Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Silent Communicator . . .

I like to call the Patient Route Slip The Silent Communicator because it provides so much information about the patient and their family you will feel like you just talked to them yesterday when it was probably 6 months ago.
I know, I know, you are wondering why I’m so in love with Route Slips in a day and age when offices are looking for ways to use less paper not more.  So, here’s the deal:  I have three goals in my work with dental practices – I want them to be more efficient with their systems, personable with their patients and accurate with their billing.  The Patient Route Slip may seem “old school,” but when it is populated automatically with all the great information in your Dentrix system, it fills the bill on all three goals like nothing else.
Here’s why:  Clinical team members are on a very tight schedule.  Hygienists usually have 40 – 60 minutes per patient to gather patient information, update medical history, treat the patient, make chart notes, treatment plan the next visit, walk the patient up to the front and – if she is very, very lucky -  get a potty break before her next patient arrives.  (I know I’m being gender biased, but most hygienist’s are female.)
Now what if the hygienist wants to increase her level of customer service by chatting with a patient about his last vacation or how her dog Sadie is doing?  Or what if the patient asks “When is my son Jimmy due for his checkup,” or “My husband has an appointment coming up, but I can’t remember when it is - can you check for me?”  
Wouldn’t the patient be amazed if you had all this information on one piece of paper?  Wouldn’t our hard working hygienist be delighted to skip the work of  searching the Appointment Book for her husband’s appointment, going to Continuing Care to find when her son is due and trying to remember those special personal things about the patient?  And wouldn’t the hygienist be extra stoked to provide this high level of customer service without having to change her gloves every time she touches the computer keyboard?
And just imagine how the patient might feel if the doctor walked in to do the exam and asked “Hello Ms. Johnson, so how are things going with your daughters graduation? “  There’s no better way to make your patients feel cared for and part of your extended office family.
So, where do you find all this information?  You might be wondering where all this awesome information is on the Patient Route Slip because you thought they were just a waste of paper. 

In addition to the great marketing and personal aspects of the Patient Route Slip, it is also an effective way for the clinical team to communicate with the front desk.   The lower sections of the form show in bold what treatment the patient is scheduled for today.  If the treatment has changed, if something was added, or if everything just stayed the same, the clinical team can write in the changes in this section or just circle it to show the front desk exactly what to bill out for the appointment.   And the final section at the bottom of the Patient Route Slip shows future appointments for this patient, so you have a quick reference to see if the patient is already scheduled for the crown seat or their next Continuing Care visit.
Some of you are already as in love with the Patient Route slip as I am – so much so that a lot of you’ve  been asking if you can customize or change the format to make it even more targeted to your needs.  And the answer is YES! Dentrix actually allows you to do this, so in my next post we will be discovering the new Customized Patient Visit Slip.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 5 Minute Morning Huddle . . . continued

The other day, I was working with an office  which had a new front desk team member. .  Like the fantastic new employee she is, she was looking for the best way to learn and get to know the patients that were coming in daily, and she was full of great questions:  Who has a birthday coming up?  Who has a balance I will need to collect?  Are any patients missing their e-mail addresses or phone numbers in the Family File? Is anyone coming in today that doesn’t yet have his or her next cleaning scheduled?  Is it possible that they have other family members that ’also haven’t scheduled a next cleaning?    
Where could she get all this information on one report?  I knew the answer!   She could generate herself a Daily Huddle Report in the Dentrix software program.
Remember in my last post I said I was going to help you take your Morning Huddle to a whole new level?  Well, here we go!  The Daily Huddle Report can not only be used to walk your office through an amazing, productive and informative meeting, but the entire team can use it to generate statistics that they can customize using a list of parameters that will blow your mind.  Let’s go through some of the features together and I will show you.

I know you are going to want to generate one right now so you can see just what I am so excited about.  Go ahead, let’s do it together.  First, open your Appointment Book.   If you have installed the Dentrix G4 PP8 update you will have an icon on the tool bar that looks like this.  Click on it and it will open up the screen that you see above.  Then select the parameters you want and make sure you click on the Scheduled Patient Setup because this is where the unique features are.  
Need help?  In the lower left corner of the screen above, you’ll see an icon that puts a help menu at your fingertips so you can see how the statistics are generated. 
With Case Acceptance statistics it will be important that you “Accept” the case in the Treatment Plan or schedule the treatment in order for the report to consider it as Accepted Treatment. 
I hope you find this report as informative and exciting as I have.  The doctors will find the statistics on this report exactly what they have been looking for on one report and your team members will find the customized patient list extremely useful for tracking the little (but equally important) things.
Oh, and one feature I didn’t mention is that the Daily Huddle Report will also generate and print your Patient Route Slips for the day.  How many of you click on each patient individually to print the Route Slips?  Which brings me to my next topic . . . The Patient Route Slip.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The 5 Minute Morning Huddle

Does this sound familiar? You walk into the office in the morning, say “good morning” to all your team mates and put your lunch in the fridge. The hygienists are busy sharpening their instruments for a day of root planing and scaling, the doctor is in the lab finishing up that nightguard that is due at 8:00am and the dental assistants are setting up trays for the day making sure all the lab cases are in.

But what about you, the office manager, what are you doing to get ready for the day? Well let’s see, you probably have to check the messages on the voice mail to see if there are any emergency patients that need to be seen today, check the e-mail and oh yeah, you need to prepare for the morning huddle in 5 minutes!

The morning huddle is one of the most important things the dental office can do bring awareness to the entire team about patient treatment, financial situations that need to be addressed, and other personal information about the patients on the schedule today. The office can also discuss the optimum time for emergencies or if the doctor needs to put his/her roller skates on for the day. One of the most important aspects of the morning huddle is looking at statistics like: what did you produce and collect yesterday? and what is projected for today? Do you have any opportunities with the patients scheduled today to increase production (such as sealants, whitening or occlusal guards)?. How many new patients did you see yesterday and how many are scheduled today?

Who has that kind of time? Okay, so you have 5 minutes to get ready for the morning huddle and you haven’t updated your Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet since yesterday, you haven’t counted up the new patients or calculated the case acceptance from yesterday and you haven’t had time to check the patient’s insurance eligibility yet. All this important data can take hours to accumulate, but who has time?

You don’t need more time, you just need an effective Huddle Report – and now you have one! I want to introduce you to the Dentrix Daily Huddle Report. There is no need to have a separate Excel spreadsheet to monitor your practice statistics, or keep track of new patients, or calculate case acceptance: This report does everything and more. Seriously, you are so lucky to have a report like this at your finger tips. In my next post I will take you through this amazing report step-by-step and show you some of its unique features. I think you’ll be excited to see how quickly and easily it will bring your morning huddle to a whole new level.

Dayna Johnson
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