The holidays are coming up and the new year is just around the corner. This is the time to start thinking about what you can do to change it up, make improvements that will simplify the lives of you, your team, and your patients.
Consider how reducing human error can increase the trust of your team, while also increasing efficiency.
Errors, whether by accident or not, can make it harder for those on your team to trust each other. What do I mean by errors? As human beings, we are not perfect, which means that on occasion, we screw up. We enter the wrong information, we press the wrong button, we delete the wrong file, we click the wrong link.
In the dental, hygiene or denturist office, it goes without saying that the front and clinical staff are human beings. Unfortunately, being human means that anything is possible, including the inevitably of making errors.
The truth of the matter is that too many human errors can erode team trust. And some mistakes are seemingly irreversible, or if they can be reversed, take a lot of time and energy to do so.
Reducing human error in the office has the opposite effect. But how do you reduce human error when everyone in the office is human? This post will focus on how to reduce human error with technology and the magic of automation, therefore bringing team trust back.
Automation is key!
This probably sounds like a sales pitch, right? But no! The fact is that automation not only reduces human error but decreases a lot of the stress and tediousness in the office.
In my current position, I juggle a number of very important duties. But off duty, I volunteer as an Administrative Officer. My duties, without a proper system in place, require a lot of tedious overhead — copying and pasting information from one source to another, creating emails, sending reminders and marketing materials. It’s a lot of tedious mind-numbing work that would be better off automated so that I can focus less on the paperwork and a lot more on relationships. Monotony and repetition in any position can be the cause of a lot of mistakes. Monotony and repetition can prompt your brain to go on autopilot. That’s just one of the ways mistakes can occur.
Recently, a CRM was introduced to automate those tedious tasks. Because an automated system does not get brain fog, the chance of errors is greatly reduced. And so is the stress.
How does trust factor in?
Mistakes, big or small, set off a chain reaction. The mistakes made in one area can greatly affect another. Trust is eroded with each mistake that must be amended, and some mistakes are irreversible. Can you imagine the chaos in the office if a patient’s notes aren’t completed, or if a claim form goes out and does not include lab fees? Automation not only takes the stress out of this particular role but also makes it much less possible for a mistake to occur during any process.
I’m going to break this down into roles and how automation can help in certain roles and how those roles can affect other roles in the office.
How does automation affect the Hygienist?
Because we are all human, we can and will make mistakes. As a hygienist, consider the challenge of calculating pocket depth. If hygienists are constantly removing their gloves to write down each pocket depth and tooth surface, there’s a good chance of mistakes being made. And if a mistake is made in the process, then that mistake can cause a chain reaction within the office and will eventually have to be rectified.
Automation reduces human error by providing hygienists the opportunity to either type each number rather than write it, or even just speak it. For example, Voice command in a digital charting system allows for a hygienist to speak each pocket depth say or type each number and surface. The automated function allows the hygienist to keep going without stopping, while the system does the rest.
How does automation affect the office manager and receptionist?
As an office manager or receptionist, how many tasks do they juggle every day? There might be too many balls in the air, and some just keep dropping. It’s easier to make mistakes this way. Consider the following challenge of submitting claim forms and forgetting about the lab codes. This is an example of another mistake that can snowball. Now the office manager or receptionist has to call the insurance company because they need to know about the error. It’s a headache that no one needs in such a demanding position.
With automation and a little bit of preparation at the beginning, the receptionist or office manager would not have to worry about those lab codes again. The codes would always be added to the claim form and then it would just be a matter of sending. Automation reduces the headache of not just the errors but the stress that comes from monotonous tasks.
How does automation affect the Dentist?
Just like everyone else in the office, the dentist has a lot on their plate. Having to worry about errors that can easily set off a chain reaction, affecting the hygienist, the front staff, and possibly even the patients is not something anyone wants to cope with. Consider the challenge of making errors when completing patient notes. Completing and committing patient notes on the day the patient is in the chair is imperative to accurate record-keeping.
But the day can get away from the dentist, it can get not just busy but stressful as they go from one patient to the other. Errors are made in situations where people are rushed and stressed.
However, with the magic of technology and automation, those errors are reduced. A template can help with completing the notes more accurately. An automated system that allows dentists or hygienists to pull up a notes template reduces that monotony and the feeling of being rushed as everything is basically filled out, it’s just a matter of filling in the rest of the blanks with the necessary information received.
How does automation affect the office as a whole?
If the above challenges are familiar and are causing stress just by thinking about them, automation can affect your office in an abundance of ways. Automation reduces the errors in those challenges and other similar challenges not mentioned here but that you know well. With the reduction of human errors comes the increase of team trust as the fewer mistakes made, the better the office can work as a unit.
As 2021 comes to a close, it’s important to prepare the office for a much easier and more successful 2022. Take some time this year as a team to consider an automated system that can help alleviate all those challenges you’ve been coping with by reducing stress, and inevitably reducing those pesky human errors.
This is my last post for the year, so I want to wish you all happy holidays and a happy, safe and successful new year!
I will be back in 2022!