What is “Practice Management” in the Context of a Dental Practice?

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Managing your own practice can be tough, especially since most healthcare professionals are not trained to run a business. Practice management covers all areas of a clinic including non-care aspects. It’s not just enough to provide good care to your patients. You also need to juggle financial transactions, market your practice and manage employees. Even if you’re the only dentist in the office, you’ll still need front desk staff, a hygienist and so on.

This is why practice management software exists. Most clinics use both practice management (PM) and EHR applications in conjunction with each other. If both applications are developed by the same vendor, they will also be interoperable. Reports and data generated in one should be available in the other as well. With the advances in medical software, managing your practice has become a lot easier. But marketing and finance continue to be weaknesses for many professionals.

Why is Practice Marketing Important?

Marketing is how your clients find out about your practice. No one will know you provide the best dental services if they don’t come in right? Every clinic should have a sound marketing strategy that includes advertising, word of mouth publicity and social media tools. Today most people look online for reviews and recommendations before selecting a dentist. You should maintain your own website and a presence on major social media networks that are relevant to your clients.

However creating a marketing strategy from scratch can be daunting. Plus there is always the agonizing question of how to pay for it. Buying ad space – online or off – requires a financial outlay, hiring consultants to create a plan costs money as well. If your clinic is already stretched tight, how do you handle this additional expense? Start by looking around your practice to see where you can improve revenue or cut unnecessary costs.

Improve Your Collections

A dental practice is different from the typical business organization but at the end of the day, you still need to get paid. Improving your collections is one way to get additional income without having to invest anything. Many practices ignore this area until financial difficulties force them to do something about it. Why not be proactive and work on it before it becomes an issue?

Tell Everyone about your Financial Policy

If you don’t a have one, create it today. It should clearly outline payments schedules and set expectations about when patients are supposed to pay for services. You can display the policy on your website and include it in your email newsletters to current patients. A financial policy doesn’t have to be complicated.

Make sure everyone can understand what it means and remove any ambiguous terms. Are patients expected to pay before they leave? How long do they have to settle outstanding bills? What options do you have if anyone cannot afford to pay in full for their services? All these aspects should be made clear in your financial policy.

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Today most consumers are used to pay by credit card or even with apps on their phones. In such a world, it’s simply not acceptable to only accept cash and checks. Make sure you can accept credit and debit cards at the very minimum. You might want to look into additional options like Paypal etc. You can even partner with third party service providers to offer payment plans for certain expensive procedures.

Practice management includes everything related to running a dental practice. You can see how collections and payment feed into the financial health of your clinic. Improving this area can pay off handsomely and allow you to invest in your practice for the future.