“NO TIME” is the most common buzzword at the practice. Be it the provider, assistant, or 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 ” this 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.
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 of 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 for every member to rise as active partners in creating a loyal patient base and adding 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 obvious even when the clinical care is managed well.
Happy patients happen when the practice combines 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 augur well for the practice or the provider. Managing any of these issues without addressing others is impossible, 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.
“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 regarding 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 advise you 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 :
A real-time report of the financial well-being of your practice.
The realization is that simplifying practice management is possible only when you can see the real picture and implement data-driven strategies.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Navigating change in 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.
“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 choosing the right software that complements your quest for a simpler practice and stress-free work environment.
The dental software market abounds 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's 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 is separately managed, paid, and maintained. As a first step towards digitization of dental practice management, this software management model gathered steam, but soon enough, cracks began to develop as more practices adopted it.
The 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:
Multiple software subscription fatigue
Software incompatibility issues
Mounting IT support costs
Data security threats
“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?
Less administrative hassles and no more mundane data entry works
Lesser human errors and costly mistakes
MORE TIME SAVED
For your patients?
Quality care as the practice gets unburdened from non-clinical tasks.
Personalized interactions, better communication, and continuous engagement.
MORE TIME WITH THE PROVIDER
MORE TIME – for yourselves, your staff, and your patients.
MORE MONEY – with improved cash flow and higher production.
MORE PEACE OF MIND – with a stress-free practice that can run on autopilot.