Improving revenue cycle management

Improving revenue cycle management

Improving revenue cycle management is crucial to the financial well-being of a dental practice. If it seems like your practice takes longer than the needed time to receive payments, you are betting your profits on future collections. While this looks comfortable over time (as you receive payment every month), you are not in the best spot. If revenue takes a month longer to reach you, fixing that gives you immediate cash equivalent to the entire revenue of a month. Imagine how you can use the extra cash in hand to invest in future profits. Cash collected late or not collected at all has a huge opportunity cost, one that commonly goes unnoticed.

How can practice management systems help you reduce your collection time?

Irrespective of whether a practice is accepting insurance, keeping accounts receivable (A/R) low is fundamental to running any profitable business. The use of modern practice management systems can fix critical gaps in implementing an effective revenue cycle management strategy.

Eligibility checks to reduce late & rejected payments

It is better to stem a problem at the source. If your production time schedules with priority to patients who are more likely to pay on time, you would not be facing a revenue cycle issue, to begin with. The key here is to ensure that you can do this eligibility check fast and before the patient checks-in. A modern dental practice management system manages this process with simple one-click solutions.

Error-free claims submission with just a single click

The collected information can be compiled into an error-free claim, that is ready to be sent for processing. Automated workflows ensure due process and leave little margin for error. This saves valuable time and effort while processing claims, leading to a predictable revenue cycle. When executed well, this can eliminate the need for clearinghouses.

Make informed choices in treatment planning

Being able to choose the right plan for a patient, based on his insurance and payment capability, helps reduce confusion while billing. Furthermore, the choices made available for the patient will improve patient experience and ensure that the patient made the best available choice.

Automated ERA postings for faster and better accounting

ERA postings have always been a source of constant headaches for dental practices. The latest practice management systems enable you to completely automate this, making your accounting and collections more streamlined. Problems and discrepancies are detected early, and corrective measures can be taken pre-emptively.

Payment reminders to ensure faster collection

As a practice owner, you would have seen your collections increase when you actively follow up on receivables. Many times all it takes is a timely reminder to get a payment. These are the low hanging fruits in collection. Such follow-ups should be consistent and timely to be able to work. Automation features in modern practice management solutions ensure your collection effort is running consistently and efficiently.

Automation and process streamlining

Most of the financial processes currently utilized have a lot of redundancies that do not need active human participation. These systems once converted into automated workflows makes processing not just faster but also cheaper and more accurate. Therefore choose a practice management system that is serious about automation and continuously improves its capability in this space.

Conclusion

Billing, coding, and collections are sophisticated, yet crucial pieces for maximizing cash-flow and profitability. Therefore choose a system that ensures the optimal functioning of your revenue cycle with the least possible effort. Hence look for eligibility checks, treatment planner, billing, claims processing, ERA postings as necessary features when choosing your practice management system. Choose a system that allows and is keen to expand on its automation abilities and is built for improving revenue cycle management. Automation of such tasks is the future.

group dental practices DSOs and dental management

Practice management for group practices

Ever since the economic slowdown in 2008, group practices have seen a steady rise throughout the United States. This trend occurs when practices strive for efficiency in a competitive landscape. However, during this transformation, even when accounts have collaborated, and marketing efforts have coordinated, most group practices still work on systems inherited from their stakeholders. This means a set of non-compatible solutions have to be organized, and measures are taken for practice management for group practices.

There is a reason why an individual outlet of Walmart functions more efficiently than a consortium of local businesses — they run a uniform system across their locations, that is built for efficiency at scale.

How does a system that is built for scale help a dental group practice?

1) Customer Experience

A coordinated system shows visible improvement in customer experience. Patients become less frustrated when they know what to expect from all your locations. This means they will try to stick to your brand, even if they relocate or if a provider changes. We all know what to expect in any Starbucks. We walk into an outlet with full confidence in knowing what to expect. It makes our decision to walk into a Starbucks easy.

