Oral Health Group
Feature

Pick One: Balancing Practice Operations or Meeting Patient Expectations

October 5, 2018
by Oral Health


What’s more challenging: Finding qualified Level II Assistants, or keeping up with patient expectations?

It’s a trick question because they’re both vital to the success of your practice. However, based on our recent survey*, we probably could have predicted your response based on your practice’s revenue. We found Canadian dentists who earned less than $500,000 per year are challenged by a combination of keeping up with new technology, maintaining clinical skills with CE courses, and the pressure to update their skills to meet patient expectations. This isn’t to say they don’t see the stress behind filling the role of a Level II Assistant (or any number of important daily tasks), but it doesn’t top their list of struggles like it does for higher earning practices. Here’s a list of top daily operational challenges broken down by revenue bracket:

Practices earning less than $500,000/year

  1. Keeping up with new technology to fulfill practice needs
  2. Pressure to update skills to meet patient needs
  3. Finding qualified Level II Assistants
  4. Maintaining professional skill sets with CE courses

Practices earning $500,000-$1.5 million/year

  1. Finding qualified Level II Assistants
  2. Keeping up with new technology to fulfill practice needs
  3. Maintaining professional skill sets with CE courses
  4. Concerns over malpractice, lawsuits and obtaining consent

Practices earning more than $1.5 million/year

  1. Finding qualified Level II Assistants
  2. Keeping up with new technology to fulfill practice needs
  3. Pressure to update skills to meet patient needs
  4. Maintaining professional skill sets with CE courses

A successful practice can’t be solely determined based on revenue, however it’s naturally a leading factor to look at. When analyzing these breakdowns, it’s crucial to note the differing priorities: lower earning practices are focused on staying up-to-date with technology and their skills, while higher earning practices are focused on the important (and often missing) role of a Level II Assistant. This, of course, isn’t the defining factor in how much revenue a practice earns, but it is imperative to look at the broader topic: what are you, as a practitioner and business owner, prioritizing from an operational standpoint?

And this isn’t a one-off statistic. When asked if they agree that patient expectations of dental technology are too high, 69.8 per cent of dentists working at a lower earning practice agreed, while only 46 per cent of all others did. That’s a fairly significant difference that could be attested to confidence in skills, time management, support staff size, or any number of factors depending on the dentist and their practice. Consider your own practice: what would you say are your biggest operational stresses? It may be time to reflect, review and rework elements of your practice for optimal functionality.

Regardless of revenue, every dentist finds similar challenges in running a successful practice, both as a practitioner and business owner. Hiring a qualified team that works well together is the backbone of any profitable practice, but as we’ve looked at previously there must be a balance. Here it’s a balance of practice operations and meeting patient expectations, but day-to-day, no matter the challenges you’re facing, the solution is going to start by finding balance.

 

Let us know: What operational challenges do you find in your practice?

 


*Between February and March 2018, RKI, a third party independent research house, conducted a 10-minute online survey of active, practicing non-hospital affiliated dentists and dental specialists on behalf of Oral Health. Using Oral Health’s subscription list, a total of 398 dentists participated in the study (with 219 completing the survey to the end). Assuming a total of 20,000 dentists in Canada (and 398 total completes) the margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.86, 95% CI.

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