July 11th, 2011

Knowing your employees addresses

The following email showed up in my (mostly-unused) Gmail account today, cc:ed to a total of seven people. Obviously it was mis-sent, and it was obviously meant for one of his employees.

I started to reply with something to the effect of, "Who are you and why am I getting this email? I don't work for you." After reading the email carefully, I decided that it was better to reply-all. I think my favorite part is, "Dates, days, times must be totally accurate. This process should never ever be rushed! This is not a race. This is a relaxed, accurate, thoughtful contact from our office." Perhaps our dentist should use the same accurate, thoughtful mechanisms for contacting his employees?

I want to touch base with all of you on something really important this weekend: What happens in the business area (front desk).

I went to great expense to try to put on a great meeting (I thought);
I thought we covered some important items;
I thought I put out the message of efficiency and motivation and commitment.

Yet, immediately following the meeting, what we discussed was truly forgotten and ignored--or perhaps never retained in the first place, which would be on me.

In any case, the front desk has become a place of socializing, chatting, Internet use, eating, drinking.
Frankly, I am not happy with what I have seen in the wake of that meeting.
And worst of all, work is not getting done.
As I sit here now, I am looking at postcards and envelopes that have been returned because as undeliverable. Some from MAY!
When we get these, we should be doing a full court press to find out the correct addresses, to update the computer, to re mail the items!
Nothing should ever sit on the desk, day after day, week after week, month after month---especially with the free time everyone has these days.
I don't know if anyone has noticed, but our two schedules have been SWISS CHEESE for months!

So, here is the deal, effective immediately:

There is to be NO more eating at the front desk. Not even lunch hour.
If you have a beverage at the front desk, I want it out of sight of any patient view.
Gang, food at the front desk is just not professional.

No Internet use, except on the lunch hour.

No more chat fests at the front desk. Please do your socializing on your lunch hours.

When we are open for business, the only thing happening at the front desk is to concern the patients and this practice.

And here is critical stuff:

Patti, I want you to set up the laptop area as solely a patient contact desk. Nothing else, except when Terri orders supplies.
No more papers, scraps, paperclips, pens, tacks and assorted junk lying around. I want it neat, I want it clean, I want it organized.
Patti, I want you to provide, each Monday morning, a list of patients late on recalls and/or treatments.
It is INSANE that our hygiene schedule is not full every hour of every day, 30 days in advance.

Assistants and hygienists, when your clinical responsibilities are caught up, your rooms are squeaky clean and stocked up (and make no mistake, total clinical cleanliness and readiness is your first responsibility)----please use your free time in the following manner:

You will work the patient contact desk. Using the lists provided by Patti, you will call/email/text each overdue patient and let them know that they are past due.
BEFORE you ever make a contact, I want the patient screen up and open in front of you. I want you to study it first to MAKE SURE they are in fact overdue and why. Perhaps we don't WANT a particular person back in. The patient screen will tell you. Only when you have the situation fully in hand will you make contact. And then log the contact and any pertinent notes on the patient screen.
I don't want any willy nilly calling just off the list. Know the story before you contact.
I think that I like email contact. UNLESS you think that email is not popular with the patient--then call.
I just think that email for overdue patients is less obtrusive to the patients.

UPDATE the patient screen whenever pertinent.
Edit and triple check what you are sending---especially when confirming! Dates, days, times must be totally accurate.
This process should never ever be rushed! This is not a race. This is a relaxed, accurate, thoughtful contact from our office.
For confirmations, IF you cannot talk personally to the patient, use EVERY available mode to leave a message!
Again, you may find the patient preference on their screen. If you do, honor that.

You might want to ask for a detailed confirmation list at the end of the day to verify your confirmations.

We simply have to get back to a professional and efficient business area, with important things getting done.

Make no mistake, I believe we have here one of the finest group of health care professionals anywhere.
I believe in each of you implicitly.
I just think we need to tighten it up.

(Dentist's initials)

Edit: He responded!
Oh I am so sorry!! My fault. My name is (Name) and I am a dentist in (City). I was sending an email to my staff and I transposed one of the email addresses to yours! You must have thought I was off my rocker!! This is really embarrassing. please forgive me!!!
I am such a dork!

I responded by thanking him for the unintended irony of mis-sending mail that contained the sentence, "This is a relaxed, accurate, thoughtful contact from our office."