What the Supply Chain Crisis Means For Your Dental Practice

September 1, 2022 | 3 min read

The dental industry is under tremendous pressure due to rising costs caused by the global supply chain crisis. For instance, the war in Ukraine has led to shortages in ammonium nitrate, which is crucial in nitrous oxide production used in various dental procedures and surgeries.

The shortage is exacerbated by the fact that most dental offices get an allotment based on customary use. The baseline entering this crisis reflected the usage during the pandemic shutdown, which is too low for meeting typical demand—let alone expanding their businesses.

Meanwhile, the fear of running out of stock has caused some buyers to over-order, keeping prices elevated. Industry experts believe that dentists will continue to face higher supply costs in 2022. 

Dental practices must respond to rising costs by allocating their resources strategically. Since you must pay for the more expensive nitrous oxide for procedures, how can you reduce costs in other areas to maintain financial health?

How Dental Practices Can Save Costs During the Supply Chain Crisis

Here’s how to increase revenue while lowering costs to navigate the current challenges:

Revisit Your Financial Projections

Review your numbers and re-calculate your monthly break-even point to address changes in operating costs. The insights can help you identify opportunities to make adjustments and stay nimble under changing market conditions.

Examine your monthly fixed, variable, and discretionary spending and how changes in operating costs impact these categories. Then, see where you can reduce spending without affecting your ability to deliver care or support future growth. 

Reduce IT and Maintenance Costs

You’d probably see quite a few technology-related line items on your budget—from SaaS subscriptions to internet connectivity. Some of these plans may no longer be the most cost-effective after your practice changes over time.

Revisit your internet and phone plan to see if you can lower the costs. You can also migrate to a cloud-based dental practice management platform, such as tab32, to eliminate the cost of maintaining on-premise servers and solutions to reduce ongoing IT expenses.

Also, review your software subscription plans and third-party vendors to see if you may be paying for overlapping features or capabilities you don’t need. Consolidating your technology to a few providers can often help lower operating costs significantly. 

Renegotiate Your PPO Contracts

Go through your PPO contracts to see how you can get reimbursed fairly to offset the rising costs. Include network share arrangements and umbrella plans to get a complete view of your exposure. Then, determine if each plan is viable or if you need to renegotiate the terms to cover rising costs.

You can also improve your claim submissions process to get reimbursed faster. For example, tab32 offers seamless integration with claims and attachments to streamline billing workflows and ensure that you get each submission right the first time and every time.

Review How Your Staff Spends Their Time

Labor cost is a major operating expense for dental practices. Unfortunately, many dental office employees spend excessive time resolving issues because they don’t have all the patient information and electronic health records (EHRs) at their fingertips.

This issue can be particularly frustrating if you have multiple offices running on-premise databases that don’t talk to each other. Migrating to a cloud database allows you to unify patient information across all locations to save time and deliver better care.

Streamline the Patient Experience

Making it easier for patients to get care from you is a win-win. For example, online scheduling enables patients to book appointments whenever that’s most convenient. Meanwhile, the self-service capability will free your staff to focus on high-value activities.

Also, more dental practices are offering flat fee packages and membership plans to make it easy for patients to understand what they’re paying for. The transparency helps increase collection rates while streamlining the invoicing and collection process to lower labor costs.

Optimize Your Budget With tab32

Using the right cloud dental software can help you reduce operating expenses and make the most of your budget to navigate rising costs without impacting your ability to deliver high-quality care.

Request a demo to see how tab32 can help you stay ahead in today’s uncertain environment. 


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