Dental Consultant Advice: Incoming Phone Calls
For example, questions regarding dental insurance, accounts, collections would go to the Accounts Manager if you have one.
When a patient calls the office and is in pain, the receptionist should fill out some kind of Emergency Call-In Sheet. The following are some of the questions that should be asked:
1. “When was the last time you saw Dr. [name]?” This response will tell you if you are dealing with a new patient, an old patient who has been inactive, or an active patient. If the patient already has a chart, pull it. Also, be sure to check the patient's account.
2. “How long have you been in pain?”
3. “What type of pain are you experiencing?” Have the patient describe the pain. If it is a dull ache, the patient can usually wait until you can fit him/her into the schedule. If the pain is sharp, excruciating, throbbing, etc., the patient should be worked into the schedule ASAP (the same day).
True emergency patients will come at any time you give them. Patients wanting quick appointments of convenience will usually give you the "run around" regarding what time they can make it into the office.
If an active patient calls the office for a prescription, follow the office policy on calling in prescriptions.
Employees receiving incoming personal calls should not be interrupted unless it is a true emergency. All messages should be documented on a “phone message” form and placed in the employee’s mailbox. The employee may then return the call during lunch or a break.
Handling sales calls:
a. The receptionist should not be lured into answering questions.
b. If the receptionist is unsure if it is a sales person, she should ask what it is they are selling.
c. The receptionist should then request that they send in a brochure. If the caller asks who to send it to, the receptionist should have them direct it to her attention.
d. No matter what be civil and friendly.
e. Some calls can be put through to the doctor if he is not in the middle of a procedure, such as calls from other doctors, emergency calls from family, and in some cases, calls from labs. Take a message for non-emergency personal calls, patients who do not have an emergency or aren't upset, sales people and other business personnel.
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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices.
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New Patient Experience and Patient Education
Daily and Weekly Checklists
General Policy Manual
What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.
What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply.
Questions To Ask
Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.
If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant
My name is Kevin Tighe. Consultant. Coach. Mentor.
My mission is to advise, recommend and help implement proven systems to grow your practice .
Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually partner and now sole owner.
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