Best Practices . . . Weekly

In our last post, we focused on what was important or the “best practice” for your daily protocol.  Today, we want to move to your weekly systems.  I teach my offices about practicing on the business side of dentistry the same things you preach to your patients in the clinical side of dentistry . . .  “prevention will help keep you out of emergency situations.”  Living in a preventative rather than reactive frame of mind will reap tremendous benefits to your practice.

What I mean by that is putting systems in place and carving out time in your busy schedule to work your reports, follow up with patients and communicating with your specialists on a weekly basis.

  • Treatment/Scheduling Coordinator – Your main focus is case management and following up with patients who have unscheduled treatment. When patients walk out of the office without scheduling the crown on #30, you can’t expect them to call, you need to follow up.  The treatment coordinator should be working three reports every week.  You will need to carve out at least 2-3 hours a week of uninterrupted time for this.
    • Treatment Manager Report – This is your chart audit. I know some of you are still printing the Unscheduled Treatment Report … stop doing it!  The Treatment Manager is your go-to report for managing unscheduled treatment and one of the four reports for keeping your schedule full.  All the tools you need are right at your fingertips at the top toolbar so you can make notes, check the remaining benefits and look up the notes from the last visit.
    • Referred TO Report – When your clinical team is treatment planning and attaching the referral to a procedure code, that patient is automatically added to this report. Anytime your patient must complete a procedure (i.e. implant placement, root canal, perio surgery) before they can return to your office for the restorative treatment, someone must be making a follow-up call to make sure that treatment is getting completed so you can move forward with that patient care.
    • Unscheduled List – This list should be worked by any team member who touches the schedule and who helps manage the appointment book. Follow up with these patients and get them rescheduled. Don’t let them sit on this report for more than six weeks.
  • Hygiene/Scheduling Coordinator – Your main focus is following up with patients who are past due for their recare visit. Yes, you should have some kind of automated system for sending email, text messaging, and postcards. However, you will still need to pick up the phone and make some calls.  Also, you might want to consider having a patient reactivation system for those patients who are severely overdue.   So how do you keep tight reins on your recare patients?
    • Continuing Care List – This is your go-to list for finding patients who are overdue. To make this task more streamlined, create yourself some custom lists so you can filter down your lists and it is easier to delegate.
    • Unscheduled List – Just like the Treatment Manager, you must work this list on a weekly basis and keep it current. Don’t let your recare patients sit on this list forever. Follow up with them and delete them off the list if they are not returning your call.
  • Financial/Insurance Coordinator – You have a big job … collecting the money. Your team depends on you for results.  If you are not collecting 100% on the day of service, then your accounts receivable needs attention.  There are two reports you must manage on a weekly basis.
    • Insurance Aging Report – This unfortunately is the only report in Dentrix that you have to help you manage your insurance accounts receivable. Insurance companies should pay you within 30 days . . . period! My recommendation would be to filter this report for claims over 30 days past due. You can check the status of the insurance claim electronically using the Dentrix Insurance Manager feature then make your follow up notes in the claim status note box of any status updates.
    • Collection Manager Report – The Aging Report is NOT your best report for managing patient accounts receivable so if you are still using this archaic report I would transition to the Collection Manager. It is much more interactive and will give you more up to date results of your true A/R. Also, you have a toolbar filled with all the things necessary to manage your accounts receivable, like the Guarantor Notes, Office Journal, Quick Letters and Payment Agreements.
  • Clinical Team – There are definitely things in the clinical area that need attention on a weekly basis, such as ordering of supplies, stocking rooms, maintenance of equipment and managing your in-house lab. However, you can definitely help with some of the reports I shared above.
    • Continuing Care – The hygienists can assist with calling patients who are past due if you have an opening in your schedule.
    • Referred TO Report – The dental assistants can help follow up on patients who have been referred to specialists, especially if it requires ordering parts or scheduling lab time.
    • Lab Case Manager – If you are using the Lab Case Manager, you could make sure cases are set to come in on time or use it to track lab fees.

Read back on last week’s article and put it together with this one and I can almost guarantee your monthly reports will be right on target.  This is how you manage a practice … by having systems in place for your daily and weekly tasks then you can celebrate when you review your monthly reports.