The Great Resignation & the Great Adaptation

How to use technology to help your remaining team save time, reduce stress, and increase profits.

By Ryan Hungate, DDS, MS, Founder of Simplifeye

Are you exhausted running your dental group practice? You’re not alone. For the past two years, you’ve juggled one challenge after another, and along comes Omicron. Dental group practices have staffing shortages from illness and exposure, on top of the shortages already caused by resignations and retirements. It’s hard to find quality hires, and practices are having to pay more in salaries and benefits than ever before. Plus, practices are paying more for supplies. Fortunately, technology and automation can reduce overhead, improve working conditions, and increase revenue for your practice or group.

The Next Normal

COVID-19 transformed our daily lives. It fast-forwarded technology adoption and created a self-service, instant-results culture. People discovered the convenience of being able to shop online anytime, rather than when stores are open. They discovered they like being able to make appointments and reservations online, rather than having to wait to call when the doctor’s office, restaurant, or hair salon opens.

According to a McKinsey Global Survey of executives, the pandemic caused companies to accelerate
the digitization of their customer interactions and internal operations by several years. The executives surveyed said 80% of their customer interactions now start online.

Adapting to Changing Patient Expectations

Online Scheduling

Online scheduling is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a critical part of the patient experience. The key to successfully implementing a self-scheduling platform in your practice is to choose one that gives your practice the ability to customize which procedures, providers, and appointment times you want to offer. You should choose a partner that is easy to set up, fully integrates with your practice management system in real-time, and allows your team to still schedule appointments manually, too. 

24/7 Customer Service

Your potential patients are online during lunchtime, nights, and weekends. Do you have employees available to answer questions over the phone 24/7? 

GT Thlagarajah

One way to adapt is to add a live chat service to your website. Select a company that responds to your website visitors within seconds, collects all the relevant information, and converts those chats into appointments. 

For instance, New England Dental Group moved from having their internal scheduling team handle live chats to hiring a professional live chat service and generated an additional $46,000 in revenue in just two months. 

“The conversion rate online has been tenfold,” said GT Thiagarajah, the Director of Operations. “I wish I had found this earlier. It’s a no-brainer.”

Adding technology such as live chat and online scheduling saves your team hours on the phone and saves your patients from the aggravation of being put on hold or sent to voicemail.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Technology automates other tasks that are currently hard, annoying, or time-consuming. The average dental practice has over $1.2 million of unscheduled treatment in their records. Tools that use AI-based algorithms make it easy to identify patients with incomplete treatment plans and text them a link to schedule online. Choose a service that lets you identify unscheduled patients based on procedure, last treatment date, remaining insurance coverage, and more options. Implementing a tool like this would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for every practice without changing any processes internally and without requiring addtional effort from the front desk team.

Is your front desk overwhelmed? Between checking patients in and out, verifying insurance, and answering phones, your team is juggling a lot, which increases the likelihood of mistakes. One easy way to free up more time at the front desk is to use wireless credit card readers that let your team collect payment from anywhere in the practice. Additionally, you can send patients automated text-to-pay reminders that get paid up to 80% faster than paper invoices. 

James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits”, says the best way to create a good habit is to automate it so you never have to think about it again. Fortunately, dentists and DSO executives have the tools available to automate many of the tasks that used to take their team hours to accomplish. From the great resignation to the great adaptation, successful companies are using the tools available to them to save time, reduce stress and increase revenue.

Dr. Ryan Hungate

Ryan Hungate, DDS, is a practicing orthodontist and the founder and CEO of Simplifeye, a company focused on streamlining processes to increase patients and revenue while decreasing overhead. Dr. Hungate is one of the country’s leading experts on the intersection of dentistry and technology. He shares easy-to-implement advice for dentists who want to modernize their practices and reduce overhead by adding automation and workflows to help their businesses run more efficiently.

Dr. Hungate graduated from the orthodontic specialty program at USC and continues to volunteer his skills each month to help children. Prior to dental school, Dr. Hungate worked at Apple’s headquarters and helped design the customer workflow adopted by Apple’s retail stores globally.