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The Need to Simplify Practice Management

Blog User

Kevin Cook

January 27, 2021 6 min read
The Need to Simplify Practice Management

“NO TIME” is the most common buzzword at the practice. Be it the provider, assistant, or the front desk staff, there is always so much to be done and so little time. The flywheel of work has slowly carved away time for anything else so much so that life becomes confined to the stress and pain of everyday practice management.

“Long hours entering data into multiple software, writing clinical notes, and tying up everything to one place has put so much stress into the process. Even after reaching home, the mind stays still at the long list of things waiting to be done ” has become a way of life for many dental practitioners still remaining committed to the profession and aspiring to make it big one day.

At the end of the day, how you live your life matters. Having peace of mind, getting time for the family, and running a profitable practice are all intertwined and play an important part in the happiness quotient.  When your life is inextricably linked to your practice and there are unsettled issues there, simplifying practice management becomes key to leading a simple and fulfilling life.

KEEPING THINGS SIMPLE

Let’s not shy away from the facts. Dental offices are inherently high-stress environments where multiple responsibilities like patient care, revenue management, and production targets demand different sensibilities and time is never enough to meet any.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci

The philosophy of simplification is not a one-step-process that can produce instant results. But, the idea has to percolate at each level of practice management with a serious analysis on how things are at the moment and how each stakeholder is affected.

Quite often, patients are scheduled in the wrong spot or they are scheduled out of sequence to what the doctor recommended. It gets really messy and confusing.” – Front desk tales

Filling up schedules, verifying eligibility, following up claim statuses, doing the paperwork and managing these all in the midst of dealing with frustrated patients is not something your front desk staff has signed up for. You already know that pushing them to work harder and planning to hire more numbers are just bandage fixes to buy some more time before the ship sinks.

The dental staff works full-steam at a stress-free dental practice where each member is disconnected from the daily practice management chores. When there is time and liberty to meaningfully engage with patients, a real opportunity uncovers before every member to rise as active partners in the creation of a loyal patient base and add value to the practice and their career.

 “I had to wait for hours before I could see the dentist! The place is a mess”

Every patient approaches the practice with a degree of uncertainty and fear, constantly evaluating the choice made by taking cues from the level of patient experience on offer. But with long wait-times at the front desk, super-busy staff, improper communication regarding insurance coverage and claim rejections, the mental decision to write off the association becomes an obvious one even when the clinical care is managed well.

Happy patients happen when the practice can effectively combine care, convenience, and connection to nurture a strong relationship based on trust. Patient experience is a package where each step of the patient journey and all touchpoints to the patient need to be simplified for better accessibility, transparency and care.

“To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill

A stressful work environment with frustrated patients, burnt-out staff, and dwindling revenue never augurs well for the practice or the provider. Managing any of these without laying hands on others is also an impossibility as none of the practice problems happen in isolation. 

Cutting out the stress factor from the equation remains core to simplifying practice, work and life for the practice owner. Leveraging the power of technology to do the heavy lifting of stressful, mechanical and redundant administrative work can free up much needed time for your staff and yourself. But, when it comes to choosing that software keep an eye out for the title, “keep it simple”.

Transitioning from a multiple software-based practice management system to an all-in-one cloud-based software lies at the crux of simplifying practice management. Filling your practice management puzzle with a single software also future proofs your expansion plans and simplifies the long IT setup process associated with setting up a new office.

GETTING STARTED ON THE SIMPLE

“Simplify, simplify, simplify” – Henry David Thoreau

Find your ground before you march forward. Before anything can be simplified, take a good hard look at how the practice is managed in terms of patient engagement, staff friendliness and profit improvements. It is always a good practice to organize a huddle, talk to your team and get the on-ground perspective.  

Take the time to engage your patients in genuine conversations and try to see your practice from their eyes. No one can tip your better than your patient on how to improve the patient experience at your practice.

Try to get a snapshot of your practice’s financial performance even if it means a deep scan of your practice numbers in the current software system. The takeaways are two :

MOVING WITH YOUR TEAM

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is  success.” – Henry Ford

Navigating change at the workplace is difficult. Navigating change at the workplace when your team is unsupportive is impossible. The practice powers up only when the team hits the groove and becomes self-motivated to embrace change and assume larger responsibilities as the practice grows.

Talk to your team, find out their expectations of work and make sure their daily set of tasks has enough items that align with their larger career plan. Also, be open to ideas and brave enough to execute strategies that they feel can improve the workflow. At the end of the day, they spend more time with the patients and the pulse of your customer is best recognized by your front office staff than anyone else. Effecting change in your practice becomes easy when your team is excited about embracing the new.

SIMPLIFYING THE SYSTEM – WHERE TECHNOLOGY MATTERS

“The great growling engine of change. Technology”

More than 90% of dental practices employ practice management software. So the real differentiator with respect to leveraging technology is about choosing the right software that complements your quest for a simpler practice and stress-free work environment.

The many-to-one debate.

The dental software market is abound with hundreds of software that lets you manage each and every aspect of your practice. Online appointment booking, clinical, patient engagement, revenue cycle management – you name it and there is a dedicated software.

This has led to a situation where a dental practice is typically managed by a set of 3 or more different software to cater to different practice requirements and each of them separately managed, paid and maintained. As a first step towards digitization of dental practice management, this model of software management gathered steam but soon enough, cracks began to develop as more practices adopted it.

Multiple software subscription model – What it missed?

The single most important drawback of stitching together multiple software for managing the practice was soon laid bare. It missed at solving the foundational issue that it was set up to solve – Simplifying practice management.

“Why are we still using 16 different software to have that one interaction with the patient” – Jasmine Elmore, CEO, About Face Collaborative

With multiple software to be managed, the quest for simpler practice management soon shifted course to the perils of complex software management. With many software to manage, the practice was soon burdened with:

Doing More With Less. The CareStack Alternative.

“The mobile phone can make calls, send emails, text messages, take pictures and a lot more. Now, that’s an all-in-one solution.”

CareStack brings an integrated approach to practice management where all the business, clinical and patient management needs get rolled into one interface so that every step of your patient journey from booking an appointment to settling a claim goes through a single, fully-tracked workflow.

What does it mean to your staff?

 

For your patients?

 

For you?

 

 

 

Blog User

Kevin Cook

VP, Customer Experience, CareStack