Lindy Benton is the CEO and president of Vyne.
Experience with our clients tells us that dentists prefer not to deal with many areas of business ownership, including managing employee relationships and politics. Lynne Leggett, the founder and CEO of Victory Dental Management, says she has seen the same with many of her clients.
"Most dentists will tell you that if they could just do dentistry, that's usually their happy place," Leggett said. "They don't want to deal with employee politics and drama."
The list of practice management aspects Leggett's clients would prefer not to deal with often also includes managing their revenue cycle, claims processing, billing, and handling issues around practice technology. But it is important to a practice's growth to handle these issues.
"Beyond providing excellent care to their patients, dental practices must protect their revenue cycle," Leggett said. "There's more to practice than merely surviving."
The revenue cycle
Revenue cycle is a phrase many dentists may not have heard of during their training. But practice leaders have to understand what needs to happen to generate cash flow for the practice, which means understanding the revenue cycle.
"Practices need to know where their money is," Leggett said. "This includes knowing when claims require additional information in the form of attachments such as x-rays, perio charts, and narratives and knowing how to get those items submitted quickly to the payor. The faster the claim is in, the faster money comes to the practice."
One tip Leggett offers her clients is that your team must post checks and send invoices for balances immediately.
"Don't just resend a claim every 30 days," she said. "If there are any issues, you need to understand what's going on with the claim."
With electronic claim attachment technology, for example, practices can review information and track claim status to determine when money is coming in and, thus, reduce days to unpaid claims.
"Electronic claim attachment solutions are a must-have for practices," Leggett said. "If practices do not utilize such solutions, they are doing a disservice to their practice and their patients."
Lack of communication
“Even the most skillful dental practitioners will not be successful in business without a strong team of key players on their side.”
Another area of difficulty both in a practice and with patients is a lack of clear communication. Leggett noted that she has worked with practices that thrived in competitive markets simply by improving communication efforts.
"Many practice leaders must be clearer with their expectations," she said. "They also must clarify their expectations with their employees. Without these clarifications, nothing will get done in the front or in the back of the house."
Based on Leggett's feedback, it's clear that running a successful dental practice involves much more than being a talented and caring clinician. Even the most skillful dental practitioners will not be successful in business without a strong team of key players on their side and a strategy in place to manage and grow the business â€“ and the team.
Lindy Benton is the president and CEO of Vyne.
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