October 31, 2019
by Savannah Koran
Navigating the dental business world can be one of the toughest jobs in the dental space. Choosing what services are needed, what is necessary, what to keep in office, what to outsource, where do you start? Every time you open your email or social media accounts there is a new type of service offered. What makes sense for your office is different for every practice in the dental industry. Starting with knowing what is available is a great way to start making decisions to better your office. It is important to do your research and ensure who you choose to work with is the right fit for your practice and team.
Bookkeeping and payroll are the most common services that practices outsource to a third-party company. With so many options and cloud-based programs available, it doesn’t limit the options of what type of service you choose. Without proper training and dedicated time this task can be daunting and exhausting for your team, however some offices choose to keep this in house with good support from their accountant. Keep in mind confidentiality and staff dynamics when factoring in whether this is something you are comfortable having your team have access to. When deciding which route is best for your practice consider the size of your clinic and amount of transactions, team member availability and what is expected from your accountant. There are many payroll companies which process, direct deposit, do ROE’s and T4’s, remit taxes and payments on your behalf which automates this process and makes it smooth for you and your team. Having a discussion with your accounting team and factoring in all options when deciding is important for efficient and cost-effective solutions.
Whether you are a practice manager or owner, staffing is one of the most time-consuming aspects of your office. Whenever someone gives their notice it is exhausting just thinking about finding a replacement. Staffing agencies specialize in finding your dream team member(s). Since they work with many offices and job seekers on a regular basis, they often have candidates ready and available awaiting their dream job. For more customized positions and qualifications, staffing agencies use recruitment techniques to find qualified candidates that match your philosophies, goals and ideals. They do the work for you by conducting phone screenings, interviews, licence verification, reference checks and wage negotiations. The other amazing benefit of using an outsourced staffing agency is that confidentiality is held which keeps the process stress free for your team. Using a staffing agency saves time, energy and helps to find you your perfect match with little to no work! As you know you cannot run a successful practice without being surrounded by an amazing team.
Marketing is another time-consuming project that can be completely outsourced to a third-party company, be kept in office or a combination of both. Knowing what your practice needs varies on the geographical location, demographics of the area, competition and many other factors. Having a competitive website (which includes SEO services), google my business and social media presence are vital in the dental world alongside having excellent patient reviews. Since the online world is constantly changing, working with a reputable marketing firm that is familiar with dental can simplify your navigation and save you time. Investing into new patient flow, reviews and search engine optimization are important to keep your practice rocking. Deciding whether mailers, community events, sponsorships and in office efforts are worth investments is something that can be worked into your marketing budget with your marketing firm. Trying to do all these things in office requires a lot of training and a special skill set as well as a lot of time. For bigger or group practices hiring an in-house marketing specialist can be beneficial to guarantee the time, care and personalized touch is given. Getting advice from a marketing firm with dental specific experience can help you be at the top of your game with little effort.
Dental specific IT services are another area that many practices don’t focus on until there is a problem. Having an IT team with a strong background with the networks, software(s) and iTrans helps keep your practice in top shape. Prevention is the key for many IT issues, having a dedicated team checking on basics and ensuring the networking is working properly compares to dental x-rays. Without conducting regular check ups on systems and equipment, your computers and equipment can start to deteriorate without anyone noticing. Having consistent monitoring helps to prevent issues which saves you potential loss of production due to down time, staff frustrations and excessive costs. With privacy becoming an important focus in the dental industry, it is important that your clinic is following your provincial protocols which is heavily dependent with most offices keeping patient’s private information in their practice management software. Dedicated dental IT companies are aware of the protocols and laws in place and help support to ensure that your clinic is up to your association’s standards.
Working in a dental office often limits us from seeing what is out there in the dental world and what other offices are doing and offering. Being competitive in the dental space is important with all the new clinics and corporations out there. Hiring a dental coach or consultant can be a benefit to your dental team, experience and style is important when making a choice of who is best suited for your clinic. Dental consultants work with your team to help your clinic improve systems and efficiencies, streamline processes, open communication, improve morale, hold efficient meetings, save costs and help with budgets, advise on services and help with human resources issues and solutions. Having tough conversations, making decisions and learning all the tips for efficiencies can be time consuming and stressful. Hiring a coach who can help advise and find the most efficient ways to improve lets you focus on patients and dentistry. Bringing outside perspective into your practice helps your team get excited about dentistry again!
Even though there are many available resources out there, take your time and choose services that are truly beneficial for you and your team. Seek advice from other industry members, research and check references from people who use the service you are interested in. Facebook groups, colleagues and courses can help guide you in getting relevant information. Assess what can be done internally and what services will save you and your team time, frustration and allow you to do what you do best, focus on your patients.
About the Author
Savannah Koran, is the founder and owner of Sprout Dental, a dental staffing, practice management and coaching firm. Savannah loves learning about new technology, helping others and working with her clients to achieve optimal results. When not helping her clinics grow, Savannah travels often volunteering in dental clinics overseas, working with non-profits locally and spending time with friends and family.
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