2) Better use of human resources

Another significant improvement is in human resource management. There is a steady and well-tracked utilization of human resources from both dental providers and support staff. This is the most considerable header for costs at any dental practice.

3) Increased Production

A well-coordinated system and a single database ensure faster processing of patients pre and post-treatment. This increases production and directly increases your revenue.

4) Better Cash-flow

A central billing office and dental claims management center will allow revenue to come in faster and cash-flow cycles to be shortened. This increases available cash, which can then be used to expand further. Group practices need to expand at their fastest possible pace in the current market, and establishing a system built for scale goes a long way in helping you get there.

What are the key features any group practice should look for?

It is difficult to narrow down to a specific set of features that group practices should look for, as requirements vary based on the organization. Requirements mostly fall into three main functions – centralizing control, streamlining operations, and automating tasks. Some of the features to look for under each of these areas are listed below:

Centralize Control:

Monitor and manage all operations across sites through a central console. A few examples of functions that can be centralized are:

  • Marketing and campaigns
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Billing & Financial Reporting
  • Document management
  • Compliance
  • Access control and data security
  • Administration and business management
  • Analytics and Business Intelligence
  • Claim scrubbing and denial management
Streamline Operations:

Standardize administrative, clinical, and financial workflows across locations. The following are some of the solutions to usually mismanaged areas to ensure better streamlining and integration into the system:

  • Slot finder, wait-list and ASAP list management
  • Charting and treatment planning – with easy templates
  • Care notes with clinical decision support
  • Template-based communication for patient engagement
  • Custom forms for capturing patient conditions or allergies
  • Business rule manager for standardizing operational workflows
Automate Tasks:

Perform tasks automatically based on pre-set triggers and conditions. Automation is the next level of streamlining, where you eliminate the need for manual intervention in repetitive processes and thus free up your employee time. Features to keep an eye out for include:

  • Rule-based workflow management
  • Campaign management

Conclusion

Group practices must adopt a system that is built for scale. A cloud-based scalable practice management solution that features workflow automation and streamlining, along with integrated marketing and back-office functions, will be the ideal fit for the practice management for group practices.

analytics for dental practices

Business analytics for dental practices

We have re-imagined business over the past two decades. What used to be human-centric has now become data-driven. You will notice this difference when you walk into any bank. But, why has this change happened in every industry across the world? Data-driven decisions and analytics have produced results in increasing the efficiency of almost every industry it touched. Thus business analytics for dental practices comes into the picture.

Are Dental Practices an exception?

Dental practices are no exception, but the industry has been facing problems so far due to the lack of standardized systems and technology that are integrated enough to capture data from every point in the operating cycle. Most legacy systems are software installations at each workstation that work independently of each other.

Parameters like check-in to check-out times, claims-to-payment time, collection efficiency, and revenue from marketing campaigns help you improve gaps in practice efficiency, but analyzing this data becomes difficult with independent systems at each department. This is why practices who want these details need to make use of 3rd party analytics and data consolidation platforms.

There is vast room for improvement in the way data is handled in dental practices.

How can new generation practice management systems help?

New practice management systems are cloud-based and work with every device, whether it is a pc, tablet, or mobile device with the same functionality and convenience. This increases the number of points in your practice where the practice management system is implemented, exponentially increasing the amount of data collected and the inferences that can be drawn from them.

Always choose a cloud-based practice management system that caters to all functions of your practice and has integrated customizable analytics, with features such as:

Data mining and extraction

Data is available at every point of your practice. It has always been there. However, it has never been utilized because of a lack of a system to collect, organize, and report this information. Newer cloud-based practice management systems running at every terminal in your office make this process simple. Regular tracking of data points and necessary feedback naturally brings efficiency.

Custom reporting

Not all information is relevant to everyone. Displaying the right information to the right person at the right time goes a long way in achieving meaningful results. Custom reporting allows users to decide the parameters for generating custom reports that cover all the different and complex aspects of the practice. Such statements can also be automatically generated on a weekly or daily basis.

