In most dental practices, there really is no official Office Manager. 

First of all, the number of employees is too small, and no one wants to be “managed.” The day-to-day work goes on and the office makes a profit but often the office could do a lot better.  The doctor is so busy doing the dentistry that no one is paying attention to what is really happening.  Staff members know that things could run better and gripe to each other. 

Photo by Junior REIS on Unsplash

One of my clients came up with a really good solution to this dilemma.  One day a week, during lunchtime, in fifteen minute short and to the point meetings, each department gets to meet with the doctor(s).  Perhaps the hygienists meet with the doctor from 12-12:15pm, the chairside assistants from 12:15-12:30 pm, and the front desk personnel from 12:30-12:45pm.  If there are multiple doctors, they get to meet from 12:45-1pm. Every effort is made not to run over into lunch that day. Staff members can report on the systems that are not working well and could be better. 

In this office, staff members reported that insurance was not being verified before new patients were being scheduled in the hygiene chair.  This was a real problem because some patients did not know that they would be paying out of pocket.  In another office only one person from the front desk was checking patients out and there were long waits at the front desk. In another office, route slips were not being filled out by the staff in the back so the front desk people were not getting the information that they needed to schedule the next appointment.  By hearing these current situations, the doctor was able to take action right away, change staff performance immediately, and then watch the profit of the practice go up. 

So, the doctor needs to become the Office Manager, provide this supervision to the staff, and then smile every day as the goals of the office are reached!