4 Interesting Things to Implement So Your Dental Office Runs Smoothly
By Dr. Mehmood Asghar
When you walk into your dental office and see your staff members bustling around you, you might assume they are working productively. But your staff and employees are constantly trying their best to catch up with their daily tasks; they are just busy – not productive.
A successful dental practice is one where routine tasks are streamlined, and all processes run smoothly. If despite your best effort, you and your team fail to achieve your key performance indicator (KPI) goals, it is time to make some changes. Here are 4 things that you can implement in your dental practice to improve productivity and ensure that your training runs smoothly:
1. Invest in Good Practice Management Software
A practice management software is not just necessary for billing purposes or to manage patient records. Modern practice management software takes most of the burden off your team’s shoulders and automates various processes. For example, instead of writing individual appointment reminder emails to patients, the software can automatically send reminders and even reschedule appointments if needed.
Besides, with modern software, you don’t need to maintain your material inventory manually. You can simply assign a barcode to all the products, and the system will record the information regarding the quantity and expiry dates of each item. The system will automatically inform you if any material is short in supply or is about to expire.
Most importantly, good practice management software allows you to manage your finances – cut unnecessary spending and increase spending in areas that matter, like buying new equipment, refurbishing the waiting room, etc. The software will provide you with a detailed overview of your earnings and expenditures, and help you identify exactly where you’re leaking money.
2. Buy State-of-the-art Equipment
Being a successful clinician requires two major things: clinical expertise and the right armamentarium. Investing in modern diagnostic or therapeutic equipment will help you improve your treatment outcome, reduce treatment time and increase productivity. For example, it would be a good idea to invest in a desktop 3D printer: instead of waiting for 1-2 weeks for your lab to prepare a patient’s crowns, why not print them chairside in one day?
Fortunately, 3D printers are much more cost-effective today than they were a few years ago. According to research by SmarTech Analysis, in-office dental 3D printers, capable of printing surgical models, implant templates, clear aligners, and even dental prostheses, may cost less than $5000 by 2021.
You may also consider investing in 3D imaging technology. Today, dental implants have become the most favorable and desirable tooth replacement option. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, over 2.3 million implant-supported crowns are made annually in the US alone. With this considerable reliance on dental implants for tooth replacement, it only makes sense to invest in equipment that aids in implant therapy. Cone-beam CT (CBCT) technology considerably improves the clinical outcome of implant and other oral surgical procedures. Besides, this technology can also be used in the early diagnosis and management of oral disease and malignancies.
3. Automate Processes
Did you know that a significant time of your employees is spent in the sterilization control room? This is not because they are lazy; it’s because they have to frequently wash, clean, and sterilize dental instruments – either because of a small autoclave machine or due to increased patient flow. Regardless of the main reason, you can improve your team’s productivity by buying a fully automated sterilization system, which takes away the multiple, time-consuming steps involved in manually sterilizing the instruments. The initial cost of such equipment might be high, but it will prove a worthwhile investment in the long run, especially considering the time saved.
4. Staff Training and Workshops
While seemingly unessential, staff training and workshops to refresh/upgrade their clinical skills and enhance their expertise in inpatient/data management software go a long way in improving their efficiency. These workshops also ensure that all staff members remember their roles and responsibilities, thereby streamlining the work in your practice.
No matter how good a clinician one is, they cannot run a successful practice unless they are seasoned managers. According to the statistics provided by the American Dental Association, the average hours worked by dentists in 1900 were 1,810.6, compared to 1448.8 hours in 2020. This downward trend shows the impact of the latest technology and good practice management in increasing dental office efficiency, productivity, and earnings. So, follow the tips given in this article to convert your practice into an efficient, productive, and profitable business.
Author bio: Dr. Mehmood Asghar is a dentist, an educator, and a researcher in dental biomaterials. He is currently working as an Assistant Professor in Dental Biomaterials at the National University of Medical Sciences, Pakistan, in addition to pursuing a Ph.D. in Dental Biomaterials. Apart from his professional activities, Dr. Asghar loves reading, writing, and working out.