#11 – Uses a personal organization system, the 1-31 day box & familiar with Secretary Binder

Personal Organization System

You are responsible for managing your time to accomplish tasks on deadline. There are many personal organization systems to choose, so here are some guidelines:

1. Use a personal calendar- you can buy any kind of planner or calendar you like but it must have enough space for you to write the tasks that you need to do as well as have a timed schedule so you can note meetings or other tasks that must be performed at a certain time. At the beginning of the month, you should fill out your calendar with tasks – write down your days off, note your call lists – when due & certain days/times you will work on them, level meetings, staff meetings, consults, ideal day tasks, etc. At the beginning of each week you should review the upcoming week, add any new tasks that you also need to complete and follow up on the last week’s projects. You should keep your calendar with you throughout the day. Refer to it during the day & add new projects, be sure to note in your calendar the date they are due so you can follow-up with the person that assigned them.

2. Use your notebook – keep this with you all day and note phone calls, Follow-up, to do’s, etc. as you work through the day. Review at day’s end to make sure that everything was completed – add any follow-up to your calendar.

3. Voicemail – Check at the beginning of the day-this is to make sure that patients are receiving calls back from you.

Overall ideas
Bring your calendar to staff meetings-as projects are assigned, you can make notes to follow-up
You can still use the day box for patient follow-up, but for a complex case you want to handle personally – use your calendar.

Using the 31 day Box

A 31-day box is a simple, efficient method to follow up with patients. This is a low tech, super easy solution that staff love – and it solves the issues of “How will I remember to follow up with this patient?” for all types of issues including:

  • Call a patient to follow up after their endo to see how they are feeling and if they are ready to schedule their crown
  • Call a patient who has been presented a treatment plan but says they aren’t ready to schedule today – train your team to arrange a follow up date (and time?!) with the patient – then you can make a note to follow up using this 1-31 box
  • For hygienists, a patient seems really close to scheduling for in-office whitening, but says she is going on vacation. Make a note on a card and put it into the box for when you think your patient will return from vacation so you can follow up.
  • For assistants, a patient asks for a call when their lab case is in. Make a note on a card and put it into the box to follow up with the lab and then schedule the patient.

This simple tool cleans up your front desk area – no more saving treatment plans or other papers off to the side of the computer. This system also eliminates all the extra fake appointments scheduled into the dental software reminding staff of various tasks. This system works great for when you try to call the patient to follow up- if you do not talk with the patient, make a note on the card ‘left message’ and the date, then stick the card back into the box for the next day to try again.

If you are using an ideal day, each day someone is assigned the task of checking the 31-day box.

To create your own 1-31 day box, just buy a recipe box that will fix 3×5 index cards and order the Oxford 1-31 index files on Amazon, and buy a blank set of index cards your staff can use. Here are the links to Amazon to get started now:

If you’re a tech person, you can also use the free website Followupthen. The way this works is that when you send an email to a patient (or you can even email yourself), you blind copy a future date or future time and the Followupthen company will automatically email you on that date. Hence, there’s your reminder. For example: – and you will receive a copy of your original email one week later.

Follow up then is a great system to use – especially if you’re dealing with vendors. Let’s say you think of a project you need to tackle with a vendor – you need to talk with your janitorial service about something, but you only see them on Mondays. You can create an email to the janitorial service letting them know that you want to talk with them on Monday, and you can blind copy Monday’s date and then that email will show up in your inbox that day. My only concern with using Followupthen for patient follow up is that if the person who checks that email address happens to be out that day, the system doesn’t work.

To get signed off on this task:

  • Turn in copies of 3 day box notes you placed in box and
  • 3 day box noted you followed up on

Follows Ideal Day

The Ideal Day is an agenda that the entire front desk team can follow – it lists each task that needs to be completed each day. And, it has an empty box beside each task to note who is going to do which task. When the task is completed, then the staff person will check it off on the ideal day, that way everyone knows it is finished.

Keep the ideal day at the front desk, usually in a binder. That way you can have pre-printed blank versions ready for each day.

To download a copy of the ideal day, click this link: Ideal Day

Click here to watch a video of how to use the ideal day

As you become more organized at the front desk. You may want to use a 3 ring binder with tabs to store:

  • Opening Duties
  • Ideal Day
  • What to Ask When Calling Insurance
  • Closing Duties
  • Confirmation call reports
  • Insurance Accuracy Report
  • Call Lists

Here is a sample Ideal Day (this is very advanced) – the more basic version can be downloaded in Word from the link above.

Ideal Day

Day:                                                    Date:

Assigned   To: √   when done Tasks
 7:00am Opening duties completed; Record new patients scheduled for the day
 7:15am Prepare for Dr. ______ huddle, Call   to fill schedule if openings before 10:00am, Turn off answering machine,   Check voicemail, Write 3 days out stats,    Add patient names to broken appointment list
 7:20 Put daysheets reports together, Enter   daily figures & put in Docs and Hygiene bins
 7:30am Turn on answering machine, Run huddle
 7:45 am Prepare for other doctor’s huddles,   Turn off answering machine, Fill schedules
 8:00 Check day box, Update Broken, Primetime   & ASAP list, Check e-mail & faxes, check hanging units for providers   (tighten schedules), delete blocks-2 wk, Check message on hold
9:00   Count cash drawer; Demandforce emails; Check formal treatment plans, Check with specialist coordinator on EW – any tasks she needs help with?
Special projects PRIMETIME CUT OFF DATE IS (2 wks from today):
9:30 Make how feeling calls, Print and Make confirmation calls. Review patient follow up box
10:00 Front desk leader meeting – Administrator assigns tasksTraining for: _____________________________; Confirm TMJ/Sleep apnea patients _______________, Moving & Checking charts before 1pm________________________, Check Scans folder ____________
10:00   Review PT Ideal Day, make sure consult room PC is working & Invisalign site up – Greeter for the day:
10:15   Check FA’s & give to each secretary to fix, Pre meds checked & called in
10:15-11:15   Insurance Accuracy, # done today _________Check for managed care: Provider, billing type, fee schedule, Name in capsUnscheduled treatment & PTEs up to date
12-2   Lunches
3:00   Any family members of clients for next day due to recall prophies or   outstanding treatment
Monthly & yearly call lists up to date
 3 days out schedule review with office   manager
5:00   Check to see all charts pulled; How feeling calls made; 50 calls to fill schedules
6:30   Make sure clinical staff has reported all broken appointments, Check PT ideal   day
6:30   Confirm all walk out slips are printed and put on the greeters desk, Confirm NP count complete
7:00   Closing duties, Turn off computers, confirm everything is checked off on   ideal day.  Write notes on tomorrow’s   sheet if any problems or concerns.




Yesterday’s Good & Bad ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Day                              Date                                        Administrator

 Formal Treatment Plans – One Week out

Patient name Appt day & date Doctor Sec responsible


Open Time 3-Days Out

Today AM Today PM Tomorrow AM Tomorrow PM 3 Day AM 3 Day PM

Administrative Meeting

Secretary name
Secretary name
Secretary name
Secretary name
Secretary name                   
Secretary name


Part Time Ideal Day Tasks                                                                 Special Projects/Assigned By

Part Time Ideal Day Tasks Initials
Start coffee
Find missing charts from huddle
Pull charts 3 days out
File Charts – check for emails & cell phones to add to Dentrix
Clear out filing bin
Confirm all charts pulled for next day
Make copies
Check project bin/work projects
Breakdowns – note # done
Clean Coffee Station, Closing duties


How many emails added _________________

How many cell numbers added ____________

____________________________    ____________________

Office Manager                                   Date