Dental Intelligence

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January 12, 2024

The Top 7 Qualities of an Effective Dental Practice Manager

If you want to have a successful dental practice, you need an effective dental practice manager. Here are some of the top qualities that make for a superstar office manager.

Having a successful dental practice goes beyond having great clinicians. Without an effective dental practice manager, your practice could be missing out on its true revenue potential.

While dentists and hygienists tend to focus on the clinical side of the practice, the business side is essential for long-term growth, profit, and sustainability. To have a successful practice, you need a great dental practice manager.

This article outlines the top 7 qualities that embody a high-performing dental practice manager.

1. Communication

Perhaps the most important skill a practice manager needs to have developed during their career is the ability to communicate. Communication goes beyond mere words, including being able to perceive and utilize body language and tone of voice.  

Being a skilled communicator helps with dental staff training, staff relations, and patient satisfaction. Dental Intelligence offers tools to easily communicate with patients as well as an internal Team Chat feature. While communication alone won’t prevent all forms of conflict or patient dissatisfaction, you’ll find that an effective communicator can help diffuse situations and find workable solutions for any issue.  

2. Empathy

Having empathy doesn’t necessarily mean an office manager must always agree with everyone, and it certainly doesn’t mean being a pushover. Instead, an empathetic practice manager will recognize that every staff member and patient is different and adjust their communication style accordingly.

For example, an empathetic practice manager will be sensitive to a situation in which a patient cannot pay their bill in full and will help them discuss ways to meet their financial obligations without making them feel defensive.

3. Leadership Qualities

Dental practice leadership goes beyond the day-to-day management of a practice. While a practice manager needs to be able to keep things running smoothly, leadership is equally (if not more) important. Strong leaders make hard decisions, create and implement a vision, keep everyone aligned, and inspire a team to work hard and have fun.

4. Analytical Abilities

A lot of data analysis is involved in managing a dental practice. Collections, patient lifetime value, operating expenses, and employee production are a handful of the KPIs (key performance indicators) that must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure practice profitability.

An effective dental practice manager needs to be able to collect this data, analyze it, and make recommendations to improve practice performance. Today, there are modern tools like Dental Intelligence Metrics & Reporting that can make this task more manageable while still giving practice managers the flexibility to customize their goals, systems, and reports. 

The right software in the hands of a skilled office manager can increase both the quantity and quality of data available, turning piles of meaningless numbers into actionable insights for your team to execute on.

5. Organization Skills

A dental practice has many moving parts, and an office manager needs to be able to keep a lot of plates in the air while making everything look effortless. Phones ringing off the hook, paperwork, and busy schedules all need to be handled with poise and grace.

There’s no right way to be organized, and different practice managers may have varying methodologies. The key to being an effective (and organized) dental practice manager is to have systems in place and be able to train the rest of the staff on how to follow those systems for maximum efficiency.

6. Ability to Embrace Change Gracefully

 The one constant in this world is change, and that includes running a dental practice! A practice manager must be able to both accept and embrace change. This includes adopting new procedures, diagnostic tools, treatments, and software systems, while also staying abreast of developments.

Recently, augmented and artificial intelligence (AI) have become mainstream, and many practice managers will need to be able to incorporate this tech. From a practical standpoint, office managers can leverage AI to corral patient data and more effectively administer practice protocols.

7. Sense of Humor

Finally, a practice manager should have a healthy sense of humor. Office management can be incredibly stressful, and humor helps to bring levity and keep everything in perspective.

Even the most organized and efficient practice is bound to have days where everything goes wrong. Instead of panicking, getting angry, or becoming overwhelmed, an effective practice manager can find humor in any circumstance and dig deep to crack a smile or a joke in the face of adversity.

The Perfect Office Manager Needs the Right Tools to Succeed

Managing a dental office is a monumentally important task, so ensure that your office manager is equipped with the right tools to succeed. Dental Intelligence provides software that empowers the whole team to build, run, and grow successful practices.

To see how Dental Intelligence can help make practice management a breeze, schedule a demo today. 

Dental Intelligence

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November 12, 2023

How Elevating Dental Front Desk Training Boosts Revenue & Success

It's important to have your front desk staff at their best since they're the ones that make a first impression on your patients. Here are some tips on how to improve their training, so you can create an inviting experience.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so how well your front desk team communicates is vital to the success of your dental practice. The patient experience, your reputation in the community, and your revenue potential depend on having a front desk team that is trained adequately.

If you’re ready to take your front desk training to the next level, keep reading for tips to begin implementing today.

Dental Front Desk Training Checklist

Whether you’re new to the field or your office has been a staple in the community for decades, chances are that some elements of dental staff training have been neglected.

After all, dental professionals are usually busy enough managing day-to-day items. Staying on top of training can feel like an impossible burden and tough to fit into a tight schedule. The good news is that by making a list of everything you need to do, you can break training down into manageable, bite-sized, sugar-free tasks.

It will take some planning and consideration, but most of the items on this list can be tackled in a few minutes a day or during monthly or quarterly meetings.

  • Role-playing: The entire staff can participate in role-play exercises, and these interactions serve as a fun team bonding experience. We recommend that you practice training on first impressions, handling conflict resolution, selling services, asking for referrals, receptionist skills and performing collections activities.
  • Morning huddles and weekly meetings: A few minutes in the morning can set the tone for the day. A morning huddle is a great time to review the schedule, discuss challenges, and celebrate wins. The morning huddle can be extended once a week to handle more complex housekeeping items.
  • One-on-one communication: It’s vital to address performance problems before they cause irreparable damage to your practice. Whether you’re discussing a specific disciplinary matter or discussing a path toward career development, it is vital to spend some one-on-one time with staff members.
  • Technical training: Technology changes at the speed of light, and your staff needs to know how to use dental practice management software and other dental marketing tools to stay on the cutting edge.
  • HIPAA compliance: It can be helpful to review HIPAA compliance rules, especially in areas like patient outreach and digital communication.
  • Insurance: Make sure your staff knows how to verify insurance and prepare coverage estimates. No one likes surprise bills and unexpected dental expenses!

Other Elements to Elevate Your Front Desk Presence

Dental front desk training includes more than improving communication and technical skills. There are also physical elements that are correlated to the success of your practice, including having a welcoming reception area and having the right practice management software.

Tips to Elevate Your Reception Area

Other than your website or social media profiles, the reception area is one of the first touchpoints a patient will have with your office. Therefore, you should spend considerable time ensuring that this part of your office reflects your brand and values.

Take a quick look around your office and check for the following:

  • Clean and inviting atmosphere: Your front desk area should be cozy and inviting without being messy or cluttered. Adapt the atmosphere to your typical patient. For example, a pediatric office might have brighter colors, cartoons, or animal themes.
  • Seamless check-in process: Keep waiting times to a minimum with an electronic check-in process that allows patients to notify your office of their presence and fill out forms without going back and forth with pens and clipboards.
  • Comfortable lobby: Take a seat and take stock of your lobby. Are the chairs comfortable? How’s the temperature? Do you have branding packages that showcase your office’s services?

