dental practice management Tag Archive

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Hygiene Codes to Maximize Insurance Benefits

Picture this: your hygienist has a full day of patients. A couple of S/RPs, a couple of new patients, and some nice recalls. Ahh… it’s a beautiful thing.

But wait! What’s that I see here? She hasn’t been using the correct CDT codes for her procedures. Oh no! Poor coding is about more than just lost revenue; it can lead to benefit claims bouncing back and over- or under-treatment.

We should periodically sit down with our hygiene teams and discuss treatment philosophies, like when to refer to a periodontist or how often a full mouth probing should be done. A super important part of this conversation is which codes can be used and when.

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The 6 Most Effective Principles for Dental Practice Management

Can dentistry be a profitable profession? Ask practice owners that question, and many will nod their heads in agreement. Like any professional services firm, however, every successful dental office started from humble beginnings.

Practice owners, at the beginning of their careers tend to stumble about running their dental offices, learning things along the way and improvising until they succeed. As they gain more experience and learn from their mistakes, many find their practices booming and patients lining up outside their door. Continue Reading

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PART 2 – How to Prevent Embezzlement

Have you read Part 1 yet?

HOW CAN I PREVENT EMBEZZLEMENT? 

Smart Hire. Embezzlement cannot be 100% prevented, but you can implement strict measures to minimize the risk that it will happen in your office. The strongest safeguard is to hire honest, reputable employees. Always check references and perform background checks before hiring an employee. Personal character references are generally worthless. Request and check references of former employers. Listen carefully for what is not said if the reference is less than glowing. A good source for online background checks is www.netdetective.com or www.castlebranch.com.

Software Safeguards. Hire a practice management consultant to maximize security controls on your practice-management and accounting software. A good software system will allow you to set up customized security and provide the reports you need to monitor your staff. Learn which specific reports you need to scrutinize daily, weekly, and monthly. “Getting the Most Out of Quickbooks in Your Practice” lists these reports and how to memorize them.

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Three things to keep in mind about your reputation

More wisdom from Seth Godin:

Three things to keep in mind about your reputation

  1. Your reputation has as much impact on your life as what you actually do.
  2. Early assumptions about you are sticky and are difficult to change.
  3. The single best way to maintain your reputation is to do things you’re proud of. Gaming goes only so far.

Source: Seth’s Blog: Three things to keep in mind about your reputation

In dentistry reputation is everything. Read the linked post, it is short and worth the effort.

New technology, especially the Internet and social media have accelerated the age old word of mouth process. Your reputation can be tarnished in the click of an eye. Because our reputations are so valuable dentists are especially concerned about online reviews and other social media.

Godin reminds us (as stated in #2 above) first impressions are still very powerful. If a patient comes away from a first visit with a positive first impression it is unlikely he/she will be persuaded you are a jerk based on an online review. However if the first impression the potential new patient gets of you comes from a negative online review it will be harder for you to overcome the impression and win them over. In fact it is probable that the potential new patient will simply go elsewhere and you will never get a chance to win them over.

The second big take away is that a good reputation comes from doing good things.

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The Price of a Collegial Atmosphere

collegial-atmosphere

In the U.S. we do not discuss politics at work. And if somebody expresses an opinionated position, we simply smile, nod and move on to the next topic. Why? Because politics polarizes people and we want to maintain a collegial atmosphere at work. I grew up in India and I have spent a fair amount of time in Europe and Asia. Political discussions are not considered to be as polarizing in those regions of the world; they are viewed simply as a healthy debate.

Does a collegial atmosphere require lack of disagreement?

In a collegial atmosphere, can people disagree, express their opinions with passion and conviction, and close the conversation agreeing to disagree? We tend to believe that discussions must end in agreement or some sort of resolution. This tendency results in inauthentic conclusions to discussions.

Diffuse speakers relax their convictions and specific speakers dig in their heels for an argument. (Read article: Are You Specific or Diffuse?) Do all disagreements have to be resolved one way or the other? Can people maintain healthy relationships knowing full well that they disagree on certain important matters?

Healthy relationships are not measured by the number of hugs, but rather by the number of fights that end in hugs.

It is the ending in hugs that is important, not the lack of fights. Healthy relationships should foster healthy debates. Lack of debates might well be an indicator to the relationship not being healthy.

In creating an intentional corporate culture, you might strive to create a collegial atmosphere. The shadow side of this strength is fear of conflict – where people are reluctant to express their opinion because it is not aligned with the opinion being otherwise aired.

Fear of conflict leads to the loud and obnoxious shouting out the quiet and thoughtful. It leads to the multitude of subordinate opinions deferring to the single opinion of the superior. It leads to the new and different ideas being overwhelmed by the status quo of tried and true practices. In a culture of collegial atmosphere, it is important that you empower, encourage and enable people to face conflict and have healthy debates.

How do you teach people to have a healthy debate?

We offer three common causes for debates to turn ugly, and from it, three ways you can turn debates healthy.

The first cause is Aristotle’s principle of the excluded middle. The belief that there is a right and wrong. Something is good or bad. It is either true or false. Either you are on my side or you are with the enemy. This polarization of thought causes debates to become personal. What is the solution? Try throwing in expressions like, “I believe…” The more you use the term “I believe,” the easier it is for the other person to receive your opinion. So, do you turn everything into a belief?

That naturally leads us to the next reason debates turn ugly – facts versus interpretations.

In a wonderful book called The Communications Catalyst, my good friends and colleagues Mickey Connelly and Richard Rianoshek explain how people co-mingle facts and interpretations. By separating facts (that can be observed and measured) from interpretations (that are your way of looking at the facts and drawing conclusions from them), they argue that you can have more “accurate” and more “authentic” conversations. Instead people pursue “sincere” conversations where, by co-mingling facts and interpretations, they pursue “their truth,” convinced that it is the truth. So separate facts and interpretations and preface your statements with those labels.

Finally, ignoring the old adage, people fail to seek to understand before they seek to be understood. In our opinion, the most important aspect of a healthy debate is the ability to understand and advocate the other person’s point of view. (See our January 2013 Food for Thought, Coaching through Advocacy.) Showing that you can argue the other point of view demonstrates mutual respect for the individual(s), concedes the existence of multiple points of views, acknowledges an appreciation of the strengths of the other side, and in the process, expresses a recognition that the parties at play are not good or bad, right or wrong, based on which position they hold. It leads to hugs at the end of fights.

Following the practice started last month, we will be holding a telecon on this topic.

On February 20, we will hold a complimentary webinar at 8 a.m. (PST) where we will discuss this article and the fear of conflict shadow side of a collegial, friendly work environment. We encourage you to sign up and attend; please visit our event registration page here for more details.

We welcome your comments and encourage you to explore the Food for Thought archive. We hope your business is doing well. We’re happy to chat about the content in this article or anything else with which you’d like assistance.

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