9.3.10 Issue #443 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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5 Time Wasters at the Front Desk
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant McKenzie Management

Dr. Jeremy Jackson – Case Study #322

Dr. Jackson had been a client of McKenzie Management in the past and continues to read the weekly e-newsletters to “stay on course” and continue to incorporate new game plans into his already productive practice.

Today he called to inquire on how to save time in the business area. Like so many other dentists across the nation, he was pinched by the economic times and followed McKenzie Management’s recommendation to keep his practice “lean and mean.” When one of his front desk employees’ spouses was relocated and she turned in her notice, he, along with the two remaining business team members, elected not to replace her.  Instead, he was willing to increase their salaries incrementally for their increased job responsibilities and help them to be more efficient at the same time.

Five Time Wasters We Eliminated

1. Filing Paper Records
Over the next six months, the practice took serious steps to eliminate the need for paper records. The practice was already digital in all the operatories so this step was actually quite easy once a plan was implemented. A software trainer was obtained to teach the clinical team how to enter clinical notes, treatment plans, etc. Auto-notes were written to save time. As the patients were seen over the course of the next six months, only the most recent written clinical page was scanned into the document center of the software. The medical history was updated in the computer, as well as insurance information. Because the paper records were still available for reviewing information, such as letters from referring dentists, old lab slips, etc. these items were NOT scanned.

How was this a time-saver? Beth and Janie were retrieving and filing a minimum of 30 paper records per day. At best, an average of two minutes per records = 2 min x 60 records = 120 minutes, that’s 2 hours per day being used to manage these paper records. This does not include miscellaneous records that were retrieved for other reference needs.

2. Filing EOBs
Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company - currently, Linda was posting insurance payments and then filing a copy of the EOB into each patient’s record. For the bulk checks (sometimes as many as 15-20 patients), she was making a copy of the EOB so a copy could be placed in the applicable record. This was taking approximately 3 minutes (not including the copy time) to file each EOB. 20 x 3 = 60 minutes or 1 hour per day to manage the EOBs.

The solution - until the practice is chartless, the EOBs should be filed according to the date that the payment was posted to the patients’ accounts. For example, today there were 18 payments posted. All the EOBs were stapled together and today’s date was clearly written on the top EOB. This stapled stack of EOBs are filed chronologically in the August file. If one of the EOBs is needed, simply review the patient’s ledger, obtain the date the claim was posted, and then retrieve the EOB’s with that date. The goal is to manage the EOBs as quickly as possible. After the practice is chartless, it is recommended that Beth and Janie continue to do the same time - there is no need to take the time to scan each EOB into the computer.

3. Manually Confirming Patient Appointments
Let’s face it. For the most part, we are a ‘techie” society. I acknowledge that not everyone has a cell phone or computer, and that is why there is the US Postal Service.  But 75% of Dr. Jackson’s patients use text messages and emails on a daily basis.

A campaign was created to obtain cell phone and email addresses from all the patients as they were seen. The patients were advised of the new advances in “customer service” that were being provided, by contacting them via text message or email about their upcoming appointments. The patients were given a printed one page instruction sheet that illustrated how to “acknowledge” the receipt of their email or text message.

The practice obtained cost-effective software that contacted all of their patients regarding their upcoming appointments. This saved the practice approximately 80% fewer phone calls and a time-savings of about 1-1.5 hours per day.

4. Manually Verifying Insurance Eligibility
Previously, Linda was making phone calls, reviewing websites or receiving faxes to verify patients’ eligibility for their annual benefits. A program was implemented through their practice management software that reviewed eligibility automatically for all their patients. If there was a specific benefit that needed to be verified that was not available through the automated system, the manual protocol was implemented.

Verifying insurance eligibility is a very time-consuming process. It was estimated that a minimum of one hour per day was saved using the new automated system.

5. Sending Monthly Statements and Insurance Claims by Hand
Most all practice management software has the capability of electronic statements and insurance claims. If your practice is not taking advantage of this opportunity, your business team is wasting a lot of valuable time. Yes - there is a minimal investment but compared to the time it takes to print, stuff and mail claims and statements, the time-savings is worth the trade-off, not considering the savings of paper, printer ink, envelopes and postage.

Electronic claims should be processed daily, and yes, the insurance company processes these claims first so your cash flow is improved. Electronic statements should be processed weekly. The time to review 25% of your A/R compared to 100% is reduced and, again, your cash flow is improved.

Dr. Jackson feels that his business team is much more efficient now and they are happier because their “bottom line” has improved! Invite a MM consultant into your practice today and see how you can help your team save time, save money, and take you into the 21st century with the use of technology.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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