When you build an empire, it is important to have experts on your side.
In addition to being a well-rounded employee and educated in various aspects of dentistry, you need experts to help you as a dental practice manager. These key people are passionate in a particular expertise.
As an office manager, we wear many hats. We are HR directors, electricians, plumbers, counselors, teachers, mentors, sterile techs, accountants, customer service representatives, and so much more.
When you have your experts on hand, you’re able to delegate a few hats, so you’re not as top-heavy. No matter if you have five team members or fifty, this can work for your office!
Building a successful dental practice
It all starts with the doctor.
If you and your doc are not on the same page, your empire will crumble. You have to have trust and understanding with one another.
Meet often to understand the practice and doctor’s expectations. What improvements need to be made? Look over your reports, procedures, and team dynamics.
Some doctors are all about praise and don’t like to be the bad guy when it comes to improvements. Others, that’s all they know.
Know your doctor, what they want, and be the yin to their yang.
Finding your experts
“What is your passion?”
Ask yourself and your employees.
Yes, we’re all “passionate” about our patients; they’re the ones that help pay our bills. But ask your employee what they like and what they are good at. You’d be surprised!
Sterilization? You have your OSHA Guru. Implants? Hello, implant treatment coordinator! Scheduling, money, deadlines? The list goes on and on.
Sometimes this person may be in the wrong job or may need more growth and education. If so, it’s ok. Do it. You can finally come up for air and take a break!
Know that the job is getting done by the best because you built the best.
But it all starts with finding their passion!
Building your team
Let’s start with your clinical team.
Each member is a major player in the game, but a lot of times, they feel like they’re just a small pawn. They’re more than that!
They’re the doc’s extra eyes, patient’s confidant, and the ones you need to rely on for patient education. They have to stay OSHA compliant, and always educate themselves on the latest technology and products.
These people may do your clinical ordering, chart auditing, and scheduling. Yes, clinical staff should schedule patients! It’s not always the front desk who’s the best at the task.
They know the ins and outs of the schedule and if certain procedures can be double-booked, or if some patients take more time. They’re your backbone to keeping the office flow going.
Next is your front desk/clerical team.
Not all your clerical staff works at the front desk. If they’re calling insurance companies or working A/R reports, they need a private area and time to do so.
Now, this may or may not be a task you can delegate, depending on the size of your office. But you can get help with it.
Have your clerical team work with you during downtime to become better educated and know how to answer patient questions over the phone (instead of constantly saying, “Hold, please, let me transfer you.”).
Your clerical team is the face and atmosphere of the office, from the first phone call to the new patient greeting. They should be comfortable with money (including asking for it).
Once you form your team of “experts,” it’s crucial to all be on the same page.
With communication and accountability, your team will strengthen itself from the inside.
Communication starts with your daily, weekly, and monthly meetings, as well as yearly evaluations. Keeping your team accountable will provide strength between itself.
Have members overlap with a checks and balances protocol. Instead of playing the blame game, checks and balances allow you to have an internal audit, enabling you to study your employees’ knowledge, education, training, and trust.
Building your community
Develop relationships through your vendors, referrals, and patients.
Our motto is to take care of our staff, referrals, patients, and community. We meet regularly with our vendors and keep open communication.
Being a part of your local AADOM chapter… This text opens a new tab to the AADOM chapters website… allows you to gain a better connection with existing sponsors. If you ever need anything in a pinch, they are there for you.
As an oral surgeon practice, we saw emergency patients and stayed pretty busy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our referring offices offered supplies, patient flow, prayers, and support to use.
Even our patients checked on us with text messages, phone calls, letters, and food. They were understanding when we had to shift appointments and locations around.
If you take care of your patients, the reward at the end is amazing! With a friendly face, smile, and understanding, your team can turn a bad experience into a better one.
Building your worth
As a practice manager, you have to always be willing to grown and learn. Share the knowledge! Get excited to show and teach others!
Being a part of a great support system like AADOM has been a great tool to help me educate my team and give our patients the best care we have to offer.
Though the pandemic may have brought heartache and sorrow to many in our area and our team, it also brought strength and joy!
We’ve built a great team and empire over the years. It’s with our home-built empire that we’re able to continue standing for our community to this day.
Our “empire” is built from a solid structure of support from our community and humility from our employees.
Meet the Author
Jenny Brown is the founding president of the Tennessee Valley Chapter, AADOM, and a lifetime AADOM member.
In 2017, Jenny received her Fellowship (FAADOM). That same year, she was awarded the Women of Distinction Honors.
Jenny is a 2010 graduate of East Tennessee State University with a degree in Public Health.
As a practice manager for East Brainerd Oral Surgery, she manages two offices, four surgeons, and has over 25 employees.
During her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, blogging, traveling, and spending time with her family. She and her husband Robby adopted their two daughters in 2018.