Setting up a dental clinic can be a very interesting business opportunity, especially for dentists. However, as it is an activity carried out by a professional with a technical and scientific profile, there is a risk of not taking the aspects of management, finance, marketing, or human resources, among others, seriously enough. For this reason, today I am going to give you some keys to the good management of a dental clinic.
Being a good dentist and being a good manager are two different things
It is clear that much of the success of a clinic comes from the technical skills and clinical professionalism of the dentist. If the dentist does a good job and solves their patients’ problems, they are more likely to come back and recommend them to family and friends.
However, the good management of a business such as a dental clinic goes far beyond the talent of the titular dentist. First, the staff of a clinic is rarely reduced to a single professional. The investment in the premises and in equipment makes it much more profitable to have several dentists working in the clinic. And that already implies having to manage human resources. But above all, a technically excellent dentist can mismanage his business, from finances to marketing to supplier relationships.
That is something very important, regardless of the sector: being an expert in something does not imply knowing how to manage a business.
The importance of management training
In the second part of the article, I am going to detail some of the most important management aspects of a dental clinic. But first, I wanted to emphasize that, to learn how to manage a business well, you don’t have to limit yourself to trial and error. We live in the information age, and to become a good clinic manager, there is training like this one, which provides all the necessary keys.
The alternative to the dentist being trained in management is to hire a coordinator or director at the clinic. That person will obviously have an administrator profile, with academic training and professional experience that will qualify them for the position.
What are the key elements for the management of a dental clinic?
Manage the patient experience
Any business has to always strive to provide the best possible shopping experience for their customers. In the case of a dental clinic, as I indicated before, it is clear that the quality of the work of the professionals (dentist, hygienist) is of great importance. But it is not the only factor that influences the patient experience.
Other elements are very important
One of them is the treatment received. For the vast majority of people, going to a dental clinic is a stressful experience, associated with a certain fear of pain. That is why it is even more essential than in other businesses that all the clinic staff are friendly, and that the dentist is very attentive to the well-being and comfort of his patients, at all times.
Waiting is another relevant factor. Patients highly value not having to wait many days to get an appointment, and, above all, not having to wait to be seen on the scheduled day.
There are many ways to improve the patient experience, and a good place to start is by tracking the satisfaction of your clinic’s patients.
Good human resource management
As I mentioned before, it is normal for a dental clinic to operate with more than one person. There are usually one or more dentists who are the investors in the business, other dentists who collaborate as self-employed professionals, and employed staff. Sometimes there is a person for the reception, and another with the title of dental hygienist, although in a small clinic it is common that the person who assists the dentist also takes care of the reception tasks.
Maintaining a good work environment or motivating employees and collaborators involves implementing a human resources strategy. This implies setting objectives and guidelines, communicating effectively, being attentive to the needs of people, and much more.
For a business, attracting new patients represents a very significant expenditure of resources. That is why it is so important to gain the loyalty of the clinic’s patients. Of course, the aforementioned quality of experience matters a lot. But techniques can also be applied, such as sending a reminder to patients a year after their last visit or preparing adapted marketing campaigns.
Economic management of the dental clinic
The finances of the business are critical to the viability and profitability of the clinic.
It is an aspect that begins before starting the project, with the preparation of the business plan. A dental clinic requires a significant investment in work and equipment, so it is essential to make reasonable sales assumptions and estimate the results and the cash situation during the first months and years.
Once the project is underway, it is also necessary to understand the financial statements of the company and make a management control to take action and improve the profitability of the business. For example, knowing better what margin each job contributes, it is possible to assess whether to raise any price or renegotiate the conditions with the suppliers of some products or materials.
Business financing, in particular negotiating with banks and choosing the best financial products, also require some management knowledge.
In Spain, dental services are almost exclusively private, and there is great competition between clinics, which makes marketing a fundamental weapon to differentiate and attract patients.
In addition to working on the elements of the marketing mix (product, price, distribution, and communication), developing greater knowledge on the subject also allows you to take better advantage of Internet opportunities.
Online marketing has become the main channel of communication between companies and their clients, and a dental clinic has to make the most of it. I am talking about search engine positioning and advertising (SEO and SEM), but also about communication strategies on social networks.
Good management for a profitable dental clinic
A good dentist, at the head of a dental clinic project, can greatly improve the potential of his business thanks to his management knowledge. By improving the patient experience, good human resource management, financial control, marketing strategies, and patient loyalty, you can turn a good project into a very profitable clinic.