Computer Training Is Equally Important For Back Office
With so many offices going chartless, computer software training is very important - not only for the front office, but also for the doctor, hygienist, and assistants. It used to be that the front office staff spent most of their time on the computer, so they received a majority of the software training. However, that is no longer the case. The entire team needs to be trained on the software system that you use in your practice.
There are many different levels of experience when it comes to working with different dental software. Many times, it is not the software itself that is limiting - but rather the knowledge the person has when it comes to what the software is capable of, and how to make it do what you want.
When hiring new staff, even if they are trained on the software you are using, they may need additional training. Somebody already on your staff may be able to do this training, as it is custom to your office and what they do. The new team member will need to know the location for all of the information that is stored in the chart. It is very important that everybody in your practice puts specific information in the same area.
For example, it is recommended to have “a reason for return” listed in the patient’s record. The reason for return needs to be put in the same place, by everybody on your team, so it is accessible by everybody. Particularly if a patient is calling to cancel an appointment, the person taking the phone call should be able to go directly to the reason for return and use this information to encourage the patient to keep their appointment, or at least get back in as soon as possible.
The other opportunity for training is making sure the new staff member knows how to do everything they “say” they know how to do. Consider this part of their interview and a pre-employment test. The skills they present and their actual working knowledge may make a difference in whether you hire them, and if you are willing to train them further.
One push of a button, or lack of pushing a button, may cost dearly - not only in patient retention but overall production to the practice. I have been in offices where the computer was not set up for all of the recall patients that need to be monitored. There should be a system set up for bite wing x-rays, full mouth series of x-rays, prophylaxis, periodontal maintenance and any other procedures that are recommended in your office on a routine basis.
It is also important that the recall interval is correct. If the patient had a Panorex or x-rays taken in another office because they went to a specialist, then a copy should be sent to your office and the person who receives it should update the interval based on the office x-ray protocol.
It is important that anyone on the team making appointments involving recall knows how to do it accurately. A good portion of the recall system could be lost if one click is made incorrectly. If a mistake is made, when you go to run a recall report to call overdue patients, there will not be any patients on it, or minimal. They will be lost in the computer system
Another common observation, when consulting with the hygiene departments of practices nationwide, is that the amount of people due back for periodontal maintenance is very low. This can be due to a combination of things. For example: the patient was root planed and then brought back as a prophylaxis instead of periodontal maintenance, because for years the periodontal maintenance code was not being used on a regular basis. Now the office is not sure how to approach all of the patients that should be periodontal maintenance appointments, but have been receiving the care without having to pay for it. Oftentimes, the person making the appointment does not link it correctly to a periodontal maintenance appointment because many software programs will automatically default back to six-month prophylaxis if the scheduler does not link everything correctly. This is just one example of why periodontal production may not be where it is recommended.
A word to the wise - when it comes to computer knowledge, time spent testing and training when hiring a new person is priceless. It is up to you as the leader of the team to decide how much time you want to spend bringing them up to speed with your office and how things are done. However, proper computer training now may save you a lot of money and time in the future.
Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program.
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