Dental Office Management Complimented and Complicated by Technology
By Marcey Bearss, Team Leader and Regional Manager
Computer software technology is here to stay because it efficiently and accurately manages clinical and business data. However, learning how to use the technology can differ from one team member to another and can cause costly and unfortunate turnover when there is a judgment placed on how quickly team members should learn the software, digital x-rays, intra-oral devices or any other types of technology. Consistency has been shown to be very important to the patient’s’ experience in the dental office. Patients do not like to see constant change in staff in their dental office. Dental consultants have been able to demonstrate that offices that retain staff more than two years average a higher production rate than those who experience constant turnover. The computer software technology has forced us to measure our team member’s skill and knowledge of the practice software much like we measure their ability to schedule and collect money. Most dentists want to hire someone who is already trained on their program. This is beneficial but it may also narrow the field of qualified people. Knowledge of the software system varies greatly from person to person and is relegated to the training received in the past which may not be as complete as necessary for your practice. Before dismissing a valued team member for lack of software skills, ask yourself if diligent training would solve the problem.
Learning the dental software program requires special training, practice and time. In the whirlwind of the dental office important details are often left incomplete because there isn’t enough time. Some people will learn quicker than others. It is important to write down the steps necessary to achieve the tasks for staff that are slower learners or part-time staff that don’t have the opportunity to use the system daily. The computer software needs to be mastered quickly so that mistakes are not made on a continual basis and the focus can be put on patient care and practice growth. Have the trainees practice on test patients or demo units before turning them loose on patients. Your software provider has training and support packages available. Support should be called whenever you are stuck and need help. Before you call support, write down what you want to achieve. For instance, if you want to know how many patients you have on a certain insurance plan ask how you can create the report and then write down the pathway to get there. You will not remember after a couple of days if you don’t write it down. Creating your own computer software-training manual will make it easier to train staff. Create a “team centered” training program in your office and designate those team members that have mastered the system to act as trainers or support to slow learners. You will not be able to create the synergy to move your practice to a higher level of production unless you take the necessary steps to support your team with training in all areas necessary for the success of your practice.
eAssist has a national team of people who are trained and skilled in a large variety of practice management software. We can work with you to help train your team while freeing up time by filing your insurance, posting your payments and appealing unpaid claims.
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