Personalized dashboards

It is not only crucial that the right information is available to you and your team, but also equally important to ensure the information is presented simply that every member of your team can understand and track. With modern practice management systems, you can create personalized data-rich visual dashboards to keep users focused on their goals and metrics.

KPIs and drill-downs

So, what do you do when some metric you are following is not performing as expected? The first step, just like with a dental patient, is to understand the problem and its etiology. Drilling down into the components of these metrics allows you to understand the root cause of the problem and know where to look to find a solution. Practice management systems with advanced analytics capabilities allow users to drill down to multiple levels of granularity to enable them to understand their KPIs better.

Trends

If you follow the number of patients visiting your practice daily, it shows you how you are performing now. But, how will you know what to expect going ahead? To predict the potential gains and losses in the future, it is necessary to track how these metrics are changing over time. You should identify trends and patterns influencing patient behavior at multiple locations over a period and fine-tune practice workflows accordingly.

Goal setting and tracking

Finally, every operation in your practice is run by people and not numbers. Human beings need motivation and aim to work tirelessly. Create goals and accurately measure employee and provider performance against the set goals to improve actual performance and convert your number based predictions into real results.

Key insights

For strategic decisions on where to invest extra cash you have in hand, you may want to look at how improving one function will affect the bottom line or patient satisfaction. These high-level decisions require insight into how each metric is co-related and how they work together. Use advanced analytics integrated practice management systems to gain insight by understanding the correlation between the data related to financials, patient demographics, scheduling, and treatments.

Conclusion

Business Intelligence and data analytics are known to provide a boost to any business. The dental industry is no different. Research has indicated that business analytics for dental practices can increase their revenue significantly.

dental practice workflow automation

Automation for dental practices

Most practice owners face the tangled problem of over-worked staff and under-satisfied visitors. Though many steps are taken to ensure patient satisfaction at the chair-side, the experience of checking in and checking out has always remained a pain to the patient. This becomes worse with over-burdened employees who juggle managing patients and maintaining paperwork. Thus it is relevant that automation for dental practices is employed.

A lot of this work is mundane and redundant and does not require a capable human resource. With today’s technology, they can be automated with considerably less cost. Imagine how your practice would change if your front office employees could dedicate much more time to managing patients? Or even to marketing efforts to help expand your practice.

Automation with practice management systems

An efficient practice management system can transform a dental practice into not only a clinical success but also a smooth-running business operation. Task automation is key to a modern practice management system.

A variety of tasks, like routine documentation, record keeping, information transfer, eligibility checks, ERA postings, and even marketing campaigns, can be automated. Several elements of patient engagement, like confirmation calls and reminders, can be automated.

Utilizing an integrated practice management system with advanced automation ability is almost like hiring a new team to handle routine tasks, with a negligible increase in cost. Automation for dental practices must be an essential requirement, though the savings increase substantially as the size of the practice increases.

Automation features to look for while choosing a practice management system:

Business rule manager

One of the biggest challenges any practice owner of an extensive practice faces is not in deciding what strategy to take. It is in implementing it. Policies and rules that are rolled out are often relaxed or bypassed at several points that it becomes difficult to initiate change for progress in the practice. Management policies are decisions made to standardize the organizational workflows of the practice. These are policies that bind methods, requiring them to adhere to a uniform structure. Few practice management systems feature a business rule management module to set up a rules engine for alerting users in the event of a non-compliant action.

Workflow manager

As we discussed above, a lot of work that takes up the time of your employees is routine procedural work. This can be easily managed and automated across locations using a central workflow manager. The triggers, outcomes, frequency, and schedules can be defined for the workflows, allowing you the complete freedom to utilize existing workflows and processes more effectively. This flexibility is particularly important because the closer your newer system is to your existing practice, the better your implementation will be.

