Outsourcing: Is it right for your practice?

Dec. 16, 2021
Don't be too quick to write off outsourcing for your practice—your team will love you for it.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of compilation articles written by team members of DIY Digital Dental Consulting. The topic of this latest article is whether outsourcing is good for your practice. Here’s their hands-on advice. 

Outsourcing benefits are numerous

Is it possible for your practice to function at peak performance when you’re short staffed? Dentists know firsthand the stress and frustration of working without some positions filled. The consequences of being short staffed can be costly. Overburdened team members are less productive and less efficient as job satisfaction, morale, and engagement decrease. When team members feel excessive stress and frustration, it’s impossible for them to provide a remarkable patient experience for every patient. 

One option to relieve the situation is to hire an outsourcing company. There is a common misconception that outsourcing is expensive. That could not be further from the truth, especially when you consider the consequences of a team unable to complete essential tasks or provide patient experiences that reflect your practice philosophy. 

I speak from firsthand knowledge about working with an outsourcing company. When you engage these services, not only is team stress relieved, but it creates the time needed for team members to serve patients calmly and thoroughly. With an outsourcing company, you’ll be assigned a dedicated team specialist to represent your practice. This person works with your team to accomplish tasks that they don’t have time for, such as filling the schedule, insurance verification, accounts receivable, hygiene recare and reactivation of patients, follow-up on unscheduled treatment, and appointment confirmations. The list is endless. 

There is no guesswork involved about value because you will receive an accountability report showing detailed results. Remember—either the owner rectifies the situation, or the team member will. If you’d like a referral, email me at [email protected]. 

- Nancy Clark-Crossin 

Don’t listen to everyone else 

A good way to describe outsourcing is, “I’ll pay you to do this part of my stuff so I can make more money doing this part of my stuff.” So, why doesn’t everybody outsource? A friend once told me how he finally decided to outsource. He is self-employed and as his business grew, he still found himself doing things like mowing the lawn. The decision to outsource was easy for him, but admittedly change can make us feel uneasy. 

If you’re thinking about outsourcing, it’s important to be honest. If you’re holding on, find out why. For 20 years, I took pride in the work I did in the dental office. In fact, I had so much pride that I didn’t want anyone else to take over my job and mess it up! Yes, the work needs to be done, but the question becomes—is pouring hours of work into that specific task the best use of your employees’ time and skills, and is it really what’s best for the practice? 

During the past 15 years, I’ve encountered many objections to outsourcing. A few of the most frequent comments include: “We just aren’t busy enough to outsource.” “I’m about to retire so I don’t need to spend the money.” “I’m just starting my practice and don’t need more bills right now.” “We can do it ourselves and we’ll do it for ‘free.’” “My team members pushed back on the idea.” And, “I know what’s best for my practice, but my team member has nothing good to say about outsourcing.” 

You need to take many things into consideration. Do you want to be busier? Will outsourcing help you accomplish your goals? The busier you get, the harder it is to make time for research and decision making. Retiring dentists should position themselves for a healthy and prosperous sale. 

Many teams are shocked when they realize how much time they dedicate to insurance verification. This is something that can be easily outsourced to save the team time and stress. Many decisions are based on feelings rather than facts. When deciding to outsource, I recommend having a dependable process in place to properly measure your return on investment. Outsourcing can serve your office in many ways.

- Jodie Pearson

Control accounts receivable                                               

My business motto is to provide excellent patient care and customer service along with quality dentistry. Ensuring that patients have an amazing experience is key to a successful practice. But we all know there are many behind-the-scenes duties that need attention to have a successful business. These tasks are often put on the back burner because we’re focused on patients, on the phone, or on the schedule. These are all crucial to stay in business, but if they’re consuming all the team’s time it might be worth considering outsourcing.

Outsourcing is becoming more popular not only because we’re busy with patients, but because of the hard reality of our industry’s growing dilemma, which is a shortage of qualified employees. While there are many tasks that practices can outsource, the one I want to discuss is accounts receivables (AR), which is the first thing I often see get pushed to the wayside.

If you don’t have a designated employee who works solely on insurance billing and tracking outstanding claims, then most likely you have a high AR. I recommend looking at your AR over 90 days. If it’s high, there are benefits to outsourcing. It will get your AR under control, put money in the bank, and free up your employees to focus on patient care and customer service.

There are several companies that offer this service. If your AR is neglected, I encourage you to consider finding a company that is the right fit for you and your practice. 

Candice Martin

More articles from DIY consultants 

Can your practice pass a risk management assessment? 
Time to update your new-patient experience 
Do you know what your dental patients want?
Do you know what your dental team is saying?

Consider a membership plan

Outsourcing is an incredible way to expand the talent pool in every industry, and the dental industry is no exception. Clinical care must be provided in the office, and customer service must also be delivered in person. What other aspects of administration can we resource outside of the practice? 

Have you considered adding a membership plan? Think about patients who do not have dental benefits, who are overpaying for their benefits, and who are disappointed in their coverage. Look at the write-offs that you take every month compared to your standard fees. Integrating a membership plan can be beneficial to patients and your business. This is not insurance and may not be referred to as insurance. 

The patient will receive a courtesy on all procedures included in the plan—prevention, restorative, cosmetic, and elective. It is a marvelous way for provider and patient to choose optimum dental health care rather than an insurance company deciding what fits into their “plan.” 

There are several companies who initiate and orchestrate membership plans, or you may choose to do it yourself. For many offices, it’s time to give patients the quality of care that they deserve rather than what the dental benefit plan allows.

- Theresa Narantic

    DIY Digital Dental Consulting founder Nancy Clark Crossin and the DIY affiliates collaborate to offer "a consulting experience redesigned for today's dental world." With more than 200 years of combined experience, their joy is sharing wisdom, knowledge, and experience with dental professionals.

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