9.7.07 - Issue # 287 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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New Technology, Software? New Definition for “Experienced”

Help Wanted
Experienced Dental Scheduling Coordinator for 2 Doctor practices in North County. Excellent customer service skills, computer skills and team player necessary.

Dear Belle,
I am a Business Manager for a two doctor general practice.  We see about 30-40 patients a day.  I have had to let two scheduling coordinators go in the last year because they did not have enough “experience” to do the job.  I made the mistake of not checking their experience on the software program before I hired them.  I put each one through training on the software but neither was able to learn it to the point where they made few errors.  I now have hired another scheduling coordinator.  This time I made sure to have her do a working interview that included doing certain tasks on the computer.  This was a big help to determine if she was really “experienced” in the areas where I needed it and if she was able to learn new skills quickly.  I have learned that there is a vast difference in the word “experienced.”
Shellie M., Business Administrator

Dear Shellie,
As technology becomes more of a necessary component to the success of the dental practice in these competitive times it becomes a challenge to find people who are truly skilled at this technology.  Managing a dental practice has always demanded excellent customer service skills and knowledge of dental business systems such as scheduling, financial arrangements, insurance processing, collection and billing, recall etc.   A college degree in business was not a requirement to get a position in the dental business office and many people employed at the front office were former dental assistants or people who were trained on the job in another practice.  With today’s technology most young people are exposed to computers at an early age but if they do not go on to college the skills often remain primary.  When hiring someone to manage the now million-dollar practice, formal business training and more than primary knowledge of computer software is an essential.  The practice management reports that can be generated by today’s sophisticated software can tell you if your practice is growing or declining, what procedures are your “bread and butter” and what other services or products you need to market, how many new patients are coming in and how many patients are leaving, how many children you see and how many adults, what percentages of your practice is insurance and private and what percentage of the insurance base is Delta Dental or AETNA.  The list is endless.  The old days of the pegboard and ledger card are passé.

Going “paperless” is the new wave to freedom and it will be that way for everyone someday.  You will not be able to go paperless if you have staff that is intimidated by computer software technology.  Hiring someone who is “experienced” does not have the same meaning as the past unless this person has had formal business training and can demonstrate more than “e-mail” skills on the computer.

How do we get these people?  To implement any new technology into your office environment requires TRAINING.  Choosing the right candidate can start with asking them to demonstrate their skills.  Make up a “dummy” patient on the computer and have the applicant put together a treatment plan and then schedule the patient for multiple appointments. Have them post from the treatment plan.  Have the applicant gather insurance information on the “dummy patient”. Have the applicant create a treatment proposal and a financial option sheet.  These are basics.  You will be able to observe skill level and the need for training.

Having the software trainer back in with a list of particular skills you would like the staff to learn is more effective than just having them back for another training.  One person needs to be in charge of writing notes on how to create reports and documents so that these instructions can be placed into a training manual.  Your office needs to design a DENTAL BUSINESS TRAINING MANUAL.  In this manual you will have a check off skill list where each trainee will have shown that they have completed each section of the training to the satisfaction of the person in charge.

We have new technology; it requires people with skills or with the ability to learn new skills.  At McKenzie Management we have been involved in the education process of the dentist and dental business staff for many years.  It has been our passion to provide Advanced Business Training for dental personnel.  For Advanced Business Training and creating systems to work with new technology, call us today. 

For more information on McKenzie's Advanced Training Programs for Office Managers and Front Office, email training@mckenziemgmt.com, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our web-site at www.mckenziemgmt.com.

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