The (Statistically) Hardest Part of Running a Dental Practice

May 17, 2017 Rieva Lesonsky

What's the hardest part of running your dental practice? If you’re like other dentists in a recent survey, the answer is "no-shows and cancellations." 2016 Survey Report: Dental Industry X-Ray polled more than 1,400 dental professionals about their biggest pain points. Here are the rest of dentists' biggest headaches, in descending order:

  • Verifying patient insurance eligibility and benefits
  • Collecting payment from patients after they leave the office
  • Acquiring new patients
  • Filling insurance claims and tracking insurance payments
  • Soliciting reviews and developing an online presence
  • Making data-driven decisions on how to run the business/dental office
  • Tracking staff accountability and performance
  • Having existing patients schedule appointments
  • Transcribing patient check-in forms to the patient management system

What do dentists believe are the most important factors in the success of their practice? From most to least important, they are:

  • Reducing no-shows and cancellations
  • Growing the patient base
  • Increasing practice production/profitability
  • Improving office efficiency
  • Increasing case acceptance
  • Reactivating dormant patients
  • Shortening patient recall time

The good news for dentists: Many of their biggest pain points can be eased by using automated patient communication software such as Lighthouse 360. Patient communication software helps take labor-intensive daily duties off the staff’s plate, giving them more time to address tasks that directly affect the bottom line.

Lighthouse 360 helps eliminate no-shows and cancellations by sending patients automatic reminders of upcoming appointments. Patients can confirm their appointments by email, text or phone; the information goes directly into your practice’s PMS, so there's no need to manually update the system. Lighthouse 360 also generates follow-up lists for your front desk staff so they can quickly call or text patients who haven’t responded to any of the reminders.

When cancellations do occur, Lighthouse 360 makes it easy to quickly fill the open time slots. In just a few clicks, your front desk staff can use the waitlist messaging feature to contact all patients who've expressed interest in getting an earlier appointment. There’s even a reactivation outreach feature that automatically sends dormant patients customized emails and letters from your practice.

What about growing your patient base? Lighthouse 360 can help there, too. For example, it automatically collects reviews from patients and posts the positive ones to popular review sites like Google and Yelp. You'll even get your own page on to highlight your practice’s positive reviews.

Expanding your audience on social media helps attract new patients. Lighthouse 360 makes it simple to upload photos, posts and reviews to Facebook directly from your practice’s Lighthouse 360 portal.

With more patients, fewer missed appointments and a pipeline of patients to fill open slots, your practice can run more efficiently — and more profitably.



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