When it comes down to it, running a dental practice is largely a numbers game. The ultimate goal is to reduce expenses while increasing revenue. If you’re looking to increase your practice’s business efficiency, an easy way to begin is to help your front office boost its productivity.
A lot goes on at your front desk— filing insurance claims, scheduling patient appointments, reminder phone calls, treatment follow-up calls, ensuring billing is correct, checking patients in and out, etc. With some simple tweaks to your office routines, you can streamline some of these processes, improving the overall productivity of your front office, which ultimately increases your practice’s bottom line.
#1 – Make the morning huddle a productive space
Communication is key for any business, but especially for a dental practice where the front and back of the office must be in constant communication to keep things running smoothly on a daily basis. One of the easiest ways to keep your entire staff consistently on the same page is to make a morning staff huddle a daily priority.
However, in order to make it a productive use of time, make sure you keep it quick and focused. No one wants to sit through long, drawn-out meetings that aren’t adding any value to their day. Make sure that you make time for questions and concerns to be quickly addressed. Ensuring that every person has a daily opportunity to bring up things pertaining to everyone goes a long way to prevent unnecessary questions or interruptions later on in the day.
#2 – Ensure new patients fill out forms before walking into the office
Post your new patient forms on your website in a prominent position and put a reminder system in place so patients are prompted to fill them out by email or text several times prior to their appointment.
When patients arrive with their forms already filled out, your front desk doesn’t need to wait until the very last second to enter the information. Instead, they’ll have ample time before the patient is called back to double-check the form for completion and accuracy before placing the information into your practice management system. If you can set up a system for forms can be delivered to your office electronically prior to the appointment, that’s even better.
#3 – Implement online scheduling
It takes an average of 8.1 minutes to schedule an appointment over the phone and 63% of calls are placed on hold at least once (Accenture 2013 consumer survey). What do these statistics mean when it comes to your front office staff? It means that your scheduling system is affecting their overall productivity. Additionally, it’s also resulting in frustrated patients who are used to scheduling everything else online.
The easy solution is to implement online scheduling that doesn’t require manual intervention from your front desk. Most offices offer an online request system where the front desk still has to get in touch with the patient to confirm or reschedule an appointment time. With real-time online scheduling, your staff can focus their customer service efforts on the more urgent phone calls such as patient follow-up, insurance questions and answering patient questions. LocalMed is the only option within the dental marketplace with the ability to fully integrate with your practice management system, giving your practice a way to improve productivity even when you’re closed.
For providers looking to give your front office productivity a boost, I encourage you to give these 3 easily-implemented suggestions a try! Ensure your morning huddle is short and sweet, encourage and remind patients to fill out forms before they arrive, and enable your patients to schedule online in real-time, 24/7.
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