What to Look for in Practice Management Software

A modern dental office needs practice performance solution that boosts efficiency by automating tasks and streamlining marketing activities. At a minimum, your software should assist with scheduling, reminders and confirmations, digital forms, and billing. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The right dental practice performance solution will be invaluable to your operations.

Put Your Dental Practice on the Path to Success

In addition to providing your team with the skills and training to be successful, it’s also important to equip your front desk with the proper tools. Dental Intelligence provides your dental practice with everything you need to ensure your front desk staff provides patients with a VIP experience. From Analytics and Insurance to Engagement and dental front desk communication, Dental Intelligence has a full suite of tools to take your practice to the next level.

To see Dental Intelligence in action, schedule a demo today.

Dental Intelligence

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November 11, 2023

Cultivating Team Collaboration in Your Dental Practice for Ideal Unity and Success

To create a great office culture and patient experience you need an amazing team. Here's some tips on how to improve team collaboration at your dental practice.

Team collaboration is vital in building a successful dental practice. When your dental staff members work together, they can provide efficient, high-quality experiences to patients so your practice can enjoy improved scheduling rates, higher revenue figures, and excellent company culture. Learning how to foster collaboration among your team isn’t always easy, though.

Dental Intelligence provides dental office communication software that unifies teams for success. Below, we discuss the best practices you can integrate into your dental practice to cultivate team collaboration.

Why Team Collaboration Matters

One employee cannot run your practice independently. Each employee performs critical job functions. Your team must work together so your practice can run as efficiently as possible.

Team collaboration affects the following:

  • Patient care: Patient care involves everything from the initial check-in to treatment. Your front desk staff and providers must communicate effectively to provide patients with an accurate, streamlined level of care. Without team collaboration, patients may receive incorrect treatment options, delays, and more.
  • Internal efficiency: Team collaboration directly impacts how efficiently your practice runs. Employees working together can speed up processes like patient scheduling, claims, payment submissions and more. 
  • Job satisfaction: Employees want to feel like their job matters. Team collaboration can help employees feel more connected to a greater purpose at work. High levels of satisfaction reduce employee burnout and turnover rates.
  • Practice success: A unified team helps your practice bring in patients by delivering more efficient, successful experiences. Team collaboration ensures each employee works toward the common goal of helping the practice succeed. 

Fostering Collaboration with Open Communication

Collaboration cannot happen without communication. Your team must have the tools, comfort, and mechanisms to communicate effectively. We recommend adopting the following policies and strategies:

  • Active listening: Active listening should be a pillar of your practice. Ensure your team understands that active listening means focusing on the speaker and giving them a space to speak their opinions, thoughts, or concerns.
  • Feedback collection: Feedback collection allows you to gauge how your team feels about all different topics, ranging from compensation and hours to company policies and more. You can send anonymous surveys, so employees have a safe space to voice their opinions.
  • Team-building strategies: Team-building activities help your employees bond so they can feel more encouraged to collaborate when at work. You can foster team building with social outings or fun workplace events.
  • Conflict resolution: Conflict resolution strategies are important in all workplaces. You should have methods in place for any issues between employees to resolve the concern before it escalates.
  • Group objectives: Creating group objectives is a great way to unite employees with a like-minded goal. For example, you could aim to increase hygiene appointment scheduling rates by 10% this month.
  • Regular meetings: Regular staff meetings are an excellent opportunity for employees to ask questions, voice their opinions, and collaborate. You can start each day with a brief morning huddle, then host more in-depth weekly or monthly meetings.
  • Cross-training: Cross-training allows two team members who may not typically interact to learn from each other. Doing so enables these employees to communicate better in the future. 
  • Mistake responses: Team collaboration also involves responding to employees when they make a mistake. Be sure to address the situation carefully, explaining how the mistake impacts the practice.
  • Effective communication channels: The biggest culprit behind your team’s miscommunication may simply be a lack of convenient tools. Effective communication channels ensure your employees can easily collaborate during busy hours. We’ll discuss ideas for communication tools below.

Integrating Communication Tools to Improve Collaboration

Employees won’t always be in the same place at the same time when they need each other most. The right communication tools help team members collaborate. We recommend integrating the following communication tools:

  • A team chat platform
  • A dashboard for viewing upcoming appointments
  • Electronic health record software
  • Automated reminder tools

Ideally, you need a system that combines the above features into one platform. For example, at Dental Intelligence, our software combines a Team Chat feature with a simple Morning Huddle so your employees can quickly view everything they need in one spot.  

Boost Team Unity with Dental Intelligence 

Team collaboration is necessary for your practice’s success. At Dental Intelligence, we want to help you learn how to make your staff feel valued through comprehensive guides and our advanced software. Schedule a Dental Intelligence demo today to see how our collaboration tools can bring your staff together.

Dental Intelligence

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November 10, 2023

How To Address Employee Mistakes at Your Dental Practice in 7 Steps

We all make mistakes. Learning how to handle those mistakes as a leader at your dental office is essential. Here's 7 tips on how to best address those who make mistakes.

Employee mistakes happen all the time at dental practices. Your employees are humans who have bad days. Whether stressed at home or confused about how something should work, they may make workplace errors that could affect your patients, team, and practice. 

How you respond to employee mistakes is vital. Taking corrective action shows your team that they must try their hardest to improve each day. Dealing with problem employees proves you will not allow people to make willful mistakes. 

At Dental Intelligence, we offer dental office team communication software that can help your workplace connect more efficiently. Our comprehensive employee management platform unites your team to prevent mistakes. Below, we discuss seven simple steps for addressing employee mistakes to prevent future issues. 

1. Schedule a Meeting and Study Up

When an employee makes a mistake, they may not even realize the issue occurred. You don’t want to approach them while they’re busy with a patient, as the encounter likely won’t be productive. Instead, schedule an appointment with them so you both have time to gather yourselves. 

You can prepare for the meeting by analyzing how and why the mistake occurred. Some employee mistakes are simple accidents that don’t require much deep thinking. In other cases, performance problems may be due to the following:

  • A lack of clear instructions
  • Poor communication
  • Resistance to change
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Conflict between coworkers
  • Conflict with the patient

You can speak with other witnesses of the event to determine whether any underlying issues caused the mistake. You should also consider whether the employee has made similar mistakes in the past. 

After determining the cause of the problem and other factors, think about the repercussions. If the employee will face any disciplinary action, you should decide this in advance of the meeting.

2. Provide Specific Details and Stay on Topic

Once the meeting arrives, stay on topic and discuss the event in full detail. You shouldn’t gloss over what happened by excusing their actions. 

Present all of the details you’ve already analyzed in step one so the employee can understand how serious their mistake was. You can discuss previous mistakes that are relevant to the current one as well.

3. Explain Why the Mistake Matters

In many scenarios, the employee may feel like their error didn’t cause any harm. Explain to them how employee mistakes negatively impact the patient, other team members, or the practice as a whole. For example, if they spoke rudely to a patient, they didn’t just offend the one patient; they also damaged the practice’s reputation, which may prevent other patients from scheduling appointments in the future. 

4. Avoid Unnecessary Threats

While you do want to explain the weight of the situation, you don’t need to threaten the employee. You should not mention any legal concerns or job-related threats when irrelevant. 

