10.19.07 - Issue # 293 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague
Paperless Options
Refusing an Applicant
Inspiring Your Team

Paper Cuts Can be Profitable
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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Budget Rent A Car System Inc. has it, United Parcel Service now offers it, Reliant Energy recently announced cash incentives for using it. The IRS has been doing it for years. More and more dental practices, medical offices, retail businesses are providing it. What is “it”? Paperless options.

Paperless billing, paperless shipping, paperless tax filing, paperless records, forms, documents, etcetera, etcetera, digital processes that are gradually making the storage, the expense, and the hassle associated with paperwork a thing of the past.

For many of the leading edge dental practices that consider themselves “paperless,” they are more accurately described as chartless. The clinical functions such as charting, treatment planning, and progress notes are completed on computers in the operatories and digital X-rays are stored on a server rather than in a patient’s paper chart.

Certainly, those digital systems are significant steps toward the “paperless practice,” but what about all the paper generated from forms and legal documents, such as HIPAA forms, Informed Consent, and medical histories that must be printed, completed, and kept on file in a practice? The cost and time associated with managing these documents is significant. In fact, one small business in Florida actually documented the cost of using paper vs. digital records. It found that it had been spending some $40,000 in printer paper, toner and ink, copies, copier paper, envelopes, postage, and time spent on filing documents. Needless to say the savings from going paperless were significant.

Given the strides being made by companies like DentForms, it’s conceivable that a dental practice could become 99% paperless in the not too distant future as digital options now available enable practices to manage the vast majority of paper produced.

DentForms, which is compatible with most major practice management systems, allows a practice to create digital reproductions of all paper forms. They can be changed, updated, or modified based on the information needed. Forms requiring patient signatures, such as Informed Consent, HIPAA, medical histories and others are stored in a digital format on the computer. No paper required. No filing necessary. No storage cabinet needed.

So, how does the patient complete the form without your practice having to print it out and hand it to them on a clipboard? By using your office computers and brilliantly designed software for ease of use. Once the form is completed, the patient simply signs a small digital signature device and the signature is electronically applied to the appropriate document. The process is incredibly simple, fast, and efficient for patients and the practice. With a simple click of a mouse the patient’s information is right at your fingertips and there’s no need for double-entry.

Another feature allows patients to complete many forms online before they come in for their appointment. The online forms are then downloaded into the practice’s server, bringing all the necessary information to the practice automatically. When the patient comes in for their appointment, they simply sign the electronic key pad, which is the same type of device used when you make a credit card purchase in the store. The electronic signature is encrypted and permanently retained in an unalterable format acceptable in court. Moreover, if the required signature is missing from a document, the program issues a strong alert indicating that the document must be signed.

For those who feel strongly that the process isn’t complete until they hold a piece of paper in their hand, the program allows for any document to be printed at any time.

What’s more, programs such as this ensure that you never lose your records due to fire. They won’t fade or become damaged. They can’t be lost or misplaced and they can be backed up effortlessly.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com.
Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here.

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Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Recruiting the right peopleóRefusing an applicant

“The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.”  Mark Twain

Dear Belle,
My name is Carolanne S. and I have been trying to find a new position as a Business Administrator in a progressive dental practice.  My goal would be to attend the McKenzie Management Advanced Business Course, as I want to keep improving my skills.  I was recently offered a position as an Office Manager. The current manager had given notice and was retiring.  I passed the application and interview process, which took about two hours and was told that I could expect to be called to start the following week.  I was very happy, even went out and bought some new clothes, until I received this phone message on my home answering machine:” “Hi, Carolanne, this is Mary from Dr. Forthright’s office and I regret to tell you that we have decided on another applicant for the position.  Good luck in your search for employment.”  I was stunned! I thought I had the job. Isn’t there a better way to communicate this information?
Carolanne S.

Dear Carolanne S.,
Rejection is never pleasant especially when you had accepted the position.  Job seekers are under a lot of stress and are sensitive to bad news. The utmost tact should be used when delivering this kind of information.  Most dental offices have not developed a formal system for rejecting applicants and should have a form letter designed to deliver the message.  Leaving a message on an answering machine can be a breach of privacy if the wrong person gets the message before the intended recipient. An e-mail letter can be used if the applicant has applied via e-mail but in the case of a two-hour face-to-face interview, more sensitivity should apply.

Under your circumstances, it would be of benefit to you to call Dr. Forthright’s office for a more definitive reason as to why you were not hired. There seems to be a miscommunication as to whether the position was offered or not.  If you were not given a written job description, compensation information and employment tax documents to fill out, your hiring process was not completed.

For the future, should you ever be on the other end of this process I would recommend setting up the following system for writing rejection letters:

  • Use Clear Words and Build Effective Phrases such as:
    Appreciate your application; appreciate your time and effort; can assure that careful consideration was given; many excellent candidates; require extensive experience; reviewed your excellent qualifications; the selection process was difficult.
  • Write Strong Sentences and Build Effective Phrases such as:
    Thank you for applying for the Business Administrator position.  It was a pleasure meeting you.  Doctor Forthright has selected an applicant with extensive experience presenting treatment plans.  We appreciate your efforts during the interview process.
  • Thank you for your resume in response to our opening for an Office Manager. Your experience is very impressive but this position requires at least five years managing employees and doing payroll.

