One significant challenge for dental practices is finding and holding on to qualified dental staff. Recruiting and hiring is a very time-consuming process. Many dental practices fail to create a well-thought-out hiring process, and this can be very costly for the dental practice. Before you can hire and recruit your dental team, you must assess your practice needs at this point. Once you have a clear picture of where your dental practice stands, then you can begin reviewing your clinical staff.
Ask yourself some pertinent questions regarding your practice and what you can do to improve your revenues going forward. After creating a plan you understand, and one that aligns with your practice objectives, you can determine the amount and type of dental professionals you need to hire to move toward those objectives. This process is crucial for making your dental practice a success.
The COVID-19 Reaction
After living in a world of social distancing, wearing face masks, and all the cleaning and disinfecting, dental practices have changed the way they operate. One of the first processes to review is the existing policies and procedures of your dental practice. You should decide if new ones need to be created based on the COVID-19 protocol to keep your team members, your patients, and yourself safe.
In this unknown territory, dental practices have to be smart when it comes to identifying staff needs to remain successful. You must ask yourself if you need the same number of employees now. How have their roles shifted? Do responsibilities and duties need to be more toward production? What tasks could be automated? How is performance to be measured now?
The Front Office
These employees should spend a portion of the day doing patient tasks. Tasks such as checking patients in and out and collecting payment. The other part of the day should be spent on non-patient tasks such as billing and processing insurance. If these duties are out of balance, and team employees begin to feel overwhelmed, tasks will begin falling through the cracks. To prevent this as the patient count begins to grow, section out the employee’s tasks. The job of dealing with the money can become a financial coordinator’s responsibility. This will take the pressure off one employee and ensure all employees stay productive.
As far as clinical staff in the post-COVID era, how can the practice be brought back to the production and revenues produced before the pandemic? You need to determine how many patients your clinical staff can see during work hours without being overwhelmed. If your staff should feel overwhelmed, do you need to bring in more or additional types of staff to assist? Do you have a process in place when the number of patients begins to increase again?
It is of utmost importance for the hygienist to be scheduled for the number of appointments to meet production goals. If unfilled appointments are a common issue, there is a problem with your scheduling system. Pre-appointing patients months in advance, utilizing a strong confirmation process, and educating employees on the importance of return visits, high fees, and aggressive treatment plans can help keep more slots filled and help keep scheduling productive. Make sure you are on the same page with your hygienist on the correct timetable when x-rays should be taken to help raise production numbers as well.
Whether you delegate certain duties to your assistant or prefer to take them on yourself is important in determining how many patients you should schedule throughout the day. Dentists who delegate advanced duties to an assistant and use two or more treatment rooms will need more assistants. No matter how many assistants you have, make sure they are working all the time.
Some productive tasks they can do during any gaps in the schedule throughout the day are the following:
- reviewing lab cases
- contacting yesterday’s patients to check on them
- reviewing treatment plans with waiting patients
- assisting the hygienist
- making calls to past due patients using a script
Locating dependable people to work in your dental practice can be a long and difficult process. Your staff is one of the most important assets of your practice and has a tremendous influence on its success. Hiring and keeping great staff should be a priority. Online recruiting has opened many alternatives to employers for choosing the best candidates to add to the dental team.
SPS Dental Staffing offers talent acquisition with a variety of solutions in identifying and locating top talent for your dental practice. The proper hire will maximize your production and profitability, and minimize your headaches. SPS Dental Staffing understands this and can assist you in recruiting the right talent that will enhance the performance of your practice. They offer a dental staffing process in which your hand-selected employee can begin work for you on a “Temp to Hire” or “Direct Hire” basis. The recruiter will provide support to your dental practice every step of the way and will continue communication after the placement occurs to ensure a proper fit with your team.