Saying things like, “This could get you fired if you worked at another practice” or “The patient could sue you if you had done X” means nothing in the grand scheme of things because the “if” statement does not apply. Instead, you should focus on what is true. If the employee violated company policy, let them know.

5. Let the Employee Voice Their Opinion

Every story typically has two sides. To maintain fairness in your practice, you should allow the employee to voice their opinion. 

Be sure to draw a fine line if the employee escalates the conversation into an argument. You don’t want to go back and forth over who is right or wrong. 

6. Repeat These Steps for All Employee Mistakes

If you reprimand one employee for a mistake, you must do so for all employee mistakes. We recommend revisiting your company policies regularly to keep all regulations up to date. Anytime an employee goes against the policy, follow the steps above to ensure total fairness at your practice. 

7. Celebrate Good Behavior with Performance Reviews

Addressing employee mistakes is just as important as celebrating good behavior. By keeping excellent employee records, you can perform regular performance reviews with your staff. During the review period, acknowledge outstanding players so they receive the recognition they deserve. 

Unite Your Team with Dental Intelligence

How you respond to employee mistakes can set your practice apart. At Dental Intelligence, we make it easy to unite your team with dental employee evaluation strategies, communication tools, and more. Schedule a Dental Intelligence demo today to see how our platform can transform your practice.

Dental Intelligence

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November 9, 2023

Understanding and Improving Your Dental Patient Attrition Rate

Keeping patients from falling through the cracks can be hard. Here's some tips on how to improve your attrition rate.

Keeping a close eye on your dental practice’s key performance indicators (KPIs) is important to your practice success. You can’t fix what you don’t know, and in the busy day-to-day tasks of running a dental practice, it’s easy to overlook minor issues that could turn into big roadblocks down the line. 

One KPI you should be tracking closely is your patient attrition rate. What is patient attrition, and how do you improve it? Read ahead to learn more. 

What Is Patient Attrition? 

Patient attrition is the opposite of retention. It’s the process of losing patients. 

Even the best dental practices lose patients occasionally, but if your attrition rate is too high, there’s probably something going on. Maybe your patient experience isn’t the best. Perhaps your prices are higher than the dentist down the street. Or maybe you don’t offer all the services the average patient needs to maintain good oral health. 

Tracking your patient attrition rate is the first step in improving it. The average dental practice experiences an attrition rate of between 10% and 40%; in other words, they lose between 10% and 40% of their patients over time. For a practice with 1,000 active patients, these rates equate to losing 100 to 400 patients annually. 

The Cost of Patient Attrition 

Patient attrition isn’t only disheartening; it costs your dental practice a lot of money. 

Think about the average profit you make from each patient. Some dentists estimate an average profit of $56 per appointment, and most patients schedule at least two appointments yearly. With an attrition rate of even 20% and a total patient base of 1,000, your practice is losing $22,400 annually. 

Thankfully, you don’t have to fall prey to a rising attrition rate. You can take a few measures to retain more patients and grow profitability. 

Tips To Minimize Patient Attrition

Follow these tips to minimize your patient attrition rate and improve retention:

Set Up a Patient Loyalty Program 

Patient loyalty programs are simple solutions that work wonders for patient retention. Sometimes, patients only need a small motivator to schedule routine appointments and develop a sense of loyalty to your dental practice. That motivator could be a simple program offering small rewards for sticking with your practice. 

You can quickly set up a patient loyalty program with Dental Intelligence that gives patients points for completing several actions. Then, they can redeem their points for small rewards, like Amazon gift cards, discounts on upcoming treatments, or electronic toothbrushes. 

Setting up this loyalty program won’t take any time or stress on your part, but it can significantly impact patient retention. 

Automate Appointment Reminders

Sometimes, patients drop off the calendar because of forgetfulness. They may have forgotten that they scheduled an appointment with you or that they need to schedule a biannual exam.

Setting up automatic appointment reminders can give these patients a refresher and motivate them to keep returning for appointments.  

Offer Online Scheduling

In this digital age, patients like being able to schedule appointments without needing to talk to anyone. Online scheduling removes several barriers to appointment scheduling, especially for patients who already have anxiety about dental appointments and are looking for excuses not to schedule. 

For new patients, finding a dental practice that offers online scheduling could be the deciding factor in choosing that practice. However, for existing patients, online scheduling could minimize the temptation to stop scheduling their much-needed dental appointments. While it won’t hurt anything, it is good to consider since it could improve patient retention.

Pre-Schedule Patients Before They Leave

Some patients will be much more likely to return to your practice if you schedule their next appointment before they leave the office rather than relying on them to schedule instead.

Because good dental care requires biannual cleanings, you’ll always have an opportunity to schedule a patient’s next appointment. Just having an appointment on the calendar is a great motivator for patients to return; often, it’s more work for them to reach out and cancel the appointment than to keep it. 

Manage Dental Patient Attrition with Dental Intelligence

A high attrition rate could seriously hurt your dental practice, but thankfully, this figure isn’t outside your control. With Dental Intelligence, you can easily track your patient attrition rate and a range of other statistics for measuring customer loyalty, then implement automatic retention strategies to keep patients coming back for more. 

Request your Dental Intelligence demo today to learn more about our end-to-end practice performance solution. 

Dental Intelligence

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November 9, 2023

All About Dental Ethics: The Importance of Upholding Integrity and Professional Standards

It's important to put your patients first. Here's some of the basic ethical principles for dentists.

Patients who come to your dental practice expect to be treated with a basic level of care and dignity. Knowing the most important ethical principles for dentists can ensure you emphasize ethical care within each patient interaction. 

Learn more about dental ethics and how your practice can go above and beyond to uphold integrity for patients. 

Why Are Ethics in Dentistry Important? 

Upholding ethical principles in dentistry is crucial to your practice’s compliance, reputation, and overall success. Patients need to feel confident that your practice prioritizes their safety and health every time they step foot in your office, and maintaining dental ethics is an obvious sign that you care about your patients. On the other hand, failing to uphold these principles could leave your dental practice liable for mistakes, leading to malpractice claims and a serious hit to your reputation. 

You may have gone into the dental industry for many reasons, but no matter your motivation, the patient should always be your top priority. Taking care to maintain ethics within your practice will ensure that patients have the best possible experience and walk away better than when they arrived. 

Basic Ethical Principles for Dentists

Below are a few basic principles of dental ethics and tips for how your practice can support them.

Ensure Patient Autonomy

Patient autonomy is a basic principle in the ADA’s code of ethics for dentists. It refers to upholding the right of patients to make informed decisions about their treatment. 

Your dental practice can support patient autonomy by: 

  • Clearly laying out several treatment options for patients without giving preference to the most profitable options
  • Ensuring patients understand the individual stages of a treatment 
  • Documenting a patient’s informed consent to a specific treatment 
  • Listening to patients’ anxieties and answering questions thoroughly 

Promote Patient Well-Being

Everything you do should be in the patient’s best interest. The principle of beneficence refers to prioritizing patient welfare to maximize the benefits they receive from your practice. 

