By Dr. Deborah Marynak
If you ask the average individual, they’d probably be surprised to hear a Dental Practice referred to as a business. I remember a situation when a patient with an extensive treatment plan, ready to begin treatment, but refused to sign the treatment plan and the financial arrangements. In fact, she was quite insulted that we needed signed financials in order to begin treatment. She went on to state that we were a healthcare provider, not a “business”.
My Office Manager tried to explain to her that yes, we were a business that provides Dentistry as a part of healthcare. She further explained that as in any business, financial arrangements were a part of the systems that makes our office successful. Systems can make or break any business; without them there’s chaos, stress, loss of time and money and with them seamless, smooth predictability. Do your office systems work for you? Have you planned for all the systems there are in your Dental Office?
- Office hours
- How the phone is answered
- Greeting the patient and checking them in/checking them out
- New patient intake from the first call to the first visit and retention
- Emergency calls
- Patient registration paperwork: on line, in office, on letterhead or directly into the computer?
- Paper charts or paperless
- Voice mail, answering service or answering machine (how about rotating the staff to take calls after hours?)
- Billing: in office or out
- Treatment presentations and financial arrangements
- Healthcare Financing Credit Card
- Accounts receivable
- Accounts payable
- Office supply inventory
- Office décor and design: interior/exterior
- Who’s going to clean the office?
- Staff meetings
- Staff huddles
- Infection control/sterilization
- Equipment upkeep/repair
- Clinical inventory
- Lab cases from prep to delivery
- Treatment delivery system
- The Recall Exam
- Hygiene/Periodontal delivery
- Employees: wages, raises, reviews, vacations, sick days, personal days, holidays, inclement weather, etc.
- Discounts for family members of employees
Just to name a few and I’m certain I’ve missed something! Sounds daunting and it is; I don’t have to tell you that sometimes it takes years to get these just right. So, are your systems working so you can focus on the practice of Dentistry? If not, and you’d like some help, give us a call; it’s less of an investment than you might think.
“Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.”
– Napoleon Hill
Dr. Deborah Marynak is the owner of DentalStaffing.org, a dentist with over 30 years experience, and is committed to helping Dental Professionals find the right fit for both employees and employers. She also works with Dental Offices to help them streamline their clinical systems and teach Dental Teams how to effectively document to avoid risk.