Campaign manager

One of the tasks that should take up a large percentage of the time of practice managers but rarely does is marketing. Active regular marketing efforts are often forgotten between tight schedules and day to day problem-solving. However, it is essential to note that your patients are receiving your marketing communication, and they are noticing your consistency. Automated campaigns across web, email, and social media for new patient acquisition enable your practice to stay competitive with low additional work-loads while maintaining high levels of responsiveness to your patients across all platforms.

Patient communications

A simple reminder about the appointment time is a proven method to reduce missed or dropped appointments. This creates a high impact on your profits because all those wasted hours which are incurring all your overheads are utilized in current production when those slots are actively re-assigned. But, the problem every practice faces is in figuring out who can manage all that communication. Automated patient communications for clinical follow-ups and appointment confirmations automate this process and update the records accordingly.

Financial Processes

Many practices suffer from cash-flow trouble due to mismanagement of the necessary documentation. Automation can not just save valuable time and effort; it also reduces errors in processing and brings predictability to your cash flows.

  • Eligibility verification: Automatic eligibility verification
  • ERA auto-posting: Based on a set of remittance posting rules, auto post ERA’s and only have a manual intervention to handle exceptions.
  • Collections and payment follow-ups: Send details of defaulting patients automatically to collection agencies and ensure quicker collections.
Patient Engagement

Patients are the life-line of your practice. The more you know about them, the better your communication with them becomes. The more active and engaging your conversations are, your patients stick to you and refer more patients. However, this is one area that most practices have mostly ignored. Patients are no files to be processed and need individual recognition, attention, and care. Several aspects of this process involve something as simple as a courtesy text or a reminder. Automation can ensure that the right data about patients is collected and made accessible to your team even before their first call. Automation also helps in collecting patient feedback, making sure your patients always feel you listen to them.

  • Online and custom forms: Customize and integrate patient intake forms on the web and automate the capture of patient information.
  • Patient surveys: Automatically email patient surveys after appointments and prompt them to rate the practice experience online.
Reports and dashboards

Most practice owners are well aware of the benefits of reporting and follow-up with every team member and every aspect of their practice. However, even when such policies, they break down due to inconsistency and the difficulty in imposing this on the team. A practice management system with automation, makes this process consistent and passive, making implementation as easy as setting it up. View reports and personalized dashboards that are generated automatically based on defined rules and triggers of locations, providers, and modules regularly and manage your practice better.

Conclusion

Automation is a part of modern-day technology, and the healthcare industry is no exception. In dentistry, especially, it gives the means to enhance small to mid-sized, solo or group, practices to reach their full potential. Thus automation for dental practices can result in increased revenue, lesser workloads, and happier staff.

Dental practice productivity hack

Improving dental practice productivity

Have you ever wondered how a 2 minute saving in your treatment time affects your practice? A 2-minute saving is at least a 10% reduction in the time of a visit. This means that you get one additional patient in production for every ten patients. This is a 10% increase in revenue with no capital cost and no other overheads or expenditure. A 10% increase in revenue is thus converted to a minimum of 15% increase in profits. Improving dental practice productivity is crucial in the long run for a dental practice.

Most practices strive to make both ends meet, and an extra 15% can give them an edge to expand and step out of the vicious cycle of lousy cash-flow and stagnant growth they fall into.

Clinical Efficiency: Clinical efficiency is the core metric of any dental practice. Revenues of the practice are directly proportionate to the number of patients met. Given that practices work with specific working hours every month on their labor, it becomes crucial to manage each patient in the fastest possible time without compromising on clinical efficacy or treatment quality. Even employees feel less over-extended with streamlined operations, even with an increased patient load.

Achieving optimal efficiency for your practice

How can you ensure your practice is currently running at optimal efficiency? The critical area to look at is the processes and workflows your organization follows and how easy it is to stick to them.

