Revenue Cycle Management is a Dental Team Sport

Okay, by now, you have mapped out your ideal day in your Dentrix software so, when you are onboarding a new team member, he or she has a guide to your best practices for scheduling patients. This guide will help ensure your practice meets goals, your patients have open reservation times for scheduling appointments, and you can leave at the end of the day with a smile. If you have not completed this pre-requisite, I recommend you re-read and listen to our podcasts over the past couple of months because I am ready to move on to our next step of getting organized for our onboarding process.

My good friend, Claire Dickinson, and I talked in our first podcast of 2023 about this is the year of organization and I totally agree with her. I am thinking our next project when it comes to the organization of your practice is to start talking about revenue cycle management. You might be asking yourself, “What exactly is revenue cycle management and how does that apply to me?” Well, I am glad you asked. Let’s drill it down.

A couple of years ago, I was working with a dental team and the practice was very close to closing because the doctor couldn’t make payroll. The reason they couldn’t make payrolls is because they were not collecting what they were producing and they had no systems around collections. One of the first things I taught every member of the team, including the doctor, was how to use the credit card machine so patients did not walk out without paying their co-pay.

No matter the size of your practice, you must collect what you produce in order to be a thriving, profitable business. Yes, your dental practice is business and no matter what your role is, you will be participating in the success and profitability of the business. The clinical team and the admin team both play active roles in revenue cycle management. One of my favorite quotes is, “Collections is a team sport” because everyone participates in some way.

I want you to start thinking about how RCM works into each job description in your practice and create systems around each role. These systems should be documented in your job description outline and included in your office HR processes. Each system will require skills, tasks, and oversight. This is where initial training and cross-training comes into play. There are several systems that involve the ability to use certain software platforms, technology and your Dentrix software that some team members might not have a clue on how to use.

The systems we are going to cover in the next few weeks will relate to the entire team and I encourage you to schedule some team meetings to implement everything we talk about. Below is a brief introduction of what you can expect to hear from me in the next few articles and podcasts.

  • Everyone on the team can ask for payment today. With the state of dental insurance plans now, most patients have some kind of co-pay today, no matter what service they are coming in for. If you are providing optimum dental care and treating patients comprehensively, insurance plans are not built to pay 100%.
  • Have an automated or virtual way patients can pay their bill. GET RID OF PAPER STATEMENTS! This is costing you money and it is costing you patients. Studies show that patients will choose another provider based on online tools, electronic communications, and convenience.
  • Along with eliminating paper statements . . . STOP THE ONCE-A-MONTH BILLING! I get that this is how you have done it your whole life or this is how you were taught, but just stop. If you want me to show you how to do daily billing in your Dentrix software, it is as easy as one check box.
  • You can set up a system so the patient leaves your office with a treatment plan estimate, no matter what the size of the case. In your Dentrix software, you can create a template so every workstation will generate the identical print out for the patient. Next, we just need to do some training on verbal skills to help patients understand their out-of-pocket investment.

I am super excited about the upcoming content we will be throwing out into the universe to help you and your entire team embrace their role in revenue cycle management.