Is Your Office Guilty of Managed Neglect?

Whenever you employ a front office person who doesn’t take ownership of the front desk and appointment book…..well there’s trouble there!!

This is a clear and present warning signal with front office employees.

Where the front office and appointment book is a shared role in your dental office, then you need to ensure that one person is responsible to the owner of the office for the structure and completeness of that schedule.

Where more than one employee is making and scheduling appointments, then the office must employ accountable systems to track all movements within that document.

I recently saw in an office where a doctor asked what happened to an appointment that had simply disappeared from the appointment schedule. This appointment, for $6000.00 of dental treatment, had simply vanished in the six weeks between when the patient was last in and when the appointment had been made for.

No one in the office seemed to know what had happened, and it was left to someone in the office to have to call and enquire of the patient the reason for the appointment cancellation. This scenario certainly was not a winner for anyone at the dental office.

I’m sure this scenario is not unique to this dental office? So how can something like this be avoided? The answer is systems.

Here’s a list of daily checkpoints that need to be in place to stop these sorts of scenarios happening and valuable patients falling through the cracks in your system.

Firstly, it is imperative that all patients leave with a new appointment scheduled. This is the GOLDEN RULE.

GOLDEN RULE: ”The Purpose of an Appointment is to Make Another Appointment”

End of Day Summary:

The doctor should be able to review a spreadsheet list of treated patients at the end of each day with the following completed information:

  • Name
  • Treatment done [brief description]
  • Value of treatment billed
  • Fee collected
  • Date of next appointment
  • Treatment at next appointment

Another slip that should be handed to the doctor/owner to review is a list of all patients that day leaving without scheduling an appointment and the reason for not scheduling as well as the employee who that patient dealt with.

Ideally this list should be a blank piece of paper each day. If it is not, then the reasons list, along with the employee responsible list, will provide positive feedback to the owner as to whether the dental office has any areas of concern to address.

A third slip should be presented to the doctor at the end of the day and that slip needs to list any patients ringing in that day to reschedule or cancel any appointments. Again, ideally, this should be a blank sheet at the end of the day, and if it is not, then information gathered on this sheet, such as reason for changing the appointment as well as who took that call, is very valuable to the office owner.

Dental treatment is necessary. It is not elective. Decay is present or it isn’t. It won’t get smaller it will only get bigger. It doesn’t go away by itself.

Dental treatment diagnosed for the patient needs to be completed. It is our duty as a dental office to make sure the patient understands this and gets this treatment done.

Allowing patients to determine when they get their treatment, if at all, is not an option. It is managed neglect.

Team members, and doctors who allow patients to pick and choose and reschedule and not reschedule are practicing managed neglect.

If your office completes these three daily reports for your doctor/owner, then fewer patients will slip through the cracks in your appointment book and be wandering around out there with incomplete treatment.

Patients with completed treatment are raving fans of your office.

Patients with incomplete treatment, out there, are a liability.

This is just one of the many straight forward protocols and Principles that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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