An integrated practice management system goes a long way in ensuring productivity and efficiency by:

  • Reducing delays in paperwork and information transfer
  • Enabling faster on-demand access to information
  • Improving patient stickiness and reducing missed appointments
  • Improving scheduling efficiency through better queue management and rescheduling capabilities
  • Considerably reducing time for medical records and related paperwork
  • Faster eligibility checks and claims management
  • Better cash flow due to increased revenue and reduced clearing time.

So, the first step is to find a scalable system that can improve on all these areas, while allowing you enough customization so as not to change your current operations drastically.

CareStack offers a cloud-based, easily scalable platform that enables you to expand your system to any scale without the need for any specific hardware. CareStack has been made based on the needs of practices with varying needs and offers easy adaptability to most operating models in the industry.

Features to look for in your practice management system:

Front office management
  • Efficient scheduling
  • Rescheduling Queues
  • Waiting lists
  • Patient communications
Clinical management
  • Charting and integrated treatment planner
  • Template-driven care notes
  • Advanced perio charting
  • Imaging integration
  • e-Prescription
Patient engagement
  • EHR integration
  • Patient portals

Conclusion

Clinical efficiency can be improved by integrating clinical management seamlessly with other practice management functions and is best executed with the support of an integrated scalable and adaptable practice management system. Improving dental practice productivity should be a no comprise requirement for your dental practice.

100% paperless dental practice

100% paperless practice

Ever since getting into dental school, a big hassle has been managing paperwork. It is a mundane task and completing it only produces further tasks in the form of consolidating and managing large amounts of physical records. Though computers have made our lives much easier by simplifying billing and accounting and even patient records, we are still a long way to go before letting go of our paper habits. But, have you tried imagining how your office would be if it was 100% paperless? Is that even possible?

Dental practices deal with various instances where they are forced to use physical records. These include coordinating with suppliers, dental labs and other service vendors as well as maintaining patient records, schedules, reminders and calendars. Current practice management systems offer integrated solutions that streamline every bit of your practice from 3rd party coordination to internal data storage and ensure easy accessibility for all your data without the need for any paperwork.

There is then, the fear of data loss that makes practices stick to good old paper to back us up if technology fails. However, modern practice management systems store data on the cloud on dedicated servers with 24 hr protections and data redundancy systems. This means a 100% paperless practice is now possible and practical.

Efficient paperless practices with cloud based practice management systems

A modern cloud based practice management solution brings major changes in the following areas:

Front Office:

Patient intake forms and eligibility analysis can easily be made paperless, also removing the need for an additional step in entering the data onto the system. Even the scheduling calendar is so functional on modern practice management systems that it is as flexible as your hard calendar, while being substantially more functional. Several other smaller functions like rescheduling ques are also not necessary anymore. Even receipts can be emailed to your patients.

Clinical:

Charting, treatment planning, care notes, perio charting, imaging, patient records and even prescriptions can be done on the chair-side monitor in modern solutions. This makes the whole process considerably faster and more convenient. This also increases accuracy and prevents common errors in treatment code entry.

Financial:

Finance modules feature options for fee schedule management, e-claims, printing paper claims wherever needed without need for manual entry, claim tracking, ERA posting, statements or even regular financial reports. Having all these functionalities on a single system can help a practices achieve a paperless back-office.

Patient portals:

Going paperless should also benefits your patients. An integrated patient portal allows your patients to readily access all their documents and imaging files. This enables easier access to your patients and frees us time of your front office staff.

Benefits of a 100% paperless practice

Accuracy: Data is prone for manual error only at the point of entry. In some cases, even this does not happen, such as in the case of patient intake forms they fill up themselves using their mobile devices. This improves accuracy and increases efficiency of everything from record keeping to claims submission.

Compliance: HIPAA compliance is increasingly becoming exposed and paper documentation adds unnecessary risk to the process. Electronic documentation and databases can be customized with access controls so that only the relevant members of your team can access sensitive data.

