Using practice management to boost profitability – Cheryl Hayes Carestream DentalFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 19th November 2019
It can be difficult to balance the business responsibilities of running a practice with offering the attention, treatment and care that your patients expect and deserve. However, whilst this balance is difficult to achieve, it is important to focus energy on the practice management side of things, especially as this is a core way to boost the profitability of your practice and, in turn, offer even better patient care.
Are you following up with patients?
Patient appointments are the main stream of income in any practice. But what about cancelled appointments and no-shows? Although there is no official data on how many dental appointments are missed in the UK per year, some sources have quoted numbers up to 3.5 million.[i] This is particularly problematic, as depending on the timeframe and manner in which these appointments are cancelled, it often means they cannot be filled and this costs the business both time and money.
Furthermore, patients who do cancel appointments may be unwilling to make another appointment or might simply forget, and this can mean that they go without care that they need. As such, it’s important to review whether you have the appropriate reminders and follow-ups in place to ensure that your patients are getting the attention they need. If a patient doesn’t show up are you texting them or calling them to find out why? If a patient cancels last minute are you making sure another appointment is booked in for them? It’s this extra attention to your patient flow that can help make all the difference, and for every cancelled appointment you should be able to make another one.
This is especially useful to remember for when you have new patients being added to your list. It’s worthwhile ensuring they get reminders so they can come to their first appointment and make that commitment, as after this stage it’s likely that they will be a repeat visitor if you have fulfilled their expectations.
Managing treatment plans
Keeping track of treatment plans and invoices connected to them is essential in order to generate profit as well as provide exceptional service. This may seem like basic procedure, but open treatment plans that need to be taken to completion can build up if not properly managed.
This is a problem, as not only does not keeping track of treatment plans make revenue streams unclear and therefore throw off any projected income, but it can also cause delays and result in overspending in certain areas if projections are off.
To combat this, it’s a good idea to see if you can set your practice management software to give live updates of any treatment plans in progress and complete and prioritise these accordingly.
Maximise every professional
Another much overlooked aspect of the modern practice is how to maximise every professional working within it. Of course, it’s good to look towards training and other ways to enhance skills and so forth, but it’s also necessary to ensure that these skills are being put to good use by tracking occupancy.
Are there times when dentists don’t have patients booked in? Is there a way to streamline this so everyone can treat more patients without compromising quality? It’s important to be able to gauge and refine this process so that you can discover any areas where improvement can be made.
Analysing treatment trends
Much like everything else, certain treatments will have bursts of popularity at certain times of the year. For example, tooth whitening requests may go up heading into wedding season or just before Christmas, and there may be people seeking services such as mouthguard fitting or orthodontics over summer before a new school year starts.
Whatever treatments your practice offers, it’s a good idea to track these trends and adjust your marketing accordingly. If you notice certain peaks in interest during particular months, you can promote this treatment in the periods leading up to these times the following year. This way you can help draw in even more patients seeking this treatment, as peaks are a clear indication of patient desires and attitudes. Why not promote these treatments on your social media? Perhaps you can provide a discount on whitening treatments leading up to wedding season? These small marketing campaigns can make a big difference.
Technology to the rescue
The majority of these aspects can be better managed by investing in practice management software that can perform these functions for you. The CS R4+ practice management system from Carestream Dental is a wonderful choice for those looking to boost their profitability. Its Springboard function provides real-time reporting on a large array of practice management features, meaning that you can always keep up to date with the latest treatment trends, patient appointments, treatment plans and more, all in one convenient and easy to navigate system.
For more information, contact Carestream Dental on 0800 169 9692 or
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[i] The Telegraph. Patients Who Miss Dental Appointments ‘Should Be Fined’. Link: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/8269290/Patients-who-miss-dental-appointments-should-be-fined.html [Last accessed May 19].
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