Mental Weight Loss with Training and Delegation
“Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece.”- Nadia Boulanger
“Just put it on my desk and I will get to it.” - Famous last words of many struggling, chaos-driven dentists and dental managers of bustling practices.
As “sooner or later” gets to be later and later, the desktop becomes a giant stack of mail, receipts, business memos, requests from staff for days off and vacations, letters from insurance companies wanting updated credentialing, and sticky notes in different colors signifying something that you forgot months ago.
“Once I have taken care of something, I put it in my desk drawer so I know it was resolved, except there isn’t any more room in my desk drawer.”
If you pick up anything that requires thinking, it usually gets the least attention. Many of the dentists I have spoken with say the front office puts all of the mail in their wire “inbox” on their desk daily. They then sort the junk mail and toss it or shred it. Why not train the front desk person to sort the mail, throw out the junk advertisements and shred the credit card offers? The Business Coordinator is pulling out the checks to post, surely she/he can go over invoices to be paid and other statements that need to go to the bookkeeper or at least clear them for the dentist/manager to give the final okay before submitting to the AP department.
If there is something that needs immediate attention like licensing renewal, credentialing, HIPAA or OSHA updates, have your Business Coordinator collect the necessary information to the best of his/her ability and submit the final documents to you for approval and signature.
Are magazines, articles and other reading materials stacking up in your “sooner or later” box? If the dental assistant or other team member has down time, have them read through and mark any material relevant to the practice, or better yet they can give a monthly report on interesting and educational material so all can benefit. They can categorize a storage box for relevant articles so you can more easily access them in the future.
Paying special attention to anything that has a “date due” is especially important. Overdue payments can cost big in interest and penalties, and overdue licensing or permits can get you into hot water with your license to practice.
A few offices that received a required update in credentialing from a large dental insurance company put the letter unread in the doctor’s inbox. When payment checks started to go out to all of the patients enrolled in plans under this insurance company, panic forced a call that informed them their credentialing was not updated and it would take maybe a couple of months to correct the payment process. This could have been easily prevented with a better system for mail organization and delegation.
Running out of shelf or cabinet space? Are you a collector or a hoarder? Old, outdated material that you haven’t looked at in a few years can be collected and stored if you have to keep it, but much can be recycled or donated. Old computers, phones, answering machines, printers and other useless outdated technology takes up too much space and should be processed for recycling.
Many practices lack space for private areas to discuss treatment plans with patients. The dentist’s messy desk is usually the last resort for privacy, as it is quickly cleared and stacks of stuff are pushed into drawers or hidden in boxes in the closet.
Are there numerous types of technology to get important stuff off your desk, out of your head and into a device? Yes – and some are great at providing reminders too. However, there is no technology to actually do what you have to do, so it is only as good as the operator. Using too many calendars or organizational software systems is just another big messy “inbox” to sort through.
David Allen wrote a book called Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. This book is worth the time to read or listen to. He validates the fact that all of us are inundated with too much “stuff” and we need help with understanding what should stay, what should go and who or what can help.
For help organizing and training your dental teams for better production and collection, call McKenzie Management today.Forward this article to a friend
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