Should I hire a practice manager when I open my own practice, or try handling the business on my own? If hiring a practice manager is recommended, how should I go about finding one?
The business of dentistry is so complex that I’d hire a manager if I were starting out from scratch. You will need to interview several management firms and select the one that shares your similar values, ethics and goals. With regard to finding a practice manager, often a dentist will ask a good friend or spouse to serve as a practice manager. This could go either way. I'd make sure he or she has a business degree and encourage them to attend any dental practice management CE courses available. If this is not an option for you, I'd use the advertisements in the Pennsylvania Dental Journal to choose a practice management firm or talk with colleagues at a local dental society meeting to get other ideas.
If you decide that a management team is not for you,
the ADA has a wealth of information about practice
management that would be a great place to start.
Wade Newman, DDS
As a dentist who does not currently employ a practice manager, but would like to have one, I hope I can provide some additional insight into this question. There are, without a doubt, many factors to consider. Will your practice be large enough to sustain a practice manager fiscally? What role are you planning for the practice manager - financial aspects, clinical aspects or both? How will staff react to suddenly being under the command of a practice manager? All of these questions have created obstacles for me. I didn't build a new practice, but instead purchased one that had very low staff turnover. Many of my staff members have been in place for 25-30 years. I'm not sure how they would react to a second in command.
A practice manager can make the doctor's life easier in that he or she can be the eyes of the doctor. It can be very difficult, when you are focused on patient care, to make sure everything is in order in all aspects of the practice. However, the issue of trust lingers - Can you find one person that you can wholeheartedly trust with the important aspects of the practice?
I've really had to do a
considerable amout of thinking regarding this decision, and as you can
see, I have yet to decide whether hiring a practice manager would be the
right move for my practice. It will depend on a number of things;
you'll just have to weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.
Don't hesitate to contact a mentor or local
colleague for advice. The dental community is here to
Brian Miller, DMD