11.12.10 Issue #453 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter
 


Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Why Should I Use a Routing Slip?
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant McKenzie Management

One of the most common “critical issues” that are mentioned by the doctors and team members in offices that we consult with is Organization. The other critical issue that is common is Communication. This article, instead of spotlighting one particular practice, encompasses many of the offices that we work with every week.

Symptoms of Lack of Communication and Organization:

  • Services that are performed chairside fail to get posted and charged
  • Appointments for the doctor/hygienist are either too long or not long enough
  • Production is posted to the incorrect provider, causing inaccurate tracking
  • Non-productive morning meetings
  • Treatment plans not readdressed with the patients
  • Poor patient retention

As you can quickly surmise, the list can go on. The purpose of this article is to encourage you to implement the magical “Routing Slip” to your daily protocols. All practice management software programs are capable of creating one for each patient that is on your schedule for the day. If you are unfamiliar with this valuable tool, ask your Business Coordinator to call your software support team and obtain the simple steps to generate one.

What A Routing Slip Will Do For You
Let’s start by addressing a few of the items above that cause poor communication and organization in your dental practice.

1. Services Not Posted
This means a loss in revenue! If your practice is not using routing slips, the practice will generally retrieve the information regarding “today’s treatment” from the clinical record, hurriedly, in order to expedite the check-out process. In many cases, the treatment provided for the patient is relayed to the Business Coordinator verbally and she is jotting it down on a piece of scrap paper within reach.

When a routing slip is printed, IF the procedures are entered into the appointment as they should be, these procedures are printed on the routing slip. This is reviewed at the morning meeting for accuracy and when the treatment is completed chairside, the clinical team member simply ‘checks’ these procedures on the routing slip to indicate that the treatment was completed. If there are any changes, it is indicated on the routing slip by drawing a line through a procedure that was not completed or adding treatment. The routing slip is brought to the check-out desk, along with the patient, and is given to the Business Coordinator to expedite the check-out. In most occasions, there are no changes and she simply “posts” or “walks out” the charges.

2.  Procedures Posted to the Incorrect Provider
The accuracy of this is crucial in a practice of multiple providers. Production should be monitored by all providers to confirm their effectiveness in the practice in reaching their daily goals.  Many doctors and hygienists receive commissions over and above their base pay. If production is posted inaccurately, their numbers are false.

By reconciling the routing slips at the end of the day, there is confirmation that the charges were posted correctly. Each routing slip has a dollar value for a provider.  Hygiene patients have two values - one for the doctor that performed the exam and one for the hygienist that provided the hygiene services. The routing slips are totaled “by provider” and the provider totals are compared to the daysheet’s provider totals for accuracy. Changes are made if errors are found.

3.  Appointment Lengths are Incorrect
How many times have you reviewed your schedule for the day and seen appointments with 20-30 minutes too much time or the opposite? Many offices have default times set in the computer so when a procedure is scheduled, it defaults to this time. If there are two procedures in the same appointment, it doubles the time.

Time is Money in Dentistry! It is vital to your production that appointment times are accurate. The most sure-fire way of this happening is that the Next Visit (NV) is written on the routing slip along with the amount of time that is needed in the form of Assistant/Doctor/Assistant if you are scheduling out of two columns. You may say that you always take 20 minutes per surface for a filling. Would you say that it takes longer to perform interproximal restorations opposed to those that aren’t but they are still 2 surfaces?

If you and your hygienists want the proper amount of time for your appointments, inform the Business Coordinator what you want on the routing slip. There is never a question. If you have not indicated how much time you need, your assistant or hygienist should inquire.

4.  Ineffective Morning Meetings
The routing slips reveal a world of information about your patients for the day.  Birthdays, account balances, unused insurance benefits, outstanding treatment, past due family members in hygiene, medical alerts, specific patient notes to help you provide great customer service and additional appointments that the patient may have. Each hygienist and assistant should review their routing slips prior to the morning meeting in order to familiarize with the patients coming in for the day. During the meeting, pertinent information is shared with the team regarding delinquent balances, treatment that has not been scheduled yet, etc. All this information is at your fingertips!

If your practice is chartless, routing slips are even more vital to daily communication and organization. It is your “temporary” paper record for the day. Now – go and be organized!

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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