As an educator, one thing I’m always very conscious of is my communication skills. I’m always looking for better ways to get my point across whether it’s in writing blog posts, presenting to a large group of people or one-on-one training. I’m constantly asking myself, “Could that have gone better?”
We have all seen examples of missed opportunities with patient phone calls. Have you ever hung up the phone only to realize moments later the patient recently celebrated a birthday? How nice would it have been to acknowledge that? Or maybe you just helped a patient reschedule or cancel an appointment but didn’t ask them for a payment on their past due account balance. It happens. We get busy and focused only on the task at hand and miss opportunities to wow our patients and increase production or revenue.
Knowing your patients is a critical component in effective communication. Think about your patient’s experience. What is it like on the other end of that phone? Do they hear someone who sounds confident and sincere, or someone who is scrambling? Having visited hundreds of dental offices and overhearing oodles of phone conversations, I have some tips I’d like to share with you.
Use this view as “home base” for patients who are scheduled today. I like to keep my schedule open all day and was lucky enough to have two monitors. I kept my schedule up on one and the Practice Management (front desk) view open on the other. This alone is a huge time saver! No more opening and closing windows. Even if you don’t have two monitors you can simply minimize your schedule and get to the front desk view when you need it. This way, you will always be able to work on your schedule when you need it (like when a patient calls in and wants to make an appointment!).
Use IntelliCare* to add visual icons on appointments for things like overdue account balance, lab cases, medical alerts, Rx alerts, past due for recare, no insurance, etc. You should be able to glance at the patient’s appointment block and know right away what needs to be addressed.
Color-code your appointments by using Appointment Types. Yellow = New Patient; Red = Emergency; Blue = Fillings, etc. Without pulling a chart or reading any notes I can confidently welcome my patient and know what services are being provided when they approach the front desk.
Use the Patient Summary button for patient phone calls. This button can be added to both the Practice Management and Clinical toolbars and will tell you everything you need to know about the patient you are speaking with. Even more, you can access anything (think treatment plans, pending claims, perio chart, X-rays, account ledger, etc.) for the patient with a right-click!
Use the visual indicators on the account window to quickly identify exactly where the patient’s balance is coming from. You should know, with a quick glance, if there are any open claims (services will appear in blue), unpaid transactions (unpaid debit icon) or unassigned credits (unassigned credit icon) on the account.
In addition to the OnSchedule view (with color-coded appointments and visual indicators), the Patient Summary button is very powerful and one of my favorite features. I always mention it during my trainings and am surprised that many offices just don’t use it. Mostly, I think it’s because they don’t have the button on the toolbar so they don’t know it’s an available option. If you are looking at your Eaglesoft toolbars now and don’t see the icon, it’s easy to add! Just right-click on the toolbar and select ‘Customize’ (more detailed information on customizing toolbars can be found here).
When the phone rings or a patient walks into your office you have one chance to WOW them. Know your patients and be prepared to quickly and efficiently answer any questions they have. I hope I was able to provide a few helpful tips for you and if you weren’t already, maybe I have persuaded you to try using the Patient Summary!
If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our superstar support specialists at 1.800.475.5036. We are always happy to help!
*If you would like to know more about IntelliCare, you can read my previous post here.