We can make good dental practices into great dental practices with a little time and effort to streamline processes. Changing things that may seem trivial can provide a boost in the workflow and reduce tedious and repetitive work for the staff.
There are many things a dental practice can do to make it run smoother. The foremost is to look at the clinic as a business because it is. And a business needs tools and resources to function and money to afford said tools and resources.
The best way to make the clinic a raging success is to optimize for the current needs of the customer, which is more than treatments and fillings. This extends to preferred payment methods, reminders of appointments, and automated billing systems. The changes to a clinic system can be offline (workspace, patient flow, etc.) to online (payments, reminders, etc.)
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1. Organize workspace
Designing the waiting room and workspace is a simple yet effective way to optimize space usage and patient flow. Having a simple line of path for patients to follow from the waiting room to the operating room can reduce foot traffic, which leads to a quiet and organized space.
Labeling the counters can aid in patients identifying where they can get information about appointments, treatment, or payment. This reduces a lot of work for staff, freeing them from having to clarify which counters the patient can get required help from. The patients can get the information they require fast and efficiently without feeling like they are bothering the staff with their queries.
2. Cancellation planning and policies
Many patients will cancel appointments at the last possible moment because of more pressing issues on their part. This can lead to an open session that a patient can not book and leave a gap in the workday that the staff and dental doctor would otherwise use.
It is important to outline cancellation policies when a patient is booking an appointment or when a new patient registers. Have patients confirm a day before the appointment date about their treatment and ask if there are any changes to the appointment, the date, time, or the treatment itself. Many clinics detail a 24 hour notice period for cancellation or rescheduling of appointments.
There are many advantages of conducting regular audits, internal or external. Audits help in:
- Meeting compliance
- The credibility of the clinic
- Meeting loan criteria
- Increases stakeholder confidence
- Helps detect errors or discrepancies
- Detecting and preventing fraud
- Better planning of the budget
- Assist in future decision making regarding management and finances
Continuous auditing provides current data as well as allows for in-depth checking when time constraints are present.
Read More: 5 Outstanding Local SEO Tips for Dentists
1. Automate billing systems
Financial management might be an incredibly tedious and time-consuming task. It is, however, one of the most important segments of running a dental business. Billing is a process that can take up a huge chunk of an employee’s time or resources. Dental billing can be a very complex process assigned to either a person or six, depending on the organization’s size.
Billing is an area that many new and established clinics struggle with. It is important to have detailed and well-defined steps in your billing systems. A great way to combat this would be to automate your billing systems. There are many services that provide software that can streamline the old processes, but it has many advantages in the long run, from cutting down billing time to increasing the staff effectiveness to get other work done.
2. Several payment options
Having multiple payment options is an excellent method to cater to people from different demographics. It is also a great way to extend services to people who have different financial situations. Cash is mostly used for small inexpensive items and cards are used for online sales, however, having most payment options available for customers will make payment prompt and easy.
You can offer payment methods as:
- Debit cards
- Credit cards
- Bank transfers
- Mobile payments (GooglePay, Paypal, etc.)
You will also need to consider the training required for each form of payment, the accounting, and the storage. With cash, the payment is fairly straightforward; however, one would need a safe place. Credit cards have a fee, and employees would have to take training to be able to efficiently operate the device to swipe the card. Digital payments are easier to keep track of and have fewer math errors than using cash.
3. Automated appointment confirmation and reminders
For patients in school/college and who are working, keeping track of appointments and regular checkups can be very difficult. They might not have time for making follow-up appointments or calling in to book regular check-ups. or they might simply forget to do so.
Having automated systems takes the load off your employees, as they no longer have to call patients individually and follow up, and it saves patients the trouble of having to take time out of their busy schedule to confirm appointments.
There are several softwares that a dental clinic can use to automate their appointment scheduling or set reminders about the appointment a day or two before the treatment day. Such optimizations will help in increasing office efficiency and reducing missed appointments. Patients can confirm appointments 24 hours in advance or canceled, keeping the cancellation policy as a note on the reminders. It can also reschedule appointments, but patients who cannot make it to the clinic on the appointment date.
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