7.4.14 Issue #643 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Multi-Tasking Equals Multi-Mistakes
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

“Must be able to multi-task” was a required skill written in a job description for a Dental Office Business Coordinator position posted to an internet job board. The ability to do several tasks efficiently almost simultaneously is what most people understand as multi-tasking.

Based on years of observing dental office personnel, the conclusion drawn is that the term “multi-tasking” is a myth, or closer to a fantasy. A fantasy because when a person is performing a task and has to shift gears to do another activity seamlessly and without skipping a beat, it usually doesn’t happen with the accuracy intended. Even computers process one element at a time and then move on to the next element. For most humans there is not enough absolute memory for what we just did, as sometimes we forget steps in the thought process when trying to do more than one thing at a time.

It would be more reasonable to say: “Completing multiple tasks within a work day period will be required.” If there is just one person at the desk, that person will have critical work to be done that requires full focus and few distractions. Posting payments to patient’s accounts, especially insurance checks, can prove frustrating when the phone needs to be answered and patients need to be checked in and out. Bulk checks can prove challenging as it is easy to post the wrong amount, omit a payment or make an adjustment to the wrong account balance. At the end of the day, when the posted collections do not match the receipts, it may take several minutes or longer to find the errors and make corrections. This is one reason for overtime in dental practices.

Multi-tasking can also cause the following errors: scheduling the wrong patient because the names look similar, failing to identify an insurance check as a check and filing it away as an EOB, writing the wrong time on an appointment card, forgetting a patient on hold, forgetting to call a patient back, making errors on treatment plans by omitting procedures, making mathematical errors on treatment estimates, forgetting to relay a message or to even write it down… just to name a few. All of these errors were made while trying to do more than one task at a time.

Time management to ensure that all tasks are completed accurately at the end of the day must be strategized by the Business Coordinator. The priority is determined by the daily practice goals and the tasks associated with accomplishing these goals.

The following would be suggested protocol:

• Schedule all activities to stay on schedule
• Prioritize and schedule call-backs to patients based on importance
• New patients and patients needing appointments take first priority on the phone
• Billing and insurance phone calls need to be researched and call-backs should be during times when patient flow or phone calls are lighter, usually in the afternoon
• Schedule when to check office email, otherwise it will be checked too often
• Schedule times to make outbound calls for collecting delinquent accounts
• Schedule time in your day to make outbound calls to get insurance billing information and to track unpaid claims
• Schedule a time when there are fewer distractions to post payments or delegate someone to answer the phone while you are posting payments
• Schedule time for five calls a day to both the unscheduled treatment list and the unscheduled recall list

Being busy is not the same as being productive, so be aware of what is going on with the patients in the practice and whether the dental team is operating within the scheduled time allotted for patient care. In the myth of multi-tasking one is always busy doing something. If the business coordinator is doing five different things and nothing is finished or completed without error, is that what you want from an employee?

The most important activities would be the ones that bring more value to your patients and build your business. It is possible to complete several tasks accurately in a day’s work but it requires double checking your work, prioritizing tasks, managing the eight hour time block and sticking to your schedule.

We can teach you how to maximize time and complete all of your business tasks while staying on schedule. Call today for professional business training in Front Office skills and Dental Office Management.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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