Your practice can uphold beneficence by: 

  • Providing recommendations tailored to each patient’s needs
  • Staying attuned to patients’ emotions and offering solutions to ease their physical and emotional discomfort
  • Taking the time to thoroughly assess a patient’s condition and determine the best treatment option

Avoid Intentional or Unintentional Harm

It may seem like a no-brainer, but the principle of non-maleficence is another core component of dental ethics. It means avoiding intentionally or unintentionally harming patients by weighing the risks of a treatment against the benefits and choosing the treatment that poses the most benefits to the patient. 

You can practice non-maleficence by: 

  • Collecting all relevant medical history to assess the risks of a treatment for a patient’s health needs
  • Sanitizing and cleaning all equipment thoroughly to prevent the spread of infections
  • Following adequate safety protocols during procedures to prevent harm 
  • Participating in continuing education to improve safety measures for patients

Treat Patients Fairly

Avoiding bias within your dental treatments is another important tenet of dental ethics. You should treat all patients equally regardless of their race, class, background, financial situation, or other diversifying factors. 

Your practice can prioritize the fair treatment of patients by: 

  • Giving patients the same amount of time for similar appointments 
  • Treating patients with respect at all times
  • Making accommodations as necessary for patients with different cultural backgrounds or disabilities

Maintain Confidentiality and Privacy 

As a dental professional, you probably have HIPAA laws ingrained into your psyche. Confidentiality and privacy are two huge ethical principles that every staff member must maintain. Failing to comply with HIPAA could cause your licenses to be taken away, preventing you from practicing dentistry. 

At a minimum, your practice should do the following to uphold confidentiality and privacy: 

  • Safeguard patient records against unauthorized users
  • Only use high-security software, including in your patient loyalty program, and practice automation systems
  • Practice data breach response plans so you can quickly resolve security issues
  • Conduct HIPAA training regularly to ensure that all staff members understand and stick to these guidelines

Dental Intelligence Can Give You Time to Prioritize Dental Ethics

Using a full-scale dental practice performance solution like Dental Intelligence can give you more time in the day to prioritize dental ethics and improve the patient experience. Even better, Dental Intelligence includes numerous features that can help you uphold ethical principles, like secure privacy measures, streamlined consent forms for dental treatment, and customizable treatment plan templates. 

Request your free Dental Intelligence demo today to learn more about this end-to-end practice performance solution. 

Dental Intelligence

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November 8, 2023

The Ultimate Dental Office Checklist to Enhance the Patient Experience

There's a lot going on in your office and a lot that needs to be done. Here are some of the best checklists you can use in your office to take your patient experience to the next level.

In the day-to-day chaos of running a dental practice, it’s easy to overlook some tasks that may not seem as important to your practice’s success. But your staff should be doing everything you can to create a positive, comfortable patient experience.

Creating checklists that help improve your office’s image can ensure you don’t lose sight of one of your most important goals: helping patients have a great experience from the moment they walk through the doors until they leave. 

Here are a few mini dental office checklists your practice can use to enhance the patient experience. 

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Cleaning Checklists

Does your dental office have a hired cleaning crew, or do you clean the office yourself? Either way, you’ll want to ensure specific cleaning tasks get done regularly. Thorough, detailed cleanings are vital for your office’s hygiene and infection control but also impact your reputation among patients. 

Below are daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning checklists your office can utilize: 

Daily Cleaning Tasks

  • Clean and refresh the bathroom. Wipe down surfaces, clean the toilet and sink, and replace amenities to prepare for the next day. 
  • Disinfect high-touch areas. Wipe down the reception desk, waiting area furniture, patient chairs, dental equipment, keyboards and mice, faucets and sinks, and any other frequently touched surfaces to prevent the spread of germs. 
  • Empty waste bins. Take out the trash daily, even if trash cans aren’t full, to maintain a sanitary and professional image. 
  • Dust and vacuum everywhere. Removing dust and debris from every corner of your dental office daily is important in showing patients you care about their safety and comfort. 
  • Mop the floors. Clean and disinfect hard flooring to remove dirt and bacteria that patrons track in on their shoes. 

Weekly Cleaning Tasks

  • Clean windows and glass surfaces. Use Windex or another glass cleaner to leave all windows and other glass surfaces sparkling. 
  • Disinfect trash bins. At the end of each week, take out the trash and wipe down each trash bin with disinfecting wipes to prevent odors and kill lingering bacteria. 
  • Dust ceilings. Higher areas of your office may not be as visible as those at eye level, but they accumulate dust and dirt just as fast. Don’t neglect to dust the ceiling and any high surfaces weekly. 
  • Clean out the refrigerator. While patients may not see the insides of your office refrigerators, they can certainly smell when food begins rotting. Make a habit of removing old food from the fridge weekly. 

Monthly Cleaning Tasks

  • Clean the window screens. Remove dirt and dust from window screens monthly. You can’t assume patients won’t notice these details.
  • Check and replace lightbulbs. You may have overlooked lightbulbs burning out in minimally used areas. Check each lightbulb monthly. 

Waiting Room Features Checklist

Keeping your office clean and sanitary is a bare minimum requirement for running a successful practice. But your office can go above and beyond by creating checklists for tasks that enhance patients’ experiences while waiting for appointments. 

Here are a few dental office checklists you can use to spruce up your waiting room and enhance patient comfort levels: 

Educational Resources

Your office can add some educational materials around the waiting room to help patients stay informed about their care, such as:

  • Pamphlets about common dental issues, like cavities, chipped teeth, root canals, etc. 
  • Televisions tuned in to dental resources, like the American Dental Association TV channel 
  • Posters with engaging graphics about dental hygiene or introductions to your dental office staff

Comfort Measures

Dental anxiety is a significant concern for many patients, but your office may implement a few strategies to ease their stress before appointments. Consider the following checklist of comfort measures to include in the waiting room:

  • Relaxing music that helps patients stay calm as they anticipate appointments
  • Virtual Check-In, which lets patients check in from their cars if they feel more comfortable waiting in a familiar environment
  • Soft lighting that helps patients relax 
  • Books and magazines for patients who prefer a distraction before their appointments

Boost Your Patient Experience with Dental Intelligence 

While a commitment to your practice’s cleanliness and a reconsideration of your dental office design can do wonders for the patient experience, they’re not the only measures your office can take. Are you looking for more ways to enhance the patient experience? Dental Intelligence lets you check more tasks off your dental office checklist while creating an optimal experience for every patient.

Schedule your Dental Intelligence demo today to see what our practice performance solution can do for you.

Dental Intelligence

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November 8, 2023

5 Essential Management Tips for Multi-Location Dental Practices

It can be challenging to manage multiple dental practice locations. Here are some quick tips to help you manage multiple locations.

Managing a dental practice with multiple locations is no easy feat. It’s a lucrative venture but requires extra planning and consideration to master. 

This guide breaks down a few essential tips for managing multi-location dental practices. 

1. Clearly Define Roles in Each Location

As the owner of multiple dental practices, you can only be in one place at one time. So, how do you ensure that each location operates to your standards and provides an exceptional patient experience? 

Creating and defining clear roles for each staff member is crucial for keeping your dental practices organized and ensuring they operate successfully, even when you cannot check on them in person. Each dental practice location should have its set of management professionals dedicated to the success of that practice. These roles may include:

  • Regional managers
  • COOs
  • Associates
  • Partners
  • Accountants

Along with designating these roles in each location, ensure every staff member knows their responsibilities well. You won’t have to worry about micromanaging every person across your locations; instead, you can rely on trusted employees to handle such management-related tasks. 

2. Establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Across the Board

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) provide step-by-step instructions for different tasks and processes within your dental practice. They may cover topics like submitting insurance claims, billing patients, creating schedules, and more. 

To ensure consistent quality across your multi-location dental practice, create SOPs each practice can use for training purposes. Doing so will streamline the training process for new hires, improve the efficiency and productivity of current staff members, and ensure each practice follows the same standards. 

3. Create Clear Communication Channels

Each of your dental practice locations shouldn’t exist in a bubble. Instead, creating easy communication channels between locations can ensure that all staff members collaborate well despite working in different physical locations. 

First, with Team Chat you can establish an instant messaging system that lets staff members and dental professionals communicate with each other throughout the day.

Next, set up biweekly or monthly Zoom calls where the staff members in each location can communicate directly about challenges and successes. For example, you can set up breakout rooms where the regional managers from each location can communicate, the accountants can compare books, etc. 

4. Track Performance Metrics Closely

While trying to manage multiple dental practices, it’s easy to overlook small issues that could lead to bigger challenges down the line. You may focus more on keeping each practice afloat than optimizing performance. However, because any business can fail when even one aspect stops performing, it behooves you as a multi-practice owner to ensure consistency of branding, company vision, and operations across all locations. 

Make a habit of closely tracking performance metrics for each dental practice location. Set up programs that automatically track key performance indicators (KPIs) like:

  • Number of new patients
  • Number of returning patient appointments
  • Frequency of no-shows 

DSO Scorecards allow you to compare figures across each dental practice location easily. You may notice that one practice has been seeing a significant number of new patients while another has been losing patients steadily. Knowing these figures can allow you to take a closer look at the factors impacting performance and roll out strategies to improve them. 

5. Use Technology to Streamline Processes

Managing multi-location dental practices may seem like a never-ending job. One way to lighten your workload is by implementing technology to streamline routine processes. For example, you can

Look for new, innovative ways you can use technology to save yourself time and streamline processes for staff members. By cutting out rote tasks, you can focus more on high-level issues, such as enhancing the patient experience and running profitable dental practices. 

Dental Intelligence is a full-scale practice performance solution that can help you optimize communication, efficiency, and performance tracking within your multi-location dental practices. Learn more about how Dental Intelligence has helped produce profitable dental services by requesting your free demo today.

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November 7, 2023

7 Innovative Ways to Raise the Value of Your Dental Practice

Are you wanting to increase the value of your dental practice? Here's 7 tips to help you raise the value of your office.

Practice growth isn’t easy in the dental business. You’re so focused on providing excellent patient care that your sales figures, profit numbers and other critical metrics may not be as high as you realize. If you want to boost the value of your dental practice, you’ve come to the right place. 

Dental Intelligence offers comprehensive software that helps dental practices streamline their internal and external operations for optimal efficiency. For example, the patient portal by Dental Intelligence empowers patients with simple access to digital health forms, provider communication and more. Below, we discuss seven strategies for raising the value of your dental practice based on our in-depth research. 

1. Empower Patients with Digital Experiences

Patients expect convenience in every interaction with your practice. By offering the most convenient patient experiences, you can bring more patients in the door and boost rescheduling rates to increase your practice’s value. So, what types of convenient experiences can you provide?

Patient portals allow patients to access all of the above features and more. When new patients access the application for the first time, they’ll get a glimpse into the wonderful experience they can expect at your office. Digital experiences can boost patient engagement, satisfaction, and rescheduling rates, so you get more appointments on the schedule.  

2. Adopt Comprehensive Reporting Tools

You cannot increase your practice’s value if you don’t know where it currently stands. Comprehensive reporting tools allow you to track key performance indicators (KPIs)like patient scheduling rates, revenue figures, no-show numbers and more — so you know how to improve and which methods work best. The top KPIs you should track when increasing your practice’s value are as follows:

  • Production figures
  • Collections
  • Profit
  • New patients
  • Fee-for-service versus insurance payout
  • Patient retention
  • Average practice review score
  • Cancellation and no-show numbers
  • Active patient rate

3. Streamline Wasted Resources

As you adopt new tools and systems for improving how your practice operates, you may find that you’re spending a lot of resources to provide an excellent experience. Spending funds on a dozen apps will only drain your practice’s value, not increase it. You can reduce your overhead with an all-in-one solution combining internal and external experiences for more streamlined, cost-effective results. 

4. Protect Your Reputation

Many potential patients will likely consider your practice’s reputation before choosing you over other dental offices. Investing in positive reviews is a great way to bring in more patient so you can boost your practice’s value. Positive practice reviews can increase scheduling rates and help your website rank higher in search engine results, so more people in the area learn about your office when searching for things like “dentist near me.”

You can boost your reputation with our online reviews tools that help you request positive patient feedback after a visit. Many platforms also make it easy to respond to negative feedback so you can resolve the matter and potentially remove the review. 

5. Make It Easy to Schedule Appointments

Appointment scheduling should be a simple, intuitive process so potential patients are more inclined to visit your office. Consider offering numerous channels for patients to schedule appointments at their convenience. For example, you could offer in-office scheduling, phone scheduling, online scheduling and more. 

6. Automate Payments

Bringing more patients in the door is only the first step to increasing your practice’s value. You must also make payments convenient to speed up the billing process and generate more revenue. 

You can improve the payment process by sending convenient online billing links after the appointment or offering financing options. Your practice may also consider automating the insurance verification and claims process to speed up collections. 

7. Prevent No-Shows

No-shows can quickly lower the value of your dental practice by wasting time and resources. You can prevent no-shows by sending automated appointment reminders to patients. 

You may take this one step further by requiring patients to confirm their appointment in advance. If they do not confirm, you can cancel on their behalf to free up the spot for another patient. 

Grow Your Practice with Dental Intelligence 

At Dental Intelligence, we help you grow the value of your dental practice through highly advanced practice management software. Continue learning how to maximize efficiency at your office with our guide on dental revenue cycle management. Schedule a Dental Intelligence demo to see our platform in action.

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November 6, 2023

How To Take Advantage of Negative Patient Reviews at Your Dental Practice

Bad reviews aren't always all that bad. Learn how you can take advantage of these negative reviews and use them to improve your dental practice.

Bad reviews at your dental practice can deter potential patients, turn away existing clients, and kill revenue. What sets excellent dental practices apart is how they handle negative patient reviews. You can learn a lot from how clients complain about your business. 

Dental Intelligence offers a highly intuitive platform that helps you collect more positive online reviews for improved reputation management and website rankings. We understand how challenging it can feel when you first receive negative feedback and don’t know how to respond. Below, we will walk you through the top steps for taking advantage of negative customer reviews.  

1. Understand Why Online Reviews Matter

Online reviews affect your business in multiple ways. When someone says something positive or negative about a dentist at your practice, they’re potentially impacting the following:

  • Patient scheduling rates
  • Google rankings
  • Practice reputation
  • Provider reputation
  • Practice revenue

Whether you want to improve your Google rankings or bring more customers in the door, you need to manage your practice’s reviews. 

