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Reality #3: The Supply Chain Directly Affects Your Staff and Patients

By Heartland Dental

Blog Series: Top 3 Supply Chain Realities In 2022 and How They Affect Your Bottom Line

In this series of 3 blog posts, we discuss the state of the supply chain in 2022 and what you can do to navigate challenges and protect your bottom line.

 

It’s virtually impossible to have a conversation about supply chain realities without taking the time to consider the actual people who are involved on both sides of the supply management process. In our previous two posts, we examined how supply chain price hikes and lab relationships affect your practice and ultimately your bottom line. Now, It’s important to consider how both your staff and your patients can be directly affected by your procurement process. Whether you are doing the bulk of  the supply work or you delegate these tasks to your staff, the more time spent on ordering and procurement means less time spent chairside, which can put your bottom line and, more importantly, your patients at risk.

Consider that on average, administrative and dental assistants can spend 20 hours a week on procurement, including scrolling through websites or catalogs, searching and researching vendors, logging in and out different supply portals, managing shipments and tracking down orders. Managing invoices alone can eat up a significant amount of time per day—the more vendors and suppliers used means the more invoices there are to manage.1 Given the current state of the supply chain, the time it takes to complete these management tasks is compounded by the fact that many dental office and lab supplies will continue to be delayed or unavailable. When you add it all up, increased workload leads to burnout and staff turnover, not to mention additional expenses. According to a Kaufman Hall 2021 State of Healthcare Performance Improvement Report:

 

99% of survey respondents from within the health system have experienced challenges in supply procurement leading to shortages of key items and significant price increases. All respondents say that they have faced staff burnout, trouble filling vacancies, wage inflation, and high turnover rates. A further 92 percent say it is difficult to attract and retain support staff, while nearly 90 percent have increased base salaries2.

 

When we look at the data alongside the realities of the supply chain that you are already living today, it comes as no surprise that the people ultimately affected are the patients. As a dental practice owner, you take pride in maintaining a certain level of care that your employees and patients have come to trust. But if your staff is burnt out or your patients are met with different faces every time they visit, that trust is eroded and, at the end of the day, so are your profits. 

Navigating supply chain realities is certainly challenging, but not impossible. A variety of dental-specific procurement software tools can help streamline your supply chain and reduce total cost of ownership. If your practice has not yet automated some parts of the procurement processes, now is the time. It will not only help cut costs by ensuring you have the right supplies from the right vendor, right when you need them, but it will give staff time back to docs on patients as well as growth opportunities.

Of course, small practices may not have the resources at hand to implement these tools, and that’s understood. Managing a dental office is a big responsibility, no matter the size. As the largest dental support organization in the country, Heartland Dental is focused on supporting dentists and their practices. At the forefront of what we do is our non-clinical support services, including a wide variety of support staff all aligned under the same goal — alleviating your non-clinical headaches, giving you the support you deserve. 

Through an affiliation with Heartland Dental, you’ll receive world-class assistance in information technology, payroll and accounting, and many more non-clinical tasks. For example, our procurement team negotiates with labs and suppliers to provide opportunities for supported doctors to receive an average of 45-50% savings. In addition to the support and relief from day-to-day, non-clinical administrative functions, we’ll also introduce you and your team to tools, resources, and an abundance of continuing education programs and leadership development opportunities to grow personally and professionally.

If you’d like to learn more about how Heartland Dental can support you or your practice, please reach out. We’d be happy to start a conversation with you today.

 

References

1A Complete Guide to the Dental Procurement Lifecycle.” 2021. CureMint. https://www.curemint.io/blog/dental-procurement-lifecycle-guide/.
22021 State of Healthcare Performance Improvement Report: COVID Creates a Challenging Environment.” 2021. Kaufman Hall. https://www.kaufmanhall.com/insights/research-report/2021-state-healthcare-performance-improvement-report-covid-creates