While I was working out in my yard a couple of weeks ago, I found myself thinking that this is a lot like keeping the systems clean in your dental practice. Every time I pulled a weed out of the flower bed, I thought about how cleaning that up will give my good plants more room to grow and take in more nutrients. This might seem like a funny analogy, but when you think of all the weeds that are choking out your systems and clogging up your reports with outdated information, it is time to put the gloves on and get to work.
I recently found that weeding the garden is not my favorite thing to do with my spare time and I would much rather tend to my roses, hydrangeas and all the other plants I have that create a beautiful environment for us to enjoy. So, I hired someone to weed my garden. The same thing goes for your office systems. If you need to do a lot of decluttering and clean up in your practice management software in order to work the systems that you love, then you might need to outsource it to someone so you can focus on the important things.
What weeds are taking over and causing chaos in your software or systems in your practice?
- Duplicate insurance plans? This is a major headache for a lot of practices because it can cause your reports to be bogged down with unnecessary duplicate data. If you have duplicate insurance plans, it forces you to keep accurate benefit information in multiple places which causes redundancy in information. Your time could be better spent on systems that will help grow your practice instead of sifting through duplicate insurance plans.
- Outdate or unused medical alerts? In the Dentrix software, you have a list of 64 medical alerts you can customize and sometimes I find that there are duplicates here as well. What I also find here is that there are missing medical alerts and the office wants to delete the unused ones in order to have more room for new ones or medical alerts that make more sense.
- Inactive patients? Nobody wants to think that patients leave their practice. However, you could have an inflated active patient base if you don’t keep your patients status accurate. My recommendation would be to have a system in place to locate patients by Last Visit Date and update your system.
- Outdated fee schedules and treatment plans? It still amazes me that doctors do not raise their fees each year even though the insurance companies continue to lower the fee schedules, benefits and deny coverage. My recommendation would be to perform a fee increase by 2-3% on preventative services and 5-6% on restorative procedures on a regular basis (every 12-18 months). Then, make sure you update your treatment plan estimates to reflect these new fees.
- Inaccurate patient balances? Would you be able to provider your patient or family with an accurate ledger history or are the balances all over the place? Now might be a good time to think about de-cluttering your patient ledgers and being able to have your reports show more accurate totals. Many offices I work with post the entire payment to the guarantor of the account and post the entire payment to the primary provider instead of splitting up the payment to the appropriate balances. This can cause many confusing totals on the aging reports and provider reports. It also causes problems when you have patients within the family who want their own account or want an individual billing statement.
All of these issues are repairable, and you have the opportunity create a cleaner system with a little hard work. Is it important to you for your software to reflect accurate data? Are you tired of sifting through duplicate and redundant information? Either you put on your gloves and get a little dirty pulling out the weeds in your garden or you spend a little money and hire someone to do it for you. The rewards are worth having a healthy, thriving garden that will bring you beautiful rewards for your efforts.
If you need help with any of these pesky tasks or want a list of people to contact about hiring to do it for you, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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