Some Surprising Non-Staff Options to Sidestep the Staffing Shortage

Molly Pereira Featured News

iCoreConnect offers a new insurance verification software for dentists.
By Robert McDermott, President and CEO of iCoreConnect
From the Winter 2022 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association

The CDA recognizes the challenges that many dentists are facing due to the labor shortage. While we continue to work to increase the supply of dental assistants and hygienists through dental hygiene program development and expansion, we are also working to bring forward other solutions to ease the stress of this labor shortage. The CDA has expanded its services through iCoreConnect as a key strategic business partner, designed to drive greater success to you and your dental practice during these challenging times.

Dental practices across the country continue to experience staffing issues. At the beginning of fall 2021, 32% of dental practice owners were still actively recruiting for dental hygienists and 39% were looking to fill dental assistant roles[1]. Many practices shift staff members to take on added responsibilities in hopes of staying on top of business. Fortunately, technology is rapidly advancing to reduce staff time and resources required in some of the most labor-intensive areas of your business operations, such as insurance.

No doubt, working with insurance takes up a big chunk of your practice resources, making it the perfect area for an efficiency evaluation. You may not immediately think the words “insurance” and “efficiency” can ever go together, but emerging technologies are opening options that did not exist even a few years ago. The gains can include not only more efficient processes and productivity, but stabilized staff workload and improved practice morale as well.

Insurance Verification Processes and Productivity

It’s common for staff to spend at least 20 hours a week verifying insurance and eligibility, typically on the phone. When claims are denied, those errors often must be corrected at the time of the patient visit or handed off to the billing team. However, automated verifications completed in advance of the patient visit can dramatically reduce the hours spent on the process and delays in patient treatment plans.

Specialized software can connect to thousands of payer systems to run automated checks for each individual patient. Catching claim errors ahead of appointments reduces denials, accelerates the process, and helps prevent errors from manual data entry. Your front desk staff and your patients can be provided with accurate, real-time information. With a decrease in billing errors, payment delays or non-payment situations, your staff is empowered to be proactive in workflow (not reactive) and your patients will be more likely to schedule their next treatment.

Stabilized Staff Workload

The next area that closely aligns with verifications is understanding what the patient’s plan covers and what benefits they have remaining. This is another area where it pays to reimagine the process. Patient-specific benefits and coverage can be delivered in a customized report for every patient on the schedule, day-of, one day or one week in advance of the appointment. Both your staff and the patient will have a clear picture of what is covered and what is owed, at the actual time of the appointment.

The insurance process is just one example of how process evaluation in light of technology can help you thrive in the current environment. Technology can also now provide a big-picture overview of the areas where you are losing money, losing patients or losing time to other tasks done in more traditional ways. There are ways to quickly and easily identify a patient’s revenue potential by revealing outstanding balances, uncompleted treatment plans or unscheduled recalls. With only a few adjustments to established methods, staff time and productivity, and patient follow-through can often be substantially improved. Many practices are surprised at how easy it can be now.

Improved Practice Morale

Your staff creates the first and last impressions for your patients. They deliver hard news about insurance and are responsible for patient follow ups. Direct stress on your staff can often be experienced by your patients in a number of ways, ranging from inaccessibility to heightened emotion. The more you can relieve stress by empowering your staff with rapid and accurate information, the better they can serve your patients, and the more likely that both will want to stick around.

Fortunately, during this time of unprecedented work environments, there are also technological breakthroughs that weren’t previously available. Often, the way something has always been done is not the way it should be done forever. Whether you’re looking at employee retention, patient treatment plan completion or straight profitability, recent technologies can empower you to deliver enhanced outcomes that are genuinely and pleasantly surprising.

iCoreConnect is a CDA endorsed company. iCoreVerify, by iCoreConnect, is automated, real-time insurance verification software. CDA members receive a 40% discount and unlimited benefit checks through iCoreVerify. Book a demo at or call 888-810-7706.