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Sally McKenzie,CMC
McKenzie Management

Sally McKenzie's
Weekly Management e-Motivator

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October 18, 2002

You have 47 days to reach your year end GOALS . . .
  • Will your production exceed last year minus fee increases?
  • Will your patient retention increase to add days of hygiene?
  • Will you take home more money?
  • Will you make it?

    Find out here!

    Sally McKenzie's Weekly Management e-Motivator---Issue #34

    Cure Appointment Amnesia

    It is exasperating! You and your team represent the model practice. You are completely patient-focused. The care you provide is simply unmatched. Yet, the practice is losing literally thousands of dollars on patients who simply don’t show or cancel at the last minute.

    If it is any comfort, your practice is in good company. On average, 28% of patients suffer from regular bouts of “appointment amnesia.” The problem affects those practices serving patients with a lower dental IQ as well as those serving the busy, well-educated executives. It is reflective of both our frenzied culture as well as uncertain economic times. The good news - you can take steps to lessen the aggravation.

    Sally's Recommended Actions

    • Establish a policy for broken appointments.
    • Communicate the policy to new patients and remind existing patients of the policy periodically.
    • Designate an appointment coordinator and train them to handle confirmation calls.
    • Make personal contact with the patient 48 hours in advance of the appointment.
    • Do not leave messages.
    • Request a daytime phone number when scheduling appointments so the appointment coordinator can confirm with the patient directly.
    • Schedule time for the coordinator to contact difficult to reach patients after hours.
    • When making appointments state the day, date, time, and length of the appointment. For example, Mrs. Smith, your one-hour appointment is on April 28 at 9:50 a.m., if you are unable to keep this appointment, please call us at least 48 hours in advance to allow another patient the opportunity to see the doctor at that time.
    • Keep a list of those patients willing to move their appointments to fill unexpected voids in the schedule.
    • Follow-up with those patients who cancel, don't show, or don't reschedule.
    • Contact no shows within 10 minutes of their appointment time.
    • Show concern for their absence. Mr. Smith this is Mary from Dr. Calls office. We were expecting you for a 3 p.m. appointment today and were concerned when we had not heard from you. Is everything okay?
    • After two no shows consider the patient unreliable. Tell the patient you will contact them when an opening is available.
    • Consider offering some appointments in the evening and/or on weekends.

    HIPAA COMPLIANCE - The Health Insurance Portability & Accountabiity Act (HIPAA) of 1996 calls for the standardization of electronic patient, administrative and financial data as well as security standards to protecting the confidentiality and integrity of patients' health records. The Electronic Health Care Transactions Provision and the Privacy Rule are the two sections of HIPAA that affects dentistry. Failure to comply could mean severe civil and criminal penalties. Compliance dates for the two provisions differ because the dates on which the final rules were published are not the same. The Privacy Provision is required by April 14, 2003. The Electronic Health Care Transactions Provision had a compliance date of Oct. 16, 2002. The ADA also provides information at the ADA web site at http://www.ada.org/prof/prac/issues/topics/hipaa/index.html.



    Technology Tool Box

    Mark Dilatush
    VP of Professional Relations

    for McKenzie Management


    1-877-777-6151 Ext. 28

    A series of short weekly chores designed to keep the return on investment in technology at its highest level.
    Top Ten Technology Do's and Don't's #4

    Purpose: Every week we will publish one of the top ten. Unlike the "Tonight Show", these are not in any particular order. These are compiled from watching 20 years of mistakes and helping to fix those mistakes. We would rather you just avoid the mistakes!


      OK, we just bought a new practice management system. The company called and asked us to schedule training. The software company asked for 6 to 8 hours a day without patients.
      Do I have to close the office?
      What’s the best way to get my team trained?
      Can the business team and clinical team get training at the same time?
      Will the software make them do things right?

      Do not flip out on your software company. If you’re not trained properly, you become a HUGE liability on their support lines. Believe me, they want to provide the very best training they can.

      Do not think that you can lock your business team in a room while the office is open. They will be interrupted at least 50 times by the covering employee. This causes significant concentration breaks and stops the team from learning the “flow” of the software.

