In the dental office museum of my mind, I have exhibits of pegboard accounting systems, color-coded appointment books, recall postcard with an index card file by month system, statements with return envelopes waiting to be assembled for mailing by some unsuspecting hygienist, during “down time”, paper lists requiring constant updating, and lots of patient charts everywhere (except for the missing ones, of course!) There is also a whole gallery of patient education art sketched out by the doctors (on tray covers, of course.)
As I stroll through this museum, it strikes me how good we have it now. As a manager of a dental office, I still have many of the same tasks and objectives that I had 20 years ago but now they require only a fraction of my time and effort thanks to technology. Our practice management software, Eaglesoft, is the brains of the practice and has helped us become highly efficient and organized. Scheduling has become a fine art made simple by efficient use. Tracking and follow up of recall, treatment plans and accounts receivable is much easier to handle when you can send out bulk communications and use a contact system that updates itself. Outsourcing statements, insurance claims and now recall reminders saves endless amounts of time. I remember the days when processing statements was a dreaded task and now I can complete them in less than two minutes. I now send out statements several times per week since it is so easy and this keeps cash flow very even. With the use of electronic services for insurance eligibility and electronic claims, I rarely have to pick up the phone to spend time on hold with an insurance company. The electronic EOB service is one of my favorites since it enables me to post a bulk insurance check and PPO adjustments with minimum effort and then the EOB’s are digitally attached in the account screen to be easily accessed – no filing involved!
RevenueWell is a patient communication tool that fully integrates with our Eaglesoft brain and has automated processes such as appointment reminders, patient reactivation, and promotional campaigns. Our patients love the accessibility they are afforded by being able to take care of their dental business any time of day. We also have received great feedback from patients via the survey option which buys a lot of clout when advertising online.
Our patients’ attitudes have been greatly affected by our technology. Utilization of educational opportunities such as Eaglesoft Imaging, Schick digital X-rays, or CASEY gives them the sense that we are highly skilled dental professionals that have their best care as our goal. They understand that we feel their personal dental history is very important due to the way that we digitally record every detail very carefully (but also very effortlessly). Our CEREC same day crown technology blows their minds and they are always impressed. Most of our patients also appreciate our efforts with treatment follow-up and coordination that enables them to achieve their dental care needs.
I believe that dental office technology has allowed us to assemble and train a “dream team”. When we have an opportunity to hire a new team member, our high tech office becomes a highly desirable organization that dental professionals are seeking. We have also been able to create a low-stress work environment due to the amount of communication and efficiency that occurs with proper utilization of our technology.
As much fun as it is to go strolling through my museum, I am sure glad to be able to return to the present day with all of its digital opportunities. Learn about the benefits of saving all this time in my blog post next week..