Automate Four Processes to Make Your Dental Practice More Efficient

Derek Jones


A decade ago, most people had never even heard of virtual assistants. Now, many of us have adopted smart technology in our personal lives. Thus, Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana are automated tools we use regularly.

Businesses have not been so enthusiastic to take up automation. Of course, they have valid reasons. Integrating new systems or processes is an upheaval, and unfortunately, the business can’t stop while the new system is getting introduced.

But times are changing, and now might be the best time to integrate new technology. A recent McKinsey Global Survey found that the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated digitization. Thus, automating labor-intensive tasks in your dental office is key to remaining competitive. It enables you to grow your business while successfully managing people and processes in an uncertain world.

Here are four processes that benefit from automation and technology in a dental office.

Workforce Management

Managing and tracking your employee schedules is more crucial than ever. More employees will expect flexible working arrangements. The COVID-19 pandemic also has wreaked a host of problems upon businesses. So, any innovation that simplifies your office’s functions is a welcome addition, right?

This is where workforce management software comes in. It automates the planning, tracking, and management of your employees’ work. Your employees input their own availability. Vacation schedules, working hours, labor requirements, and time off are all handled by the software. Any last-minute changes can be dealt with immediately, as the software adjusts schedules accordingly.

You can seamlessly integrate other functions too, including payroll and human resources. By freeing up valuable time, patient care and building your practice will get all the attention. This makes everybody’s life easier—you, your team, and, in the end, your patients.

Payroll Management

One of the biggest problems of payroll management is paperwork:

  • How much time does your organization spend looking for paperwork?
  • How much space is taken up by filing cabinets and stacks of paper?
  • How many copies of invoices, expenses, and other paperwork does your staff make?

This is before you even think about lost or missing paperwork. Additionally, there are security issues about who has access to the paperwork, especially if your practice is open-plan.

Gathering data for the payroll is labor-intensive as information to process it comes from many sources. Automating the payroll simplifies it all by collecting the data in one system. Integrate human resources information, timesheets, expense tracking, and accounting software in one database.

Allowing all departments to access the data solves the messy paper-trail problem. Plus, you will always have an instant up-to-date view of your finances, which is essential for managing your business.

Electronic Forms for Patients

Using digital forms is one of the simplest ways of streamlining the time-intensive processes in your practice. They are especially useful for new patient registrations.

Using electronic forms, patients can fill in their details before they attend your office. Most tools allow you to customize forms and adjust them to your practice’s needs, which has many benefits:

  • It reduces lines at the reception desk.
  • It eliminates transcription errors due to illegible handwriting.
  • It saves your staff time, as they do not have to input the data.
  • Capturing the data in one place enables it to be used across departments, from invoicing to follow-ups.

There might be some customer support involved when first explaining to patients how to fill them in. Train your reception staff on how to handle these questions and make the process easy for everyone.

Follow-Up Instructions

Looking after your patients’ well-being is crucial if you want to develop and maintain a good relationship with them moving forward. We know that going to the dentist is hardly anyone’s idea of fun. But, by making your patients feel cared for, they are much more likely to come back.

Treatment follow-up is an important part of this process. It’s all too easy for patients to forget your post-treatment instructions. Feeling anxious or groggy after anesthesia can instantly interfere with their short-term memory. Your verbal instructions—forgotten. Printed instructions your nurse gave them—lost on the way home.

Therefore, an automatic email with appropriate aftercare instructions keeps everybody happy. Your patients have the information they need to manage their aftercare. And neither you nor your staff has to lift a finger as the email is generated automatically. It is a simple thing to do, but it reiterates the importance of showing your patients you care.

Smart Technology Organizing Our Lives

Automating labor-intensive tasks improves the efficiency and growth of your dental practice. By streamlining front-office and back-office functions through technology, your whole team can save time. By saving time, you can increase productivity. And by increasing productivity, you can grow your practice.

Using various tools for automating admin tasks allows your team to spend time on what’s important—that is, focusing on delivering an exceptional experience to patients.

Mr. Jones, vice president of enterprise strategy, Americas, spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets, and communication. With a focus on healthcare, he helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor costs in line, and build award-winning workplaces. He has more than 16 years of experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to software-as-a-service companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.

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