What Can Increase Productivity in a Dental Office? 5 Essential Tips

April 11, 2022

Productivity is something that dental practitioners strive for, and in order to run a successful dental practice, it’s important to bear this in mind when making any changes to your working environment—such as changes to the dental office layout, workflow, and the overall objectives of the team.Option:Productivity is something that dental practitioners strive for—dental office layout, workflow, and the overall objectives of the team all impact the successful running of a dental practice. It’s important to bear this in mind when making any changes to your working environment.While it may be stressful to take time out to assess productivity, the benefits will outweigh the losses over the short period. To set you on the right path toward a productive dental practice, here are five essential practice productivity tips to get your teeth into.

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Is Your Practice Productive or Just ‘Busy’?

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’? Well, this 100% applies to productivity in your dental practice. Oftentimes, when you ask a colleague how their day has been, you will receive a response along the lines of:“It’s been really busy, but I feel like I’ve not achieved much.”This is a very common and alarming response (we nailed it, right?). In fact, this isn’t exclusive to dental teams. More often than not, everyone feels they have been busy and yet achieved very little within their contracted hours. This shows a lack of productivity in your dental practice—something that could damage your efforts and greatly hinder the success of your dental practice. As the person in charge of a dental team, there are steps that you can take and initiatives or process changes that you can implement to streamline your workflow and make your dental office more efficient. As you will find out below, there are ripple effects on productivity that could make or break the services that your dental office provides to clients and prospective patients.

Discuss Your Dental Team’s Performance

It works in a corporate environment—in the form of a meeting—so why not facilitate regular conversations with your team? A collaborative environment is usually a more productive one as it allows you to:

  • Alleviate any concerns within the team
  • Discuss any hindrances while they are fresh in your colleague’s minds
  • Gain a new perspective and leverage new ideas that could improve office operations
  • Connect both front-office and back-office staff

Employee welfare is a staple characteristic of any successful team. Listen to your team’s concerns and take them into account. This will not only make your colleagues feel heard, but will also create a more cohesive working environment, allowing them to work collaboratively to implement more productive processes that benefit the entire dental office. ‘Huddling up’ will also allow office team members to put forward any training requirements—and it’s important to ask them about this regularly—that will allow them to carry out their jobs properly and, eventually, more efficiently. For example, even the most user-friendly digital office systems may take a little getting used to. Although your staff may quickly come to grips with the basics, a more comprehensive understanding will help them optimize their use of the technology solutions they’ve been provided and improve their own workflows.

Improve Your Phone Interactions

Communication is a skill. Every individual uses it differently, and it takes some longer than others to master it. As the person in charge of the dental practice, it’s in your best interests to ensure that your front desk staff are using it to its full potential—not just ‘correctly,’ as we’ve established there is no formula for effective communication skills. The front desk staff may require some form of training in order to provide the best possible service to patients and the dental operatory as a whole. But surely patients are only calling to book an appointment, right? Like any form of service, the more value you can provide over the phone—or even in person—the more likely you convert them to a long-term client. There are a couple of ways in which you can make sure telephone communications are serving the practice:

  • Provide front desk staff with a specific set of criteria (or even a script) to cover during an external call.
  • Make sure staff members are promoting the importance of health and well-being, such as oral hygiene tips.

Do you want to show patients that you care for their dental health? Make a point of returning calls from clients and ensure the front desk carries out follow-up calls. If a client only needs a dentist once a year, calling your dental team may not be high on their list of priorities!

Review Patient Complaints to Improve Dental Practice

This is common practice for any organization that provides a service. Listening to complaints is essential, but you’re not humoring them. Taking on board an issue that a client has experienced with your service could reflect your dental team's performance and open up valuable insights that you may need to address. Many dental practices will provide a feedback system—a form to complete after an appointment—to constantly review any services they have provided. While there is value in finding out where the dental practice excels, the majority of ideas to improve your dental practice will come from the complaints, which can uncover the largest gaps in the group’s operations. On the flip side, ignoring feedback from, in some cases, disgruntled clientele may expose the practice to negative opinions. Word of mouth spreads fast! In many cases, although you may not be able to address complaints within hours, days, or even weeks, if you are seen to be rectifying these issues, clients are likely to respond better to any proposals you may have.

Digitize the Administration of Your Dental Practice

The world is going paperless, and not just because it’s safer for the trees. Digitizing your dental office will pay dividends in the long-term for a few reasons:

  • It allows you to standardize the format and written sections of all documentation
  • You are able to create a digital filing system that is easily accessible to all necessary members of staff
  • It reduces clutter in the workplace—which is critical when hygiene is paramount
  • Completing forms takes less time when you can do it digitally
  • It minimizes the risk of human error in documentation
  • Eliminating the need to procure paper and other materials will reduce costs for the dental office

Like any new process, it takes time to implement a digital documentation and filing system, but once it’s set up, you will begin to witness the improved speed and accuracy of document transfer. Once digitized, x-rays, scans, and other documents can be interpreted in a more efficient way, and the operatory may choose to adopt further technology solutions to do so. Leveraging digital solutions can also help front desk staff to better manage appointments and utilize every scheduled hour of the day to tend to a patient. Implementing a scheduling platform enables your team to better manage the tracking of appointments and—as discussed previously—allows them to maintain client contact and confirm appointments. Working proactively, your team may be able to schedule more last-minute appointments and increase your production rates.

Implement Procurement Solutions for Dental Providers

As part of your efforts to digitize the office, adopting a procurement solution that is dedicated to dental practices may be the next thought. Why? Once you have experienced a higher practice productivity level—resulting from both adaptations to your working environment and digitization of administration—you may consider how technology can improve some of your other processes. The procurement of office and operatory supplies is a staple task that can be alleviated with a digital solution and free up your team to work on more important tasks, such as those mentioned—communicating with and serving patients, improving their workflows, and even training. Method Procurement is a software solution that was developed with dental practitioners in mind. Whether your aim is to streamline the operatory by improving the availability of supplies, provide front desk staff with tools to improve their daily workflows, or gain insight into the costs and performance of your dental practice, Method Procurement’s platform is designed to meet the needs of all dental staff.The platform offers spend and inventory management solutions for better office management, so you can increase productivity, and patient focus.

Develop a Streamline Workflow With Method Procurement

If you’re looking to improve productivity, create a more cohesive working environment, or streamline processes for all employees, Method Procurement can provide you the tools to make the changes your dental practice needs. Still not sure about a digital solution? Method Procurement offers a free demonstration of its platform to ensure that digital procurement is right for your office. In the process, you will be put in touch with dental procurement experts who will assist you in your digital adoption. Alternatively, you can contact the team directly to get started with digitizing your dental office and turn one-time patients into long-term clients.

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