2. Stay Professional 

Now that you know why online reviews matter, you can begin taking advantage of any negative reviews your practice receives. You may feel frustrated or aggravated when you first read a negative review. At this point, it’s best to step back and remain calm, professional, and level-headed. 

As a dental practice, you must keep the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) at the forefront of all interactions. If a patient mentions their care or treatment online, you cannot discuss the same details when responding, as this could violate HIPAA. Taking the conversation offline is the best way to proceed here. 

If you feel upset about a review, the best thing you can do is take a moment to draft your response before posting it. You can show it to peers to ensure it sounds fair and professional. You may report the feedback if you believe the reviewer made false claims. 

3. Respond Promptly and Appropriately  

About 20% of reviewers expect responses within 24 hours, while most want to hear from you within a week.1 Prompt and genuine review responses show potential patients that you care. Try to keep the following tips in mind when responding:

  • Try to sound authentic: You want to sound like you genuinely care about their concern and want to resolve it. 
  • Personalize each message: Do not respond to each negative review with a copy-and-pasted message. Personalize each message if possible. 
  • Thank the reviewer: Thank the reviewer for taking the time to leave their thoughts so you can improve your practice.
  • Show that you care about their problem: Explain that you understand where they’re coming from and why they’re upset.
  • Move the conversation offline: End the comment with a message like “This is not the experience we strive for. I’d like to discuss this further.” You can leave a phone number or, if you know the patient, you may email or call them. 

4. Fix the Problem, Then Learn from It

Moving the conversation offline allows you to potentially resolve the dispute with the patient so they can delete their negative review. 

Negative patient reviews should be learning experiences for your practice. While some patients may complain about seemingly small issues, many pieces of negative feedback offer opportunities for your practice to improve. For example, if the patient left a bad review about waiting 30 minutes for their appointment, then you know your practice needs to work on streamlining the check-in process. 

5. Learn Your Bad Review Triggers 

As you generate negative patient reviews over time, you’ll likely discover that a few key issues tend to ignite the bad feedback. For example, your patients may often complain about hidden costs after appointments. Once you learn your bad review triggers, you can prevent negative feedback in the future by improving how your practice operates. 

6. Focus on Increasing Good Reviews

The best way to improve your average rating is to increase the number of positive reviews you gather so the negative ones seem less prominent. With review collection tools, you can easily send customers a reminder to leave a positive review after their appointment. The more positive reviews you generate, the better your practice will appear to future patients.

Improve Your Practice’s Reputation with Dental Intelligence  

Whether your practice has negative patient reviews or fake customer reviews, we can help you transform your reputation. Get a demo with Dental Intelligence today to learn how our digital tools can help you collect more positive reviews.

Resources

1 Social Media Today

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November 6, 2023

The Importance of Pricing Transparency in Dentistry

Pricing transparency can be challenging to achieve, but can benefit your practice. Learn more everything you need to know about price transparency in dentistry.

Pricing transparency is hard to achieve but important for your dental practice’s success. By offering accurate service quotes up front, you can improve patient satisfaction, increase payment fulfillment, and speed up processing. Thankfully, numerous tools can help your practice provide dental cost transparency.

At Dental Intelligence, we offer an advanced platform for dental payments that helps you collect more funds while offering flexible payment options. With our software, you can track dental pricing in real time while streamlining the claims and insurance verification processes with Dental Intelligence Insurance, so your patients aren’t shocked by their bills. Read on to learn everything you need to know about price transparency in dentistry. 

Why Price Transparency Is Challenging in Dental Practices 

Ideally, your dental practice would have a single price for every service that all patients must pay. Unfortunately, dental services involve many complex factors that make pricing transparency difficult. Each final quote depends on the following:

  • The patient’s insurance plan
  • How much of the deductible the patient has fulfilled
  • The provided services
  • Whether the patient is in or out of network
  • Whether or not the patient plans to pay out of pocket
  • The patient’s diagnosis
  • In many scenarios, the provider cannot calculate the patient’s out-of-pocket costs during the appointment. Instead, the dentist makes a rough estimate based on how much the service typically costs for other patients with similar insurance plans. Unfortunately, seemingly small factors, like the patient’s diagnosis or deductible, can greatly influence the final cost. 

    The Importance of Pricing Transparency

    Pricing transparency affects your practice in numerous ways. While accurate quotes may be hard to deliver, they can improve member experience figures, fulfillment rates, and more.  

    Faster Payment Fulfillment 

    If you expect a bill of around $100, but it’s $500, you will likely hesitate to pay it. You may call the office or your insurance company a few times to ensure it’s right and take your time paying it if you can’t afford it.

    As a dental office, when you tell your patients exactly what costs they can expect up front, they can either accept or decline services based on their financial situation. Pricing transparency improves payment fulfillment rates after sending out bills because patients know what’s coming. Pricing transparency helps your office get paid faster and can reduce the number of bills sent to collections. 

    Improved Satisfaction Rates

    Transparency is vital in providing excellent experiences. When a patient gets a surprising bill in the mail, they may complain, which could make your practice look bad. Providing clear and accurate prices can boost satisfaction rates. 

    If your patients often leave poor reviews about hidden costs, surprise bills, or high fees, you should consider restructuring your system. Prioritizing price transparency will allow patients to decide what they can or cannot afford. 

    Legal Adherence 

    As of January 2021, under Federal Law, the American Hospital Association (AHA) requires hospitals to post standard charges for service, including out-of-pocket cost estimates for at least 300 services.1 The No Surprises Act requires providers and hospitals to provide uninsured patients with Good Faith Estimates. 

    While these laws may not apply to insured patients at dental practices, your office should still consider the new regulations. As the legislation expands to support price transparency, dental practices may soon be legally obligated to provide the same level of accurate estimates.  

    Faster Processing

    When you adopt solutions for price transparency, your practice can enjoy faster claims and insurance verification processing. Essentially, you will provide the patient with their estimated quote based on their insurance plan and services. 

    Because these steps have already been taken for you through an automated system, your team won’t have to go through the complex and time-consuming steps of submitting manual claims. As a result, your practice can enjoy faster payment fulfillment from insurance companies and improved acceptance rates.

    How To Offer Transparent Pricing in Your Dental Office

    The best way to offer pricing transparency at your dental office is by adopting automated insurance verification tools that can take the guesswork out of patient payments. Such tools create accurate treatment pricing information in real time during the patient’s visit based on their insurance information and provided services. After showing the patient their quote, they can either accept or deny the service, so you can directly submit the claim to their insurance.

    Collect More Payments with Dental Intelligence 

    With Dental Intelligence, your practice gains pricing transparency, flexible payment options, automated insurance verification, and much more. Schedule a Dental Intelligence demo today to see how our dental software can help your practice provide transparent pricing.

    Resources

    1 American Hospital Association

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    October 18, 2023

    How to Use Customer Reviews to Market Your Dental Practice: Guide to Online Reviews and Testimonials

    A positive review can significantly boost the visibility of your dental practice online. Explore how to use customer reviews and testimonials to market your practice and fill your appointment schedule.

