front office manager

A tireless dental office manager is at the center of every great dental office. They’re typically the first ones in and the last ones out and make sure that our paychecks drop on time (something we’re all extremely thankful for). Let’s face it, as hygienists, assistants, and dentists, we just couldn’t do it without them. To recognize all they do, here are six ways great dental office managers keep us all from going crazy in the office.

1. Dental Office Managers Manage Insurance Questions

Insurance can be a tricky thing to discuss and explain to patients. Luckily, that’s what dental office managers are for. We’re glad we get to focus on the dental work.

But explaining fees and payment options, even claim denials, maybe just the beginning in many dental offices. Behind the scenes, office managers are working hard to interpret the insurance benefits of individual patients, file accurate claims for fast reimbursement, negotiate fees with dental insurance providers, research the pros and cons of going in-network with additional providers, and now with patient demand so high, researching the pros and cons of staying in-network.

2. They Keep Us Stocked With What We Need

From staplers to scalers, we couldn’t do our jobs without them ensuring we’ve got our instruments. In most practices, the ordering falls on them, as well as organizing the on-hand inventory. And for that, we’re grateful.

As the cost of supplies rises, so does the pressure to economize. In 2022, your office manager may be tasked with researching alternative suppliers, researching the pros and cons of joining a buyers’ group, and performing just-in-time inventories and purchases. Time pressure on clinical team members means they may rely more on the administrative staff to ensure specific supplies for specific treatments arrive ahead of the patient. This is where we can all pitch in and communicate well regularly.

3. They Fill Out Lots of Forms

Nobody likes to fill out forms and file important documents. But it’s a necessary task to make sure any practice runs smoothly (and especially in healthcare). From hiring to payroll, it usually falls on the office manager and… bless them.

It’s plain wonderful that, here again, office managers are of the right temperament and have the right strengths to do this. Our 2022 DentalPost salary survey did not receive a single complaint specifically about having to do too much paperwork. In our 2022 satisfaction survey, they did report they would like more appreciation for doing daily tasks. So, let’s recognize that they go beyond the normal human capacity to perform onerous paperwork with a smile–and thank them!

4. They Keep Meetings Short and Focused

According to a study from software company Atlassian, U.S. businesses waste an average of 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings. Meetings are crucial to any practice or team, but great managers know you have work to do. To all the managers who keep it short and sweet, we salute you.

Let’s add to that our thanks for predictable meeting times we can schedule around, preannouncement of meeting agendas, and documenting the results of meetings with clear follow-up communication. Their professional management efforts make our work lives much, much easier.

5. They Are Driven to Improve the Patient and Team Experience

We all know how important it is for our dental patients to feel welcomed, comfortable, well served, and well informed. Dental practices thrive when they do.

High patient satisfaction motivates them to raise the bar of hospitality and services, clear communication, and converse with and listen to arriving and departing patients. It drives them to spend time answering our questions, teaching us new software, solving problems so we can keep going with our patients, and initiating system improvements that save team members time, eliminate stress and please patients. 

The best of the best are engineers of efficiency, super listeners, and amazing communicators. They walk the extra mile to support the team. These superpowers should be extolled because that leads us to our sixth example of how they keep us sane.

6. They Keep Everyone Smiling

It’s an industry of smiles, but it can get hectic. From the occasional box of donuts in the morning to the needed words of wisdom at the end of a hard week, office managers do a lot to keep us—and our patients—happy. Simply said, they are valuable human assets we should never take for granted!

Updated August 2022

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