Without a great team you can lose the game!
As we all know, teamwork is something that is essential in all parts of our lives and is especially crucial in the workforce. When it comes to working as a team, it is vital that everyone has a common goal and the ability to communicate with each other to work towards that goal. Not everyone is cut out for teamwork and that is where personalities conflict. Without teamwork, most companies tend to fail.
In dentistry, it is very important to be able to work as a team and communicate with each other to provide the best possible care for the patients. Not one role in a dental practice is more important than the other and all require skill and knowledge. I have had the experience of being a dental assistant for many years and transitioned to working the front office. With having the clinical background, it helped me better understand what the front office staff need to do their daily tasks with insurance and treatment planning with patients. The front office and the clinical staff need to maintain an open line of communication to be seamless from what is presented to the patient and for overall practice success.
Another area where working as a team is very important is where the dental software used is handled. Each person needs to understand their roles to ensure all areas are covered as well. For example, when a patient comes in for treatment and the front office staff need to know what the patient is to pay that day for the services they will receive. First, you need to make sure that proper treatment planning has been done and secondly, has the procedure changed from what was presented to the patient? Who walks out the procedures? The clinical or front staff?
In my experience, the clinical staff are the ones that know what treatment was given and would be the best candidates to walk out/charge out those procedures for treatment. In walking the patient to the front office, they can communicate the change to the front office staff and from there they can let the patient know their portion to pay for the services provided.
Each office will have to decide for themselves which staff are responsible for these duties. Having systems in place for this area of the practice are very important because if there is a lack of communication, how do we know if the proper treatment is being billed to insurance and what the true patient portion will be in order to collect for treatment given.
Some practices are so large that if the front office staff are doing this duty, they are unsure of what to walk out/charge the patient due to not being in the operatory to know if anything had changed. This leads to billing issues with the patients and the insurance and could create a mess that can take a long time to correct. So again, communication and teamwork are very important to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Teamwork creates a positive environment where all are concerned and we all have the common goal we are working toward to provide the most exceptional service and experience for our patients. After all, without our patients a practice would not exist.
Written by Tami Grigg