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Dan Easty is the Regional Technology Advisor with Patterson Dental. He has educated and trained hundreds of offices to become paperless and advises regarding the best way to implement technology into practices.
Efficiency is the cornerstone to profitability for the typical dental practice, so it’s always worthwhile to revisit how various policies and systems are serving this goal. Sometimes gains can be made in surprising places. Think through the following points to see if there are simple measures you can take to easily boost your practice’s efficiency:
Patient education tools: Are your staff members spending a significant amount of time giving patients verbal explanations of diagnoses and treatment plans during visits? There are many different ways to educate patients, including showing in-office videos while the patient waits for his or her appointment, emailing videos after a patient visits the practice, and sharing videos on your practice’s website. By using an automated video-based patient education system, you can easily reach a patient in whatever way is most convenient for him or her and increase case acceptance by explaining dental conditions and treatments in a consistent way. Practices can effectively regain valuable minutes by providing patient education tools both during and after visits.
Employee training: Like patient education, tapping into an automated system for continuing education can give your staff members more flexibility and free up more time in the practice. Consider asking your practice management software company or supply representatives if they offer webinars or training services that can help your practice and employees become more efficient.
Going chartless: If your office is still using paper charts it may be time to take stock of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Maintaining and organizing paper charts is not only a time- and labor-intensive undertaking, but it makes your office vulnerable to a complete loss of patient data should a disaster ever befall your office.
Implementing a digital system for both practice management and clinical records enables outstanding efficiencies. The front office gains a powerful tool to keep better track of billing, recall reminders, and more, while the clinical side gets an easy-to-read digital record that can show the entire history of a tooth with just a few clicks. There is no longer a need to flip backward through endless papers to develop an understanding of the patient’s history - everything is there at a glance.
Taking full advantage of your practice management system: Make sure you’re getting the best mileage out of your practice management system. Like any software, most practice management systems have advanced functions that can be serious time-savers. Challenge your front office staff to think about the tasks that take up most of their time and to see how the software can help automate any of the work. This could be as simple as setting up automated recall reminders via email, or more advanced by delving into proactive marketing efforts. For instance, you might query your patient database to find patients who have expressed an interest in whitening, then send them an offer to entice them to schedule the procedure.
Don’t let inefficiencies eat into more of your practice’s time. Start with some simple changes, and see where your efforts lead you!
Note: This article is sponsored by Patterson Dental as part of the Dental Practice Management Partner Voice Program, which provides a way for leading dental manufacturers to share quality content with our audience. Patterson Dental offers a wide range of dental products including Eaglesoft Practice Management Software, CAESY Patient Education Systems and the RevenueWell marketing communications suite, which are backed by the renowned support and customer service team at the Patterson Technology Center. With multiple support options and more than 125 years experience in the dental industry, Patterson has the resources and expertise to help customers and practices reach their greatest potential.