#24 – Ideal Day

Be on time!  Part of being a professional is to show respect for your client’s time.  Nothing is more irritating to an organized person than to be kept waiting.

What steps can you take to maintain your image of an efficient, competent professional?

1.         Be prepared for the day.  You should arrive 10-15 minutes before the first client. This will give you time to accomplish 4 things.

a.   Get your mind organized for the day.

b.   Listen to the telephone messages and field any early calls   cancellations or emergencies.  Try to eliminate as many “surprises” as possible.

c.   Look over the day’s schedule.  Who do you see that you know?  Where in the day will bottlenecks be most likely to occur?  When are new clients coming?  Can you spend a little extra time with them.

d.   What’s been happening with the rest of the staff?  You need a few minutes to share who you are with the rest of the staff.

2.         Be on time for every client!  Many secretaries will say this is impossible   and it will be for them!  Find out the problems with maintaining your schedule.  There can be a long list of reasons for falling behind.  Whatever the reasons, our client doesn’t care.  Those are our problems and all the client knows is that we are inefficient.  You can take the sting out of this a number of ways:

a.   Know your clients.  Greet all clients as they arrive.  Check in when patient arrives if receptionist not at her desk.  See if they have a new insurance card – make a copy of it.  If a client is late, make sure you didn’t miss them in the reception room.

b.   Know when a doctor is running behind schedule.  If a client is still in the reception room five minutes after the appointed time, check with the doctor to see how things are going.  Next, see if s/he would like to seat the client or have an assistant seat him/her.  Even though the doctor may be 10-15 minutes behind schedule, the client usually doesn’t mind if they are acknowledged into a treatment room.  Be sure to offer them a magazine.

3.         Be ready ten minutes before you start your afternoon or evening clients.  The same reasons and procedures apply here as at the start of the day.

4.         End of your day.  Finish on time!  Reward yourself.  When you’ve finished your last client, clean     up, get things ready for the next day (or the secretary taking over for you), enjoy a few minutes with the staff and congratulate yourself on a fine day as a professional!

How much interest you have in your profession and your duties here will be reflected in your attendance.

1.  Are you ready 10-15 minutes before the first client arrives?

2.  How many sick days have you had?  These days create uproar with front desk and clients.

Your time clock card will let the doctors know how you are doing. Review your cards for the last three months and circle your arrival times in red when you have your quarterly conferences or have completed a level.

Compare your day to the sample below.  Note any changes and discuss them with your dentist.  This is your first step in getting your professional life organized.  As you progress through the levels, you will need to make better use of your time, adding more functions into your day.

Now, review the new skills you have learned.  List them.  On the following page is a copy of a tentative day for you.  Copy the next page and fill in the estimated amount of time and best time of day (if there is one) to accomplish each of these tasks.

Typical Day

7:00 – 7:30      Open office / turn off alarm, and answering machine, check messages, return calls from messages

Check schedules/Unlock doors/Turn on switches, radio, lights

Figures/Prepare for Huddle – unlock nitrous/eastwing backdoor/turn on copier & label maker, day sheet/daily figures, check 3 days out, make sure all charts are pulled for that day.  Check email and faxes, Unlock supply closet, Count cash drawer

7:30 – 7:45      Huddle – follow huddle sheet from top to bottom, make any notes Dr want done differently, etc. Turn on answering machine (if no other secretary present)

7:45 – 8:00      Prepare for other Dr’s huddle, Check messages again /Count cash drawer/ Day Sheets/Manage Desk (front desk leader), Day Box Notes, turn off answering machine

8:00 – 8:30      Print Broken, ASAP, and Primetime list, update, and use it, print ClientTell reports, turn off– follow up on messages

Fill in any open appt times in hyg and doc schedule

8:30 – 10:00    Check patients in/out / schedule/ FA’s and Pre-meds

Be ready to answer phone

HF calls, doc tape, ClientTell calls, review charts in follow up bin

Go over charts, complete tasks required-Start call lists after 9:30

Check financial arrangements –give to each secretary to correct

15 minutes       Front Desk leader meeting between 9-10

10:00 – 10:30  Delegate projects:  mail, x-ray bin, dr. tapes/ Check filing bin

Check May & high schoolers daily duties as well as receptionist duties in blue binder –  are they all checked off and done?

10:30 – 11:00  Answer Phones/ Check  clients in and out lists – check next day clients (all), print schedules, make notes.

11:00 – 11:55  Oversee level 1, HF from previous day

Check in / out patients/Front desk/ Answers phones/ Enter Cancellations on Broken Appointment list. – call on all of these lists throughout the day.

11:00 – 2:00    Lunches staggered.

1:00 – 2:00      Client Follow Up, confirm TMJ and sleep apnea appointments

Check in/out, Yearly Recall and other call lists/Answers phones/ covers desk 4 lunches Broken Appt. list, recall monthly, cover desk/ work Prime Time List

Confirm NP appts 2 days out and TMJ exams, Work on treatment plans

2:00-3:00        Alternate project time (if not available in the morning) otherwise continue 1:00-2:00 duties

3:00 – 4:00      Client follow-up, check in/out, yearly recall and other call lists/answer phones, broken appt list, monthly recall, cover desk

4:00-4:30        Next day prophies- check for family members coming in who need cleanings or treatment

4:00 – 5:00      Check in/out, projects, Prime time lists,

Answer phones/ Check schedule for holes 3 days out – get with Jill or Amber to review, check to see all charts pulled

5:00-6:00        Check in/out plus projects as time allows, count cash drawer, unscheduled tx calls, closing duties, confirm everything is checked off on ideal day

6:00-6:45        Unscheduled Tx

6:45                 Check out as many clients as possible

6:50                 Closing duties – confirm all tasks on ideal day checked off / walk out statements to Jamie / Write notes on tomorrow’s ideal day as needed, count cash drawer

7:00                 Close office by following closing checklist

During any given time you may be required to establish a new patient’s file and give to treatment staff.  Call in prescriptions for patients.  Answer questions for patients requiring a trip to the back staff.  Sign for deliveries and take items to the back.  Check to make sure that patients are coming in for their appointments.  Presenting good public relations for office at all times.  Be ready for changes as they are constantly occurring.

Time to re-evaluate your day to manage all your new tasks

As you finish this level, you have completed almost all of the tasks in this professional track level. Now is the time to re-evaluate your “ideal” day and add in the new upper level tasks and delegate lower level tasks to make room in your day for the new ones.

As your first step, set up a meeting with your team leader and your dentist. You will discuss how you plan to incorporate these new tasks into your ideal day as well as for which tasks you will still be responsible. You will also determine which tasks you will delegate to which other team members who are in lower levels. You will be responsible for following up on these tasks to make sure they are completed correctly.

To prepare for this meeting, make a copy of your new ideal day and pencil in your ideas for new tasks and tasks you plan to delegate. Review this tentative ideal day with your team leader. When you are both satisfied with this day, give a copy of this ideal day to your dentist so he can add his ideas.  At the meeting you three will review your new ideal day and decide how best to manage your time to accomplish all your new tasks.