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Sally McKenzie's

Weekly Management e-Motivator


 

Issue #47

Click here to print this
e-motivator Article.

January 17, 2003

Sally McKenzie,CMC
President
McKenzie Management
SallyMcK@mckenziemgmt.com

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 11

“Top Obstacles to Achieving the Ideal Practice.” This week… one of the barriers likely to be interfering in your ability to reach your goals. Next week I’ll discuss proven solutions.

Barrier #1 The Hygiene Heist

In many practices, the hygiene department should entitle the doctor to some sort of charitable tax write-off for all the money poured in and the measly return realized. That’s a nice way of saying that in most cases the doctor and the practice are being robbed. Hygiene departments, which could be huge profit centers, are yielding some pretty abysmal results. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the hygienist, oftentimes they are seemingly booked into eternity and single-handedly trying to manage patient recall.

A number of factors can undermine your hygiene department. The recall “system” may be a spiral notebook with a few names of people who once upon a time didn’t show or cancelled their appointments. There’s no real ownership of this vital practice system because, well, everyone is just too darn busy. Why do you need to bother with it when hygiene is booked six months out? Yet hygiene is probably producing well below the standard of 33% of total practice production. Often if the doctor steps back and really looks at what is happening, they will find that the hygienist has far more down time than they realized, patient retention is seriously lacking, and periodontal treatment is minimal at best.

Think about your own practice for just a minute. Have you increased the number of hygiene days per week in the last two years? If not, you’re losing patients.

If you have been in practice for just 15 years and have kept a mere 50% of the patients that have stepped into your practice, you should have three or four hygienists. How’s that for a revelation!

So, what do you do? Although improving hygiene is a multi-step process, you can come a long way if you focus on one thing. Next week, I'll give you my number one approach to improving patient care and solving the Hygiene Heist.

 



Technology Tool Box

Mark Dilatush
VP of Professional Relations

for McKenzie Management

Mark@mckenziemgmt.com

1-877-777-6151 Ext. 28

A series of short weekly chores designed to keep the return on investment in technology at its highest level.


If you missed any of the previous issues CLICK HERE.

Hygiene Department Automation: Paper records = electronic pages

At some point, most of you will make the transition to a digital clinical record. Maybe you already have, I don’t know. But, ALL of you will have some reservations about doing so. The most common perception out there is that the computer is going to “slow me down”.

This is the fastest way to get over the fear and grasp the reality that a digital clinical record is actually more complete, easier to produce and review, and faster (yes, I said faster) than a paper chart.

Here’s what I want you to do. This is going to sound elementary at first, but do each step in order.

  1. The next 5 existing patients that come into your treatment room, list the documents inside the paper chart that you routinely reference before, during, and after the patient visit. I want you to have a list. Your list may look a lot like this:
    • Patient demographic information
    • Most recent med history
    • Prior treatment
    • Outstanding treatment plan
    • Most recent bitewings
    • Add necessary treatment plan
    • Add clinical notes
    • Instruct front desk of work performed today
    • Instruct front desk of next appointment
  2. Study the sequence of the list as steps
  3. Consider how many “pages” of paper you reference to find and store information now
  4. Think of your practice management system as “pages of the same paper”
  5. Go to your practice management system’s clinical management area
    In our example above... ...
    You would bring up the patient record
    ”click” to see their most recent medical history
    ”click” to see prior treatment
    ”click” to see their existing treatment plan
    ”click” to see their most recent xrays
    ”click” to chart necessary treatment
    ”click” to review and save the clinical note that enters itself
    ”click” to post today’s procedures performed (which 80% of the time are scheduled and ready for posting anyway)
    ”click” to make the next appointment or inform the front desk one is needed

I can almost guarantee you (this depends on the quality of your practice management system’s design) that the information you require prior to, during, and after seeing a patient can be found faster, more easily, AND MORE COMPLETELY than on a paper chart.

In order to get over that initial hurdle, just duplicate your existing routine until using your practice management system becomes faster than your paper system. Once you are faster, here are some other things to consider incorporating into your routine.

  1. Review the patient’s portrait before they arrive so you can recognize and greet them by name.
  2. Review patient notes entered by the whole team so you can be ready for any “surprises”.
  3. Review any specific areas of clinical concern or “watches”
  4. Prepare for the patient’s arrival by having their full smile on the monitor just before arrival.
  5. Have the image of the tooth or teeth you are going to work on today immediately visible so you can review exactly what you are going to do at today’s visit.
  6. Have patient education loop ready to run to assist you in preparing the patient for today’s treatment (this works fabulously for building value in interceptive periodontal procedures).

Bottom line: The reason a paper chart is comfortable is because you’ve been using them forever. Paper charts are limited. If you think about electronic records as “pieces of electronic paper” and know how to retrieve them (like thumbing through a chart) – doing so will become a new habit. Once the new habit is in place, you will be much faster. Once you are faster, adding new pieces (radiographs, digital images, patient education, patient notes, etc) into your routine will make the whole patient visit more refined, more focused, more pleasant, and more memorable to your patients. Oh, one more thing … you will do all this in the same or less time.

Good luck!



New Year Practice Resolutions 2003

1. Increase Production by 42%?
2. Set job descriptions for staff with performance measurements?
3. Reduce the accounts receivable by 15%?
4. Get a full one hour for lunch?
5. Bring on an associate dentist in the first quarter?
6. Increase perio treatment in the hygiene department by 28%?
7. Equip another operatory first quarter?
8. Increase fees 3% the first of March and October?
9. Teach dental assistants how to make temporary crowns?
10. Have 2 hour monthly meetings with system measurements?

What will yours be?

Find out NOW how you can make your 2003 resolutions … REALITY!!!!

click here




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Telephone Effectiveness to Improve Patient Retention-Audio

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Breakdown: The Hidden Signals of Practice Erosion


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This issue is sponsored in part by:

DentalTown

McKenzie Management

CareCredit

The Center for Dental Career Development

Lares Research

 



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