Defining the role of the dental office manager

Oct 24th, 2013
Confused Woman

By Bradley A. Dykstra, DDS, MBA
October 24, 2013

The structure of a dental office should reflect that of any successful business. It needs a CEO/President (the practice owner, i.e. "the boss"), and three department heads that report to the CEO. The department heads should oversee finance, operations, and marketing. The office manager has the role of director of operations. The office manager is to deal with the day-to-day operations of the practice, allowing the doctor to focus on patient care. While in many practices the office manager may have all three roles, it is not the wisest arrangement.

Help! The dental office manager plays favorites

The CEO sets the vision for the practice, setting up and refining the operating systems of the practice. The office manager implements and monitors the systems and is responsible for their continued operation and success.

The office manager should track the vital practice numbers and monitor the trends in order to identify areas that are lagging and celebrate areas that are doing well. The doctor should also be monitoring and understanding these vital numbers.

The hiring, training, managing, and scheduling of the team members is also a major function of the office manager. This includes relaying the vision of the practice, teaching verbal skills and scripts, conducting growth conferences and dealing with any staff issues that may arise. It also involves the scheduling and leading of departmental meetings.

In the end, the office manager must be a servant leader and model what is expected and fill in wherever there is an immediate need. Hiding in an office and just trying to manage without being proactive is a recipe for failure.

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Related: Dental office manager profiles

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Brad Dykstra, DDS, MBA is a general dentist in private practice in Hudsonville, Michigan. Dr. Dykstra speaks on integrating technology into the dental office and consults through his company, Anchor Dental Consulting. You can reach him at (616) 669-6600 or drdykstra@anchordentalconsulting.com.

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