Dental Employee Management Webinar with Laura Hatch and Kevin Henry IgniteDA Video Replay

well hello everyone we are excited that
you guys are here especially because we’re doing this live and it is the day
before a three-day weekend and it’s a Friday so Kevin and I appreciate those
of you who’ve joined us that you’re here with us on a Friday because we know you
could be off getting ready for the long weekend so thank you for joining
us I am Laura Hatch and I am the founder and owner of Front Office Rocks and I’m
excited super excited to introduce you to a super good friend of mine and we
have been talking about doing this for a long time so please welcome with us
Kevin Henry hey Kevin how are you Laura it’s good to see you yeah I’m super
excited it’s finally happening you know it’s awesome I know so let me do a
little homework some housekeeping stuff and then we’ll get it started so for
everyone who’s joining us today we are doing this live you have a chat function
on the right hand side where you can chat with Kevin and I Kevin and I are
going to talk about the front and the back the assistance the front office all
of the things that we do well to work together and areas we can improve on and
I’m sure that’s gonna bring up a lot of conversation so I’m going to be
monitoring the chat along the way when Kevin and I are speaking and if it if it
flows if it works with our questions we’ll address and then if it give you
guys can you give us topics to talk about we would love to do it we’re gonna
go about 45 minutes or an hour we also are doing this as a way to
investigate what you guys want to talk about Kevin and I have been friends for
a very long time when we talk about the challenges between the front and back
and and how to cross-train assistants and how to get help from the you know
the front to go in the back everything that we go you know deal with on a
day-to-day basis and we wanted we want to address those issues for you Kevin
and I have a lot of experience training and speaking and I’m both enough books
on this topic so we want to address this for you so if you guys can chat with us
ask questions that would be great you can do that on the right and then if you
watch this later the recorded version if you comment if you you know get in touch
with us and give us ideas that’s what we want to do is we want to be able to do
future webinars more on specific topics so that
being said I want to just go ahead and introduce Who I am and then I’ll have
Kevin do a little background on him you know my name is Laura Hatch and I’m the
founder and owner of Front Office Rocks I started in dentistry in 2002 as a
dental spouse who got thrown into the front office with no training not
knowing anything about dentistry had to figure it out on my own and after a
couple of years of doing that realized that training in the front office was
something that was hugely needed in the dental industry so I started Front
Office Rocks a few years ago which is an online training website for front office
team members so we trained on answering phones and scheduling and getting
patients to pay and handling cancellations and all that fun stuff
that we do day-to-day and since now I’m out of the dental office because my
business has taken off the night travel around the world and speak to dental
teams and front office teams and met Kevin how long have we been friends now four four or five years ya it has been so why don’t you tell everybody
eat more about your background who you are and and a little bit about why you
have an interest in the assistant world hey everybody it’s Kevin Henry from Colorado I hope
everybody’s doing well I’m the co-founder of IgniteDA which is a
community designed to empower and lighten and educate dental assistants
all over the world my background is I came into dentistry in 1999 Sports
public relations so a little bit of a switch there in careers but I was the
managing editor for Dental Economics for 13 years and the group editorial director
for Dental Report for three years but during my time at Dental
Economics I noticed very quickly that a lot of people were speaking to the
dentist and the hygienist and even the front office but there was a little out
there for the assistants so I started speaking to assistants at conferences
around the country twelve years ago and with my partner Dr. David Rice we
founded IgniteDA two years ago as a community for dental assistants to give
them a home and to let them know how much that they matter not only in the
eyes of their patients but also to the bottom line in the practice and like
Laura said she and I have been talking about doing this for a long time so I’m
super-excited the day is finally here you know because we but we both share
that passion for making sure that the team does everything that it can to
impact the bottom line make a difference in their patients lives and you know I’m
super excited to see where this goes to perfect that’s great so IgniteDA we will
give you more information about the ends it’s a great basically what Kevin and I
the interest we have in the love we have is we you know that both front office
and dental assistants were under heard under trained underrepresented no place
to go now with the internet technology the webinars like this we have a way to
reach our people the ones that understand what we go through
and the reason Kevin and I have gone back and forth I’m having this happen is
because I’m so focused on the front there’s so much we need to learn and do
in the front and Kevin’s very focused on the assistance and so we’re trying to
get this to you like because at the end of the day we need to work together we
need to as a team so so I know everyone’s probably thinking you haven’t
been a dental assistant so one of my calls to fame is I have ran to two dental
offices I’ve been an office manager I’ve been in the trenches so tell me how you how
you got into assisting and learning assistants go through I know you have a
wonderful book so tell us about that give us a little bit of your knowledge
on the assistant world happy yeah you know the biggest thing whenever I like
I said I came for its public relations into dentistry and one of the first
things that I did when I started working for Dental Economics is I started
shadowing dental practices all over the country and I would go in to see how
they really worked you know and one of the things that I learned very quickly
is the dental practices are often run as practices but not as businesses and not
every employee of that business is empowered enough to do what he or she
can to make the biggest difference possible and there’s over 300,000 dental
assistants in the United States I mean it’s the largest group of any dental
health professional and yet I would go to meetings I would you know be walking
the exhibit floor and I would see exhibitors you know look at the color of
