What Makes an Effective Dental Treatment Coordinator?

A treatment coordinator, whether hired as a primary or secondary role, is employed to ensure that a patient’s cycle of care from diagnosis to treatment runs smoothly.

This includes education, scheduling, and payment, and many dental practices often rush this process. In doing so many are missing out on crucial opportunities to close sales, comfort clients and offer quality service.

Payment shouldn’t be offloaded to a front office staff member when there is a more knowledgeable treatment coordinator available.

Here is what you need to look for if you are considering hiring a dental treatment coordinator:

Someone who is knowledgeable about dentistry

After you, the treatment coordinator is the main figure that will reinforce the professionalism of your dental practice. They should be knowledgeable about dentistry and able to answer any and all questions a patient may have about procedures, general dental health, and industry practices.

Someone who can explain the value of dental treatment

Often when patients initially see the cost of a procedure, they may be a little shocked. Most people are completely unaware of what dentists charge, and if they see upwards of $1000 for a crown, they may not know how to react. A good treatment coordinator will be empathetic and compassionate, and explain things in a clear and simple way.

They will be able to connect on an individual level and are good storytellers who can convey in emotional terms, why it is important to invest in the procedure – which they should do before they show any figures to a patient.

Someone who can motivate and sell

 Dealing with large numbers is difficult, you should find someone who doesn’t shy aware from sharing the figures with your clients and is not afraid to ask for a commitment. Ideally, they should have some background in sales.

It’s also important to find someone who is professional and detail-oriented. This means that they know how to communicate any credit card payment plans and are meticulous when it comes to formalizing and signing contracts.

If you are looking to add value to your practice, a professional treatment coordinator is a great place to start. Make sure, if you are looking to hire something, that you consider the above tips and find the best person possible for the role.

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4 Ways to Offer Improved Productivity in Your Dental Practice

Whether you have a new practice or are have been settled for years, improving the productivity in your dental practice will increase the practice value.

If you are stuck for fresh ideas to do so, we’ve come up with four simple ways you can increase the output of your practice.

  1. Offer new services

Many dentists fall into the habit of providing the same services for years and years, simply because they are creatures of habit. However, as the demographics of the area in which you work may change, and you may be leaving lots of money on the table simply by not offering certain services.

Don’t hesitate to invest in new equipment, and more importantly in yourself, by learning new skills and adding variety to your practice. You may also find in this process that as you embrace novel challenges, your passion for dentistry is renewed.

  1. Focus on customer service

When it comes to improving your production, one thing that dental practices often miss is the human aspect of their business.

Building rapport ensures mutual trust and respect between you and your patients. A strong connection with patients will allow you to have consistent appointments. It will also limit the number of missed appointments and other operational inefficiencies that can put a strain on your practice.

  1. Hire a treatment coordinator

A treatment coordinator can help your patients understand exactly why they need the services you are offering. Even just a small amount of time spent explaining the value of certain procedures can be the difference between a patient being dissuaded by the cost – the average patient has very little idea as to how much dentistry costs and may be shocked when they see four figures on their dental bills. Educating patients as to the importance of oral hygiene will also ensure that they (and their families) schedule regular visits.

  1. Offer flexible payment options

Often patients won’t commit to your services simply because they can’t afford it. If you are able to offer more flexible payment options this can widen the reach you have over certain demographics, bring in more patients and ultimately, improve production.

Whether you are looking to increase the value of the practice for a sale, or simply get through a difficult period, increasing your production is often a matter of being willing to try new strategies.

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4 Tips for Dentists: Managing Neck and Back Pain

Back and neck pain are unfortunately very common problems among dentists.

In fact, it’s often said that finding someone who has a long history of practicing dentistry without these types of issues, is very rare.

Some dentists have found the pain to be so unbearable that they’ve had to sell their practice or go through a transition in which their role fundamentally changes to one that is more managerial or administrative.

Here are 4 ways to manage back and neck pain as a dentist.

  1. Choose the right dental chair

Finding the right dental chair is an incredibly important decision. You need to consider the fact that spending hundreds or thousands of hours in your chair has a significant impact on your posture.

This means that ensuring that you do some research and have the right chair – even if it costs a little more – could save you a lot of pain, time, and money spent further down the line on medical treatments.

  1. See a chiropractor or physical therapist regularly

Most people only consider seeing a chiropractor once the pain they are experiencing is unbearable, and only until the immediate sensations go away. The reality, however, is that you should be seeing a chiropractor regularly, particularly if you are spending long hours in an examination chair.

Learning proper posture and work habits can really only go so far, therefore it’s important to have a professional look at your spine frequently. If you aren’t interested in a chiropractor, there are other physical therapies such as pilates, which can go a long way to helping you.

