There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding the position of office manager in a dental practice. Many people assume that large practices need an office manager while small clinics shouldn’t waste resources on hiring one. Some dentists even think that office managers create more problems than solve them.
The truth is that quite a few any dental practices need an office manager to handle the business aspects of the clinic. In many cases, the dentist and practice owner are the same individual. It means the dentist has to juggle the duties of a dental professional and business owner at the same time. Not all professionals are gifted with the ability to manage both sides seamlessly. Some dentists would like more time to focus on their patients and not have to worry about managing the practice.
In such situations, an office manager becomes an indispensable part of the dental team. What exactly does an office manager do? An office manager’s job is to assist the staff to become more competent and productive. As such, the duties of an office manager will vary according to the requirements of the team and practice owner. In some clinics, the office manager will handle everything from payroll to employee training. In others, their responsibilities may cover certain specific areas only.
Your practice may have accountants to handle tax issues, financial consultants for planning, and other external experts. Nevertheless, there has to be a single person in the office who manages invoices, inventory, payments, and other operating expenses. These responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the office manager.
The office manager has to keep tight control over the weekly budget and spending. They have to implement systems to keep track of dental supplies and equipment. Monitoring the system on a daily or weekly basis will eliminate waste and inefficiencies.
Human Resource Management
Managing the office staff is an important part of the office managers duties. This can include payroll, managing sick leave and vacation time, scheduling employee shifts, and even managing the training programs for staff.
Every dental practice should have written policies and procedures for various aspects. You might have a framework for employee behavior, conduct, and patient privacy. Without such written policies, employees won’t have a reference when problems crop up. It is often the office manager’s job to create these policies and enforce them.
A Bridge between Clinical and Administrative Staff
The office manager serves as the link between clinical and administrative employees. Even a small practice of six to seven employees may require the expertise of an office manager. The office manager can help the practice owner with managing the business aspects of the clinic. It can free up time for the dentist to see more patients or complete clinical documentation as needed.
Sometimes, problems can arise in the practice due to the lack of common terminology between the dental professionals and administrative staff. That is why office managers need to be well-versed in medical terminology and have experience in managing a health care clinic. They play an important role when it comes to hiring and firing employees.
An office manager should conduct daily and weekly meetings for all staff members. This is the perfect time to develop weekly action plans and review progress with employees. They should also update the owner on a bi-monthly basis about the practice status.
Just like the practice owner, an office manager has to wear multiple hats. It all depends on the situation and requirements of each dental practice. An office manager keeps the doctor focused on patients as they take care of non-clinical duties in the office.