the dental assistants badge and say you know sweetie why don’t you bring your dentist
back with you you know and and they didn’t realize the power that assistant
had when it came to ordering when it came to suggesting things so it really
kind of became my mantra maybe just make sure that there was somebody
out there speaking to them listening to them and you’re right I’ve never been a
dental assistant but after all these years of listening and going into
practices and consulting and you know I feel like that I’ve heard their main
pain points and one thing I’ve learned it doesn’t matter if you were in San
Diego or Seattle or Colorado or anywhere everybody has the same pain points it
seems so I’m super excited to talk about this today because honestly some of the
pain points are that front back thing that you and I talked about exactly
exactly and it’s pretty you see I remember I was at CBA meeting and I was
in a friend’s booth and I was talking to different people walking by and it was a
front office it was something for the front office team and two people came up
me in the oh my gosh finally something here that’s for the front office like
for us it’s all clinical we go to these meetings you know we do have great
speakers in our industry and front office does have you know just like
there’s good dental assistant speakers too but when it when it comes to you
know the going on the exhibit floor and all this they do the same thing they
look at our badges they’re like oh your front office you know get the doctor and
it’s like well you know we make a big impact in decisions of what happens in
the office too well a lot of times if they don’t get through you they they’ll
never see the doctor well my favorite thing is for the front office and I
actually had somebody to help me in this the other day the dentist goes and they
buy this new shiny actually this is the same for the assistants I’ve got
imagine they buy this new software this new toy this may bring it back and
they’re like here implement this you know let’s start doing this and then
they walk away and we’re like on top of the 62 other things we have to do now we
have to implement this new you know whatever it is and that’s why a lot of
stuff ends up sitting on the on the shelves that doesn’t get used because
there wasn’t buy-in there wasn’t you know that communication no it causes a
lot of friction a lot of times they purposely will dig in their heels
because they weren’t part of the process of I said to the practice and how does
it work yeah yeah the person I was talking to about this she said we have a
nine-day rule in our office I said what do you mean a nine-day rule she says
when a doctor comes back and they give us something we hold off for nine days
and usually he’ll forget about it he or she and put it on the shelf but if he’s
still talking about nine days later then we’ll take it
seriously so let’s talk about somebody who actually already made a comment
about we sure do need help in our front office and I feel that in the front
office I want to talk a little bit about from my perspective because I think on
this webinar we have assistants here we have dentists here we have front office
team members here I think the first thing we need to talk about is the value
that each of our that we each play in the dental office like how vital and
important we are and I like to start with this because especially dentist
listening listening and dentist invest a lot in seee and clinical and how can you
do more procedures and how can we do them faster and better but they don’t
necessarily invest in the team as much and investing is your in your team is
the best investment you can make front office I feel is vital the front office
team to the success of your dental office and the reason I say that is
patients don’t judge us on dentistry they don’t know whether you’re a good
dentist or not they don’t know whether you did a great calm and a good margin
and a good shave match they know how they feel when they’re in the office
they know where they greeted well did they feel comfortable to the team take
care of them did they get all their questions answered and for me front
office is the first and last person our team up front is the first and last
touch with that patient and they’re going to remember that as they walk out
how they felt as they walked out of the office so I think that the front office
team members you know we play a huge part in that impression from the first
phone call to how you scheduled the patient how they’re greeted when they
show up how we ask for them to pay you know and everything else that we do and
on top of that in the front office we we not only I know we’re all focused on our
jobs but we have stuff coming at us from every angle
we have people walk in and lawns with babies who are like you want my baby
during my cleaning you know the toilets overflowing the phones aren’t ringing
the server’s broken so we have a lot and we play a big part in that so investing
in your team and for me investing in your front office is the best investment
you can make because the better we’re trained the better we understand the
importance of customer service and experience the better your tea
candy now we can be amazing in the front and then if the assistant walks up and
drops the ball then this is the next spot where it’s important and I think
the general assistance I love for an office I’m all that for an office but I
think the dental assistants are right up there with us because in my mind dental
assistants spend more time with the patients than anybody so Kenan can you
speak on that tell us where you find the value and where the role is for dental
assistants you know it’s funny because what you just described a lot with the
front office honestly I see the same thing with assistants and yet there’s so
much tension sometimes between the front in the back that I often go to you won’t
realize how similar you are that you’re wearing ten different hats and that
you’re spending really those two areas assistance and front office are leaving
the biggest impression on the patient now I know a lot we were saying they’re
going well the hygiene appointment everything else and I agree with that
but at the end of the day and I’ve had so many assistants tell me this that the
doctor will walk in tell Mrs Jones that she needs a crown we’ll walk
out to start in the next operatory and Mrs. Jones is gonna turn the assistants say
what do you think at that point if your clinic if your assistant doesn’t have
his or her clinical skills and even his or her sales skills dare I say you know
at the top of their you know weaponry shall we say then it’s not going to be a
positive experience and it’s really important for that patient to know that
whatever the assistants says is the same thing the doctor would say is the same
thing the front office would say the same thing the hygienist would say and
