How would you like to keep your practice as efficient and organized as possible – while keeping up with the demands of patients? With the advent of technology, numerous tools and software solutions are available to streamline your dental practice and enhance productivity.
Here are the top 10 NEW and innovative ways to do so by leveraging the recent advancements in technology:
1. Electronic Checklists: Implementing customizable electronic checklists for your staff that leverage industry best practices can revolutionize your practice’s processes and operations. From new patient onboarding to treatment-specific checklists, these checklists ensure that new and existing staff members become and remain highly productive.
They help streamline tasks, reduce errors, and maintain consistency across multiple departments. Some dental practice platforms even offer built-in, customizable electronic checklists tied right into the patient’s file, allowing you to document all the steps taken by your staff, and save you the extra time (and money) it takes to use a separate system.
2. Remote Staff Access: Embrace the flexibility of a cloud-based dental practice platform that allows your staff to work remotely. Remote staff access not only enhances work-life balance but also ensures that essential administrative tasks can be handled from anywhere, improving the overall efficiency of your practice. Although clinical work must be performed in person, a cloud-based solution can provide a newer and versatile way to manage your practice.
3. Patient Self-Service: Let’s face it, the current generations of patients (and their parents) who grew up with technology are increasingly getting fed up with the old ways of calling the office, only to be put on hold or playing voicemail tag with your staff.
Some of the newer practice management platforms recognize this trend and offer patient-facing tools allowing the patient and/or their parents to confirm, cancel, schedule, and reschedule their appointments electronically, at any time of the day, without having to talk to anyone. Some platforms give your patients the option to communicate with your staff via secure 2-way encrypted messaging rather than by voice or giving them access to an online patient portal where they can view their past and future appointments, view their charges and financial contracts they might have signed, view the insurance claims you submitted on their behalf, make payments online, and more.
4. Advanced Scheduler: Save your front office staff time and energy with a feature-rich scheduler. Some key features to account for in a scheduling tool are the ability to quickly locate past and future search for appointments, schedule multiple family members in a single step, maintain an electronic waitlist, provide a provider-loading histogram to better balance your clinical load, minimize patient wait times, and many more. If you operate several offices and/or have multiple providers per office, using a dental practice platform that allows you to schedule appointments across numerous books, stations, and offices can provide substantial benefits.
5. Lighting – Patient Flow Management: Control patient flow within your office to increase your throughput and minimize patient wait times (and patient dissatisfaction) by viewing what patients are in what stage and what location within your practice. Advanced lighting tools can automatically update individual and average waiting times for each queue in real-time, allowing you to quickly react and reassign staff to minimize patient bottlenecks and maximize provider loading. When choosing a dental practice platform, look for one that includes lighting (patient flow management) tools to help you run your practice more efficiently, and increase your throughput, and patient satisfaction.
6. Automated Insurance Claims: Simplify the insurance process with electronic eligibility checks and automated electronic claims & attachments submission. This could include handling pre-authorizations, coordination of benefits (COB) claims, billing from the practice or provider, Medicare/Medicaid claims, and efficient processing of Explanation of Benefits (EOB) received. Look for a practice management platform that automates all these areas of insurance claim processing.
7. Patient Financial Contracts: Manage patient financial contracts seamlessly with a dental practice platform with tools that offer FICO scoring, patient payment planner (aka “slider”), contract status management, and auto-pay options. These can help ensure smoother financial transactions, reduce the manual burden on your team, and allow you to watch your bank account grow!
8. Electronic Prescription Generation: Where available, utilize electronic prescription generation and e-prescribing capabilities. This not only saves time but also reduces the chances of errors associated with paper prescriptions.
9. Electronic Documents: Eliminate paper records with a practice management platform that allows you to scan and store paper documents and electronically generate word-processed documents and consent forms from practice-specific templates with the ability to capture electronic patient and responsible party signatures. You can thus save a bundle by not having to purchase, patch, and keep current, expensive additional software (like Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat) for each of your computers.
10. Bulk, Personalized Patient Communications: Engage with your patients through bulk email and SMS campaigns. Implement customizable campaigns to send personalized messages to specific lists of patients to notify them of office closures, promotions, practice updates, coupons, or even birthday wishes. Constant patient communications increase loyalty, goodwill, and better referrals.
Implement some (or all) of these top 10 new and innovative ways to streamline your dental practice to improve productivity, enhance patient care, and stay competitive in the ever-evolving dental landscape. Embracing technology and using a dental practice platform with these tools can help your practice stand out from the crowd and be more effective & profitable – all while increasing your staff’s work-life balance, patients’ satisfaction, and the practice’s reputation.