Why Your Practice Should Hire an Orthodontic Consultant
By Amanda Weber
An orthodontic consultant makes an indispensable addition to a private dental practice, and they have extensive expertise in various aspects of managing your office. They can assist with financial responsibilities like maintaining your budget and they have the knowledge to help you and your staff give your patients the best care. They make recommendations on what equipment to buy, which procedures to perform, and what price to charge for each. They take the burden of managing your practice off of you while implementing strategies for growth.
But it’s not all upside. In this article, you’ll learn both the pros and cons of hiring an orthodontic consultant. This article also lays out step-by-step instructions for hiring the right consultant for your practice.
Pros and Cons of Hiring an Orthodontic Consultant for Your Dental Practice
If you are unsure if a consultant is right for your office, make a list of areas where your practice needs attention. Are you having issues with staff members? Do you not have adequate cash flow coming in? These are just some of the things an orthodontic consultant can help you with.
Pros of Hiring an Orthodontic Consultant
Let’s be clear – there are many benefits to bringing in an orthodontic consultant. In general, these benefits will outweigh the cons and make the decision a good one. Here is what you can expect:
An orthodontic consultant will look at your practice with fresh eyes.
A consultant can bring fresh eyes into your practice. They will see areas for improvement that you can’t. If you need help expanding your practice online, they can establish your presence on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and other marketing channels. Moving online will appeal to the modern way people shop for services.
A consultant will help improve cash flow into your practice.
One area of loss shared by many practices is receiving payments from insurance companies and from their patients. A consultant specializing in finances can take over your insurance claims and customer invoices, and follow up to collect payments. Their skills might also extend to managing payroll, paying for supplies, and managing benefits for you and your employees.
A consultant will help you hire and add the right associates.
Many established practices have trouble hiring new people who will work within their system and with their existing team members. An orthodontic consultant can evaluate the skills and the personality type that will fit into your practice seamlessly.
An orthodontic consultant will help you ease into retirement.
Retirement isn't always a clear-cut process when you have an orthodontic practice. You have patients who require treatment and staff members who have been with you for years. A consultant can help you make decisions about whether to semi-retire or end your work entirely. They will help you choose dental assistants or orthodontists to provide care to your patients or make the transition for someone else to take over your practice.
Cons of Hiring an Orthodontic Consultant
All that being said, hiring an orthodontic consultant does have a few drawbacks. Here are some challenges you should consider:
It can be hard to find the right consultant.
Sometimes orthodontic practices hire a consultant on the assumption that the consultant will take over the management of the office. While an orthodontic consultant handles some management tasks, they aren't there to run your business for you. More often than not, they will use their skills to analyze your processes and make suggestions on how to improve them.
Don't hire a consultant without going through the appropriate steps to find the right one. Not all consultants have the same expertise or offer the same services. Hiring too quickly could mean going through the hiring process repeatedly and wasting your time and money.
Not all consultants are adequately trained.
There are lots of advertisements online for orthodontic consultants, including those without the required training and experience. Stick with those consultants who have been around for years and have a history of success. They know the industry and how it’s changing. Never hire a consultant that isn’t backed by satisfied clients and positive reviews. Anyone can claim to be "the best" even if they've never worked their first day as an orthodontic consultant.
You may still need help with digital marketing.
If you want to grow your dental practice, social media plays an important role. Mag Online Library explains that social media has become increasingly relevant to orthodontics. So, it’s important to maximize social media use as well as other internet marketing platforms. Without internet marketing skills, a consultant can’t get the best results for your practice.
Steps to Take to Hire an Orthodontic Consultant
Once you decide to hire a consultant, the next job is finding the right candidate. You need someone who knows how to do their job correctly in order to make your practice more efficient and profitable. Taking the following steps will help you make the right choice.
Step 1: Clearly Define Your Goals
Not all consultants have the same level of expertise in every area of the job. It’s almost impossible to judge a candidate without knowing their areas of expertise and whether they’re a match for your needs. Some possibilities include:
- Defining and managing employee roles
- Streamlining charting, keeping records and scheduling
- Implementing new techniques that inspire growth
- Facilitating communication between staff members
- Invoicing patients, filing insurance and collecting balances from patients
- Determining what products to buy and which new technologies to implement
Look at the areas where your practice is struggling. What would it take to improve these areas now and in the future?
Step 2: Prep for the Interview
Hiring a consultant for your orthodontic practice is a big decision. Make sure you prepare a list of questions to ask during the interview process. These questions should reflect the goals you have for your practice. For example:
- How can you improve our patient retention?
- How would you implement our values and mission statement into your job role?
- What is your first impression of our practice?
- How would you improve communication between our staff members?
- How would you make our payroll more efficient?
Listen for clear answers that provide real solutions for your practice.
Step 3: Have a Candid Conversation
Any good orthodontic consultant company will offer an initial meeting either over the phone or in person. Don’t just base your decision on their history, education, and reviews. Look for a company that is comfortable talking about their services and what they can do for you. Make sure they are good listeners with a real interest in understanding your practice and your needs.
Your orthodontic practice can benefit from hiring an orthodontic consultant if you take the time to follow these steps and choose the right person or company to provide solutions.
KEEP READING: The Quick Start PPC Guide for Orthodontists