that takes teamwork and it takes everybody being on the same page and
Laura you and I both know we we go into a lot of practices and we see a lot of
practices that’s not the case yeah completely
and I think part of that is team meetings and Huddle’s which that’s a
whole nother subject that we could have because that’s that comes from the
leadership in the doctor down but we all I feel get into our world I’m you know
operatories, I’m a hygienist in my operatory I’m in the front office this is my desk the doctors in their office but we have
to come together as a team okay you get to focused so that’s where I feel like
we have assistance against the front office assistant against hygienists
again that’s where we have this we become to departmentalized and we’re not
working together as a team well and you see so often it’s my schedule you
know you shouldn’t be putting patients there because you’re screwing up my day
you know and so often at the end of the day when you boil it all down everybody
in their practice wants their patients to be well and they want to run a
successful business at least that’s the hope for both those things and so you
know if you boil everything aside from that bubble you’re talking about and the
my my my attitude that so often creates in that helps alleviate a lot of these
things I know we’re going to talk about communication here in a little bit but
you’ve got to find those common ground areas no matter where position you are
in the practice you’ve got to find common ground with the other team
members to make those successful business ideas and suggestions that we
have tell me how you feel and I didn’t prep you for this so tell me how you
feel about the doctors role in this and and how because at the end of the day we
all work for this doctor we work for our patients and we work for a doctor and
yes we need to work better as peers and team members but how do you feel the
doctor plays into that role and how can we how can we educate our doctors on the
importance of this in my head that’s the managing editor for dello economics for
so long you know the dentist is the leader and I know he or she often
doesn’t like that title they want to be the clinical they don’t want to mess
with the HR and the drama and everything else but at the end of the day that
dentist it’s his or her business and he or she is often the highest paid
employee of that business so they’ve got to take that leadership role and if
there’s drama going on you don’t just push it under the rug and you don’t say
well we’ll deal with that next week because as a patient and as a customer
and I can tell you I left a dental practice because of this I was in there
when there was tension and as a customer you can feel it whenever you walk into a
business so I absolutely believe that that dentist has to nip that in the bud
they’ve got to show that leadership skill and they’ve got to make sure that
they again find that common ground there but
real yeah it’s funny I worked in a dental office for a little while and
into San Diego and I walked in and there was this front desk that was beautiful
check in check out really pretty front desk but in the middle of the front desk
was this wall with a door in and it didn’t really flow it didn’t didn’t fit
and this is a beautiful office but why is that wall in that door there and they
said because the girl that used to sit here and the girl that used to sit here
didn’t get along so what the dentist did was build a wall between them seriously
right exactly but if you think about it dentist went to dental school to be
dentists yeah all of this other stuff we have going on in the office they would
rather just do this and just ignore it many times then address it but
addressing it is important now the reason I bring this up is if you’re
watching this or in the future when you watch this we do have tension between
front and backs sometimes we do have assistant hygienists and we do meet our
doctors to understand the importance of repairing it fixing it changing the
culture communication whatever but if you go to your doctor and just complain
complain complain and point fingers and say it’s them it’s them it’s that I’m
your doctor probably gonna do more of this one of my suggestions is is that
you come to the doctor with whatever issues going on and some suggestions
maybe we need a team meeting maybe we need some some training maybe we need
some whatever but don’t just dump it on the doctors desk because it does become
a lot of finger-pointing which isn’t going to solve the problems between the
front and back or no matter you know if you walk into a Starbucks and you know
the baristas are having an issue with each other you may be a little hesitant
to drink that cup of coffee you know and that’s unfortunately what happens with a
lot of our patients that they walk in and they know that something’s going on
in there you know it’s the day you’ve all got to
come together and say what is best for our business what is that for our
patients and try to put those personalities aside and again find that
common ground which I hope is your mission statement you know or whatever
you really believe drives your business everybody should be on board with that
one thing for sure and that’s we’re having
starting this with you and I is that we need to understand and why are we here
as a receptionist as a scheduler as a dental assistant why are we here it’s
not to point fingers or to say my job harder than yours or whatever it’s for
our patients at the end of the day we are here to help our patients and so we
need to leave our drama at the door leave our attitudes at the door and come
in and work together as a team because I mean I’m working with dental Intel and
one of the statistics I found with a dental in smell is most offices are
shrinking every month because they’re losing conditions over the back door I
feel there’s two reasons we lose patients on the back door it’s our
systems are in place and the experience for giving the patients they come in
much like you said and they you don’t feel they feel the enter the whatever is
going on in the office and then they cancel the next appointment because it’s
just not the way you know it used to be when they so I agree with that yeah you
know I’ve got a friend who who’s a dentist in Memphis and near the team
entrance in the back you know and a lot of practices had those he has a big
luggage rack and above and it says leave your baggage here every day wherever you
walk through that door I don’t care what just happened on the way into work you
just had the worst fight with your spouse whatever it goes there because
your patients are your top priorities and that you walk through that door
exactly exactly okay so let’s talk about so we were preaching to the choir now
like we should be getting along and all that but we do have challenges I think
