spends with hygienists, dental assistants, and other team members before they see you, as well as how long it takes to set up the operatory and clean it up when you’re done.

Make a list of treatments and procedures and assign an estimated booking time for each one. Then, perform a “checkup” every few months or so to see if the estimates are accurate.

Also, consider that some patients require extra time. Special needs, such as extremes of age, anxious patients, and those who haven’t seen a dentist for years, will most likely require more time.

Secret #3 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Make Return Appointments at the End of Each Appointment

Yes, you will come across resistant patients. Have your staff encourage them to schedule an appointment anyway, even though they don’t know what they will be doing in six months. It is far easier to get a patient to change an existing appointment than it is to schedule a new one.

This also minimizes the work the front office has to do. After all, if every patient leaves with an appointment, that means far fewer follow-up calls or reminder texts trying to get patients on the schedule at a later date.

Secret #4 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Reduce No-Shows and Late Arrivals

Make sure to send appointment reminders well ahead of time, so patients can change them if they need to.

Have a running list of patients who would be available to come in for a last-minute appointment. Each time a patient calls to schedule or change an appointment, have a team member ask if they would like to be added to the list. This is especially helpful for patients looking for an appointment sooner than you have available.

Then, send reminders two days before the appointment, so patients can cancel it if they have a schedule conflict. This gives your team time to call people on the list who may be interested in taking the appointment. With this reminder, add a statement about not forgetting to pre-medicate if they need to. You don’t have to worry about customizing this, as patients who require premedication know who they are. This prompts them to call your office if they need a prescription, and it keeps you from having to cancel a patient after they arrive if they need to pre-medicate and forgot to.

You may even want to send a final reminder on the morning of the appointment. This helps keep patients on time.

Secret #5 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Train Your Front Team to Triage

Many patients think their dental emergency is more urgent than it really is. When a patient calls saying they need to get in right away, does your front team know what to ask them? Do they understand what is important and how to prioritize?

Make sure the team is properly trained so they know what questions to ask, how serious the problem is, and how much time the patient will need to be scheduled for.

Secret #6 to Improve Dental Practice Efficiency: Hire a Consultant

Running a dental practice can be complex and challenging. But when things in the office run more efficiently, they are also more effective and productive.

At Prosperity Dental Solutions, we have what it takes to help make your dental practice more efficient and profitable. Your patients will also like the changes because your improved efficacy will allow you to spend more time with them so you can give them the attention and care they deserve.

It may seem like a daunting task to get your practice running like a well-oiled machine, but we are here to help. And the result will be well worth your efforts.

Call (817) 975-4576 today to schedule a complimentary call with me. During this time, we can discuss your dental practice goals and desires and see if we have what it takes to get you there together.

4 Secrets to Reducing Stress in Your Dental Practice Ownership

Practice Management, Team Building and Clinical Coaching

reducing stress in dental practice

Are you a dental practice owner who feels overwhelmed and frustrated by too much stress?

Can you relate to the term “burning the candle at both ends”?

If there is stress in your practice, you can be certain your patients pick up on it. And if it’s bothersome enough to your patients, you may lose them.

My name is Jennifer Pearce. I am the founder, owner, and lead executive coach at Prosperity Dental Solutions. With 25 years of experience in the dental world, I’ve seen it all when it comes to stressors in a dental practice.

I’ve also helped hundreds of practice owners learn how to decrease and manage their stress. In fact, it’s one of the things I love to do most.

Now I’d like to share four secrets with you to help you deal with the stress that has you frustrated and overwhelmed so you can enjoy your profession.  Once you have a better understanding of what is causing it and learn how to make changes to reduce it, you can get on a path to profitability and success.

Secret #1 to Reduce Stress: Nip Conflict in the Bud

Nothing brings on stress the way conflict does. Whether you have one toxic employee or a whole group of people who don’t get along, the problems can seem endless. And it leads to a tense, stressful environment.

Many business owners and bosses feel like problems between others are not their problem. After all, the ones not getting along are adults and should be able to work things out, right?

Wrong.

If there is even a hint of conflict, take action to create solutions.

Otherwise, negative feelings and little issues fester and lead to bigger problems. Think about it—when two people don’t get along and hate working together, it is most often because of a build-up of many things.

When you ignore conflict, your team members feel like you don’t care. It can lead to negative attitudes and hurt feelings. Team members take sides, gossip, and become less productive and effective. They also smile less.

And if conflict causes enough negativity, your team members may find another job.

