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Are Dental Practice Management Consultants Worth the Investment?

As the owner of a dental practice, you inevitably wear a lot of hats — including the one that keeps your business running smoothly and focused on reaching your goals. But managing a business may not come naturally to you. And even if it does, how do you give it the time it deserves while also seeing patients and perfecting your craft?

Unless you’re prepared to hire an in-house team to run your business, you’ll have to look elsewhere for guidance and support. A great place to start is with a practice management consultant.

What is a dental practice management consultant?

A dental consultant helps dentists improve their practice by providing advice, training, and expertise. This extends across areas like:

  • Office management
  • Human resources
  • Patient interaction
  • Staff training
  • Equipment purchases
  • Finances and billing
  • Marketing and advertising

A dental practice management consultant can be hired for an ongoing retainer, for individual workshops and training, and sometimes on an as-needed basis. The consultant may be an individual or a group of professionals. Additionally, dental consultants may specialize in one specific area (such as online marketing or staff training) while others take an all encompassing approach.

Advice from a Dental Consultant

“All practices should be growing each year by a minimum of 15-20%. if that’s not happening, assess your management systems and apply the 3 rules of CHANGE…

If something is working, celebrate and DO MORE of it
If a system is NOT working – stop the insanity and DO something DIFFERENT
If you don’t know if it works or not, analyze and FIND OUT.”

– Lisa Philp, TGNAPracticeManagement.com

What does a dental consultant do?

Dental practice management consultants are particularly useful when you’re establishing a practice, expanding and growing, transitioning to a new software or management tool, or in general looking to improve the operations and success of your practice.

A consultant can help you with a variety of practice management details:

  • Developing your business plan
  • Creating long and short-term goals
  • Developing your brand
  • Creating and implementing marketing and advertising strategies
  • Improving scheduling and the patient experience
  • Defining employee roles and systems for hiring
  • Building an office culture that enhances your practice’s success
  • Improving internal communication 
  • Streamlining your charting and record keeping system
  • Ensuring you are complying with local and federal regulations
  • Developing promotions and financing programs
  • Growing revenue by training front office staff
  • Reducing no-shows and appointment cancellations

The most important thing that a dental consultant does is bring objectivity to the table. Staying objective when making big decisions about your practice is incredibly important, but not easy. An outside observer who is experienced in the dental industry can take a balanced look at your practice and see the areas that need to improve.

Advice from a Dental Consultant

“Think like a big business. Ask yourself – how can I create maximum efficiency in my practice, lower costs, and create an incredible new patient experience? Small dental groups are doing this well. The practices who figure this out too will survive and thrive.”

– Jacob Puhl, DEODentalGroup.com

Do you need a practice management consultant?

Working with a consultant can turn over a new leaf for your practice. But is it the right approach for you? 

  • Do you feel confident in the business side of running your practice?
  • Is there anything specific you want to learn about running your practice?
  • Are you unsure how to accomplish the goals for your practice?
  • Do you wish your practice were more efficient?
  • Has the growth or revenue of your practice plateaued? Worse, is it falling?
  • Is your practice preparing to go through growth, change, or transition?
  • Do you want to get more patients through your door?

Most dentists can relate with at least one of the sentiments above. The real question is, do you have the tools, skills, and time to address the situation yourself? If not, a dental practice management consultant can be beneficial.

Alternatively, you can hire a dental management professional on staff or piecemeal a solution together based on your specific needs. 

For example, maybe you already know that what your practice needs to be successful is a new patient scheduling software or a charting system. In these cases, you might feel comfortable working with the scheduling or charting company directly to implement and train your team.

However, if you know your practice requires a more complete overhaul — or you really just aren’t sure where to start or what needs to change — a dental consultant can point you in the right direction or even become a valuable long-term partner.

Advice from a Dental Consultant

“Track at least 5 key practice performance indicators each month. For example, net production vs. collection, dr. production vs. hygiene production, new patient flow, case acceptance percentage, and cancellations and no-shows. Understand how this information compares to your practice benchmarks and dental practice averages.”

– David J Goodman CPA, LBGCPAS.com

Choosing the right dental consultant for your practice

Your practice deserves more than a consultant who simply comes in, tells you what to do, and then takes off, leaving you with a bill.

The mark of a great dental consultant is one who becomes a partner of your team, not a boss. You want this consultant to listen and really understand you, your approach, what you value, and where you want to go. Only then can a consultant help inspire real change and success for your practice.

With all this in mind, we recommend looking at the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC). This professional organization is committed to helping dentists establish and maintain exceptionally high standards of practice. They offer some great resources and can help connect you with dentistry’s top professional advisors.

Consider once again what specific areas your practice needs help with, such as

  • Getting new patients (marketing solutions)
  • Patient retention
  • New systems to address lack of inefficiencies
  • Setting goals
  • Addressing compliance issues or concerns (OSHA/HIPAA/Risk Management)
  • Communication, leadership, teambuilding, etc.
  • Human resources
  • Treatment presentation

Once you have a better idea of what areas your practice needs the most improvement, you’ll be able to narrow down your options. Search the ADMC member base, talk to your peers about consultants they’ve worked with before, and start interviewing.

Find us on the ADMC!

As a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants, Dan and our team would love to talk to you about how we can help your practice grow.

The questions you ask the consultant will largely depend on the specific advice and service you’re looking for. But here are a few general questions to get you started:

  • How does this relationship work?
  • What can I expect from this relationship?
  • Who will I be working with?
  • How do you define success for my practice?
  • What are the outcomes of this partnership?
  • What is the pricing model and billing structure?

Grow your practicing with an online marketing strategy

Dan Delmain is an ADMC member and works with practice owners throughout the US who are interested in growing their business.

Our dental marketing strategies deliver results.

  • You’ll rank higher in Google searches
  • Help new patients discover your practice
  • Ultimately, you’ll see more patients and your practice grow

We know what works, and it starts by getting to know you and developing a partnership built on trust. Combining dental patient marketing best practices with proven methods, we’ll work hand-in-hand with your team to implement a strategy designed to meet your goals. 

Learn more about our dental marketing services or reach out to Dan at (503) 477-9298.

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