  1. Exercise the right way

Most people consider exercise simply as something that improves your strength or cardiovascular endurance. However, while these are important, for a dentist they are not the first things to consider.

Focus on functional strength, balance, and proper posture. This can be difficult for those who have spent most of their sporting lives engaged in more competitive or aggressive forms of exercise. However, yoga or Pilates are great places to start to reduce, and even eliminate, back and neck pain.

  1. Use a foam roller or stability ball

Self-myofascial stretching is a type of exercise that uses a foam roller or medicine ball, and your own weight, to stretch tendons and release pain. There are dozens of guides online, and it’s important that you use these techniques as a preventative measure, not just to relieve pain once it is already present.

Remember, spinal health is important to your vitality, and as a result, the life of your practice.

If you’re experiencing too much pain to work, or you are simply sluggish and less effective, it can negatively impact the profitability and value of your office.

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How to Improve Scheduling in Your Dental Practice

Scheduling is a key a part of any successful dental practice.

If your practice were a vehicle, your schedule would be the oil that lubricates the engine and keeps things running smoothly.

Because an organized schedule is fundamental, making improvements to streamline your processes should be the first thing you consider before investing in any new technology, continuing education, or clinical skills.

The effectiveness of the scheduling system that you have in place is based on a clinical team that is organized and self-aware. Remember, a well-managed clinic is a valuable clinic, particularly if you are looking to sell.

Here are some tips to improve the scheduling system in your dental practice.

Track your workdays

Although it may be easier to simply estimate how much time you spend on daily activities, tracking your time accurately can save time and money in the long run. Most dentists will find that after they track their days, they have completely underestimated or overestimated how long it’s taken to do certain tasks.

Spend a couple of weeks encouraging your employees to keep a journal of how many hours they worked and what tasks they worked on within this time frame.

From the responses you get, you can then begin to project production relative to annual goals that you set.

Make use of bunching

Bunching means organizing your schedule so similar tasks can be done around the same time. This ensures that you don’t have to completely change a room for one procedure, only to change it back for another later on in the day.

Make sure your administrative staff is aware of the most effective way to group appointments for your practice.

Promote and track hygiene appointments

Many dentists simply use hygiene appointments as last minute a way to fill in gaps in their schedule.

A more effective way to use them is to reach out to your clients directly, promoting hygiene appointments and organizing them well ahead of time so you know that you don’t have to generate leads at the last minute.

Prevent empty appointments

Empty appointments are one of the most frustrating parts of a dental schedule, and when they are frequent, they can be terrible for your profits.

Here are three quick ways to limit the number of empty appointments.

  • Ensure a 48 hours notice and broken appointment fee
  • Make it easy for clients to reschedule
  • Send a friendly message to clients when someone cancels. Something like “our schedule has recently changed and we immediately thought you might be interested in pushing your appointment forward.”

How have you improved the schedule of your dental practice?

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Tips To Market Your Practice for Back To School

The start of the new school year is an incredibly busy time for parents.

As they get ready to get back into the swing of things, it can be difficult to get everything organized.

For the busy parent, it often feels like there is too much to do and too little time. They might get an itchy feeling that there’s something more that needs to be done.

Fortunately, this presents an opportune time for you to offer your dental services.

If you are looking to add value to your practice through increased efforts targeting kids and parents during this time of year, there are some pretty simple but effective ways to do so.

Here are five different ways you can market your practice for back to school specials.

Step up your social media efforts. Creating useful blog content and promoting back to school services through your social media channels is the quickest way to remind families of your practice. Though parents will be busy and it will be hard to grab their attention, there is one thing that you can be sure of – if they have social media, they will be on it. However, new changes in the algorithms to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram mean that parents won’t always catch your posts so don’t be afraid to post frequently!

Print a physical leaflet. Emails are a great way to offer discounts, but there is something to be said about leaflets. Creating something with color that will likely be left on a table at home could showcase your services to other families who have similar aged kids.

Request patient referrals. Many dentists are a little shy about asking for referrals directly, but if you have made sure that your patient has had a positive experience, they will be more than happy to recommend you. This is because they know that they’re doing a favor for their friends, who understand the stresses that come with taking children to the dentist.

Create and promote special offers. A lot of parents know that going back to school is a time when they have to spend money. Books, clothes, haircuts, these are all things that add up and can put a certain strain on some families. This is why during this time they’ll be more conscious of saving money and they may be more attracted to the idea of a discount.

Send out an email newsletter. Remind families of your services and let them know that you have back to school offers available by sending out an email newsletter. The letter can include brushing, flossing and nutrition tips, while simultaneously generating leads to fill your appointment calendar.