that there’s two kind of reasons in my mind of why I think we have challenges
in the dental office and then you can and yours I think two things I think
first of all we don’t understand what the other team member does in their job
I had a friend who’s a hygienist who’s a consultant and she said to me you know
when she was a hygienist she worked in her operatory she had an hour with her
patients she walked around she walked him back she worked on the patient then
she became a consultant and she started me helping manage the whole offices like
training the offices and she didn’t realize until that time how much we do
in the front how much comes at you how many things we have to be responsible
for and and she realized and had a new appreciation for the front office so I
think part of it is I only know what happens in the front I don’t know what
happens know how stressful can get doing
procedures as an assistant turning over rooms dealing with doctors that aren’t
having a great mood so I think that’s one of the first challenges we have what
what it what else do you see that that causes that that conflict between
Frontenac I honestly I think that’s that’s one of the biggest ones it’s just
a lack of understanding and you know we have we have a lot of cross training
that goes on now and so I think people are starting to understand you know the
front in the back and everything else but I think it’s a lack of communication
I also think that often it’s a lack of respect that comes from that you know I
think you know so often I’ve heard you’re just an assistant or you just
stood up front all day you know you don’t understand what I do you know and
I think that there’s that lack of respect that rolls around in people’s
heads and I really do think that it’s something that if you look at what that
common ground is if you look at what each other is doing to contribute to the
bottom line of the practice it opens my eyes a little bit if I’m sitting at the
front and your assistant and all day she gets to wear heels and nice clothes it
answers a couple phone calls not understanding how much we deal with at
the front four or five phone lines patients coming in people trying to
cancel the doctor wants to schedule film we need more new patients
like I said mom’s bring their babies in so so I don’t think assistants if you’re
not prostrating or had the opportunity up front to realize that we’re not just
sitting up there eating bonbons and searching the internet we’re you know
we’re working on the flip side for the front office I tried to assist a little
bit when I first started and I couldn’t do it I don’t even know the you know
handling the patients the scared patients getting them comfortable
dealing with the doctors which sometimes are a little harder to deal with if
they’re under stress you know tell me more from the front office like what
what did we not see when we’re not back there assisting well you’re right you
don’t see the Giger’s you know you don’t see the the the running between
operatories to make sure that the OP stories are as one assistants that are
turned and burned you know and ready for the next patient you know it’s so often
what about those instruments you know do you have enough to get through the day
is the sterilization procedure going okay you know I think that’s one of the
scariest things to me is that we get so busy in the back and sometimes corners
are cut and maybe that involves infection control and that’s been one of
the biggest things I’ve been trying to push down lately is no matter how busy
you are you’ve got to make sure those infectious control procedures are done
in the back I don’t care how hectic or chaotic or whatever it is if it takes an
extra five minutes you’ve got to do it yeah exactly and that’s probably one of
the things that I realized in my office was the dentists a lot of times don’t
know and I’m not trying to pick up dad’s sister I’m just trying to open
everybody’s eyes to why we might have some challenges the dentists really
don’t know a lot of what we do in the front they don’t know how we should be
answering these phone calls with new patients they don’t know really how to
quickly fill a last-minute cancelations but also in the back and the last time
the dentist learned about sterilizing instruments was probably in dental
school if that right and things change and OSHA changes and and all the things
and so what happens is when you don’t know how to train somebody or lead
somebody on it you just hope they know what they’re doing and so the dental
assistants are in the back during over rooms and trying to keep up with the
schedule and we’re putting pressure on you in the back this assistance and if
you’re cutting corners you know that’s when you’re gonna have bigger problems
in the practice well and think about you know the delusion of knowledge you know
that my wife Dana Johnson always talks about you know whenever somebody is
trained by somebody else and then that person trains the next person trains the
next person and you’re not getting their professional training back there
boy all the things that get missed along the way as it goes down so it’s so
important to have that training you know whether it’s OSHA whether it’s you know
software training whatever it might be it’s so critical to have that every year
one of the things I’m trying to change the idea in our industry is I believe
that everybody should have one hour of training a week and it could be
cross-training it could be video training watching this webinar it could
be reading an article but we’re we’re so focused on production go go go go go go
go that we don’t stop to invest in our team and all
so we could beat up I mean you know how many times patients come in and say I
don’t want to be here like sometimes my team I’m like we don’t want you here
either don’t worry all right and it’s such a you know that’s the
problem and you talked about it earlier about the front desk being that you know
first and last impression and so often these patients are scared when they come
in there and that’s where I see the assistant playing the role of bartender
playing the role of you know listen to you I’m gonna hold your hand i’ma tell
you it’s all gonna be okay you know and that’s nothing that you’re really ever
taught you know but it’s something I think that comes with the territory as
well and each of us have those things our job that we’re like that’s not on my
resume anywhere but yet it’s so crucial to actually succeeding yeah definitely
actually I tease that I say I don’t think anybody really grew up thinking
they were going to be a dental for an office manager or receptionist it’s
probably the same with us I mean maybe a little bit more on the assistant side
but we all kind of fell into these roles for whatever reason but it then we need
to make sure that we’re training and making sure that we’re you know all on
