The Business Coordinator for 2012
Much of the front office duties in a dental practice are administrative tasks. In the past, they represented the bulk of the work day, as insurance claims were typed, printed, x-rays were attached, and they were sent by mail. Statements were printed in the office and also stuffed and stamped to be mailed. Recall cards were printed, stamped and sent. The only way to reach patients for confirmation was the phone. Posting of payments was to a ledger system and was manually balanced by calculator at the end of the day. Today, computer software does this all faster and far more accurately. Patients can now be confirmed via email or text, thus eliminating tying up the phone lines and taking up valuable time. Insurance payments and patient payments can be automatically deposited to your account. Recall reminders can be sent digitally to those patients that want to receive email only. The administrative tasks are the same but the time to do them is far less - and the time to redefine the position of the business coordinator for 2012 is now.
Going digital has changed the scope of the front office. With the advent of the digital age it is now possible to create an insurance claim, attach documents and send in a couple of minutes without using an envelope, duplicator, or a couple dollars worth of postage. The same goes for patient statements and recall notices. Tasks that took hours have been reduced to minutes. With the saving of so much time, the business coordinator's role has changed and now s/he has time to do other things. We are able to give patients more of the time and attention they want and need to educate and motivate to buy treatment. The role of the business coordinator in the digital age is now that of a practice builder, and not of a task doer.
Instead of spending so much time confirming appointments, more time can be spent on tracking referrals and creating ways to make the practice more visible and marketable. Updating the website with new information and photos can be done with the time that was used in the past to create and send statements. Creating an educational newsletter via your software program that does your confirmations can be done with the time saved from no longer having to send insurance claims by snail mail. Focusing on creating an internal marketing program to keep patients in your practice instead of balancing the day sheet from the night before is a way to build the practice.
The business coordinator will need to develop new skills that were not as necessary in the past to fulfill his/her job requirements. Customer service skills beyond just saying “hello” and “please fill out the forms” are necessary today. We now have the time to engage in active listening to really know what our patients want from dentistry. Understanding current marketing trends and how the demographics and psychographics of the neighborhood affect practice change is important. Learning how to build rapport and a connection with the patients so that trust is built is desirable in the new digital age where the personal face to face has been replaced by email and online communications. People crave attention from their healthcare providers because so little attention is given elsewhere.
The new business coordinator has time now to help the practice develop a niche. If the dentist wants to promote his/her talent with the result of veneer cases, the business coordinator can contact patients for testimonials and arrange for photo shoots to place the results on the website and to create a book to visually display to patients. The business coordinator can arrange for “lunch and learns” with local plastic surgeons and other professionals that deal with beauty enhancement to teach their staff about the benefits of cosmetic dentistry.
Yes, this is a new world for the business coordinator - but also an exciting and challenging world. It requires wanting to learn and grow just like you would want the practice to grow. Dentistry has always been a people business and a very personal business. The business coordinator must love people and want to interface more than ever to create a practice that exceeds patient expectations. Many business coordinators need to reevaluate their position in the practices that are chartless and digital and take the initiative to grow and change to be a more valuable asset than they were in the past.
McKenzie Management can offer training and skills to the new business coordinator. Call us today and enroll in one of our dental office training programs.
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