Stressed In Front Dental Office

Thursday Troubleshooter: How can front office convince dentist to bring in outside/expert help?

May 1, 2014
The front office person feels overwhelmed, and needs advice on how to approach the dentist about hiring outside experts

QUESTION: How do I convince the dentist I work for to outsource things that I feel are very important to our marketing, and will make my job easier? I’m the office manager and lone front desk person in a start-up office, and I’m feeling overwhelmed. I know there are programs that will auto-confirm patients, handle claims, creating a website, handle Facebook, and more. I know we’re on a tight budget, but at the same time I know these programs will help us get more patients, as well as help my sanity!

ANSWER FROM BRIDGET FAY, Senior Consultant with Odyssey Management: [email protected]
Sounds like you have your hands full! Hopefully we can help lighten your load and help the practice increase the number of new patients. The best thing to start with is constant communication between you and your doctor. Even if he doesn't ask, make sure you update him on a few key pieces of information, such as the number of new patients and calls that come in, how many patients are coming to the office per day/week/month, and where your referrals are coming from, to name a few.

This is an opportunity to tell the doctor, “I feel like we may be missing new patients because our web presence is not strong” or, “I've been spending so much time on the phone with insurance companies and confirming I’m afraid of missing new patient calls.” Then present the doctor with some research you've done on the companies.

The sales reps with the companies you are interested in can also help you present facts to the doctor, hopefully without being overbearing. Just explain your situation and they will help you present the product so it is appealing to the doctor. If the doctor seems receptive, offer to set up a meeting together to explore it further. And don’t just stand back and let it happen on its own. Make sure you stay positive and show the doctor you’re excited about these developments.

ANSWER FROM CINDI THOMAS, FAADOM, Executive Administrator/Consultant at Forensic Consulting Services:
First, I would research the cost of outsourcing — the initial cost, the monthly cost, etc. Show the doctor the cost of filing claims electronically vs. your hourly wage, as well as verifying insurance in real time. Both of these are huge time savers! Companies can streamline your social media postings and manage the practice website too.

Then approach your boss with how doing this will allow you to focus on your patients and offer A+ customer service. This will increase efficiency tremendously and eliminate unnecessary stress, as well as allow you to do a much more thorough job.

Show your boss how this saves the practice money in the long run, despite the initial cost. Good luck!

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