Like any other business establishment, dental offices can reduce overhead costs in a variety of ways. However, this doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of care nor the patient experience in the name of decreasing expenses. In fact, some of these cost-cutting measures can even improve the quality of patient care in the process.
If you want to reduce the overhead costs in your dental practice, here are some practical strategies that you can apply:
Choose the right orthodontics laboratory
Purchasing orthodontics appliances does not directly affect your overhead costs, but not having to reschedule appointments due to non-delivery can. National laboratories may not be able to deliver your orders promptly every time. In contrast, local laboratories may not always have the digital solutions and output flexibility you’re looking for. That said, it’s imperative that you look for a digital dental lab that can deliver your appliances on time without sacrificing product quality.
In doing so, you can reduce the incidences of rescheduling, which can help cut down on unnecessary overhead costs and increase patient satisfaction at the same time.
If you buy dental supplies from different suppliers or distributors, you may be spending more than you need to, even if you pick the best prices with each supplier. Firstly, the additional costs apart from the actual cost of dental supplies, such as delivery fees, can add up with each separate vendor that you have.
Furthermore, you can save more money by maximizing your purchase power with one distributor. Why? Because you will have better chances of securing discounts and taking advantage of bulk order prices if you give one distributor all of your business instead of only a portion of it.
Apart from the cost savings, there is also the benefit of having only one company to work with, meaning you have fewer people that you need to talk to, less hassle when it comes to deliveries, and only one set of purchase documents to create with each order.
Use automated reminders
Some of the biggest causes of lost income are late cancellations and no-show appointments. And most of the time, these things happen because patients forget that they have an appointment.
To avoid late cancellations and missed appointments, use an automated reminder system that will send a notification to every patient to remind them of their appointment and confirm their attendance. Apart from having lower chances of patients forgetting their appointments, this type of system will also allow patients to cancel days ahead and free up those slots for replacements.
Paper may seem like a negligible cost to the office, but it can add up just like every other seemingly small thing. Instead of buying reams and reams of paper, adopt digital solutions that can help you reduce this unnecessary cost and downsize your carbon footprint at the same time.
A great example is to use a digital sign-up kiosk at the front desk instead of having patients fill up sign-in forms manually. More than that, you can also digitize most of your paperwork, which can help improve data security.
Join buying groups
As we’ve said before, maximizing your purchase power can help you reduce your practice’s expenses—but this tactic can only do so much, especially if your practice is small. An excellent alternative is to join a group of dentists and combine your purchasing power to maximize the cost benefits for everyone. However, you need to ensure that the collective or group you are joining is buying from suppliers you know and trust.
If your laboratory expenses are eating up too much of your overhead—say, 10% of the total—it’s recommended that you get this number down to 6% by switching to a new lab. However, do so with extreme care—you wouldn’t want to sacrifice quality for the sake of saving money. But the good news is that many laboratories today can deliver great results at more affordable prices, mostly due to the development of laboratory technology.
Moreover, consider both national and local labs. Both of these options have varying levels of cost and quality. Still, one is not always better than the other, so be sure to do due diligence when evaluating every viable option.
Overhead costs have a direct effect on your profit as a dental practice. Thus, reducing them can have an inversely proportional effect on your take-home. More than that, many of these cost-cutting strategies can also improve your practice’s patient experience, relationships with other practices, and employee productivity in the process.