the same page so the next thing that I was going to talk about that I think
causes the biggest conflict or where the conflict starts is the schedule and
somebody actually already mentioned that also here’s where I think I say the
schedule is the most important system in the dental office because the schedule
affects everybody from back doctor everybody and here’s where I think that
the drama starts so we’re on the front we answer the phone there’s an emergency
patient we’re trying to put the emergency and the day is full doctor
walks by and we say where should we put the emergency and the doctor who doesn’t
need to eat most the times there’s lunch or at the end of the day so we put the
emergency in at lunch at the end of the day now the assistants are in the back
and they’re upset with us because we squeezed another one in at lunch they
don’t get to have lunch at the time they’re supposed to they’re running
behind already they gotta see this emergency the hygienists are over in
there to slide they’re upset because the doctor now is in the emergency so
they’re late getting exam therapy issues right behind the front office is
thinking if those guys would just work faster we could all get to lunch so one
of the big things I think that causes the biggest stress and the dental office
is the schedule because it does run all of us so what do you think about that is
that in green back well you’re exactly right the schedule
is one of the biggest things because so often the assistance they need that bio
break they need the lunch you know and I mean everybody in the back does let’s be
honest but you know it’s also one of those things that I think if you don’t
know what’s going on front then you think it’s the Wild West and people are
just throwing people on your left and right and I think you guys back to that
understand then we talked about earlier you know what is your practices protocol
for scheduling you know do you have a set time for emergency patients and if
it’s noon or the end of the day and this is causing a lot of havoc and causing a
lot of the friction maybe it’s time to revisit that a little bit maybe it’s
time to say you know is there another time in our schedule we should block out
just in case mrs. Jones calls us yeah what I suggest when I’m teaching for an
office team members because I when I say this they say oh my gosh that’s so right
that’s what happens in our office all the time so in the morning huddle I
suggest that we ask when are some good times for emergencies today and I don’t
think they should be at lunch at the end of the day I mean unless it’s literally
somebody fell off their bike and broke their teeth out you know you love it
when they call in and they said my twos been hurting a week and now it’s Friday
before Labor Day and I need to go see but I suggest that the front office team
members ask the dental assistants when or good times for emergencies not the
dentist because the dental assistants are the ones that have to seat them
they’re the ones that have to find out what’s going on take the x-rays have the
room available and when you ask the assistants when’s a good time and you
put the emergency and at that time then they can’t be upset with you okay and
that opens up that conversation in that communication you’re and you’re exactly
right you know it’s something that then the assistant starts going okay we’ve
gotta think about this yeah work together on solution you know it seems
so commonplace and I know there’s a lot of people out there that are watching
this too just thought that would never work in my practice well have you tried
you know have you really given it a shot but but you know little things like that
you’re right it makes a huge difference yeah I think the other thing too is to
look at the schedule and we might even you and I I’m already thinking of a
topic I’m thinking we should talk about huddle and what we should what we should
talk about I think so many offices go in and talk
about what action do we have on the schedule like
what are we producing but we should also be talking about you know things about
the patient and balances and have they referred and all that but also let’s
look at the schedule as the day is the way it’s set up and say is there any way
we can make this run better could we move the patient up or down so that the
assistants aren’t stressed in the back so we get a little a bio break in there
is there an area where it’s gonna get quite stressful
and maybe somebody in the front could jump in the back and help turn over
rooms for a little bit or sterilize some instruments like can we be more
proactive instead of just going well the day is that what it is and then having
people in the backup set at the front and vice versa
yeah and you’ve heard it so many times you know it’s like well they’ll never
work in my practice well that’s not the way we do things so I’m like you know
I’ve gotta be honest with you it could be the way you do things if everybody
gets on the same page thereby actually talks about what’s best but yeah and you
know this as well so many times I hear the morning huddle well it’s just a
waste of time but to do things like that where you’re actually planning out the
day my goodness what a different second night yeah and I feel then we then if
they know let’s say in the front like with this patient always runs late we’re
gonna try to get their paperwork done then the team knows that we’re working
as a team to try get the patient ready and in the back because we understand in
the front that you need to get them sat as soon as possible but we also have to
get the paperwork done and and sign our new medical history or whatever the case
may be and so when we talk about that and in advance that we’re all on the
same page versus just getting upset at each other in our respective areas with
that you know there’s I’ve heard so much talk about how the handoff is done in
the practice and the things that could be done just in those few steps on the
way between the back and the front and you know there’s a whole other
conversation about assistants and talking about money you know we’ll talk
about you know that’s a whole other conversation but again I think that
there’s a lot of things that could be done to prep that person for whenever
they leave that certainly it helps the front office before the back office has
to run back and start and start turning things over again so you know there’s
things that both sides can do but I think it takes a little bit of ingenuity
and flexibility as well and actually that’s
a good point so as everybody if you’re just joining
us or listening to us one of our reasons for doing this Kevin is because we want
it we know there’s this is a hot topic and we wanted suggestions and ideas and
I’m getting some as I go along so I think we went just on handoffs and the
importance of handoffs the handoff between the doctor the assistant they
