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.

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