Keeping Everything Straight
In small towns, by about May of 2021, as COVID-19 restrictions relaxed, people started making dentist appointments—a lot of dentist appointments. In fact, if you called to book an appointment in May of 2021, you might not have had an opportunity to get teeth cleaning until September.
Some larger cities had openings but owing to continued lockdowns, such cities had different issues for businesses built around oral health. Compounding the problem is staff. Because of the pandemic, and associated realities, many practices had to let certain staff go, or at minimum furlough them.
As things opened up again, people that were once part of a dentistry practice’s team were no longer available. So many running such practices had no choice but to hire new personnel. That’s always tricky, because there’s a learning curve even if you find the best possible new employees.
Some dentists opted for another tactic—using available technology to reduce personnel requirements. Now certainly, there’s a limit to how far you can go with that sort of strategy. It’s unlikely there will ever be a robotic solution properly sophisticated enough to perform dental surgery on patients. However, there is some pretty good bookkeeping software.
Outsourcing Personnel Through Technology
Many of the duties that secretaries do for your dentistry practice are indispensable. Some of those duties, though, could easily be farmed out to a machine through dental practice management software like that in the link. As you’re exploring that link, make a checklist of things your secretary does that the software could also do.
Now, look at how many employees you have for that position. If you’ve got three employees, and you could prune things back to one office girl and new software, then you can really save a lot of money for your practice.
But many dentists already had to let extraneous personnel go. So now there’s an opportunity to reinvent operational infrastructure without hurting feelings. Where before, such reinvention of your practice would either require firing people or scaling out without hiring new employees, 2020’s lockdown and the 2021 rebound made it possible to fill the gap with software.
Solid software may even do certain aspects of the job better—for example, automated notifications. Some management software can be automated to send out reminders to patients regarding upcoming visits to your practice. The same sort of reminders can be sent to you directly regarding specific appointments such as more intensive procedures.
Pragmatic Considerations, And Moving Forward
Now, all that being said, there are limitations to such operational management tactics. For example, in all reality, you probably need at least two office girls because one or the other of them may get sick. However, a lot of offices do tend to have a handful of employees that weren’t strictly necessary, and they didn’t realize that until COVID-19 forced cutbacks.
Something else to consider is increased normalization protocols owing to pandemic safety guidelines. Some practices will either be compelled or inclined to follow such additional rules, others may not. Regions may differ on this, so many individual practices within those regions. All that being said, software can’t get sick with a virus communicable to people.
Accordingly, for communities where extensive mandates become commonplace, outsourcing to software could very well be a choice along with segues of safety. That said, this isn’t an ideal circumstance, and there is a lot to be said for the human element. The bottom line? Changes have been forced on dentistry, but fine technological solutions exist as a silver lining.
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