You might read the title of this article and think to yourself, “pfft...my practice doesn’t need to improve.”
And to this notion, we say this: even the top performers need to remain vigilant if they’re going to stay at the top of their game.
After all, healthcare providers of all kinds, dentists included, continually attend conferences and workshops to sharpen their practice toolkit. That’s how you remain the best in your field.
No matter the success your dental practice has already experienced, there is always room for growth and fine-tuning. As 2021 draws to a close, here are some trends we've seen dental professionals use to the benefit of their practices this year.
With patients stuck at home, the pandemic solidified the intersection of oral healthcare, data, and technology. These advancements make it possible to apply the related tools to almost every aspect of your business, including patient outreach and your team's workflow.
First and foremost, these efforts start with you collecting and safely storing data, then implementing data-driven dentistry initiatives such as:
Creating content relevant to a social media audience concerned about their oral health.
Targeting your marketing initiatives down into profession, age, location, and gender.
Incorporating data in scheduling and workflow to streamline both Insightful data about your office and patients inform you how to meet the needs of any given appointment or shift.
Sometimes, as a dentist or hygienist, you’re caught between a rock and a hard place.
You want appointments to occur as scheduled and on time. But far too often, unforeseen problems arise that make an appointment run long.
From there, you’re leaving other patients in the waiting room who have their own schedule to worry about, which might include work or family-related duties.
How do you resolve this tension?
Start by providing enough cushioning when blocking out appointments. Of course, you don’t want to give too much cushion because you might miss out on additional business. But do your best to block out enough time to provide thorough care while not allowing one appointment to bleed into the next.
Also, you need to create an atmosphere that suggests you care about your patients’ time, even when your schedule gets railroaded. That means no sauntering in late in front of awaiting clients. And it might mean calling a patient in advance, if possible, to let them know you’ll be running late.
When you make patients feel like you don’t value their time, they’re bound to find another dental practice that does.
Dentists, hygienists, and technicians need to embrace their roles as salespeople and ambassadors of their brand.
To the above point, think about walking into a store or restaurant, and an associate or serving staff rolls their eyes, scowls, or immediately looks away from you. Would you be in a rush to go back there, no matter what is said to you or the products being sold?
Your handiwork and verbal abilities could be second to none. Still, body language accounts for 55% of the message you’re trying to convey. Surprisingly, the skill you have and the words you speak mean much less, comparatively, when communicating.
Remember, your patients are often anxious and fearful. So how you communicate a treatment plan with your body, for example, is more important than what you’re saying with your mouth. Ensure that you’re making eye contact and are engaged and enthusiastic when you speak.
Dentistry allows you to get away with poor business-related habits because your skills as a practitioner and quality of service can shine through.
As a result, practice owners and their employers tend to be more caught up in the moment than focused on concrete, long-term objectives. This is all well and good, but what if you want more from your practice?
No doubt, minding matters such as finances, patient satisfaction, and office inventory should take priority. But all those components should be sums of a much greater part, contributing to your big-picture vision.
Making this crucial transition into being more business-minded involves a shift in your philosophy. Start by setting concrete, quantifiable goals you can track and monitor. This way, you can keep making improvements that ensure your growth.
What kind of long-term objectives should you focus on?
Here are a few examples:
These tips aren’t abstract or over-the-top. They are all immediately actionable, so you can make impactful improvements that help your practice right away.
Plus, these suggestions are only scratching the surface. It will only take a handful of straightforward improvements to trigger a steady stream of growth and productivity for your practice. Look in the mirror and be honest with yourself about your shortcomings, then work toward improving them!