    Serving your community with professional and ethical dental services should be your number one priority as a practitioner. However, you must still have an effective online marketing strategy to reach potential patients and maximize your conversions. Using patient reviews is a practical way to achieve your marketing goals.

    With Online Reviews you can automatically request reviews from patients to showcase on top review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Still, it is crucial to understand how to earn and use reviews for the best results.

    How Do Patient Testimonials Help a Dental Practice?

    Over 80% of Google users read reviews to evaluate the quality of businesses like yours. In other words, when your happy customers post positive testimonials on Google, other potential patients see them and may choose your services.

    On a more technical level, positive reviews impact your ranking in Google’s algorithm — meaning the more reviews your dental practice has, the more visible it is online. Ranking higher on Google is important because most people will not click past the first page of the search engine results when looking for a new dentist. Earning four and five star ratings helps more people find you, which is the first step to converting them into loyal patients.

    What Should a Dental Practice Do to Earn Reviews and Testimonials?

    Earning honest feedback from patients can be harder than it seems. However, collecting these reviews is an important first step in your marketing strategy. Before you try to solicit reviews from patients, examine how often people post about you across sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, or other major platforms.

    If your dental practice lacks reviews, leaving signs around your clinic or printing stickers for your doors and windows with instructions on how to post a review can help. You can also email or send a message to patients after their appointments, encouraging them to share their thoughts online. 

    Your reviews and testimonials serve different purposes. A review is typically a general rating between one and five stars — sometimes with an option for your patients to share additional information. Testimonials are longer statements from patients discussing their experiences with your staff in detail.

    One or two strong testimonials on the homepage of your website could convince visitors to choose your practice. Alternatively, reviews on your Google Business Profile page offer users a quick look at your practice while browsing the web. Both are important to use to market your practice.

    What Other Strategies Can Your Dental Practice Use to Boost Online Visibility Through Reviews?

    Knowing how to use customer reviews to generate interactions online is essential. Any time a patient leaves feedback, you should respond to it concisely and professionally. Practice-to-patient engagement shows users that you are active and receptive to concerns. 

    Don’t worry if a few patients leave negative reviews now and again because you can use these to your advantage. Some online users may think bots generate all your reviews if you don’t have a single poor response, so one or two negative reviews can boost your other reviews’ credibility.

    Feature your positive reviews on your website, social media, or in press releases because it is essentially free advertising. Good reviews show that your practice is trustworthy. It may even be worth quoting your reviews as a website brag line if you earn dozens of five-star responses.

    How Many Reviews Do You Need?

    Determining how many reviews your practice needs depends on your marketing goals. As a new business, earning seven to ten five-star reviews from local patients is a reasonable goal to set. 

    It may be worth requesting a deeper testimonial from a patient who leaves a five-star review. They can post these on third-party sites to encourage others to explore your online resources. Remember not to pressure them with this request, or you could violate solicitation laws.

    As your business grows, continue providing outstanding patient care and customer service to maintain a high ratio of positive to negative reviews. Earning dozens of five star reviews puts you above your competition on Google and exponentially drives new customers to your practice.

    Dental Practice Solutions That Amplify Your Online Reviews

    Earning and managing reviews doesn’t have to be tedious. At Dental Intelligence, we can help you optimize your online strategy. Schedule a demo today to see our Online Reviews in action!

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    October 11, 2023

    Dental Contest Ideas for an Increased Social Media Reach

    Social media contests and giveaways can help you increase your social media reach. Read on for some ideas for contests you can do at your dental practice.

    Creative contests on your social media platforms can increase patient engagement and get your pages more followers. However, coming up with dental contest ideas can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. What competition ideas and contest themes can help increase your social media presence and engagement? Read on to find out.

    Benefits of Social Media Giveaways and Contests

    You might wonder whether hosting giveaways and contests on your social media pages is worth the time, energy, and cost. However, a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications indicated that customer engagement through contests increased the number of decisions to buy among users and the amount of money customers spent after engaging with a campaign1.

    Engaging with existing and prospective patients through social media giveaways or contests can increase awareness of your dental practice and services. You can improve your social media presence over competitors by offering a free cleaning or special swag bag.

    Increase Patient Engagement on Social Platforms With Creative Contests

    Social media platforms track user interaction with your pages to determine how popular your page or profile is among local users. The more popular your practice page is, the more often the platform will recommend your page and ads to local users. By increasing engagement for your page through likes, comments, and post shares, you can improve your page’s visibility among local platform users.

    Contests based on likes, shares, referrals, and comments can help you reach a new audience of local patients when they’re shopping for a new dental practice. By improving your page popularity, a social platform is more likely to show your page when it’s most relevant for someone looking for a new dentist nearby.

    Competition Ideas for Your Dental Practice

    So, what are some dental contest ideas you can implement on your pages to boost numbers for followers, likes, and comments? Consider different types of contests to increase each type of engagement, including the following:

    Caption Contests

    Post a silly or interesting picture and let your followers suggest the best caption to describe the image. Caption contests often get tons of likes and comments if your original content is engaging enough. If your office hosts a silly costume day, post a group photo of your staff in their costumes and ask your followers to suggest the best caption. The prize could be as simple as a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop.

    Raffle Contests

    For larger prizes, you can hold a raffle contest on your page. Make it free to enter, but include instructions that users must follow your page, share the post, and leave a comment with a specific emoji or keyword to enter. These instructions can help you grow your followership, increase awareness of your page through shares, and increase on-page engagement through comments.

    Comment Contests

    If you want to increase engagement among your current followers, create a contest for a free Waterpik or half-off teeth whitening to promote your services and increase on-page engagement analytics. Ask users to enter to win by commenting with a specific word or emoji. Most users will also like the post, and some will share it.

    Holiday Hashtag Contests

    Create a contest campaign for tagged posts by asking your followers to post a picture of their shiny smile, tag your page, and use a targeted hashtag. For example, if your practice is located in Atlanta, GA, you can ask users to use the hashtag #ATLSmiles4July for your Fourth of July contest.

    Guessing Contests

    Have users guess how many pieces of candy corn or jelly beans are in a jar in the comments to win a prize. This is a great way to increase engagement without requiring a lot of time or attention to manage the contest if your office is busy.

    Consider which contests require your social media followers to take more steps and plan your prizes accordingly. Multi-step entries should offer the chance to win a better prize, like a summer fun pack of towels and a new cooler or a fancy holiday gift basket. Dental marketing by Dental Intelligence can help you plan your marketing strategies.

    Increase Patient Engagement With Help From Dental Intelligence

    From dental contest ideas to using videos to promote your dental practice, Dental Intelligence is a comprehensive practice performance solution. Schedule a demo to learn more about how Dental Intelligence can help grow your practice with new patients.

    Resources

    1 Northwestern University

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    October 11, 2023

    How To Explain Out-of-Network Dental Benefits to Patients

    Understanding insurance benefits can be complicated for patients. Learn how you can help educate patients on their insurance coverage.

    Does your dental practice accept most major insurance plans? Ensuring patients understand the difference between in-network and out-of-network dental benefits is a key aspect of patient billing. Does your office have a process for explaining out-of-network dental benefits to patients and alternative payment methods like dental financing?

