Dentist CEO, Dental Research

How to save money and improve your dental practice’s productivity.

November 01, 2018

A productive team is key to maintaining a healthy and profitable dental practice, but rising costs and outdated technology can make that goal difficult to attain. 

The numbers don’t lie

According to the ADA, the average number of non-dentist staffers per dentist in the average practice increased from 3.6 in 1990 to 4.9 in 2012. More staff means more potential turnover, more training, and more daily oversight of employees.

That extra staff can be very expensive for a practice. If the average office has 4.9 staff members (as of 2012, the number has likely increased since then), and the average wage is $19/hour (likely a low estimate for many practices), then the average office pays over $14,000 per month alone on staff wages.

But that’s only one component of labor costs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages and salaries typically account for only 70% of total staff costs. The other 30% includes employee benefits, taxes, va­cation, social security and Medicare, federal and state unemployment, workers’ compensation, and insurance. In our example above, that’s another $6,000 in monthly personnel costs.

The good news for dental practices: there are plenty of companies out there that can help in performing routine administrative functions to relieve staff pressure and allow office teams to focus on patients.

The bad news: outdated technology can make these services more challenging to execute than the headaches they’re meant to alleviate in the first place.

Overcoming technological barriers

Offices with outdated server-based dental practice management software may retain third-party service providers only to find that giving them access to their practice information requires further expenditures in technology (on remote login tools, for example).

Yet without access to the data, there isn’t much a vendor can do to help a practice perform its administrative tasks.

Unlike desktop software, a cloud-based system like Denticon makes it very easy to grant access to practice information remotely should a practice engage with a trusted partner. Denticon is by definition accessible anytime, anywhere—as long as a user has the proper administrative rights and an internet-connected device.

The best of both worlds

Taking things even further, what if a cloud-based practice management software provider could also help with some of those tedious administrative tasks?

That’s precisely what Denticon offers with its Virtual Business Services department—a team of in-house Denticon experts who know the insurance business inside out. VBS agents can help with:

Eligibility/insurance verifications — VBS agents confirm the el­igibility of incoming patients, verify coverage (obtaining answers to 148 questions), and enter the info directly into Denticon. The agents can also enter and attach insurance plans.

Fee schedule entry — VBS agents enter individual fee sched­ules into Denticon and assign the fee schedules accordingly.

Claim correction — If corrections are needed for insurance claims that have already been submitted, VBS will obtain the additional in­formation and update the claim.

Claim follow-up — VBS can follow up on outstanding, un­paid claims and update them in Denticon. You can also ask VBS to check every month on any outstanding claims and have them follow-up on those automatically.

VBS is a transactional service, meaning that there are no contractual obligations or monthly minimums required. Offices can use VBS as they see fit, and pay only for services performed. Think of VBS as a virtual bench for your staff.

As Dr. Bauer of Bauer Dental Arts put it, “Because of VBS, I have less people in the office, so that reduces my overhead. I have no payroll, I don’t have to deal with HR issues, I don’t have to deal with someone being sick or not coming into the office and I don’t have to re-train anybody.”

This powerful combination of Denticon and VBS relieves your staff from often time-con­suming and distracting administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on growing your business through marketing, sales, treatment plan pre­sentations, recall efforts, great patient service, and exceptional patient care.