From Office Manager to Practice Administrator

In her class called “From Office Manager to Practice Administrator,” Jill Nesbitt discussed how to transition from being an office manager for a solo provider to becoming a practice administrator for a large, multi-provider practice. She taught how to develop management skills, schedule efficiently for teams of dentists and use Dentrix to manage a growing multi-provider practice. Here are seven tips from the class:

  1. Understand that dental practice administrators are responsible for managing the business side of a dental practice. Your responsibilities include:
    • Supporting the owner-dentist’s clinical mission and vision for the practice
    • Managing human resources—solving patient concerns, staff schedules and upsets, as well as dentist and staff communication
    • Managing vendor relationships and technology implementation
    • Managing financial outcomes of billing/insurance and achieving financial goals
    • Creating marketing campaigns, including social media, websites and internal programs
  2. Watch the trends in the dental industry. Several trends are speeding this new dental practice administrator position into existence, including an increase in dentists who prefer to work part-time, the growth of managed care insurance, a rise in complexity of managing a practice, a complete change in the approach to dental marketing and a significant increase in group practices.
  3. Manage your responsibilities by using a system. Write up the protocol, track your performance, set a measurable goal and help others accomplish goals.
  4. Document the dentist’s philosophy on how to handle no-show patients or patients who cancel their appointments. Write down how to fill the schedule for each provider so any front-desk staff member can follow these instructions.
  5. Measure performance using the Dentrix Daily Huddle Report to see unfilled hours for each provider.
  6. Set practice goals based on the actual performance of the practice and benchmarks.
  7. Monitor the team’s performance. Congratulate the team when they hit the goal and coach them when they fail (which may lead to changing the protocol and repeating the process).

Jill Nesbitt is a practice administrator for a privately owned group practice with six dentists, 20 staff members and 18 operatories. Jill has an MBA and over 14 years of experience managing dental marketing programs, human resources, technology, dental management, strategic planning and statistical management. As a private consultant, Jill is passionate about helping dentists run successful businesses and helping office managers develop their careers.

One of the most important things you can do to safeguard your most important asset is to ensure that you have a good backup system. Offices tend to assume that their backup methods are sufficient but when they have hardware failures, servers go down or the building floods, all of which easily cause database corruption, they discover that they have not been backing up.

Author: Jill Nesbitt
Published: 10/31/2012
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