Ever since the economic slowdown in 2008, group practices have seen a steady rise throughout the United States. This trend occurs when practices strive for efficiency in a competitive landscape. However, during this transformation, even when accounts have collaborated, and marketing efforts have coordinated, most group practices still work on systems inherited from their stakeholders. This means a set of non-compatible solutions have to be organized, and measures are taken for practice management for group practices.
There is a reason why an individual outlet of Walmart functions more efficiently than a consortium of local businesses — they run a uniform system across their locations, that is built for efficiency at scale.
How does a system that is built for scale help a dental group practice?
1) Customer Experience
A coordinated system shows visible improvement in customer experience. Patients become less frustrated when they know what to expect from all your locations. This means they will try to stick to your brand, even if they relocate or if a provider changes. We all know what to expect in any Starbucks. We walk into an outlet with full confidence in knowing what to expect. It makes our decision to walk into a Starbucks easy.
2) Better use of human resources
Another significant improvement is in human resource management. There is a steady and well-tracked utilization of human resources from both dental providers and support staff. This is the most considerable header for costs at any dental practice.
3) Increased Production
A well-coordinated system and a single database ensure faster processing of patients pre and post-treatment. This increases production and directly increases your revenue.
4) Better Cash-flow
A central billing office and dental claims management center will allow revenue to come in faster and cash-flow cycles to be shortened. This increases available cash, which can then be used to expand further. Group practices need to expand at their fastest possible pace in the current market, and establishing a system built for scale goes a long way in helping you get there.
What are the key features any group practice should look for?
It is difficult to narrow down to a specific set of features that group practices should look for, as requirements vary based on the organization. Requirements mostly fall into three main functions – centralizing control, streamlining operations, and automating tasks. Some of the features to look for under each of these areas are listed below:
Monitor and manage all operations across sites through a central console. A few examples of functions that can be centralized are:
Marketing and campaigns
Billing & Financial Reporting
Access control and data security
Administration and business management
Analytics and Business Intelligence
Claim scrubbing and denial management
Standardize administrative, clinical, and financial workflows across locations. The following are some of the solutions to usually mismanaged areas to ensure better streamlining and integration into the system:
Slot finder, wait-list and ASAP list management
Charting and treatment planning – with easy templates
Care notes with clinical decision support
Template-based communication for patient engagement
Custom forms for capturing patient conditions or allergies
Business rule manager for standardizing operational workflows
Perform tasks automatically based on pre-set triggers and conditions. Automation is the next level of streamlining, where you eliminate the need for manual intervention in repetitive processes and thus free up your employee time. Features to keep an eye out for include:
Rule-based workflow management
Group practices must adopt a system that is built for scale. A cloud-based scalable practice management solution that features workflow automation and streamlining, along with integrated marketing and back-office functions, will be the ideal fit for the practice management for group practices.