Whether you are looking to hold on to your practice or are even considering selling, showcasing a variety of ways to generate profit throughout the year is always an effective way to demonstrate value to a prospective buyer.

Have you had any experience marketing back to school specials? Let us know in the comments.

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Is Selling Your Practice the Right Decision?

Selling your dental practice can be a stressful and complicated decision. How will you know if it’s the right time to sell? Consider the following:

Are You Ready to Retire?

Once you sell your dental practice, your income stream no longer exists and your pension has to take on the income role. It should be able to support your lifestyle until you reach the age of 90. Remember, you need to factor in inflation and a bit extra for comfort. You’ve worked hard, you’ve had a long career, you need to ensure complete financial freedom before you sell your practice.

You No Longer Want to Practice Dentistry

If you no longer want to practice dentistry, this could be the right time to sell your practice but not if your pension isn’t fully funded.

Consider how easy it is for dentists to experience burn out and whether you have been taking care of yourself. If you lose the drive to practice, it may be worthwhile to take a short break before making any major decisions.

After decades of practicing dentistry, you may have a desire to pursue a new career. You may find this new excitement has replaced the drive you used to feel for dentistry. If this is the case, it may be time to sell your dental practice.

Some dentists develop a dislike for the industry, because of experiences they may have had. They may feel unsupported or powerless to make changes happen. Again, this approach is not advisable unless your pension is fully funded.

Speak to Professionals

Selling your practice is not something that should be done on a whim. Before making a major decision like that, it is advisable to speak to a dental transition professional to give you a practice valuation and help you with a plan.

Ultimately, the sale of your practice is a long term goal that should be planned as far in advance as possible. Considering the sale of your dental practice over a long period can maximize your sale price and profit if it is well timed.

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Creating a Dental Practice Brand

It’s no secret: the world we live in is highly competitive, and the people in it are extremely visually aware. It’s therefore critical to develop a strong and consistent brand for your dental practice. But just how do you do that? And what constitutes a strong dental practice brand in the first place?

To begin, your brand is the sum of all the experiences a patient has when interacting with your dental practice. From the way you answer the phone, to your location, to the décor, and the level of dental care received (plus many more factors), all contribute to your brand.

What is Your Differentiating Factor?

Potential patients may be faced with many different options when choosing a dental practitioner. What makes your dental practice extra special, and why should that patient select you?

Do some market research. How are competitor practices branding themselves? Do you see any patterns in terms of graphics, colors, or slogans? What can you introduce to your brand that will set you apart?

Dig deeper into your target audience. Consider the factors that motivate their behavior, including their likes and dislikes. Build the brand that will appeal to your audience.

Where Can You Add Value?

Have you ever heard of perceived value? Perceived value is achieved when a brand has a strong presence or brand awareness. Because of this heightened awareness, people are willing to pay more for a product or service. This is why people are more willing to buy a brand name product over a similar, less expensive store brand even if the products look the same and are composed of similar ingredients.

Consider where you can add value to your patient experiences, and how you can customize the experience for each individual.

Don’t Forget Your Internal Branding

While patients engage with and experience your dental practice brand, so too do your staff. The team that patients engage with also needs to adhere with your brand vision, and become brand ambassadors when dealing with your patients.

Take The Answers and Get Visual

Now that you have thought about your dental practice and how you want it to operate, you can start to consider how you can enhance that visually, through the development of a logo. Which colors will support your brand vision? Will you introduce a graphic or a font-based logo?

If your plan is to build an enduring brand, it is worthwhile investing in a high quality logo; particularly if you want it to last for the next 20 or 30 years. Once you decide on the logo, be sure to have a style guide compiled, so you can lay down the rules for engaging with your brand graphically/visually.

Effective Brand Placement

For your brand to be truly effective, it should be highly visible where your desired target audience is likely to see it. Consider different channels: print media, digital, social, and broadcast, but also remember that in order for your marketing and advertising to be effective, it needs to be consistent and you need to retain a presence across those channels.

NAPB specializes in bringing dental practice buyers and sellers together. If you need assistance to create more perceived value or with a branding strategy to see you through a transition.

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How to Stop Conflict within a Dental Practice

In a perfect dental practice, there would never be any conflict. This means there would be no arguments, no bickering, and jobs would get done without tension and without friction.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for your team to see eye to eye all the time.

It’s important, however, for you as a practice manager, to ensure that any arguments that do come up don’t get out of hand.

Remember that the number one thing to consider is that conflict doesn’t get in the way of your patient care, because if the quality of your practice starts to slip, your profits will go along with it.

Whether you are looking to sell, or to hold on to your business for a while, a dental team with less conflict will mean a more enjoyable work environment and a more profitable business.