Ownership: Now that every action can be traced back to the team member responsible, there will be greater ownership of tasks and lesser mistakes from the team.

Speed: The patient’s check-in to check out time reduces when the office is made paperless. This streamlines the patient-flow between various departments and the overall flow becomes more efficient.

Accessibility: One of the biggest challenges with paper records is accessibility. Electronic records are readily accessible, no matter the time, location or type of file.

Security: Data stored electronically, in cloud based systems have redundancy and security measures, making it safer than paper records.

role of dental data for dentists

The role of data in a dental practice

The past decade has seen a surge in the amount of data collected in our practices from day-to-day operations. There is so much data collected on different software and sheets that practices themselves have lost track of it. Data collection is useless if it is not used to arrive at inferences to direct the progress of the practice.

Data is even dangerous if used without proper understanding. For eg: If you do not understand how two factors are interlinked, you may end up trying the wrong solution and may even worsen the problem. However, between busy practice schedules, this becomes a difficult task.

Another problem practices face is that the data they have is highly fragmented. It is spread over various systems that consolidating and processing it requires us to make use of expensive 3rd party vendors, giving an additional layer of risk in data security.

Are modern practice management systems the turnkey solution to all your data problems?

Modern practice management systems utilize a single database on a cloud based platform and have modules to help you in every function at every point in your practice, from organizing workflows to communicating with 3rd party service providers. Every bit of the process is mapped to patient records and so, everything is aligned, consolidated and easily accessible.

Some of the best practice management systems come with built-in analytics module. Being built-in, it not only saves valuable time, money and effort, it also makes it an extremely powerful tool as every bit of data comes in the context of an even bigger data set. The analytics modules usually have built-in logic based on common workflows of practices in your country. This enables easy change to a data driven growth oriented practice, as data is not only available, it is also easily accessible and utilized in decision making.

What are the features to look for while choosing a practice management system that can help you grow?

Mandatory:
Cloud based solution

Data Safety must be your number one concern and ease of accessibility should the second. A cloud based solution offers both to its best extent without sacrificing either. The data is stored centrally in the cloud and can be accessed via the internet on any device.

Fully integrated with all operations of your practice, from front-desk to collection

Having an all in one solution means eliminating the hassle of extra communication between departments. Changes and additions by a department are reflected automatically and can be viewed by everyone with access.

Scalable infrastructure

You practice will definitely expand and with growth, your infrastructure should have the capacity to scale up as required. Making sure your infrastructure us future-proof will go a long way.

Necessary:
Built-in analytics

It goes without saying, most of us rather see a graph or chart than a 3-page report. Analytics yields all your practice results in a beautiful manner and can drive you to make game-changing decisions.

Customizable dashboards

Having the power to customize your dashboard is an added perk, as your management team needs not see graphs related to treatments.

Reporting

Having a reporting function makes the process of reporting as easy as two clicks. You can make reports of just about anything of your practice at the click of a button.

Optional:
Automation features

No one likes doing the same thing repeatedly for long periods of time. Automating things that are repetitive in nature with software frees up time for you and your team to address things of importance while ensuring minimal errors.

Intelligent design

Having a great system is definitely different from having an OK one. Investing a bit more into a well designed, future-proof and safe system means, you can put more faith into it.

Patient engagement

Providing the best service at your dental practice is one thing, but maintaining that relationship outside it can increase the chances of that patient returning many folds over. With proper and regular patient engagement, you can see your patient base increase rapidly.

kpi

Key metrics to track in a dental practice

As we discussed in the previous post, data has a big role to play in the coming years for the success of your practice. Integrated analytics functionality, on your practice management system, is necessary for best management practices. But, what are the right metrics to track to assess health and progress of your practice?

This is an area that requires considerable thought since a lot of metrics can be derived from the vast amounts of data available. While some are useful indicators, others have no real meaning for your practice or may even show the opposite trend.

