Article By: Misty Hirshbein, Purchasing Coordinator
1. Setting Day Up for Success
Many offices hold daily, weekly, or monthly meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page with their office tasks, goals, and achievements. In order to set your day up for success, it is important to plan ahead by the staff working together and delegating certain responsibilities to ensure the entire office runs smoothly and efficiently. The key to success often involves a good plan for organization, cleanliness, proactive staff communication, and multitasking administrative responsibilities.
As an office team, everyone must do their part. For example, the front office staff typically confirms patients for the day, checks and returns voicemails, and ensures administrative tasks like contracts, reports, and financials are in order. The assistants in the back office ensure all stations are stocked, instruments are sterilized, and appliances are ready for daily appointments. Most offices usually have an ordering assistant in place to ensure all products are readily available. Many offices also have an in-house lab where retainers are made for the day’s patients and other offices may be outsourcing their retainers.
What types of strategies and planning does your office have to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently?
2. Emergency Visits
Every office has patients calling with “so-called” emergencies, whether it’s broken brackets, poking wires, and sometimes the occasional ball to the face! It’s difficult to fit these appointments into your already booked schedule, not to mention, the after- hours and weekend calls typically received through the emergency phone most offices have in place. The approach taken with patient communication is crucial to their perception of their value to our office.
If patients don’t receive a timely response in returning their calls, it can leave them frustrated and jeopardize their relationship with your office. There must be certain protocols in place (multiple emergency phones, forwarding of calls, or passing the phone off to a staff member who’s available) to ensure patient calls are handled in a reasonable time frame.
It is also imperative the person responsible to be on call is skilled and knowledgeable with good judgement regarding how to handle various emergencies. Some emergencies allow for over-the-phone explanations so the patient can either resolve their emergency or be made comfortable until the office re-opens. Other emergencies may be more in-depth or extreme, and may require the on-call assistant to meet them at the office to assess the emergency and alleviate their discomfort, or them to go to a hospital emergency room.
What type of protocols do your offices have in place to handle patient emergencies?
3. Inventory Checks
Most offices have one or more ordering assistants in place to order inventory for the front desk and back office areas. There are many ways to make tracking inventory efficient.
These ways include tracking and placing orders manually or electronically on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Some offices prefer using spreadsheets while others may prefer printing sheets to organize and order by hand. Some larger orders may be even handled annually.
Whatever plan you have, as long as it is successful and your doctor is in agreement, that is all that matters.
How does your office manage its inventory?
4. Dealing with Oral Hygiene Issues
It’s extremely important for our patients to have good oral hygiene in order for their treatment to be a success. It’s an ongoing struggle in many offices to ensure patients follow our instructions for care with their teeth to make certain they don’t end up with decalcification stains, gingivitis, or decay during their treatment process.
This begins with making sure patients and parents understand the steps to take care of their teeth under their specific treatment plan. It is important to stress that not following the proper plan can complicate their treatment or result in having to end their treatment early since patient health is most important. Having the necessary kits or items available to help aid in this process is also important.
Most offices have information on their websites or even incentive plans that reward patients for following proper treatment protocols.
What does your office have in place to ensure proper patient hygiene?