How software empowers dental hygiene

Oct. 28, 2015
Three ways to increase you success with the practice management software

Three ways to increase you success with the practice management software

BY Melissa Katzenmaier, RDH

As an office manager and dental hygienist, I'm always looking for ways to make our dental practice run more efficiently, while also ensuring our team is giving the best possible care to patients. One of the easiest ways to accomplish both of these is by using a practice management software system.

There are many benefits to integrating a practice management system into your practice, but it's sometimes difficult to pinpoint them exactly. I've outlined three ways our practice management system, Eaglesoft from Patterson Dental, has increased the practice's success.

Using a practice management system in a different way to gain case acceptance

• Not only has our office used our practice management system to schedule patient appointments and keep track of patient records, we've also used it for educational purposes. We're able to enlarge the images from our X-rays and intraoral camera and display them on screen so our patients can see exactly what we're discussing while they're in the chair. We've found that since using our practice management system as an educational tool, our patient case acceptance rate has increased significantly. This is because our patients have a better understanding of their dental hygiene and the issues that need addressing.

• To this point, it was important for us to select a practice management system that integrated well with our patient education system. Our patient education software, CAESY Cloud, has been a great resource for our office. It allows our practice to educate patients with quick videos about the dental procedures they need. We've found these videos often put patients at ease. CAESY also offers kid-friendly educational videos for pediatric patients, which helps to ease their nerves and makes visiting the dentist a more enjoyable experience for children. Not only has our patient education software saved us time because we no longer need to interrupt appointments to explain procedures, but it creates a more trusted relationship between the dental staff and patients.

Streamlined communication both in and out of the office

• Practice management systems allow for streamlined communication within our office. Our hygienists and front-office staff can access insurance records or medical files while in the operatory instead of walking to the front office and disrupting an appointment. This allows for more time with patients and a better overall patient-care experience.

• We also like to use the instant messaging capabilities of Eaglesoft Messenger to communicate with our staff on different floors of our office building, which are difficult to access during the day. Ultimately, using this streamlined communication enables us to spend more time with patients.

• Our practice management system is a great tool when speaking with patients on the phone because the team can access patient account information quickly and easily without having to dig through paper charts and put a patient on hold, which can raise the stress level of a situation and waste valuable time.

Simple switch to electronic records

• Our dental practice recently partnered with another practice that had no digital technology and was completely reliant on paper records. With our practice management system, they went from paper records to being completely paperless in only one week. As the office manager, I prepared myself for many questions from the new employees asking for help when navigating the system. However, I was surprised at how few questions they had, which goes to show how seamless and efficient the switch from paper records to electronic health records (EHR) can be with the right system.

In 17 years with this dental practice, we've used two practice management systems, and for the past 11 years we've used Eaglesoft. This practice management software has allowed us to create a more efficient practice while simultaneously improving our patient care. It meets all of our office's needs, and we've been especially impressed with the ease of use and customer service, two things I recommend any practice focus on when deciding which practice management software to use.

An effective practice management system offers many benefits to a practice and its patients, such as helping with organization and streamlining all communications both externally and internally. With the right support, the transition can be very smooth, and everyone involved will realize the power of a great practice management system. RDH

Melissa Katzenmaier, RDH, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's in psychology in 1997. In 2003, she attended Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she earned her dental hygiene license. Since 2003, Melissa has taught at FVTC and volunteered at the Tri-County Community Dental Clinic. She has great passion for dental hygiene and thoroughly enjoys her career. Melissa started working in her father's dental office in 2008, assisting at the front desk, and she currently works at Elite Smiles Dental.