By Dr. Bryan Shanahan | PAST AzDA PRESIDENT
Like many of my colleagues, taking care of the business end of a dental practice while navigating the CO- VID epidemic this past year posed enormous challenges. New COVID protocols imposed strains on our dental team to make sure that both they and our patients remained healthy, new patients in the office were generally limited to emergency cases, and overall production was also severely impacted. Our recall schedule looked like we were going to fall off a cliff as we got to October and November of this past year.
My friend Amy Morgan, the Vice President of Consulting Strategy with the Spear Institute, recently wrote1 about the challenges of a post-COVID empty schedule and how many den- tists and their teams could easily fall into the trap of being in panic mode.
Diverting the hygienists and a thin administrative staff to hop on the phones to fill up the hygiene sched- ule is likely not the highest and best use of my team. I want them to be engaged and pres- ent with my patients in the office.
As a former leader in organized dentistry, I have looked to the AzDA PERKS Program for solutions to many of the business challenges we all face each day. That led me to engage with the folks with AzDA PERKS Partner DentalVSS (Dental Virtual Support Solutions) to be focused on my practice data and supporting me with a remarkable team of “virtual” dental experts. My dentist friends know that I am a “numbers guy” that always looks for practice solutions that will achieve a good ROI. So far, I have been seeing a consistent return on investment in the form of labor hours saved, new patients, and making sure that our hygiene schedule is full.
The DentalVSS Team is connected to both your practice management system and your telephone system to act as a “virtual” extension of your practice.
By outsourcing to the DentalVSS RapidRecallTM Appointment Gen- erating solution, we made major headway to get that hygiene sched- ule filled up. They have been focused on identifying and contacting those patients in my practice management system who were not on the schedule. The results? My practice benefitted with several hundred pa- tients back on the recall schedule.
While my onsite dental team was taking the best care of our patients, the DentalVSS team was also making sure that the telephone lifeline into our practice was covered. The results are impressive. In my own practice, they have captured hundreds of calls over the last eight months that might have either dropped or gone to voicemail. Among those calls were dozens of new patients that might have gone elsewhere if there wasn’t a live, virtual team member at the other end of the phone.
We also used DentalVSS to take the burden of insurance verifications and insurance billing and collections off my team. On just the insurance verification side, we estimate that the practice has saved almost 1,000 hours of direct labor by outsourcing. Verifi- cations are usually completed several days before the patient visit, and the results are populated into the cover- age tables to ensure that we prepare an accurate treatment estimate. On the billing and collections side, us- ing DentalVSS CollecTechTM solution helped our practice with both com- pleting and filing dental claims.
Many of my colleagues have shared that they have experienced challenges get- ting additional skilled, competent well- functioning front office team members in this competitive labor market. The support from the DentalVSS team has really helped my dental practice.
AzDA members can also take advan- tage of valuable discounts on Den- talVSS solutions that I believe more than offset your member dues. To learn more about DentalVSS, visit dentalvss.com
Dr. Bryan Shanahan is a past-President of the Arizona Dental Association. He operates prac- tices in Flagstaff, Sedona and Cottonwood.