handed off from the assistant to the front office because the communication
is breaking down between what happened in the back and what happened in the
front or vice versa you know maybe we’re having a discussion with the patient
when they’re in the reception area and the assistant comes to take them back
and I have a key piece of data but that patient told me I need to I need to hand
that off to the assistant so you know or even emergencies that what we do right
now for emergencies is literally I ask the questions on the phone the patient
tells me everything about the alert well I don’t have a toothache whatever then
the assistant comes takes them back asks the same questions why then the doctor
comes in what is the doctor new questions right first of all that’s not
efficient and second of all the patient’s like I already told you guys
two different lines do we not communicate so that would be a topic for
us to talk about because you’re exactly right you get a patient that doesn’t
want to be there and now he or she’s frustrated as well so that’s a bad combo
yeah exactly so one other thought I have on the schedule because like I said I
think the schedule is the most important part or system in our office it’s the
system that puts us all together in it not only affects just us the system
scientists doctors in for an office but it also affects our patients you know
again we talked about patient experience well if the patient comes in at 2:00 and
we don’t see it until 2:15 because we’re running behind or you know we told the
patient was gonna be 60 minutes and they’ve been there for two hours this is
all our patients know about us and they’re gonna think oh they don’t know
what they’re doing and so the more we can get the scheduled fix the better I
just suggest that you get the team together if you don’t have a scheduling
policy and you outside it get everybody how they opt or get in a team meeting
and list everything that possibly goes wrong through the day you know patients
run late doctor runs behind you know whatever instruments break their you
know whatever it and then how should we handle it because
my scheduling policy in my office might be different than yours in your office
but your team should be on the same page everybody should agree on what happens
when things happen because we know when we walk in the morning there’s a good
chance that the schedule the way it started the beginning of the day isn’t
going to be the way at the end of the day it blows up we know that yeah I
would I would absolutely suggest that you know look look at your mission
statement for your practice you know and so you may have to blow off the notebook
that it’s in you know with all the dust but you know if you’re talking about
that you’re in a caring environment you’re going to treat patients like
family you know a lot of the things that we always hear you know really look at
is your practice doing that and if you’re treating patients like family but
you’re maint making them wait half an hour past time or you that you’re
frustrated when they walk through the door you know that’s got to change
it absolutely does because you’re not living out to that thing that you’re
supposed to be abiding by is it for as a business yeah and I feel that as dental
offices we start and we’re focused on the patient and we’re new or we’re
smaller and work but as we grow I mean the number one complaint about the
offices I talk with patients all the time about offices as we grow is they
start to feel like a number they no longer feel like part of the family and
then we get focused on production we get focused on numbers and overhead and
schedule and did you fill the schedule what are our goals today which is all
part of running a business but we can’t forget the patient in the midst of it we
need to make sure that the patient is always first and that takes us coming
together as a team so I agree with that okay so let’s talk about cross-training
okay okay so tell me I know you and I are huge fans of cross-training I have
different reasons for it so tell me I mean it’s it’s up and coming more and
more in dental offices what are your thoughts on cross-training from that you
know from the back perspective I think it’s a really important thing not only
for to help the business grow but also to enhance a career you know so often I
hear dental assistants say you know I hit a ceiling I can’t go any higher you
know I’m just an assistant which just drives me crazy when people say that
it’s not true but I think that the the opportunity to be cross-trained opens up
a lot of new doors for assistance and like you’re not taught about it also
opens have eyes as far as what really goes on and and I’m a big proponent that
the assistant needs to be a part of the business it needs to know numbers and
needs to know how how trends are doing and needs to know are you all hitting
goal for the month and this is a great opportunity to really dive into that and
see okay we’re behind on this what can we do our schedules a mess what can we
do you know and it really gets them more involved and I think any time a team
member is more involved with the bottom line of the business it’s a good thing
so you know that’s that’s my take on cross-training and why I think it’s so
important in such a growing thing for it for a trend right I think there’s other
things you like kind of what we were talking about earlier but walk a mile in
my shoes that’s a that’s a corporate concept I actually just wrote an article
about it but what come on my shoe it is frustrating but not for the same purpose
it’s to just be able to see what I do you will respect me more if you sit up
at the front of office and as an assistant you see what I do I’m not on
the internet eating bonbons I’m handling 20 different things at once
and the other side is I shall walk a mile in your shoe and I should come back
in the back and see you handle a scared patient or a patient you know a dentist
who’s under pressure because the procedures not going right or turning
over rooms like we should that helps for us to have a better understanding of
what goes on in each other’s areas absolutely you know and I think that
opens up eyes whenever you you know so often when I was a Dell economics we’d
say things as simple as you know have you set in your reception area before I
just looked around you know what what’s the condition of your chairs and your
magazines and all this stuff and when you look at things through a different
set of eyes it makes a world of difference cross-training those who
wanna cross train but it hasn’t happened training takes time it’s easier for me
to do it just need to do like I know that that’s one of the show if you sit
down and I try to show you something and you don’t catch it the first time then I
go fine I’ll just do it and then I kind of stop asking do you need help
so I know that I have assistants who come up and they’ve got some down time
