If you are looking to build more efficiency into your dental practice, it’s best to start small. Some small changes can have a surprising impact. You can ensure your patients receive the best healthcare services while supporting your staff and reducing unnecessary work.
Using technology, flow management, and proven management techniques, there are many ways to give your practice a boost. Here are 6 easily accessible and highly effective ways to make your dental practice more efficient right away.
1. Leverage Data and Technology
There was always the hope of bringing together tech and healthcare. Now that age is upon us, and tech has made massive leaps during the pandemic, as companies rushed to support healthcare practitioners, staff and patients. You can use technology to help your patients, your outreach, and your workflow.
Start by collecting data and storing it safely. Then, you can use that data to help the people who need it most. Use data and technology in your practice:
- Stay active on social media and use your data to drive marketing. Around 96 billion people are using social media, and there’s no doubt that some of them need support from your practice.
- Conduct data analysis to better understand your current patients. Evaluate data based on their age, gender, location, and profession.
- Use data to schedule both your workforce and work flow for peak efficiency. Data on your patient and office needs can help ensure that you always have just the right amount of people on any given shift.
2. Explore E-Health Innovations
Digital organization methods have replaced most of our pen-and-paper systems, and EHRs provide much-needed relief from the traditional paper chart system. Whether your practice is considering an EHR for the first time or if you’ve used one for years, it’s time to consider innovative and highly-developed EHRs.
A highly-developed EHR should provide:
- Computerized physician order entry, so you can order paperless lab tests and diagnostic work.
- Clinical Decision Support (CDC) tools such as alerts, forms, guided workflows, and reminders to make your practice efficient without compromising the quality of care.
- Telehealth compatibility and support to capture information from telehealth interactions.
When it comes to E-health, you can expect big changes quickly! Innovations and improvements aren’t on the horizon – they are only days or weeks away. Many EHR advancements roll out quickly, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown tech creators just how important these features are to both small and large practices.
3. Step Up Your Patient Care
Anything you can do to improve your patient care is certainly worth considering. But, which small actions can boost your patient care while also increasing efficiency? It seems counter-intuitive, but there are ways to improve patient care while also reducing the effort needed from support staff.
AI automation can provide your staff with support for every phase of the patient’s journey, starting from enrollment. Meanwhile, it can also make it easy to receive patient feedback.
If you only focus on the core of the business, the actual healthcare, you’re missing out on many other elements that your business and customers need. How much time does your staff spend sorting through enrollment papers or making calls to boost customer retention? You can reclaim that time and dedicate it to improving patient experiences.
Everything connected to patient care and AI automation comes down to data. The more accurate, clean, and reliable the data, the more you can use smooth AI operations to promote better patient care.
4. Smooth Out Your Patient Flow
The demands of reporting and patient flow can diminish a patient’s satisfaction even if it feels like you’re doing everything right. An EHR that requires too many entries, or anything that pulls your focus to the keyboard or screen rather than the patient, is a missed opportunity.
How can you start smoothing out your patient flow? Use these tips:
- Optimize your EHR to capture only what you need.
- Reduce wait time-if possible, use a telehealth check-in feature for better waiting room management.
- Build new protocols to simplify and streamline appointments.
- Use mHealth for video chats, SMS check-ins, and to capture concerns and questions from patients.
If your patient can walk in, check-in, see their dentist, and leave quickly, you have an efficient office. But the moment people start to wait, the whole office becomes crowded. Keep your patients flowing by using tech and setting realistic time or booking expectations.
5. Delegate Tasks
If you want a job done right, do it yourself. But if you want a job done at all, delegate it. Office managers and practice owners often take on tasks that they really shouldn’t. Delegate administrative tasks to team members, or consider bringing in a scribe.
Give some thought to your staff too. You can certainly outsource some processes that take away from their core duties. Don’t let them waste time by juggling too many jobs at once.
As you delegate and find more freedom in your day-to-day work, your staff can too. Empower your workers: encourage swapping shifts if someone needs a morning off, but don’t forget to build in an extra layer of support. Always ensure you have backups, and carefully plan to handle regular workloads and foresee unexpected developments.
Delegating tasks and empowering staff is part of building employer trust. Simplify your team’s schedules, allow them to have some say in their shifts, and allow them to work in the most meaningful way possible.
A well-thought-out delegation will inevitably lead to:
- Increases in actual patient time
- Reductions in time spent managing patient systems and documents
- Enhancing the workflow for all staff
- Cutting down on wait times
- Boosting productivity across the board
6. Make Team Management Your Top Priority
The best way to build efficiency is to streamline as much as possible. In your workday, how much of your time do you spend with your patients? Your support staff – how much time do they spend doing their core job functions?
Many employers and managers don’t realize the many ways that they’re losing efficiency. It’s not from a giant leak that could sink the Titanic, but instead through many small leaks that no one notices until it’s too late.
Always think proactively, and give careful consideration to what your staff needs. Again, encourage shift swapping to give them some freedom, but also to allow them to prioritize elements within their life. Support them in their core job when handling new guidelines. Finally, rely on tech to set automated reminders for your staff, as well as for your patients.
Your management can lead the team to success and trim down any lost or wasted time. It all begins with you, followed by your team. Show your team how you want the practice to run and what they can do to make that happen.
Improve Your Practice Now
Every manager or owner wants their practice to run efficiently, without compromising patient care. Accomplishing this seems like a tall order, but through many small changes in your daily operations, you can make effective changes quickly.
Remember to embrace technology, especially powerful EHR systems that can dramatically reduce the work your staff dedicate to recording or sorting through information. Then, focus on your patient flow. Automate what you can, schedule accordingly, and delegate with intent. These 6 ways to improve your dental practice can show immediate results!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Derek Jones spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication. With a focus on Healthcare, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.
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