The efficiency of your dental clinic directly impacts patient satisfaction, which has a significant impact on the other areas of the clinic. If you want to ensure that your dental clinic runs efficiently, there needs to be a joint effort between the two major units: office management and the clinic. If both units are working well, the clinic should see improved workflow and productivity.
But, how do you know that the clinic is inefficient in the first place? A common misconception is that being busy equals productivity. It’s easy to assume that because people look busy, they’re being productive. If everyone is busy all day, but the clinic is still falling behind on purposed goals and tasks, this could mean less productivity.
Look at these five ways that can help you work to improve efficiency in your dental clinic and increase productivity:
- Monitor Your Inventory Closely
This may not be something that immediately comes to mind when looking at improving efficiency in your dental clinic. However, it carries a significant role in ensuring efficiency. Controlling your inventory can help with improving workflow, patient scheduling, and profitability.
Your clinic should have an inventory manual and procedures for the employees. It should include the required supplies, a list of preferred vendors, and following ordering procedures. Ensure that you review the inventory from time to time to keep it updated at all times.
Fortunately, technology has made it easier for you to keep an inventory with cloud-based inventory management solutions. Dental inventory management systems, such as Sowingo, help in managing dental clinic supplies inventory. Lack of clear inventory procedures may lead to lack of necessary clinic supplies when needed. But, if it’s streamlined, the dental clinic will run more efficiently.
- Accurately Estimate Procedure Times
Failing to estimate the time you need for each procedure accurately, things at the clinic can get quite hectic or slowed down. You can end up slotting too many or too few patients in a day. Here, you’ll need to consider the approximate overall time a patient spends at the clinic. This includes the time they spend at the reception and with other staff before they get to see you or other dentists.
This helps ensure that each appointment’s and procedure’s time slot is accurately estimated to ensure that each patient gets appropriate time allocations. Obviously, some procedures require more time than others, while some patients may only be coming in for routine checkups. The clinic will also eliminate having too tight or hugely spaced appointment schedules. It also means that patients will spend less time waiting to be attended, improving patient satisfaction significantly.
- Have An Efficient Front Office Team
When patients call for appointments, your front staff should handle the requests by asking questions that reveal patient dental issues. They should also tell how serious an issue sounds and whether or not it’s an emergency. This helps the staff to schedule appointments appropriately.
Similarly, being the first point of contact with the patients, they need to set a good tone of what patients think about your dental clinic. Ensure that they’re both knowledgeable and well-trained to represent the clinic effectively. The way patients are received, on the phone or when they visit the clinic, can determine whether they come back or not. When the front office team is efficient, they can convert simple inquiries to patients for the clinic.
- Automate Routine Processes
Digitizing workflows and processes in a dental clinic is essential today. Technology has made it easy to automate some of the routine processes, relieving your staff of some burden of manually doing repetitive tasks. However, you’ll need to find what works best for your practice to enhance workflow. The automation you make should help every department without just adding extra steps to already busy schedules.
Some processes you can consider automating include appointment confirmation, reminders, and billing processes. Manually doing these processes is time-consuming, and there’s an increased chance of human error.
- Schedule Appointments At Checkout
To avoid instances of calling patients to schedule follow-up visits, try and schedule the appointment with them before they leave the clinic. This ensures that, first, you don’t forget to book a patient for a follow-up visit, and, secondly, the patient comes on schedule. Having the patient available during scheduling a next appointment allows them to confirm availability.
It reduces the number of cancellations and rescheduling. Calling the patient after they’ve left can end up in a long back and forth, trying to find a date that both the dentist and the patient are available. Scheduling appointments at checkout is especially quite helpful if your dental clinic is busy.
An efficient dental practice makes it effective. It reduces terrible scheduling ordeals, eases the billing process, and improves workflow. Your patients, staff, and yourself will have easier days and enjoy work better. Start by auditing your current operations, as well as find out where you need to improve and in what way. It may be daunting at first, but it’ll pay off eventually.