Here are three ways to stop and prevent conflict in your dental practice

  1. Ensure that everyone has a voice.

To keep conflict to a minimum, make sure there is a platform for everyone to express his or her opinion. It’s almost always going to be the case that the louder members of your staff are more vocal than the quieter ones, but you can prevent any tensions from brewing by offering a platform for more introverted individuals to be heard.

This may be best addressed in a weekly meeting, or just by personally asking them what they think of specific things within the practice.

  1. Focus attention on common goals.

If your staff has a common goal that they are working towards, they’re far less likely to argue. In fact, in a best-case scenario, you can get them to band together and form bonds as a team.

Try setting objectives and timelines for your team to adhere to, with creative incentives that motivate them to work together.

  1. Be a leader.

Leading means a few things. First, you need to be prepared to step up and deal with the conflict head on when it arises. This means being objective and willing to put the good of the business in front of any personal connections you may have with staff.

It also means taking definitive actions without hesitation and being willing to deal with any backlash from employees.

Finally, being a leader means knowing when to cut your losses, so if someone is not good for the longevity of the practice as a whole, you’ll have to cut them.

Office conflict may seem normal, but it can have a devastating impact on the quality of your business operations and the value of your practice. Try implementing these tips today and see the positive impact that they can have on the nature of your practice.

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4 Tips to Ensure Your Dental Practice Runs Smoothly

When your dental practice is running smoothly, your job will tend to be a lot more enjoyable.

You’ll be able to provide your patients the best possible service, you’ll approach the work with more energy, and you will be able to stay a lot more focused.

Unfortunately, when the management side of things isn’t going so well, the opposite tends to occur. The quality of your work tends to slip, you’re not going to be as profitable and it’s a lot more likely that you will experience stress.

A practice that is effective is profitable both in the short term and in the long term if you are looking to sell.

What follows are four simple ways you can make sure that the operations of your business are running smoothly and successfully.

  1. Hire a professional to manage your cash flow and billing

While we understand that if you own a practice you may want complete control over your finances, it is usually a lot more effective if you hire an accountant. This not only means managing your cash flow and automating your billing solutions but knowing when it’s possible and worthwhile to offer financial help to clients.

  1. Take your inventory seriously

Inventory management is an essential, yet often overlooked skill for dentists.

Make sure that you have systems in place so that you always have the appropriate products on hand and that you are not spending unnecessary cash on inventory that never gets used.

  1. Automate your marketing

Marketing is vital for every dental practice and can ensure you are bringing in consistent leads. However, without experience – and trial and error – it’s difficult to know where to best focus your attention.

Once you’ve determined a strategy that you know is effective, either by experimenting yourself or bringing in outside help, you should look to automate the process as much as possible, freeing up your time for other work related endeavours.

  1. Maintain organization in your exam rooms

This can be something that you dental assistants help you with, but initially, this requires training on your part.

Consider using mobile units to keep tools for any given procedure within reach.

Running your dental practice smoothly will keep your headaches to a minimum and your profits coming in.

What tips have helped you run a smooth and successful dental practice?

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Social Media for Your Dental Practice

With Facebook alone having more than 1 billion active users, social media as a tool to build your dental practice cannot be ignored. As we discussed back in May: 5 Tips to Make Your Facebook Dental Practice Page Stand Out.

Social media has become an essential part of marketing for any small business, not only for promoting and sharing your business but also for providing the much revered social proof that businesses all strive to get.

Embarking on a social media plan can be an intimidating process. If you’re not already on social media pick one or two platforms to focus on. Facebook and Twitter are good ones to start with.

Here are some simple steps for managing social media for your dental practice:

  1. It’s okay to pick just one social media platform to focus your efforts on. Every business should have a Facebook page, so start with Facebook. If you’re up to managing two platforms the next most logical would be Twitter.
  2. Post consistently. It can be twice a week or it can be daily. Just make sure you set a schedule and you stick to it!
  3. Use images whenever possible. Facebook lets more of your followers see your posts when you use images, as opposed to text only. The best images to use are photos that you take of your practice, staff, patients, or new equipment.
  4. Share useful information. Post information that adds value to the reader. You can share interesting dental industry news, blog posts, educational information, videos, and fun facts or trivia. You can also post pictures of your patients (with their permission, of course.) Pictures of them in the dental chair with a smile on their face or showing off their new, improved smile are all great for social media.
  5. Always respond to messages or posts on your page in a timely manner. It’s a good idea to have someone monitoring your social media page and checking in a few times a day to be sure there are no outstanding messages waiting for you.

Using social media as a tool for building your dental practice will help you establish important relationships with clients and potential clients, as well as establish your practice as a valuable part of your community.

Here are some more tips to improve your social media platforms: 6 Simple Social Media Tips for Your Dental Practice.

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