Dental Office Managers Often Feel Isolated
By: Belle DuCharme, CDPMA, Director of Training eAssist
That’s where training programs and involvement in your own association come into play. Organizations such as the American Association of Dental Office Managers or AADOM provide workshops and conferences of their own, such as the annual Dental Managers Conference, as well as offer access to numerous resources. Being a Dental Office Manager can be overwhelming and isolating at times and it is great to be able to network with fellow Office Managers for learning and support.
Dentists often don’t include their Office Manager or business support team in the continual education process because they often don’t have licenses to renew.
My employer is a CE junky” remarked BD, a Dental Office Manager. “He comes back with new ideas but we know he will go back to normal in about a week.” BD can’t remember the last time her employer took her to a continuing education course. “It isn’t that important because I don’t need the CE units anyway,” she said, however responsibility to continue developing professionally in necessary for the following reasons:
- Your OM(Office Manager) won’t have the relevant knowledge to stay up-to-date and aware of the changing trends and direction of the profession. Change is inevitable and the pace is faster than it has ever been. If you stand still you will get left behind and your skills and knowledge become outdated.
- Your OM may not make a meaningful contribution to your team and become more effective in the workplace. She/he won’t be able to coach or mentor if she isn’t current on what is happening in dentistry.
- Your OM won’t be able to network with other professionals who also strive to grow and gain more knowledge.
- Your OM may lose sight of the personal responsibility to keep her/his knowledge and skills current to deliver the high quality of service that meets the expectations of patients in the practice and the requirements of the profession.
When dentists ask why their treatment acceptance numbers are down, why insurance claims remain unpaid even after appeals, and why the accounts receivables are high and patients who need appointments are not contacted, I have to relate it to the following:
- Presenting treatment requires training in communication skills. These skills are developed after learning how different types of people process information and decide what they want and what they need.
- Insurance claim follow-up is time consuming and requires knowledge of the appeals process, excellent writing skills and understanding of the CDT codes and their usage.
- Managing the Accounts Receivables correctly means the difference between cash flow to pay bills and scrambling to make ends meet. Talking to people about paying for services and then collecting that money is often an area that many front office people are uncomfortable with until they are trained to “ask” for the payment and get commitment from the patient.
- Making outbound calls to patients to schedule treatment and recalls that are overdue takes verbal skills and focus on a goal objective. Being able to build rapport and empathy with the patient to secure the appointment takes finesse and training.
Saving money on the cost of having your front office team attend continuing education courses should not be the reason it is not offered. The cost is small compared to the reward of having an educated, engaged Office Manager who takes pride in being the best she/he can be.
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