Is There A Disconnect in Your Practice?
Teaching dental management systems that are the nuts and bolts of the dental practice may sound like a “no brainer” to some dentists who think that the front desk position is about scheduling and confirming appointments. The following is an illustration of what can contribute to failed appointments other than the business coordinator.
Dear Belle,I have too many cancellations and no shows on my books. I get on my front desk person daily about this and I still don't see any improvement. I am getting ready to let her go and look for someone else who can do the job. What kind of person am I looking for?
Dear Dr. Frustrated,
This is an issue that is not that simple to solve. The reason is that it may not be your business coordinator who is responsible for the lack of compliance of your patients. Certainly it is key to choose someone who has the right temperament and skills at motivating patients to accept and commit to the appointment, but what if there was a disconnect before the patient was dismissed to the desk? Take the following scenario (fictional account) and ask yourself if any of this applies to your practice.
Dr. A's office:
CC the dental assistant walks up five minutes later and escorts the patient to the treatment room. She immediately bibs the patient and says that Dr. A will be right there to see her. Dr. A is in the adjoining treatment room talking to another patient about ballgame scores. Ten minutes go by and no one has checked in on Mrs. Bee. The slightly crooked head rest is beginning to become annoying and she has time to look around for signs of unseemliness and notices the stained ceiling tile.
Suddenly, Dr. A enters the room apologizing for making her wait and begins staring at the computer intake screen. “I see that you were referred by Jake T. That was kind of him to send you over. Now what can I do to help you today?” After a brief conversation, Dr. A asks his assistant to take a full series of radiographs on Mrs. Bee. The assistant is not ready, as the hygienist is using the sensor, and she attempts small talk. It is about 4 minutes later that she is ready to take the FMX. CC tells Mrs. Bee that the doctor will be right in to tell her about the x-rays.
Three or four minutes go by and Dr. A arrives, gloving up behind Mrs. Bee. “Let’s see here, Mrs. Bee, I will be calling out some numbers to CC and we will get the information we need to complete your examination.” After this process, Dr. A begins to inform Mrs. Bee of what he has seen in the x-rays. He explains the recommended treatment and tells her that J, the Business Coordinator, will be able to give her an estimate. “We should get started on this upper tooth first as this one is in the worst shape and of course you need to have the scaling and root planing done as well to make sure the foundation is healthy prior to any more treatment. You are scheduled for a routine cleaning today with our hygienist, however, we can instead start with one quadrant of the scaling and root planing. Do you have any questions? Okay, we will get you over to our hygienist, Lee, and he will get started immediately.”
Lee, the dental hygienist, explains what he is going to do today and begins. Afterwards, Mrs. Bee is dismissed and walks to the desk to get scheduled for more quadrants of scaling and root planing. The Business Coordinator finds a 90 minute appointment five weeks out and offers to put Mrs. Bee on a waitlist should anything open up sooner. Mrs. Bee pays for her services that day and leaves the office. She accepts the urgency of the needed treatment but doesn't see that any effort was made to schedule sooner or address the needs of the upper tooth. She is not impressed with the attention and level of customer service that she received, and is not sure that she wants to keep that next appointment. After waiting four weeks and receiving no call from the office, she schedules an appointment with another office and requests her records sent.
How many people were in contact with this patient, and what could have been done to make this a better experience for Mrs. Bee? To prevent disconnects in your practice, enroll today in the Treatment Acceptance course offered at McKenzie Management.
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