Improve the Business-side of your Dental Practice
How to run a dental practice
Are you feeling like the clinical side of your practice is running well, but the financial side of the practice is struggling? Perhaps the challenge is due to the increase of insurance PPOs or the need for more new patients? Perhaps the challenge is due to needing a fabulous treatment plan coordinator who can sell your large cases more successfully? Or perhaps the challenge is because of embezzlement or a past office manager’s inability to manage? No matter what the reason, as the owner of your practice, you feel heavy the responsibility to figure out what the issues are so they can be addressed and solved.
Invest your time
First of all, start learning more about the business side of your practice. Run reports in your Dentrix dental practice management software and start to identify the concerns you have. If you are a Dentrix Customer Service Plan client, you have access to their Resource center and you can start right now to watch tutorials and webinars created for dental staff training to help you at no extra fee! Start reading articles and doing research to learn more about practice management. The more you start to learn about dental practice management, the more you can start to recognize what you don’t know.
The classic learning on any topic follows this path:
- I don’t know it
- I know that I don’t know it
- I know it
Imaging you were planning to purchase a new x-ray machine. You would start out with research. Perhaps you would go online and start learning which companies sell x-ray machines and what features are available. Plus, you could begin to see the costs of these new machines. Next, you might talk with your supply representative to hear what other dentists in your area are buying. Next, you might go to a trade show where you can see the different brands of x-ray machines up close and personal. Finally, you could request quotes from a couple manufacturers and make your decision.
Now, if you’re following a similar path with identifying how to improve the business side of your practice, you might follow similar steps. Since you’re online right now, it looks like you may be at the online research stage. You’re finding out what resources are out there and available to you and how each one might work for you. Next, you can start to get a feel for the costs involved and see if your dental supply rep or other dentist friends have resources they felt were valuable. Finally, you might compare the different options and make your decision.
Make dental practice management a priority
If your practice is struggling financially, you may feel frustrated, angry or even depressed. You may feel that you have done everything “right” but things have happened and suddenly you’re just not making enough money to take care of your staff, your family and all the expenses. Take a minute and remember back when you were first learning how to do a composite. The first handful of times, you were slow, the instruments and materials felt awkward and you may have been unhappy with the result even after spending hours! So, you kept practicing and because you were focused on learning this new skill, eventually you got them down and placing these restorations is no big deal.
When you decide that you’re going to learn how to organize the business side of your dental practice and focus on dental staff training, you’re going to face a learning curve. The good news is that you are very motivated to make the financial side of your practice a success and if you’ve been in practice awhile, you already know the basics.
The dental landscape is changing
Several trends have occurred that make running a dental practice today more challenging:
- Increase of dental insurance PPOs
- Increase of dental school debt
- Explosion of technology for clinical care and advertising
- Patients expectations for customer service have increased
- Medical insurance trends affecting dentistry – more government intervention
The culmination of all these trends has changed the landscape of private practice. It is difficult to stay on top of clinical care, technology, staff management, insurance changes all while you’re paying down school debt and wondering what the future of health care will be?! I don’t list these trends to scare you, but to help you to see that by focusing on your dental practice management skills you can become more effective and more profitable.
The reality is that when your practice is bringing in good money, you don’t have to work very hard at managing your business. As the money gets tighter, you have more of a challenge. Its like playing a sport. If you’re playing against your 5 year old, its easy to win, but suddenly when the college level players step up, you better be ready for some tougher competition. And, as the landscape becomes more challenging, its time to up your game.
Take the Next step with Dental Staff Training
As Plato says, the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging you have a problem. As you begin to identify the problems you are facing in your dental practice, recognize that you are already on the path to improved profitability and success! Cheers to you for facing up to your concerns and being ready to address the challenges one by one so that you can pay off your debt, get back on track with your family and achieve the personal and professional goals you have for yourself.
Would you like a shortcut to find out where your biggest opportunities for improvement lie? Then, you may be interested in going through a Know Your Numbers report. I will remote into your dental software to run the Top 10 numbers in your practice and provide you a report with your practice’s performance compared to industry benchmarks. This is a quick way for you to identify the systems in your office that could be improved and make the most financial impact.
As you look for dental practice management resources, this free guide may be helpful:
Managing your finances is just one way to run a successful dental practice. If you’re interested in new ideas on running a dental practice, please subscribe to my weekly blog. One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 16+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.
Feel free to email me.