Dental Office Managers & Group Dental Practice Growth
Sometimes, being a dental office manager can be a lonely job. The clinical team works together with the dentist in the operatories, perhaps you have a few front desk team members at the front desk who have become close – and here you are, sitting in your own little office working away by yourself. If part of your responsibility in the office is entering insurance payments, you know that you can spend hours working on the computer – all while the phone is attached to your ear as you are multi-tasking calling insurance companies to follow up on outstanding claims.
Dental office managers also know that their very solo work can also suddenly change when there is drama in the office. When a patient’s insurance eligibility hasn’t been confirmed and the dentist wants to present a treatment plan or an assistant is late to work, the office manager’s office is a popular place to be. Suddenly, the dentist and staff all need your help right now!
Often, the dentist will confide in the dental office manager – sharing financial concerns and woes over open time in the schedule. Now the manager wonders how serious the dentist’s financial problems are – and wonder if the practice will be alright? Sometimes a dental manager even wonders if her job is safe? Between hours on the computer working alone, interruptions to resolve patient and staff upsets and financial worries, a dental office manager can feel stressed out. So what can you do?
Dental Staff Training for Dental Office Managers
One thing not to do is to share your worries with other staff or even friends. After almost 20 years in dentistry, I know how crucial confidentiality in business is. If you share financial comments with friends or family, this can turn into rumors in the community that the dentist is having money problems and that could impact patient flow. If you share the dentist’s concerns with other staff members, they could misunderstand the severity and quit to go work in another office. Who can you talk to?
Two nice resources are the AADOM (American Academy of Dental Office Managers) and the Dentrix Business of Dentistry conference. Attending these conferences, talking online or even joining a virtual study club are all great opportunities to talk honestly about your practice with women (and some men too) who get it. Everyone understands the need for confidentiality, but also for support. Even better can be the opportunity to problem solve with experienced managers who may be able to provide solutions to the challenges you face.
There are other opportunities to meet and support other professionals in dentistry. Check out Linked In for dental groups you can join and discuss current topics – and then personally message other dental office managers who seem to share similar viewpoints. Outside of dentistry, perhaps there are health care networking groups or professional women’s groups you can attend in person. Years ago I had the pleasure of getting to know a medical office manager and we appreciated swapping stories of practice management – you can broaden your network this way.
A great book that encourages women to expand their professional network and accomplish more in their work life is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. This book inspired me to accept a COO role for a multi-location group over a year ago and continue to develop my online dental staff training program to support other dental office managers so they can improve their practices and achieve their professional goals. This book has also evoked Lean In Circles throughout corporate America where people meet to talk about encouraging and supporting women moving into upper level management roles.
If you have been feeling that you are all alone in your role as a dental office manager, perhaps 2015 is the year you decide to reach out and make some new professional connections. Feel free and start with me! I’d love to be a resource for you to advance your practice and your professional career.
For more resources to train your dental staff:
Networking for new ideas 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.