    In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Insurance Coverage

    Your practice’s patient education should begin by explaining which insurance coverage you accept as an in-network provider. If your patient has an insurance plan you accept, explain any limitations in coverage. Most insurance providers don’t cover cosmetic dentistry, for example. Review your patient’s policy thoroughly to ensure you know how to submit requests to their insurance provider.

    If your patient has dental benefits from an out-of-network insurance company, explain what that means for your patient’s liability compared to their insurance provider’s. An insurer often offers both in-network and out-of-network benefits but will cover less of the total bill for an out-of-network procedure.

    Each patient may have a different deductible to meet before their insurance coverage kicks in. Some insurance companies may not offer out-of-network coverage until the policyholder meets their deductible. Review patient insurance coverage with them so they understand their billing obligations before their first procedure.

    Developing Patient Education for Their Dental Benefits

    Patient education ensures patients get the most from their dental treatment plans. Many patients will choose a dentist based on finding an in-network provider. However, if a patient already has a wonderful dentist at your practice and is considering changing providers because of the type of insurance accepted at another office, you can educate the patient on the out-of-network benefits still available to them.

    Do you have appropriate materials for explaining out-of-network dental benefits to patients? What are your options for communicating the potential dental benefits available to patients with other insurance coverage?

    Options to consider for patient education include:

    • Pamphlets, brochures, or booklets offering key insurance terms and information about common coverage limits
    • Blog posts on your website about insurance coverage for dental patients and what most policies cover
    • Social media posts and ads about out-of-network benefits and low-rate dental financing options

    Explaining Out-of-Network Dental Benefits Offered at Your Dental Practice

    Why the big push to ensure patients know their options? If a patient considering your dental practice realizes your office isn’t in their network for insurance coverage, they may look elsewhere for a new dentist. By educating prospective and existing patients that they may have out-of-network dental benefits through their insurance company, you can continue to attract new patients and retain existing ones.

    The challenge is reaching prospective patients before they choose another office. Making your educational materials readily available in print and online is essential for your dental office marketing strategy.

    Pros and Cons of Being In-Network vs. Out-of-Network

    You may think you can only get new patients as an in-network provider or through dental financing for patients who don’t carry dental insurance coverage. However, there are several advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing which insurance plans you’ll accept as an in-network provider. The major pros and cons of being in-network are as follows:

    Pros of Being In-Network

    • Insurance portal listings for your office or offices as an in-network provider
    • More patients who carry accepted insurance plans for dental care
    • More patients who stick with their dental treatment plans for regular cleanings and dental procedures

    Cons of Being In-Network

    • Additional patients can overwhelm smaller dental practices
    • Non-negotiable procedure fees
    • Less time to spend with each patient during appointments due to higher booking volume

    Because dental procedures are more affordable with an in-network dentist, many patients prefer going to a dental practice covered by their insurance. However, there are pros and cons to consider as an out-of-network provider as well, including the following:

    Pros of Being Out-of-Network

    • Choosing your own rates for dental procedures
    • Greater control of your office billing processes for out-of-pocket and insurance claim payments
    • Fee-for-service billing options to get paid immediately and seek reimbursement from the patient’s insurance company on behalf of your patient

    Cons of Being Out-of-Network

    • Higher costs for billing department labor
    • Less accessible for some low-income patients

    Getting paid by insurance or out of the patient’s pocket is easy with Dental Intelligence Payments and Insurance. Learn more below.

    Process Patient Payments Quickly and Easily With Dental Intelligence

    Now that you know how to explain out-of-network dental benefits to patients, help them develop a patient payment plan. Dental Intelligence offers several payment options. Schedule a demo today.

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    October 10, 2023

    Strategizing Dental Marketing Costs: A Guide to Crafting Your Practice’s Effective Marketing Budget

    Marketing is an essential element to growing your practice. Learn more about the costs and considerations that should go into your marketing plan.

    Whether you’re opening your first dental office or have an existing practice that needs some extra “oomph,” you may want a new dental marketing strategy. However, how will your new dental marketing cost affect your bottom line? Will advertising and a sleek new website with online scheduling and payments bring in enough new patients to offset the costs?

    Learn more about the cost of dental marketing and determining the best way to estimate your budget for website development, search engine optimization (SEO), and other organic and paid marketing options.

    What Are Common Costs Associated with Dental Marketing?

    In trying to find new patients for your dental practice, what are common costs you should consider in your marketing budget? Some costs you should consider when establishing a budget include:

    • Website development and design
    • Added features and third-party app integration for your website
    • SEO content development for site service pages, local pages, and blog posts
    • Paid ads for Google Local Services Ads (LSA)
    • Paid social media ads with local targeting
    • Email campaigns to retain existing patients with special offers and regular dental health reminders

    You also need other office tools to help you manage your marketing campaigns and results, including CRM (customer relationship management) software that stores contact information and patient notes.

    Establishing a Marketing Budget

    How do you plan a budget for your marketing? If you’re an existing practice, you can calculate your marketing budget based on previous years’ revenue. If you’re just opening your practice, you must estimate your revenue goals for the first three years and then calculate how much to set aside for marketing based on growth goals.

    Factors that matter when establishing a budget include your goals for growth and the competition in your market. If you’re happy with your current patient numbers or don’t have many competitors, you can spend less on marketing than offices with several local competitors or high growth goals.

    So, how much should you spend? For new offices, consider spending:

    • 10% for slow growth or in a less competitive market
    • 18% for moderate growth or in a fairly competitive market
    • 25% for fast growth or in a highly competitive market

    Be aware of the risks of setting your growth goals too high, such as not having the space or personnel to manage the influx of patients. Consider starting slowly and building up to a higher marketing budget.

    For existing offices, consider spending:

    • 2-3% to maintain
    • 3-5% for slow growth or in less competitive markets
    • 5-7% for fast growth or in highly competitive markets

    Planning for the Cost of Dental Marketing

    Developing a marketing plan involves identifying your target market and meeting them where they are. Patients use multiple platforms and methods to find a new dentist, which is why your dental marketing cost could be much higher than you anticipated if you don’t budget correctly. What should your marketing strategy include?

    Website Development

    You need a fast, responsive website that works well on PC and mobile devices and has all the tools a patient might want. Your site should handle scheduling, reminders, and bill-paying services.

    SEO Content

    SEO is the science of creating content on your site that helps your practice rank over competitors in the search results for relevant search terms and keywords on Google and other search engines. Understanding the factors that search engines measure for ranking search results and developing relevant content to meet certain search parameters is key for your website.

    Local Ads

    Google allows business owners to set up Google Business Profiles and set their location for advertising. You can also purchase ad space on Google to appear at the top of the local listings as a sponsored advertiser for your dental services.

    Social Media Advertising

    Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great for targeted local advertising. You can choose information about who to show your ads to, including distance, age, and other demographic information.

    Existing Patient Retention Marketing

    Email campaign software can help you market special deals and reminders for existing patients, including newsletters, reduced-price services, and other key information to keep your office at the forefront of patients’ minds.

    Get More Insights into Marketing for Your Dental Practice

    If you need content marketing for dentists, turn to the experienced marketers at Dental Intelligence. Learn more about our full range of dental marketing tools and schedule a demo to discuss the dental marketing cost for your practice.