Make your letter positive, precise and brief.  Do not be vague as the applicant may think that they can call back and barter for the position.  The following is a sample rejection letter.

Dear Carolanne,
Thank-you for applying for the Office Manager position.  Both Mary and I were very impressed with your accomplishments and job history.  It was a pleasure speaking to you during the interview process.  The Office Manager position requires, however, extensive treatment planning experience and knowledge of insurance billing.

We would like to keep your resume on file so that we may consider you for future openings.  We wish you continued success in your career.

Yours truly,
Dr. Jack Forthright

Before writing any letter consider the content and the objective. You may have to rewrite the letter a few times before sending it.  Edit, edit, edit in order to make sure you have communicated your message with sincerity and sensitivity.  For Advanced Business Training for the doctor and team please call McKenzie Management 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.

Interested in having Belle speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here.

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Risa Pollack-Simon
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Team First
Inspiring Team Accountability

If you’re somewhat baffled by a pervasive dwindling of momentum from your best and your brightest, you’re not alone! Over half the businesses in America struggle with reduced revenues from a lack of employee initiative.

What’s more surprising to learn is that this workforce dilemma is often times perpetuated by an organizational weakness. This weakness appears to be entrenched in businesses that lack a sense of employee purpose or value. Truth be known, business owners are driving employee initiative, simply by the way in which they honor (or ignore) their people.

When business owners recognize that their employees ‘incentive barometer’ can be greatly influenced by the sense of pride they exude in their workforce, this insidious dilemma quickly disappears.

Ultimately, the practice spotlight needs to be focused on the heartbeat of human connection, rather than the stopwatch behind task perfection. This “no cost” investment in human capital can be one of the most powerful mechanisms for influencing ordinary workers to seek extraordinary opportunities for advancing themselves and the organization!

What is called for here is a shift in people management. The goal is to increase the employee’s confidence, while intuitively connecting them to a higher purpose. While it’s a known fact that employees excel in performance and instinctively increase their desire to achieve more when they feel valued and appreciated; a simple “pat on the back” is simply not enough. If an organization wants to unleash the power of their people; they must align their core purpose so that it shares perceived value for employees as well.

The employer must also provide a clear understanding of what the organization is striving to achieve, while providing training to meet individual performance expectations. To ensure success, business owners need to give up their incessant need to micromanage people and events.  The most successful business owners have faith in their people. If a business owner lacks trust, they have either trained inadequately or simply selected the wrong candidate for the job.

Ask yourself, do you have the right people, in the right places, doing the right things for all the right reasons? If your answers share a level of uncertainty, follow these assessment steps:

  1. Assess individual job descriptions to ensure they specifically define the level of expectation. Setting specific expectations will ensure that you and your team function within their level of accountability. 
  2. Select only those individuals who are best suited for the job at hand.
  3. If training is needed, provide it!  Be sure both the trainer’s and trainee’s ego is “in check” to avoid any issues that may distract the training. Likewise, only assign competent trainers who choose to act in the best interest of the practice.
  4. Document training and request periodic progress reports from the trainer to ensure advancement does not occur until certain criteria is met.
  5. Ask all team members to periodically report quantifiable outcomes relative to their own job expectations. Be sure they are clear on what is expected and provide specific quantifiable measurements for each department and individual to shoot for.

As Einstein so eloquently communicated: While not everything that can be counted, counts; everything that counts, should be counted! Train your people to become more accountable. Team members who are asked to measure their own outcomes (along side their team’s collaborative efforts), will be able to position themselves for advancement through a heightened awareness of their own value.

Information is power –even if your employees are at the level of greatness you had always hoped; there is a sustainability factor that needs to be consistently nurtured. Simply put: individuals need to feel that their personal contribution is as important, (if not more important), than the tasks they perform.

Hence, when an individual’s contribution is monitored and acknowledged for greatness, their sense of pride will esteem a “pay-it-forward” desire to serve others in-kind.  So the next time you think that your employees are the cause of your problems, take a step back - and think again.

Ask yourself, “what have I done recently to empower my workforce to achieve greatness?” “Am Istagnating my team’s growth through my own ambiguity?” “Does my team truly understand what’s expected of them?” “Have I provided my team the proper training tools to surpass standard norms?” “Do I exude a sense of pride in my people?”

If you find yourself coming up short in an all too familiar leadership void, use the quickest route out by positioning your TeamFirst™. For when you do, you’ll begin to discover the hidden gem in leveraging your practice through the empowered wisdom of an esteemed workforce.

Risa Simon is a certified management consultant, national speaker and published author. Risa earned the mark of CMC, which represents evidence of meeting the highest standards within the consulting profession. For over two decades, Risa has been coaching dental professionals to enhance team harmony, improve operational efficiency, and ensure practice safety. For more information on Risa’s powerful new book “TeamFirst™: It’s All About Connection, Not Perfection!” and other transformational training resources, visit her website:  www.simonsaysseminars.com - or call 800 FON TEAM.

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