31 Oct Understaffed or not using your staff efficiently?
Being understaffed is often not the case when tasks are not getting done; it is poor utilization of the existing staff, particularly the business staff.
- The phone is unanswered because everyone is with patients; the caller does not leave a message. The phone must be answered and staff needs to learn how to answer multiple lines.
- The phone goes to voicemail which results in poor patient perception of availability.
- Patients leaving without appointments are not called back.
- The patient is not given the time they need because the business staff member is needed in the clinical area for hygiene charting or taking down a room. The business staff should not be called into the clinical area.
- The Business Coordinator is on a twenty minute phone call with an insurance company so incoming calls are going to voicemail and patients are entering the reception area to be greeted by no one.
- The dental assistant does not have time to chart so gives the Business Coordinator a list of procedures to make a treatment plan. The patient is asked to wait in the reception room as the Business Coordinator hurriedly throws it together and then takes the short explanation to speed the patient out the door.
- Essential tasks are postponed such as: scanning documents into patient’s charts, thank-you letters to referral sources, arranging staff meetings, patient call backs, and CE courses, checking the practice email, social media reviews, asking patients for referrals and offering a beverage to a patient or visitor in the reception room.
Are there tasks that can be outsourced to professional support such as patient management business systems like Lighthouse, Demandforce or Revenuewell? Or outsource your dental insurance billing and patient collections to eAssist Dental Billing. Their workers are behind the scenes calling insurance companies and sitting on hold while your business staff is answering the phone and presenting treatment.
Studies by Blair and McGill accounting services on 250 dental practices nationwide showed that most of the practices are missing out on $30,000 to $50,000 potential practice profits for the lack of strategies to prevent this loss.
Much of the critical areas of loss are unpaid insurance claims and patient accounts resulting in high collection adjustments. Many of the insurance claims are denied and the time to appeal the claims has run out, so the amounts are written off or billed to the patient who now is disputing the claim.
Think of outsourcing to professionals instead of accepting the inefficiencies of your existing staff or hiring more people thinking this expensive solution will solve the problem. Unless people are trained and experienced in insurance filing and appeals or in collection tactics you will be throwing good money after bad.