We can generally look at metrics in 3 key areas: Quality metrics, Operating metrics and Financial metrics. These 3 areas together cover the overall health, sustainability and potential for growth of a practice.

Quality metrics:
Revisits:

Revisits are a very important real metric to measure patient satisfaction. Correcting this metric is also a great way to boost assured revenue in hygiene.

Restorative : Hygiene ratio:

The ratio of number of cases between restorative and hygiene cases is an important metric. Restorative cases are profit earners, but hygiene ensures sustainability of the practice and regular patients who will choose you for restorative care as well.

Productivity:

This is an important metric and can be measured individually at a provider level. Productivity of a provider ensures he is able to discuss and agree on treatment plans with your patients. Tracking this metric allows you to zero-in on the non productive providers and train them in better patient management.

Operating metrics:
Scheduling efficiency:

This metric is the total number of scheduled slots divided by total available slots in your calendar for all providers. This will give you a rough idea where to look at to increase revenue. If the efficiency is 100%, it means you have scope to expand your practice. If this efficiency level is low, it means, you should focus on increasing outreach to get new patients and increase patient engagement to enable better revisits.

Check-in to Check-out time:

If a provider sees 10 patients and his time to see each patient is reduced with better processes by 10%, that means your practice immediately gains a slot for one more patient and all the revenue that slot brings adds directly to your profits, as your overheads are still the same. Check-in to check-out time should be drilled down to further stages and tracked to improve efficiency.

Staff productivity:

Various metrics allow you to measure the amount of time each member of your team spends on a task. You may be overstaffed or understaffed for the task at hand. Over staffing leads to low practice efficiency and under-staffing leads to bad customer experience. If you are overstaffed, you may even consider expanding the services you offer and add new verticals to your revenue stream.

Financial metrics:
Profit:

Though this sounds simple enough, most practice owners are not tracking true profits. They miss out the overheads, they miss out inefficiencies. It makes a lot of difference to have a tangible accurate measurement tracked over time. This is the single most important metric for your practice and should be followed closely and drilled down to constituent elements.

Free Cash:

Another very important metric that affects the stability of your operations and growth plans is free cash. Maintaining enough free cash by rigorously negotiating credit periods and collecting payments and getting claims processed fast is crucial to ensure your practice is growing at its optimal pace. Always remember that money today is more valuable than money tomorrow.

Gross Revenue:

This is another important metric that helps you directly assess your marketing and patient engagement efforts. This will also take your attention to the fee schedules and whether they are optimal. Gross revenue does not include revenue that gets passed on to 3rd party vendors, like labs.

How can a practice management system help you keep track of key metrics?

Some modern practice management systems have built in analytics modules that consolidate all the data and present the key metrics in an easily traceable, well presented dash board. This makes the job of following key metrics extremely simple. Newer intelligent systems can even alert you when something is off, thus maintaining a constant eye on the metrics that truly affect the efficiency of your practice.

acquire and retain patients

How to acquire and retain patients in dentistry?

Initial days of starting a practice are exciting. There are new patients who are happy to discover your practice and who you are happy to connect with. Over time, the new patient numbers start falling. One of the reasons for this is that when you start a practice, there is naturally some marketing associated with it, at least by way of people noticing your practice. Once that group of people gets exhausted, most practices fail to maintain numbers to acquire new patients. It becomes necessary to actively market your practice to keep new patients coming in.

Running a practice in today’s competitive landscape requires a full fledged marketing function with good patient engagement. Patients today are expecting more and more to be satisfied.

So, how can you acquire new patients?

Marketing:

Enough emphasis can not be given to marketing. It is one crucial element that should be continuous. Simple marketing methods like branded merchandise, contact cards and online forums can draw patients to your practice. However, this alone is never sufficient to grow your practice. For a growing practice, you should always aim to fill your production capacity and expand.

