From insurance to reactivating patients, we know obstacles pop-up, whatever you need we’ll help you find the answer.
QUESTION: Is Craigslist a viable option to post a hiring advertisement for a new hygienist? ANSWER from Laura Hatch: Yes, you can still use Craigslist to post your job announcement; however, it shouldn’t be the only place you look for new employees when hiring.
QUESTION: What type of schedule have you seen work where the doctor incorporates assisted hygiene into their schedule? The reason they want to do this is because they are having trouble finding a good hygienist willing to see eight patients a day. They are in San Francisco and have a super competitive market for new employees. ANSWER: What assisted hygiene means is the hygienist works with a dental assistant so they can see more patients per day. In this type of schedule the assistant is doing part of the duties during the appointment.
We want to offer something to parents/kids for referring friends to our office. Any great ideas you can share?
Question: We want to offer something to parents/kids for referring friends to our office. Any great ideas you can share? ANSWER: I will start by saying that since I have never worked in a pediatric office, I am not going to claim that I am an expert in this area, however, I do have some thoughts. What I am about to say on this subject pertains to all offices that are running some sort of a patient incentive program.
QUESTION: If I have two front office team members how should I divide the duties (receptionist/scheduler) and (treatment/insurance/financial coordinator)? ANSWER: How you divide those tasks can really be done in a couple of ways. Begin by identifying where each team member shines.
QUESTION: How do you deal with patients who are requesting a specific hygienist. ANSWER: For practices that have more than one provider seeing patients, ie... multiple hygienists or doctors, the best-case scenario for the office, is to be able to move the patients around as needed according to what works best for the schedule.
QUESTION: How many people are needed to run the front office smoothly? ANSWER from Laura Hatch: It is very doable for an office with one doctor and one hygienist to be run by one well-organized person.
QUESTION: Should I sign up for credit card processing for my office? ANSWER: Think outside of the dental box for a minute and think about the rest of the world, there are not many places that you can go to where you cannot pay credit card.
Question: I really don't have time for training my employees. We've tried in the past, but it always falls to the wayside. I've asked my team to take initiative and asked them to help each other. Isn't it just easier to have my team show the new employees the ropes or how they do it? Or have the current employees train their replacements? Answer: You can use training to learn a skill or you can use training as a consistent positive reinforcement tool.
QUESTION: We are trying to implement a bonus system for our assistants after reading Laura's article. Right now, we have two goals one regarding night guards and the other for whitening. We are receiving push back from both assistants because they feel the goals aren't fair...
Question: Should I only hire staff with dental experience? ANSWER: We had a question asking about if we need to hire somebody with dental experience or not when hiring for the dental office. This is one of my favorite topics and it is also a reason I founded and started Front Office Rocks.
QUESTION: I have a question regarding being the leader. You gave an example of washing the dishes if you see there are dishes in the sink. What if you are continually washing the dishes and no one takes the initiative to do the task and it's a given that "oh you'll do it. How do you handle that? ANSWER: In one of my training videos here on Front Office Rocks I talk about being a leader in the organization and that you don't have to have a title after your name to be a leader.
Question: Should the front desk employees be responsible for marketing the dental practice? ANSWER: This is a hard question to answer because marketing can mean many different things depending upon who you ask. Your Front Office Team plays a huge role in converting marketing leads into new patients and encouraging patients to leave reviews and provide referrals.
QUESTION: I bought a practice with existing staff....how can I change things or start implementing new things without rocking the boat or making the existing team feel threatened? ANSWER: We answered a similar question a few weeks ago and you can read it here. Change can make employees feel uncomfortable because it's unknown and different. If they've always done it this way, you're asking them to change a habit.
How to respond to negativity the right way. QUESTION: We have an employee that is usually very easy going to work with but the second we give any constructive feedback, she becomes hostile and starts finger pointing at other employees and creating a negativity cycle for days until it blows over.
QUESTION: Help! My staff is defensive whenever I suggest trying something new/something else and they're very hesitant to change. It's not personal, I just want to see if we can do it better. ANSWER: There's a correct way to implement change and it should be a positive experience. Sit down with your team and discuss why you'd like to make this change and what your plan is, then open the discussion up to getting the team's feedback.
Should I sign up with every PPO plan, a few PPO plans or no PPO plan? ANSWER: Deciding on which, if any PPO plans your office should sign up with depends on many factors, such as your demographic, competition, age of your practice, the economy of where you are located and so much more.
Is it worth having an outside agency handle installment payment from patients even though I have to pay them? ANSWER: Again, it is so much smarter to have an outside company handle the installment payments with the patient, rather than trying to do it in-office. The dental front office team is not trained in, nor do they want to be a collections department.
How do you gently let a patient know that you cannot adjust what the insurance doesn’t pay for (especially since it is insurance fraud)?
How do you gently let a patient know that you cannot adjust what the insurance doesn't pay for (especially since it is insurance fraud)? ANSWER: The best policy is honesty so telling the patient that you cannot adjust anything as it is insurance fraud is the best answer. There is no reason to make up an elaborate answer to this question...
How do you answer - do you take my insurance? ANSWER: This question has to be answered with yes or something positive. A patient only knows typically to ask two types of questions when they call into a dental office, something having to do with their pocket book or their insurance book.
Should I accept installment payments from patients? ANSWER: The first thing that I was taught getting into the dental industry early on was to always remember that we are a dental office and not a bank. You should not accept installment payments from patients in office and only work with a third-party finance company if the patient does not want to or cannot pay in full.
What's the best way to handle patient no-shows? ANSWER: The office needs to be in control of their schedule and not fill it with flakey patients, so the best way to handle no shows is to get the patient’s commitment of the importance to show up, their agreement that they won’t not show up again without notice and charge a deposit to reschedule if it makes sense.
How does one handle patient refunds? ANSWER: Patient refunds are either done because the patient over paid for treatment or the treatment did not get done or get done to satisfaction of the patient. Either way, it is important that they money get refunded to the patient in a timely manner so that the patient does not get upset or upset even more if there is a delay.
How can our office minimize cancellations or last minute no-shows? ANSWER: There are three types of cancellations: new patient, hygiene and doctor production, each with their own issues. To minimize new patient cancellations, slow down, build rapport with the new patient, handle all their questions, and get them scheduled to come in within 48-72 hours.
What is a good vacation policy to have with my dental team? ANSWER: A good vacation policy for the team is one that benefits the employees and does not take away from the business.
How do I know when I need to hire another front desk/assistant/hygienist? ANSWER: It is time to hire someone new to your team, if you know for sure your team is doing them most that they can efficiently, and things are not getting done in a timely manner or patients are not getting in right away.
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