Increasing Productivity and Decreasing Costs with Inflation

Key initiatives dental organizations can implement to increase profit and create a market niche.

By Jenna Hughes

Costs are rising as the nation faces financial inflation, and the overall price of goods and services continues to increase. Dental organizations especially deal with the impacts of inflation as dental supplies, labor, and overhead costs climb, leading to unexpected costs and high expenses.

To be able to navigate the financial challenges of inflation, dental organizations must create a niche to stand out in the changing marketplace. Dental practices that are the least impacted by inflation tend to have a distinct market strategy. For Westwind Integrated Health, the stronghold that kept the practice afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic was the team’s focus on delivering a culture of wellness to the overall community. To ensure patient health, dental practices must consider the mouth and the rest of the body as one wellness entity.

Westwind Integrated Health has developed a wellness model within their practice to hedge against inflation and financial recessions, said Dr. Maryam Beyramian, CEO and Founder of Westwind Integrated Health in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Beyramian’s advice to dental leaders is to recognize that the market fluctuates, and organizations should plan their business strategy accordingly to anticipate these changes. 

Even with a clearly defined business strategy, it is important to remember that patient numbers may still decrease during times of financial stress. There will inevitably be times when a practice has less patients, especially during inflation events, but the productivity of staff will increase if a practice focuses on humanistic care.

A human-focused practice begins with a dental practice’s team. Morning and evening huddles, periodic meetings, and performance evaluations will allow a dental team to review and evaluate what they did, saw, built, and collected throughout the day. These checks will ensure that everyone is holding themselves accountable and making workplace improvements.

Increasing profit

To become more profit oriented, dental leaders must determine a vision and mission for the organization. In dentistry, making a profit goes beyond just scheduling more patients or drilling more teeth. Instead, the road to a greater income and success for a dental organization requires a systematic approach.

Dentistry is a necessary service. Dentists must reiterate to patients at each touchpoint that dentistry is not an option for them, and if they don’t make appointments, they are going to get sick. It must be clear to patients that to prevent getting sick, they must commit to making consistent dental visits.  

Patients that are encouraged throughout each visit that dental health is integral to overall health are more likely to make future appointments, despite their financial situations. If patients are still making appointments in light of inflation, then business doesn’t go down as drastically.

Stay true to vision and mission

To begin guiding productivity, dental leaders must first understand the magnitude of rising costs and how they are directly impacting the business. Once the impact of inflation is evaluated, strategies and goals for each team can be implemented.

Each team member within a dental organization has a goal with distinct deliverables. To track team productivity, it is helpful to use software technology. Track the deliverables that staff are able to make a daily or weekly difference in. These deliverables include day prep, scheduling, productivity, etc. 

From the data collected, analyze factors from the external environment that may be impacting business.

For example, you may also see a decrease in the amount of patients seeking dental services caused by things out of your control such as patients leaving the geographical areas you serve due to inclement weather or financial constraints that prevent people from having the income/money to spend on dental care. 

When dealing with the chaos of recession related business downturn, it is important to remain focused on the overall goals of the organization to be able to navigate any external challenges that may arise. The narrower your services and market is, the more likely that repeatable processes can be implemented to overcome inflation related financial changes.