we had a cancellation we have some time in the schedule and they come up front
say can I help with anything and the front office goes no and you
can’t help like yeah I’m good well they should be able to have helped
so cross-training is something that should be regularly done in your office
even though it takes time so that when either maybe I should be crossed you go
turn over a room you know to help in the back sterilizes instruments and you get
trained on how to call insurance claims that are over outstanding or recarey to
be scheduled so we need to invest in that time well you know you talked
earlier about you know an hour a week devoted to training and this is a great
example of that you know let the front go back and learn about sterilization
let the back go up front and learn about insurance and what it really takes to
get a claim paid off you know I mean I I think that that it doesn’t always have
to be you know on OSHA or a you know a lays or anything big it can often just
be the inner workings of the business and you take time and that’s outside and
I think it’s a huge dividends absolutely one of the things I’ve heard from my
clients so it’s for an office roxas you know Kevin if anybody’s listening I do I
have videos ten minute videos I’m just everything to do in the front office and
I have a lot of clients who will have assistants and hygienists watch the
videos on things like case presentations or consultations handling late patients
so they understand what we do do in the front you don’t do what we do in the
front because you know when the hygienist for example or the assistant
presents whatever to the patient and then they walk them into the console
room when we go in you don’t know what happens after that you know and a lot of
times when it comes to the front now we’re talking money
now we’re talking insurance and that’s the harder part of the case acceptance
patients always go yeah that the doctor and then they come to us so but you know
understanding and and seeing what we all do in each other’s roles will definitely
help for team building you know and I know some practices where the assistant
stays in there with the patient because again they built that relationship and
so when the subject of money comes up in the front office comes in and there’s
two people and they’re talking that they get the clinical and the administrative
side of things but there’s a trust built there as well so I know some practices
are doing that now is that practical with the schedule that’s up to each
practice but I I know that’s something I’m starting
see a little bit more of sure and you know earlier but a point that I like to
try to make is if we’re talking about something here and you’re like well that
wouldn’t work and I had my practice well that that can’t happen so many times I
think we take on this idea that that can’t happen we can’t change the way
we’ve always been and we can change in our practices many times we blame
outside factors patients are insurance driven they don’t have money there’s too
much competition you know whatever when when we blame outside factors or but we
can’t change then it’s not gonna happen but if you actually go hey maybe we
can’t try something new maybe we can see how that works in our practice and give
it a shot you have more control over fixing what’s going on versus just doing
this is just the way it’s always been yeah you know what my grandpa used to
say the easiest thing to do is nothing and you know we can sit there and just
go well it’ll never change so you don’t try anything you know and and so to me
yeah I think that any good business has to try and stretch its boundaries and
expand on what it does it can’t just stay in a rut forever yeah you know it
has to change it has to grow and sometimes that’s gonna take new ideas
which by the way can come from anybody on the team
the assistant hygienist the front office it doesn’t matter
everybody’s got a good idea and everybody knows the problems that our
practice may be having as far as productivity your workflow
you know suggest some things don’t ever be afraid to do that yeah I was in a
friend’s office recently and they had a thing they used to do a treatment plan why do you do this and they said I don’t
know yep always this way and so anything that happens in the office it you say
well why do you do this and there’s not a clear answer maybe it can be revised
maybe it can be become more efficient maybe we can figure out a way to fix it
or change it there should be a line behind everything you do like why do we
do this we can’t answer it maybe it’s time to look at it and change yeah
absolutely and don’t be afraid of change you know change is not a bad thing and
there’s a lot of practices out there you see em I see them that they’re like oh
gosh if we do that what if you know and so they’re always afraid to even take
the step I’m like what if it’s a good thing
you know what if it actually benefits everybody because I always say if the
business does well everybody in that business should do well also you know it
so I really do think there’s kind of a trickle down there exactly alright so
the importance of communication a little bit but communication again wasn’t
taught in dental school to dentists most the time Dental Assisting school as far
as I know it does they don’t teach the soft skills they teach you the skills
front office we didn’t even go to school to what we knew and I think the biggest
break to em we have is in communications so what are your thoughts on you know
when how what I think I think the biggest the biggest problem that I see
often is that when communication starts it’ll evolve into well here’s why I’m
right you’re wrong you know rather than here’s our middle ground here’s where we
both need to be coming from and can we agree on this point that build from
there and you know and you touched upon it a
couple of times it’s as well as if you’ve done what you don’t know you
don’t know and what we don’t know about each other I think is such a big thing
yeah definitely I think another thing that’s big for me is communicating when
you start communicating why why is this whatever I’m teaching you to do
important why is this play into the bigger part of taking care of patients
why do you need to learn this why do we need to handle this drama between you
and me like why because if if we both know why like why are we here we’re here
to take care of our patients well then let’s come to an agreement of how we’re
going to handle whatever the issue is or how we’re going to change the policy or
the process but always start with why I think that’s a really big thing agree
yes my wife’s a huge fan of simon Sinek and the whole start with life england
and it really is something that i I try to teach dental assistants as well you
know don’t just go along with things because somebody else said you should