Marketing campaigns that integrate various channels from direct mailers to SMS can expand recall among patients in your area, thus improving referrals. Practice management systems with integrated marketing functions can help you align such campaigns, run them and even consolidate and follow-up responses easily.

Better patient engagement:

It’s not enough that a patient books a slot, you should actively follow up till he visits and his treatments are completed. And then, you should try to sign them up for regular hygiene check-ups at your practice.

Such engagement gives confidence to your patient and he feels connected to your practice. Most patients are happy to be reminded of their appointments. They will consider it a service rather than your marketing. But, apart from reducing no-shows, it also builds patient satisfaction.

Online engagement:

It takes few minutes, but responding to queries on social media regularly can connect you directly with your patient base. However, most practices miss out on regularly staying in touch and actively promoting their social media presence.

It is a good idea to take the help of practice management systems that let you integrate with your social profile and allow you to respond to all your patients regularly. Make sure your practice management system supports 2 way communication with various channels your patients can engage you on.

Get a profile on business platforms:

This is where consumers determine whether a business is worth their time or not. And they’re basing their choices increasingly on reviews. In fact, 70% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Become the Knowledge leader in your community:

Actively engage in social media and drive the talk around everything related to dentistry and dental hygiene. Read more about better social media engagement in our next blog post.

Better patient experience:

A large majority of patients claim that they would pay more for a better experience. Focus on customer experience, not just keeping their costs low.

Use more SMS:

SMS has a much higher response rate. Try and collect mobile number databases from your patients so that you can communicate with them regularly.

use social media to get more dental clients

Social media engagement for dental practices

Social media presence has become important beyond just reaching out; it has also become a tool that patients use to verify and judge your practice before booking an appointment. Maintaining an active social media presence shows you as an active practice that its patients are actively interacting with. This develops trust and ensures you get more new patients.

Here are some tips to help you improve your activity on social media:

Post good pictures:

Photos help you establish credibility online. Post good photographs of your facility, your team, your patients, or even deliver important messages through pictures.

Post a casual campaign like #tbt:

A #hashtag campaign helps promote your content among a larger circle by encouraging your followers to join in. For example, a picture from the past of you, your practice or your team posted as nostalgia on a Thursday may be picked up by your patients and they may actively post their own pictures with the hashtag.

Tag real people and show patient transformations:

There is nothing that establishes credibility like a real person who underwent a transformation. This not only improves your credibility and showcases your skill, but it also encourages more people in your vicinity to go ahead with restorative procedures. Instagram was made for this.

Go hyper-local:

Always make it a point to be supportive and participate in local events such as fundraisers or community event that makes the local population see you as a member of the community and less as a business.

Ask questions:

Questions and interactive messages are especially effective because every time you get a member of the community to respond, you are adding their social circle to your interaction. Interesting questions and interactive posts, asking something from your followers and patients are a great way to promote social media engagement.

Videos:

Another upcoming trend is the use of videos. Everyone has a fast internet connection on their mobiles and many people prefer video content. They are short and precise and convey your message much better with a human touch. Post more videos on dental advice or even post a wish to engage users during the festival season.

Automation:

Social media requires constant updates and dedicated attention. This can become tricky in your busy schedules. One way to balance this is to use automation and scheduling of posts so that interactions look regular, whereas your attention can be in other areas without distraction.

Be genuine, be casual and real:

Social media works on the principle of being human. Every bit of data in there has a human element attached. That is why we find it attractive. Do not miss this crucial element. Make your posts genuine, be open and real in your conversations rather than following a formal template.

Post customer testimonials and reviews:

It is useful to post some of your good reviews from time to time, thanking your patient or the author. These help your ‘patients and followers trust your messages more since they are vetted by 3rd party reviewers.

Freebies:

Freebies might seem a bit too much. But, reality is freebies still draw human interaction and people still chase rewards. Use freebies from time to time to promote specific campaigns. Design your campaigns well so that you can reach out with the best message.