Thursday, October 25, 2012
I often have a dentist or dental team member say to me something like, “It would be great if Dentrix just did xyz.”
“Well,” I tell them “it does do xyz.”
“You’re kidding. How long has it done xyz?”
“At least three or four years.”
The second of the two biggest mistakes that dentists make in using technology is inadequate training. (The other big mistake is buying random technology because the dentist does not have a plan or vision for the office.) If you have not had any training on your office technology in the last eighteen months you are way past due, and you are costing yourself money.
Commonly a dental office will get two days of intense training when they first purchase their practice management system. Human capacity being what it is, most of us stop learning after the first half day and we forget anything we don’t apply in the next few days.
Then, a new person is hired, another team member moves out of town, a software update is released, and as a result, the office is barely using the expensive system the doctor paid for. What is worse, they don’t even know what they don’t know.
Ongoing training is critical. That means at least a day a year on the general system and special directed training for critical systems.
Just as critical is to know that training day is not doctor golf day. Training must include the dentist. The doctor does not need to be a mouse master and know every click and cranny of the software, but it is essential that the dentist is familiar with the system, knows the basics and understands what the system is capable of accomplishing.
We all experience staff turnover to some extent, and a few doctors will use this as an excuse to avoid paying for training. “What if I train them and they leave?” is the worry.
On the other hand, what if you don’t train them and they stay?
Following are some examples of special systems training:
- Half day just for the administrative staff on billing, accounts receivable and insurance processing.
- Half day just for the hygiene staff on perio charting and recall.
- Half day just for the clinical staff (including the dentist) on charting and treatment planning.
You will find that as you progress through the days after your training there will be tasks that you do not know how to do, or you can do them but the process is awkward. Create a list of the things that are holding you back and have a follow up training session a few weeks or a month after the initial session.
Making sure training is ongoing and a regular part of running the practice is the key to effectively using the full potential of your technology investments.