you know really investigate and see is that the best way to do something right
and actually that brings another subject that I’m thinking and for those who are
listening please give us ideas in the chat of other subjects you’d like us to
talk about training is key how we train I know
you’re most people first day in the dental office and elements it’s the same
as the assistants because I’ve only been up front but it’s literally like here’s
the phones here’s the insurances we belong to here’s the demo codes here’s
how you answer the phone God yep yeah here’s here’s how we do
things in our practice now unless you’re on the job trained assistants you know
you kind of grown up with that as work sure you write a lot of times you get
thrown and go well here’s the way we do things and there’s and this is how we do
a period you know don’t hear ask for anything else or vice versa you go to
one person they tell you this is how you do it then you go to another person and
they say no no she’s wrong do it this way and then you go to another person
one of the things like when I’m thinking about empathy for a dental assistant for
me is in our practice we had three doctors one was left-handed two were
writing at it one could care less if you had stuff there he’s really late others
were very specific and as an assistant you have to walk in and be ready for all
the different personalities and the different wants of the doctors I mean
that’s got to be a huge stress in an adult you know and you know I’ve talked
about the different personality types that there are in the practice and you
know that double-disc testing you know and how a detox to a see and people
crying you know there’s a lot that goes on just with wow how we’re wired as
human beings but you’ve got to take that deep breath and boil down okay what is
this person really telling me and maybe even ask him that you know it’s a core
of it what’s the main message that Awesome so at this point why don’t you tell us again a little bit more about IgniteDA how people can find out about IgniteDA whats going on in your world and then I can tell them all about Front Office Rocks. Absolutely ignite is our website everything on there is completely free for dental assistants
everything we do is free we have some great sponsors who underwrite
everything we we do road shows we will have a whole day of training it’s coming
Greater New York dental meeting we are doing a full day which I’m super excited
about at the South Africa Association meeting so I’ll be in Johannesburg so
join us you know but you know I know you and I are working together at the Yankee
Dental Conference you know and again this assistant track that we have there that
were so grateful to work with Yankee so we do in person and we also do online so
we’d love to have you join us ignite da net our calendar events is on there and
again everything is completely free so we’d love to have you as a member that’s
great and I think that’s and I think IgniteDA kind of started right around
when Front Office Rocks did and I think that that’s great because you guys are
focused on the assistance and it’s a hard job back there and and you guys in
the assistance play a huge part in the patient experience so Front Office Rocks
I’m excited to work with IgniteDA to speak in at the Yankee meeting we are
all online training I’ve been in the trenches ran two dental offices so all
my training is focused on everything we do in the front I don’t consider myself
a consultant there’s great consultants out there but I do you know what do you
do when the patient’s standing in front of you and the phone rings and who do
you do you handle the patients you you answer the phone you know how do we
handle a patient that cancels last minute all of the things that we have to
handle on the front and then I’m also on the road to Kevin and I see each other a
lot around the country so I’m you know speaking at Southwest Dental Meeting
coming up in Texas and I’ve been at CDSA and other so look for IgniteDA look
Front Office Rocks if you like this collaboration maybe
suggest that we have a dental front office you know meeting like we’re doing
at Yankee because I think this is something that’s under under spoken
about and under trained on always love working with you I’m looking forward to
that full day Yankee it’s gonna it’s going to be really cool and I know you
know some more great things are coming I know now how can people reach you if
they want to reach out use their way Kevin Henry at Kevin dot
Henry Henry drop me a line you know if I don’t have the answer I
guarantee you I’ll try to find somebody who does and if you come and say I bet
this has never happened in another practice IgniteDA like dental assistant
net that pop up yeah ignite da for dental
you know so often I’ll be speaking somebody will come and say oh this is I
bet this has never happened before and I’m like yeah actually I just thought
somebody last week and I’m different part of the country where I guess so
yeah I reach out happy to help in any way that I can there’s a perfect and you can find me at Front Office Rocks if you just go to FrontOfficeRocks there is Live Help, Ask Laura, there’s a way to reach me multiple different ways on my website and both Kevin and I are here
because we do talk to offices so many times that we hear well you don’t
understand in my office well we do what’s happening in our office is
happening in lots of offices and now with the internet technology and the
opportunities to connect I think it’s huge to connect with people who
understand your role and then learn how the others feel in the office do because
the better we can work as a team the better we can be there for our patients
so thank you Kevin for those that watch this please make comments please give us
ideas Kevin and I want to do this regularly and we’re actually launching a
little secret thing on front office rocks coming out soon for it’s it’s I’m
launching it now letting everybody know a dental assistant training about
customer service and experience and handoffs and all of that kind of stuff
so Kevin and I are going to be doing a lot together so we’d love to hear from
you guys about what you guys want for those who watch this live thank you for
joining us right before 3 Day weekend we hope that you don’t get too many
emergency calls today and we are excited that everybody’s here so thank you Kevin
I appreciate it have a great holiday Thanks thanks everybody for joining us
thank you guys

1 comment

  1. Thank you Laura and Kevin for sharing your experience and ideas! Look forward to more of your collaborations. I really enjoyed watching. The experience you each have definitely compliment each other. Thanks again for working together on this…currently binge watching all things Laura Hatch… 🙂 – Karen W. – Newton, MA

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published