Denka’s Terry Ashmore asks: “If time is money, are you spending yours wisely?”
Many dentists would argue that nowhere is time more precious than within a dental practice. After all, the success of a practice depends on generating repeat business by delivering high quality treatment. Yet, with the majority of dentists facing a wide variety of challenges in the day-to-day running of their businesses, it can be difficult to stay on top of an increasingly heavy workload.
If you run a busy clinic, you may find you are struggling to manage your time effectively, which could impact the overall quality of your service. This can not only have a knock-on effect on your bottom line, but also on your mental wellbeing.
The British Dental Association has found time constraints and pressures to be one of several factors to blame for the prevalence of work-related stress for an estimated 37% of dentists in the UK . It becomes essential for practitioners to analyse how they are spending their time, so they can take steps to optimise their workflow and improve the efficiency of patient care without compromising on quality.
Assess, plan and prioritise
The first step to managing your time effectively is to track how long you are spending on daily tasks and procedures during a typical week. This information could help reveal specific areas where time could be saved, so you can then start to plan how each task should be completed, and within what time frame.
As part of this process you must consider the transition time between tasks in order to avoid appointment overlaps. It is also vital you identify when some tasks might take priority over others. For instance, you may want to spend the majority of your time carrying out more involved cases such as the fitting of a dental crown, while routine check-ups are completed by your dental hygienist.
Managing your time in this way can help improve job satisfaction and have a positive impact on your practice profits.
As every dentist knows, it is impossible to run a dental practice alone, which is why the delegation of tasks amongst the dental team is crucial. Each member of your staff should have a clear understanding of their assigned roles and it is important that you provide them the freedom to complete any tasks they are given.
Taking a few minutes to fill out paperwork that could be completed by your administrative team is time that could be better spent treating patients. If, however, you feel some staff members lack the skills to perform a specific task to the highest standards, then it is essential that they are trained properly.
Invest in time-saving technology
Many practices now rely on solutions that can streamline the booking process, manage appointments and remind patients of upcoming procedures. A significant number have also invested in the latest dental equipment, including intraoral cameras, which eliminate traditional impression-taking processes that can take valuable time to perform.
Similarly, cutting-edge CAD/CAM technology can be used to fabricate a wide range of restorations chairside, which enables dentists to treat more patients in less time.
Organising your practice so you have the right equipment when you need it is essential for effective time management. It is worth considering who you are sourcing supplies from, and whether the supplier provides advice and guidance about improving inventory management within your practice.
To this end Denka introduced its intuitive DenkaSMART supplier portal, which enables customers to order and maintain stock of essential products and specialist equipment. This can help optimise supply ordering, which can be a time-consuming process.
Time is precious – not just to you, but also to your patients. By managing your time effectively, you can increase the efficiency of your workflow and improve the overall treatment experience for the benefit of patients, saving yourself unnecessary stress. If time is money, ensure you spend yours wisely.
Terry Ashmore is Denka’s New Business Development Manager. He says: “Since joining Denka I have been keen to learn everything there is to know about the world of dentistry and have relished the opportunity to develop this through networking with clients to help provide the high level of customer service they deserve.” For more information, visit www.denkauk.com
1] British Dental Association. (2014) Sources of Work-related Stress among Salaried Primary Care Dentists in the UK. Link click HERE. [Last accessed: 03.12.18].