Making the Most of Your Dental Practice Management System

You invested in your practice management system to boost productivity, decrease costs and help you make better informed clinical and business decisions. Your software has become an essential member of your office team. It cuts costs by handling the mundane tasks office staff used to manage by hand such as patient communications and record filing. And it brings intelligence such as reports and system integration that help you run your practice smarter.

To get the most out of your investment, you should make sure you’re taking advantage of all that your practice management system offers. To determine how efficiently you’re using your system, apply the following litmus test: Are your processes manual or automated? If your office is doing anything manually that the system or a connected service can handle, you are wasting resources, usually in the form of staff time, that you’re paying for.

Use All Your Practice Management System’s Capabilities

Go back to the time when you decided on the practice management system that’s running your practice. What capabilities attracted you? Take some time to visit the system’s website, and write a list of the systems’ features. Consider listing the features by their categories, such as front office, clinical and business management. List them by the task they handle rather than the name of the feature. Look first for the basics such as scheduling, patient check-in and document storage and retrieval. Include a detailed list of month-end reports such as production and case acceptance, insurance payment aging, and continuing care. Pay particular attention to imaging and treatment planning.

The features list you create should be long and detailed. Then sit down with your staff and review how you and they handle each task. If your practice is doing anything manually that the software is built to do, make a plan to start applying each practice management feature you’ve invested in.

Tap the Practice Management System’s Ecosystem

If you invested in the right practice management system, you also have access to a large ecosystem of services, partners and technologies that integrate with your system. You should look at these capabilities in two ways: First, inventory the ecosystem components you have already invested in and determine whether you’re using them to their maximum capabilities. Second, investigate all the components that you didn’t invest in originally or that have become available since you acquired your current practice management system. Again, the best place to start is your practice management system’s website. Look for solutions, partners and services. Make a list of any that could benefit your practice. List them by category such as front office, clinical and business management. Components many practices consider to be essential include patient communications, billing and insurance claims processing in the front office. Imaging is the most important clinical integration. In the business management category, you should consider reputation and website management, as well as patient acquisition.

Ensure you are using all the ecosystem components you’ve invested in, and make a plan to investigate and invest in any that you could benefit from but don’t have.

Know All that Your Vendor Offers

The people who continue to support your practice management system are as important as the system itself. The first step you should take is determine whether you have the right practice management system with the right support. In your evaluation, consider whether your vendor offers the following:

  • Flexible training that fits the way you and your staff can best learn to use all the features of your system
  • Evaluation of your staff’s skills to determine whether they are equipped to use your system’s full capabilities in the smartest way
  • Consulting and coaching to help you get the most from your system and run your practice in the most profitable way
  • A complete set of integrated services, both from the vendor and from its ecosystem of partners
  • Flexible support for both your hardware and software to be sure you’re using the most capable hardware with up-to-date software that has near-zero down time
  • Nice-to-have extras such as an accessible community of users, frequent communications from the vendor and community, training webinars and so on

If your software vendor doesn’t offer these services, consider moving to one that does. Review each service in your daily huddles to determine which employees should be participating in each offer. Make a plan to take advantage of these offerings, and follow up periodically to determine your practice’s progress.

When you are using your dental practice management system capabilities, as well as its ecosystem of services and partners and vendor services, your office should have cut manual tasks to their minimum and boosted employee productivity to its maximum. Your office overall should be running very smoothly with happy patients and content employees.

Dentrix is the leading practice management system that offers a host of connected e-services, a complete ecosystem of products and partners and training and support that are unparalleled.

Published: 03/12/2021
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