Do you need a dental management consultant?
As a dentist you make multiple decisions every day, on behalf of your patients as well as your practice.
One decision is often a tough call though: when, how and why to hire a dental management consultant.
Sometimes certain issues – a billing system that is a tangled web or high no-shows – are a known problem in need of help, but other dentists might have just a nagging feeling that a practice overhaul will smooth out some rough edges.
Mirissa Price, in an article for Colgate Professionals, says hiring a consultant should spring from an important self-analysis. “The hardest question you should ask yourself is the most important: Is the practice I am running today the practice I want to be running for the rest of my career?” Dr. Price writes.
The next question is imperative as well. Taking in your vision and values,
- Do I want to make the practice more profitable?
- Do I want to make the practice run more smoothly?
Your next moves will flow from that answer, because consultants tend to specialize in one of those areas.
Also, the consultant will report to you, but it’s important to understand that the consultant’s work will touch every aspect of your practice and every one of your employees. You need their “buy-in” with the plans that develop.
From your supply manager to payroll administrator, from appointment supervisor to your lead hygienist, every person on your team handles a slice of the practice. The consultant can review your practice in its entirety and help develop new systems – tailored to your practice – that will be more streamlined and productive.
“In addition, your consultant will help you change the office culture to one of accountability and support,” writes Kevin Coughlin, a dentist, coach and consultant through his Massachusetts-based Ascent Dental Solutions. “This is best done by involving your entire team in developing and implementing the changes.”
Another consideration is cost. Only you can decide how much you can afford to spend on a consultant. Understand up front what the costs will be for a short-term contract or an ongoing service. You may decide a dental coach is more appropriate to help you devise a business plan or goals. On the other hand, a consultant will help you build systems for your practice that improve its efficiency and operation.
Whichever direction you go, a fresh set of eyes will be invaluable as you identify areas to work on, set your goals and craft your plan to achieve them.
Photo by izusek, https://www.istockphoto.com.
The views expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily the opinions of the Chicago Dental Society.
CDS presents Front Desk, a column addressing issues facing dentists and staff members experience in the office.
Front Desk is prepared by Stephanie Sisk, Assistant Director of Communications for the Chicago Dental Society.