7.6.12 Issue #539 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter
 


Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Dialing for Dollars - Outstanding Treatment
By Nancy Caudill

Summer is here and in some dental offices, business slows down. In others, such as oral surgery practices and pediatric dental practices, business picks up. This article is written for all practices because there are always going to be times of the year when business slows down, unfortunately.

First, let's assume that you have assigned job descriptions for your business team. When you are working with one business team member, s/he wears all the hats and carries the job description of all 3: Hygiene Coordinator, Financial Coordinator and Schedule Coordinator.

Who is Responsible?
“Dialing for Dollars” for unscheduled doctor treatment is the responsibility of the Schedule Coordinator, as s/he is responsible for scheduling the doctor(s) to a daily goal.  When the practice is busy, this is not so difficult as long as basic protocols of the system are followed. However, when the practice slows down, finding the patients to schedule to reach the daily goal becomes quite a challenge. Some effort must be applied by the entire team.

Team Effort
The entire team, you say? I thought that the Schedule Coordinator was responsible for “dialing for dollars?” The Schedule Coordinator is ultimately responsible, but s/he may find it helpful to ask for assistance from the clinical team. More dialing = more response. After all, the assistants aren't busy either and if the doctor has down time, eventually they will too. When all the cabinets and drawers are stocked and everything is spic and span, there is literally nothing else that can be done to fill the day.

The Process
A reason must be noted for the treatment before the call is placed. The reason should be indicated in the patient record, but it is not uncommon to see incomplete clinical notes. Therefore, the record must be reviewed to determine WHY the patient needs the treatment before the call is placed. A checklist should be made to easily note the reason, especially when the call is being placed by a business team member who may not be as familiar with dental terminology, understanding the clinical notes, etc.

Examples of the Items on the Checklist - Reason(s) for Fillings:

1.  Large cavity underneath an old silver filling (recurrent decay). If left untreated could cause:
     •  The loss of existing tooth structure, leading to the need of a crown
     •  Cavity creeping into the living tissue of the tooth, causing discomfort and the need for a root canal

2.  Large crack left untreated could cause:
     •  The tooth to break and lose existing tooth structure, requiring a crown
     •  The tooth to break, exposing the living tissue of the tooth, causing discomfort and the need for a root canal

3.  Part of the tooth has broken and if left untreated could cause:
     •  The tooth to break and lose existing tooth structure, requiring a crown
     •  The tooth to break, exposing the living tissue of the tooth, causing discomfort and the need for a root canal

4.  The edges around the old silver filling are leaking due to age and if left untreated could cause:
     •  Bacteria to enter, forming a large cavity that would require treatment
     •  The tooth to break and lose existing tooth structure, requiring a crown
     •  The tooth to break, exposing the living tissue of the tooth, causing discomfort and the need for a root canal

A list would also be created for crowns, root canals, SRPS, partials, implants or bridges to replace missing teeth, etc. Create boxes to make it easy to “check off” the applicable reasons, as this could easily be accomplished by the clinical team.

Time to Call
All the information you need is now available to place the call to Mrs. Jones to encourage her to schedule an appointment for her fillings on the upper left side.

“Mrs. Jones, this is Nancy with Dr. McKenzie’s office. Do you have a moment to spend with me? Dr. McKenzie was reviewing your record and noted that we have failed to make your appointment for the fillings on the upper left side. She wanted to make sure you understand how important it is to schedule this appointment. It appears that the fillings are necessary because ____________________________________.  Is a morning or afternoon appointment better for you?”

What if You Can't Reach the Patient by Phone?
The same dialogue would be utilized in the form of an email or letter. If you are corresponding in this matter, attach a digital image of the tooth/teeth in question if it reflects the reason for the treatment (large shadow, fracture, abscess, etc). Include a pamphlet that illustrates the need for the recommended treatment.

Track the Results
Create an in-office code such as TXFU (Treatment Follow-up) and when the appointment is made, add this code to the appointment.  When the patient is seen, this code is posted and the practice can give kudos to the team member that scheduled the appointment, as they can apply the code to their provider number, print the Procedures by Provider Report and include these statistics during the monthly meeting.  Everybody likes to be recognized for their hard work!

Happy Dialing!

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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