A dentist office, like an office in any industry, needs to have certain resources to make the practice run as efficiently as possible. These sometimes-overlooked employees and contractors do not clean, examine or treat the teeth – instead, they provide services that make it possible for dentists and hygienists to do their jobs with a predictably smooth flow, maximize your collections, and keep your accounts in order. Your office should have at least one employee or resource responsible for each of these tasks.
First of all, you’ll need an office manager to coordinate everything and help you and your staff keep up with industry changes. Your business can’t succeed without an office manager to check that all employees are performing their jobs to the best of their abilities, make certain that paychecks have been handled correctly and serve as gatekeepers for hiring matters, vendor relations and patient general inquiries. This person should also be your HIPAA Privacy Officer, making sure that your practice is adhering to the guidelines to protect the data belonging to their patients. Finally, this person should also be your Liaison-In-Chief for various contractors such as IT services, accounting services, third-party companies for patient reminders, payroll, and for equipment vendors.
Although hygienists review and update dental medical charts on a daily basis, it is important to have someone either on your staff or your speed-dial with an offline or online health informatics degree. This employee or contractor looks at aggregate health data about your patients and then uses that information to improve communication, chair-side care, products and services and marketing so that you can better engage patients and meet their needs. While your data specialist may not be a full-time member of your staff, it’s important to have someone a phone call away with this skill, as at the end of the day it will improve collections by fine-tuning the way you communicate with your patients about their ongoing needs, and ensuring that you have the proper type and amount of products to supply to your patient base.
You always need to know how much money you have available. You also need to know where you might be losing money. A certified accountant provides you with this information and more. Best yet, at tax time, you do not have to fill out a lot of paperwork. All that you need to do is review the accountant’s work for errors and then sign off.
Front Receptionist Lead
Every dental office needs a receptionist who greets patients and vendors, answers phones and schedules/rearranges appointments. The Lead Receptionist should also be personable since he or she is the primary source of any first impressions that potential and new patients receive when interacting with your office. Receptionists also typically take payments and should have experience with cash and credit card transactions. While the lead position would report to your Office Manager, he or she would be the one who trains new receptionists, and is the point person for patient complaints or complex questions about treatment plans.
Is that all?
Not necessarily – if you have a larger office, you will likely also need additional medical records or billing help either on staff, or outsourced. Ultimately, the intent of hiring experienced people for these positions is to help you focus as much of your time and attention on being a dentist as possible, and helping your patients maintain excellent oral health.
About the Author
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys Tennis and spending time with her family.