If you want your team members to have smiles for each other and your patients, encourage a team atmosphere. When everyone feels like a member of the same team, they get along better. They also treat your patients with more kindness and compassion.

Let your team know you care about them. Ask them how things are going and what you can do to improve things. Let them help you create solutions. But make sure to keep these conversations positive and don’t allow shame or blame to creep in.

If you have a toxic employee, tell her if she doesn’t change, you will have to take action. If things don’t improve, take action. Even if it means getting rid of her.

Secret #2 to Reduce Stress: Organize Your Schedule

Do you ever have some days where you can’t keep up and run late for each patient, and other days where you sit around with nothing to do? Talk about stress.

Stop the chaos!

Do what it takes to get your schedule organized. You may need to write out some guidelines and train the team members who schedule patients, or you might need to hire a scheduling coordinator. Keep daily production goals the priority.

Maybe you have found yourself running behind because you performed a procedure that took you an hour, but the patient was booked for 30 minutes.

Don’t let this happen. Have a written list for how long each procedure takes. Otherwise, the team member scheduling the patient has to guess how long to book them for.  Then, if you feel like a certain procedure for a certain patient will take more than the usual time, let the scheduler know to book the appointment for a longer time slot.

Develop a plan for last-minute no-shows and cancellations. For instance, you may want your team members to ask each patient if they would like a call if a slot opens up for an earlier appointment. You might be surprised how many patients appreciate helping you fill in last-minute holes.

Secret #3 to Reduce Stress: Improve Patient Acceptance

If you don’t have a great patient acceptance percentage, why not?

It can be stressful and frustrating when patients don’t agree to treatment that you know they need. Take steps to increase the percentage.

The number one way to do this?

Patient education.

Most patients who don’t accept the treatment plan reject it because they don’t understand the importance. Or they don’t trust you that they really need it.

Some ideas to help you convince them include:

  • Spend time with them

If you are stressed out and running late, you probably aren’t spending enough time with your patients. Take the time the patient needs to help them understand why they should spend so much money on a root canal and crown. Also, while you are with them, take some time to get to know them. And let them get to know you.

  • Show as you tell

Utilize your technology. Show them images and models. Give them a visual of what is going on inside their mouth, what it can lead to if they don’t fix it, and how you are going to fix it.

  • Take advantage of your hygienists’ knowledge

Your hygienists know a lot. When done properly, they can be your best salesforce. Train them to build trust with patients by getting to know them, educating them, and answering questions.

  • Add an extra five minutes to the schedule for the dentist and hygienist for each patient

When you pad the schedule a bit, it gives you and the hygienists more time to talk with your patients. This builds trust and rapport and allows time for education.

  • Consider hiring a treatment coordinator

A treatment coordinator can spend all the time needed with a patient as they educate, provide information, and answer any questions. Have them do this in a relaxed environment outside of the dental chair to reduce the patient’s stress. This allows them to feel freer to ask more questions and keeps them from feeling rushed. This person can also follow up with patients who are hesitant and don’t commit to treatment.

Secret #4: Hire Me!

Helping dental practice owners become successful and profitable is my passion!

In fact, when I founded Prosperity Dental Solutions, my goal was to help dentists overcome the stresses of practice ownership and assist them with making the most of all the amazing opportunities practice ownership has to offer.

I utilize a holistic approach to:

  • Create the path
  • Lead the vision
  • Simplify
  • Systemize for predictable success
  • Create team balance and structure
  • Teach delegation
  • Keep structures accountable

If you dream of a stress-free practice that is profitable, enjoyable, and productive, give me a call!

Call (817) 975-4576 today for your free consultation.

Take your first step towards achieving a prosperous dental practice.

Schedule a Consultation

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Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

 

Testimonials

Practice Management, Implementation and Mentoring of Systems

"I highly recommend Jennifer as a dental coach and as a person who understands what it takes to drive improvement. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge that makes her an invaluable tool in strengthening a practice. My practice has been successful, however, I knew that I wanted to take it to another level. Jennifer has a keen understanding of the ins and outs of running a practice, and what it takes to elevate all aspects of the practice. Whether it's a desire to improve treatment case acceptance, create more harmony and positive energy at the office, or implement the vision of the practice, Jennifer has the know how to make it happen. She says it as it is, and is down to earth and honest. I have already seen improvements across the board in my practice since we have been working together. I'm excited about the growth opportunity and confident that I have chosen a partner who understands the practice needs, and the intricacies needed to achieve the change I'm seeking. My team loves her and she has been a huge component in the success of my practice."

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