      Do not take the first 10 to 12 hours of training with patients or phones ringing. Initial training MUST be in a controlled environment. After the first day or two of uninterrupted training, your software vendor may mention a “live” day. That’s when your office is open with patients and they are helping your team through their first day with the system. Live day is only OK if you’ve had at least two days of controlled training.

      Never, never, never do the clinical training (charting, imaging, digital xrays, etc) until the business operations of your practice are fully implemented.

      Never receive training until you have clear concise office policies, business systems, defined step by step protocols, and accountability trails in the office. These need to be understood by the entire team before you receive software training. Software is not a replacement for a business plan, it’s one piece of the implementation within a business plan.

    What to do:
      Use this incident to create a positive result.

      Just like everything else in business – plan for it! For instance, if your office is open Mon. through Thurs., close Thursday and open a Saturday (think your patients will mind? I doubt it). Have the trainer in from Thursday through Saturday. If they are not available on Saturday’s (in this case), make the necessary arrangements to clear your schedule according to their training regimen. You’re practice will benefit in the long run.

      Clinical training should be planned for at least 60 days after the business training. Yes, the software trainer should come back into the office. At a minimum one day with the clinical team without patients and one day with patients. You and your team will need at least one day to prepare your clinical charting and notes specifically for your practice. This takes time.

      Make training fun! Reward the team with pizza’s, music breaks, get in the trenches with them. Prove to them that you are part of the team too. Let them teach you something. Training can be a very uplifting team experience – if you plan for it.

    12 Hours CE Credits


    Sail the Eastern Caribbean on Holland America World's most luxurious Ships the MS Zaandam

    March 29 - April 5, 2003 -
    Work with two of the most dedicated knowledgeable experts on Finance and Management in the United States — Sally McKenzie, CMC and Dr.Hugh Doherty, CFP. They will share sound advice on how to develop a profitable practice which will lead to your future financial security.
    It will be a "one of a kind" vacation where you come back richer!


    This issue is sponsored in part by:

    DentalTown - Never practice solo again! DentalTown.com is a free community, hosting dentistry's MOST ACTIVE message boards, classified ads and a dental event calendar.The site is open to dental professionals throughout the world, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Once you visit, you'll wonder how you ever practiced without it! Log onto http://www.dentaltown.com TODAY!

    McKenzie Management - A full service, in-office dental management consulting company specializing in the business, clinical, and hygiene areas of practices nationwide.You can find McKenzie Management at http://www.mckenziemgmt.com

    CareCredit - The nation's leading patient financing program - offers 3, 6, & 12 Month Interest Free Payment Plans and low-interest Extended Payment Plans for treatment fees from $1 to over $25,000. All plans offer low minimum monthly payments and a revolving credit line for additional treatment or add-on charges, without the need to reapply.
    Call 800-300-3046, x519 and let the representative know you're ready to increase production, reduce accounts receivable, and increase cash flow with CareCredit patient payment plans. Or visit the website at http://www.carecredit.com

    The Center for Dental Career Development - Providing Advanced Business Education for dentists and training for business employees as well as Team Building Retreats for the entire dental team in Beautiful La Jolla, California. You can find The Center for Dental Career Development at http://www.dentalcareerdevelop.com

    Lares Research - Make Your Practice Profitability Soar! SoftCare boosts your hygiene department profitability to a new level. Treatment of periodontal disease with the Lares' PocketPro Lasers is easy to learn and offers a quick and dramatic return on your investment. Lares lasers will also make your dentistry faster and easier. Visit us at http://www.laresdental.com/products/lsc/default.asp or call 800-347-3289, ext. 1 and schedule an educational presentation.

    HPSC - Finances, via lease or loan, dental and office equipment, leasehold improvements, working capital and supply contracts at fixed competitive rates, with no points, variables or hidden fees. HPSC also offers a variety of financing programs to dental professionals seeking to set up, expand, buy into, or acquire a practice.

    INFORMS - Allow InForms to participate in your successful practice by becoming the "ONE STOP SOURCE" for your front office needs. We carry a full range of products including: recall and appointment cards, registration forms, exam forms, statements and envelopes, folders and labels. Call us at 1-800-722-4884 or email us at informs@bellsouth.net today to receive your catalog.


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    Copyrights 2002 McKenzie Management - All Rights Reserved.