As a dental practice grows, it is vital that systems and processes are implemented that allow it to meet the needs of its patients, ensure its ongoing financial viability through sound appointment management and scheduling, and establish effective and informed planning and optimisation of human and other resources.
One of the most time- and cost-efficient ways to do this is by implementing dental practice management software. Software tools of this nature provide staff with more meaningful information at their fingertips upon which they can analyse the performance of the practice, allowing them to focus their efforts on service delivery and the care of patients.
Key Features of Practice Management Software
If a dental practice is searching for a practice management tool, there are a number of key features that are important to consider when evaluating possible software applications.
You will want to procure a tool that allows you to quickly and easily capture patient contact information and use this for the purpose of generating recalls. Having an automated tool that allows you to make follow-up contact to confirm future appointments by post, text, email and phone are more likely to generate a consistently higher rate of recall appointments, compared to a manual process.
The software you choose should incorporate a workflow management function so that you can manage patient bookings. This tool allows the dentist to indicate time required for a follow-up appointment, so that when the patient finalises their account at the reception desk, the administrative staff are able to make a booking with the appropriate time to complete the treatment.
In addition, you should select a tool that allows you to manage the utilisation of all available appointment times. This means that administrative staff can elect to waitlist a patient if they have indicated a preference for an earlier appointment time. In the event that another appointment time becomes available, staff are able to make contact with this patient and book them into that time instead, ensuring not only that all appointment times are fully utilised, but also that the patient is fully satisfied.
Why Fly Blind When the Information Is at Your Fingertips?
Some of the more reputable practice management tools include a function that allows the dentist to record treatment-related information for each patient. This data collection offers two outcomes:
- It allows the dentist to track and manage patient care based on a comprehensive history that has been created over time; and
- It allows data to be collated and then used to report to the dentist and the managing partner/s of the practice, with respect to what types of treatment the dentist is performing and the frequency with which tasks and treatments are performed. This assists with scheduling of appointments, management of inventory, education of patients and planning of dental resources.
When you consider the features that will undoubtedly enhance your practice, including improved patient data and appointment and utilisation management, identifying a management software tool for your practice is straightforward.