Year-End Audit of Your Dental Practice? Don’t Get Lost in the Ledger
As 2019 comes to a close, many practices will be hitting the books as part of their year-end business check-up. While the books are where your review can start, it’s not where it should end. Dental practices benefit when they read in between the ledger lines and recognize opportunities that can jumpstart practice growth in 2020.
To that point, the practice management experts at XLDent provide some helpful pointers for conducting a thorough year-end review.
Important audit questions:
-> How many new patients did the practice gain each month?
-> Which insurance plans are no longer in use?
-> Which key demographic saw the most growth in your patient database?
-> Which marketing ventures were most successful?
When you have a clear picture of overall success and trends over the past 12 months, it’s much easier to set goals. Hopefully you’re working within a practice management system that offers comprehensive tools that can help you analyze, clarify, and set new goals going forward.
XLDent reports easily break out details for types of procedures completed and serve as a comparison report for this year against the previous.
For instance, you might take a closer look at accounts receivable (AR) collections. If you’ve struggled to close the loop in accounting, consider offering a patient web portal that’s accessible after hours. XLDent’s XLPortal software gives patients the ability to complete registration forms for the entire family online, view scheduled appointments, view proposed treatment, view treatment history, access billing statements, make payments online, and more. Recognizing that forms aren’t “one-size-fits-all,” XLDent works with offices to digitize any custom forms they’re currently using.
Pro-tip: XLDent also offers a corresponding Doctor Portal, giving each dentist access to review patient records and appointment schedules on a mobile device at any time.
On the subject of patient records, your patient database may need to be updated. It’s beneficial to revisit your inactivated patient list at this time.
Important audit questions:
-> How long has it been since the patient has been seen?
-> Has the patient responded to any of your recall efforts?
-> How many patients pre-appoint for their next visit?
Reaching out to inactive patients is easier than you think thanks to automation. XLDent has teamed up with Lighthouse 360 to provide an integrated eReminder Service solution. The patient communication software works seamlessly with the XLDent software suite for your dental office. Helpful features include emails, 2-way text messages, automated phone calls, postcards, and letters.
Pro-tip: Better patient communication means greater office efficiency, scheduled recalls, more reactivated patients, and fewer broken appointments.
The Clinical Component
In 2020, it’s hard to ignore the growing trend toward chairside patient education, but what you may not realize is that being tech-savvy doesn’t require a huge capital expenditure. With a simple tablet, you can present a treatment plan, answer questions, and have patients sign consent forms.
XLDent offers XLChart paperless charting that’s customizable to any specialty and offers the ability to make notes directly on the chart. The feature’s integration with front-office billing also helps to prevent errors.
To the point of technology, your year-end review is also a good time to audit your practice network and devices.
-> How old is the hardware in the office?
-> Is your software meeting all your needs?
-> Do you need to implement updates to maintain system security?
-> Is your practice planning to add another location this year?
When considering these questions, remember it’s OK not to know the answer! Lean into your relationship with your practice management software provider to ask questions. They’ll share best practices for saving time and increasing efficiency.
The truth is that practice management software is complex, and there are always updates and features that your staff could be implementing. When your team fully understands their software tools and job functions within the scope of a digital, paperless environment, they gain the ability to become more efficient, improve patient experiences, and help your dental practice become more profitable.
Pro-tip: XLDent offers users access to live and recorded webinars, as well as access to new staff member programs. To learn more, check out www.xldent.com/training-support. Remember: time spent training is time well spent!