Seven Secrets of Successful Dental Managers
How can you manage scheduling, accounts receivables and staffing issues when you don’t know the numbers it takes to run the practice daily? To stay in business, a company has to make money. That means bringing money in the door and budgeting to spend less than you bring in. Depending on your function in the organization, you may have more influence on one area or the other, but you need to understand both. You can help your practice, your employees, and yourself by getting better at managing the costs of the practice.
“Doctor doesn’t share that information with me.” This is a common response from front office business staff sent in for training. The reason they are there for training is because there are red flags on the schedule in the form of no-shows and cancellations, the accounts receivables are too high, and customer service is suffering with complaints and less than stellar reviews on social media.
Let’s illustrate in seven points how a successful dental office manager navigates through this position.
1. Leading people is the usual description of what a manager does. But, he or she is also responsible for leadership over a segment of work, practice results relating to performance of other staff, and systems within the practice that create revenue like collections and insurance. Leading anyone is related to goals. Goals for a dental business include production goals in the form of dollars. If you don’t know the production goals you cannot lead others forward. Without leadership there is chaos.
2. Strategizing the schedule and the day. A dental office schedule should never be a “fill the lines and keep the doctor(s) away from the desk” approach to office production. Great dental managers know what procedures will provide the numbers to meet goals, and what procedures can be overlapped and extended to capture the goal. It is strategy, not accident, which drives a productive schedule. Having a well-planned schedule means patients will be seen on time and dismissed on time. Patients feel important when their time is respected.
3. Prioritizing the daily tasks and goals. To sustain and increase the numbers that drive the practice, a great manager’s focus needs to be on what is most important to achieving practice goals. Make it a daily goal to follow-up on unscheduled treatment and unscheduled recall appointments. Don’t allow “out of sight out of mind” to direct attention away from this critical source of practice revenue. Your practice should be patient-centered, not staff-centered.
4. Working with the team on policy and motivation. Having an office policy manual is an important tool, but keeping connected with the staff to support their efforts in job performance calls for a manager who is literally on the floor with the team, not in an office separated by a door. A good work ethic by the leaders improves work performance of the team.
5. Be the vision for the practice by example. Lead by example of your work, not by words that dissipate and die a week later. If you want to bring in new ideas and change for the better of the practice, be the one who makes it happen for the team.
6. Understanding overhead and managing the numbers. Do you know the industry standard for total salaries and employee benefits? How do you know if you can afford to give raises, or for that matter hire another person? Do you know what dental supplies should be for your practice? How do you know you aren’t spending too much on supplies? Overhead cost management is critical to success.
7. Know where the money is. Analyze daily and monthly reports to see where the practice stands with total accounts receivables and insurance accounts receivables. Don’t let these numbers increase beyond your control. Run the practice by provider by code analysis to see who is producing and what is being produced. Is this number reaching the goal for production? What can be done to influence these numbers to grow?
Management of a busy dental practice can be challenging and taxing of patience and energy. On the flip side, it can also be very rewarding as you witness happy patients with beautiful, healthy smiles and engaged team members who truly have a passion for helping people.
Want to improve your dental management skills? Call McKenzie Management and set up your customized Dental Office Manager Training today.Forward this article to a friend
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