Happy New Year, Mouthing Off readers!
The 2014 countdown has expired, and a new time clock has begun. 2015 welcomes new experiences, memories, successes and lessons to be learned. The turning over of a new leaf, the fresh or refresh, the commit or recommit, the dedicate or rededicate can be the exciting push and encouragement we need to hit the ground running in 2015.
Though many goals will be set, some may not be achieved, but the first step is to set goals. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a list of goals written down already, and one of them is to deliver a motivational and informational book review to you. You may be thinking, “Jay, I don’t have ‘reading more books’ on my list of goals.” But allow me to change your mind, especially our soon-to-be-graduated Class of 2015 dental students.
The American Dental Association provides countless resources, both tangible and intangible, to dental students. One book I’ve recently read, “The ADA Practical Guide to Expert Business Strategies,” opened my eyes to many business and practice management aspects of dentistry that we may not be exposed to in dental school. This guide is organized into 10 chapters that highlight important practice management criteria that can help your business succeed. For students graduating this spring, this guide is ideal for you to help with the transition from dental school to private, corporate or associate practice. Though targeted at readers who will soon manage a practice, this guide also has relevancy to current dental students to help manage their patients in their dental clinics. Here are brief synopses of a few chapters that I believed are critical to know of when managing a practice, though all 10 chapters are important reads:
Chapter 1: The Basics of Working with Insurance Plans
This chapter describes some of the major types of insurance plans available, how to manage insurance coverage, and advice for coding. The Current Dental Terminology Codes is quoted as being the “Bible” for dentists when reporting dental codes to insurance companies. There needs to be a means to getting paid for your work and making sure your claims are accurately recorded.
Chapter 2: Scheduling
The common phrase “Time is of the essence” can’t be any truer for a practicing dentist. Efficient scheduling and planning a calendar of appointments makes or breaks a dental practice. Balancing between keeping a flow of patients in and out of your office and the variety of dental procedures you perform will determine whether your practice will make money, stay even or lose money. This chapter focuses on how to plan efficiently with your office staff, dental assistants, hygienists and patients.
Chapter 7: Improving Patient Satisfaction and Retention
A happy patient makes a happy dentist. Without patients, dentists will be without jobs. This chapter talks about how to satisfy your patients, creating surveys to assess the quality of service and experience, and ways to increase patient retention. There was important information in this chapter about communicating well with your patients and establishing a relationship that can help your practice grow.
Chapter 8: Keeping Pace With An Ever-changing Social Media World
Being a social media addict, this chapter proved to be one of the most intriguing and important chapters in the whole guide to me. Communication is constantly evolving and keeping up with these changes can differentiate a successful business from a struggling one. This chapter introduces the social media novice to terminology they should get acquainted with, how to create a presence in the social media sphere, and how to find a social media partner that can help advertise your practice beyond your typical business cards, word of mouth and paper flyers.
If there’s one guide that a dental student, especially a D4, should pick up, it’s this one. Packed full of advice from the industry’s top dental consultants, the “ADA Practical Guide to Expert Business Strategies” will not only help you become aware of the business aspect of dentistry, but will also help you become a better, more successful business leader and practice owner. This guide is great for D1s through D3s as well. So how about you make a new goal this year and add to the wealth of knowledge you already have by reading this guide from the ADA?
Just when you thought Christmas was over, Mouthing Off will be giving away two FREE copies of this guide, our readers. Please leave a comment below of one dental-related New Year’s goal you made. Winner will be randomly chosen and notified via e-mail.
*This contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered! We’d still love to hear your resolutions in the comments section. If you’d like to purchase the ADA Practical Guide to Expert Business Strategies, check out the special ASDA discount below!
You can get 25% off the member price of ADA catalog products just by being an ASDA member. Visit the ADA catalog by clicking here. Log in and use promo code 15801 at checkout to get your special discount on ADA catalog products (excluding Kindle and Nook books) through the end of 2015. ASDA member discount cannot be combined with any other offers.
~Jay Banez, Marquette ’16, electronic editor