7.23.10 Issue #437 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague


Belle DuCharme CDPMA
Instructor/Consultant
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Priority Confusion in Managing Your Day
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

There is no doubt that in the minds of those who work as Business Coordinators or Dental Office Managers that the job requires doing several tasks at the same time.  Because these tasks are often accomplished by working on the computer or making phone calls, it may appear to clinical staff members that this position is easy. For instance, you may be frantically entering new patient information in the computer while fielding a call from a patient who has a question about why the insurance paid so little on their claim while simultaneously acknowledging a patient who has just walked through the door along with the FedEx guy who needs you to sign his signature pad.  Time management is critical to successfully accomplish your work by the end of the day.

A busy Office Manager named Mary was having difficulty balancing all of her daily tasks, and her employer was concerned because the accounts receivables were too high and she had not cleared up several unpaid insurance claims. “I just don’t have time to follow-up on calling people and insurance companies.” She listed all of the things that she did in one day, along with checking in and checking out an average of thirty patients a day. It became apparent that many of the tasks that she did should have been delegated to other team members. Because none of the staff had written job descriptions, she was often handed tasks to do because other team members said that they were too busy.

Because Mary was the manager, she felt that it was her responsibility to do everything that everyone else was too busy to do. She was paid a better than average salary only to have her day filled with tasks that actually distracted her from her work. The treatment rooms did not have computers in them so Mary had to appoint all patients at the desk. Mary also had to enter all treatment plans and present treatment options at the desk. She hurriedly presented treatment because she did not have time to talk to patients and it was not a private place to discuss private treatment concerns. She was the only front office staff member and there were three dental assistants. 

Some of the tasks that Mary did, which were later delegated to others to free up her time to do her work, were the following:

  • Duplicating x-rays to send to insurance companies or to other sources
  • Calling labs to pick up cases
  • Calling labs to secure times of deliveries
  • Calling in prescriptions for patients
  • Calling specialists to schedule appointments for patients
  • Confirming patient appointments
  • Getting informed consents signed prior to treatment
  • Delivering whitening systems and giving instructions
  • Copying necessary forms
  • Sending new patient packets to scheduled patients

It was recommended that computers be added to the treatment rooms so that clinical notes and treatment plans can be entered before the patient was dismissed to the front desk. With these changes in place, Mary had the time to make collection calls for overdue payments and research unpaid insurance claims, thus lowering the total accounts receivables to an acceptable level. Mary was instrumental with making sure that the entire team had written job descriptions, with tasks divided up equally amongst them and accountability spelled out.

Mary realized that she did not have enough time in her day to do it all and that she needed to focus on the priorities of her position - which were scheduling to production, collecting overall 98% of production, delegating tasks to other team members, and then making sure that they were completed without doing it all herself.

Having problems prioritizing your day? We can help you. Sign up today for training at McKenzie Management and change your day for the better.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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