Hiring a new dental office manager for your practice? In this post, we’ll give you a recap of duties, responsibilities, skills and more.
Prior to working at DentiMax, my job focused on training dental offices for success. We coached these practices until they ran smoothly and effectively enough to make profitable results. Who is the key person who impacts the dental management workflow the most? Besides the dentist who owns the practice, it is the office manager.
In this post, I’ll sum up the key duties and responsibilities to look for in your new practice administrator. Additionally, I’ll share tips and tricks to find the right hire with the right personality for the job.
Dental Office Manager Duties and Responsibilities
Here, I’ll share the main office manager job description. These are the skills and attributes that dentists should look for in this dental team member. For upcoming office managers, learning these skills will set you up for success:
- Possesses thorough insurance knowledge
- Manages insurance coding and claim/attachment submissions
- Follows up on outstanding claims (insurance aging)
- Handles insurance company communications namely, how to verify with insurance if a patient’s procedure will be covered.
- Possesses good communication skills. Dental office managers need to know how to talk to people and easily explain treatment. This includes how to best communicate dental procedures in simple terms to patients.
- One must also be able to properly explain insurance coverage and benefits and explain the patient’s financial obligation in clear terms.
- It’s incredibly important to make patients feel welcomed and comfortable; especially when it comes to dental-phobic patients.
Understands Basic Dental Treatments
- The dentist can certainly train the office manager to understand dental procedures, which will help with inter-office communication and understanding.
- Understanding basic dental treatment will also allow the office manager to plan out the appointment times and waiting periods between procedures properly.
Encourages Positive Company Culture
- Takes on an office leadership role. Gossip and negative company cultures tend to sneak into offices very easily. Find somebody who can foster a positive office culture.
Lastly, the Obvious: Effectively Manages and Organizes:
- An effective office manager will plan out the staff schedule and template the appointment book for the dentist/hygienist as well. This way, your office will maintain a full schedule of appointments to increase profit.
Key attributes that make an office manager successful in the practice
Looking beyond the responsibilities of the dental office manager, dentists should also consider the following personality traits that make the more effective.
Friendly and Approachable:
If your office manager doesn’t like talking to people, this could prevent patients from returning. Try to avoid someone who comes off as rude, curt, or short when answering questions.
Prioritizes Dental Patient Service
Patients have many dental offices to go to, but they choose to stay at an office where they feel cared for. The dental office manager will be your leader and champion in creating this environment. When interviewing candidates, make sure that providing good customer service and caring about patients is their first priority.
Proactive, Diligent and Organized
Scheduling patients and collecting on both insurance claims and patient payments doesn’t happen by itself. Look for a self-starter who can put a system in place and who takes ownership in creating
The dental office manager is a dentist’s right-hand man or woman. Dental office staff manage most, if not all, of the financials in your practice. The dental office manager will lead those efforts. You’ll want to check references of former employers, and in some cases you may consider checking credit history. You can’t be too careful when avoiding possible embezzlement.
Even if you’re confident in your hire, we highly recommend setting an expectation that the doctor/practice owner will check financial records and reports themselves, in addition to any data the office manager supplies.
How much experience is important?
The answer? It depends. Here are some factors to consider.
Dentist’s Work Style
When looking at resumes, this is a good time to ask yourself what your work style looks like.
For a hands-on, detail-oriented dentist: You’re probably good with some fresh, budding talent. If you’re ready to take on dental office manager training and want them to understand how you want to run your office, this is a great opportunity for that. If you care about the day to day details, then the dental office manager job may not require somebody with office management experience, but rather, someone with the right personality who is coachable.
For more autonomy: Hire a seasoned office manager. Someone who knows the ins and outs of a dental office will ensure you can focus on treating your patients. Through this hiring approach, it may require somebody harder and more expensive to find, but will relieve the dentist’s business concerns.
Are You a New or Seasoned Dentist?
Have you run your own practice previously, or is this your first startup?
Your staff should compliment your needs according to how much setup you need to do to get/keep your practice running, and whether or not you have an established workflow. If you are comfortable and have a successful practice, you won’t need to hire someone with as much expertise to help establish your practice.
Dental Office Manager Training
Another thing to consider when hiring for this role is the extent of training your new office manager will need. The dentist will need to help set expectations and get their new hire up to speed on the practice. Dependent upon the experience level, this could require more or less time from the