Don’t dread a dental office organization project. Embrace it with these simple tips.
It’s Monday morning, and after a refreshing weekend, you’re ready to get to work on the dental office organization project you cleared your schedule to do this week. You were ready for it, that is, until you unlocked your front office to find piles of paperwork waiting to be sorted on your desk, files on the floor to be put away, and a to-do list the size of an entire notebook.
Don’t get paralyzed before you begin. There are many ways you can get organized. First, consider what makes your job difficult and stop doing those things. It sounds too simple, but it really does work. Next, think about what practices will make organization easier for your practice, and you’ll know exactly where to start.
Stop handwriting notes
What happens when the phone rings? Do you grab a sticky note and jot down a message or write notes on whatever paper is in front of you? You’ll never master dental office organization with scraps of paper all over your workspace.
What takes place when someone else needs to access your work? Can they read your notes? Similarly, if the dentists or hygienists scratch treatment information on patient charts in their handwriting, can you translate? Handwriting can very difficult to decipher, and when it comes to patient safety and confidentiality, you don’t want to be guessing.
Stop using a wall calendar to track employee time
Are you using a wall calendar to track employee sick, personal, or vacation time? Do your staff have access to it? While we’d all like to believe we’ve hired the most trustworthy people possible, it isn’t always the case. Staff may erase sick time from the calendar or write vacation days on it that weren’t approved.
At the same time, having a public calendar doesn’t allow the privacy you may need to track private employment matters, such as an employee that arrives late to work too often or one who calls out regularly without notice.
Stop running in circles to track analytics
Do you rely on other people to provide data for your weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual reporting? Is the responsibility on you to find the metrics on your own, analyze them, and manipulate the results into your tracking software or provide them for a staff presentation?
Tracking dental metrics is no small feat, and it often eats up a huge chunk of your work hours. Stop scrambling and use dental software to manage your metrics for you.
Start getting all the information you need immediately
How much time do you spend searching for more information on the tasks you need to complete? To automate your processes, get precise information you need right away.
Here’s an example. It’s likely you have a cancelation or waiting list of patients who are waiting to be seen. It probably consists of patient names and their phone numbers so you can call them when an appointment suddenly becomes available.
How about adding a couple more columns to that list? If you also write down the type of treatment they need, as well as any days or times they are absolutely unavailable, you’ll save yourself time by calling the right patients, instead of those who won’t be able to fill the time slot.
In the past, you may have called someone only to find out they need a root canal, and the time slot you have available is for a cleaning. Don’t waste any time – yours or theirs – by being organized with as many details as possible.
Start using templates to save time
If you find yourself regularly sending the same letters to patients and other businesses, save yourself some time and use templates. We’ve created three that you can use and edit as necessary for your practice. Don’t stop here; create as many templates as possible to maintain dental office organization.
Start digitizing your patient records
If your patient records and treatment plans are still in paper form, it’s time to bring your dental practice into the 21st century. Paper files are one of the biggest reasons dental offices become disorganized. Paperwork gets filed incorrectly, files go missing or are put in the wrong spot. By digitizing your records, you’ll minimize chart error and save valuable employee time.
Do you have any other dental office organization tips that worked for your practice? Share them in the comments!