Software and Notes: Organization
Posted on November 11, 2022 by Holly Jensen
This original article was featured in the October 2022 issue of The American Chiropractor – The Chiropractic Assistant.
Software and Notes: Organization
Have you ever had one of those brilliant ideas where you say “There should be an app or a software that makes this easier! It can do XYZ…” only to learn that there’s already a program for that? There went your big ideas of inventing the next world-changing software!
It seems like nowadays you can do an internet search for _____ program and several already exist. Now this may prevent you from becoming the next Steve Jobs, but this is such good news because there are so many programs out there that can make our jobs as CA’s so much more organized. This makes us more efficient and streamlines the things that we do daily.
When it comes to organization and efficiency, I have found tools that help with project management that have made all the difference. This is where Trello comes in. This is a project management app that is perfect for those of us that are very visual people. You can take one project and break it down into smaller chunks or even into individual tasks. You can even assign people to certain tasks and set due dates. This can be used for anything, but imagine this for planning your marketing events, organizing blog posts, planning events in the office, and even duties that need to be covered when someone is out of the office. To this day, we are still discovering more and more situations to utilize this tool. Whether you are using this on an individual basis or for team projects, this is AMAAAZING.
Do you have a handwritten “To Do” list for yourself? Or even further do you create to-do lists for the doctor or business owner? Imagine they had a virtual and interactive space (called “boards” on Trello) where you can organize to do items, items in progress, items that need follow up questions, or items that are accomplished. Even better, a member of the team can add items and communicate on that individual project. Complete with labels, due dates, automation, comments and images and videos, this is a tool that we use EVERY day.
Team collaboration and communication amongst all employees will have the office running like a well-oiled machine. I’ve seen so many offices that share one email account among their entire team and this is not effective for running an office that has clear communication and teamwork. Or worse, they let the employees use their personal email address for communication with the team or even patients! There’s too much room for missed emails and it doesn’t help plan for the future in case the employee leaves one day.
We utilize Google Workspace for our entire team. Each employee has a business email account that is managed by an administrator. Our employee handbook is a Google Drive document that they can always reference and is easily accessible and easy for us to update. Collaboration on projects is much more streamlined and efficient.
It’s real-time as well, so multiple people can be working on a document at the same time and if necessary, you can always revert back to previous versions. You can set permissions for viewing, editing, etc. You can even upload documents and share them in a folder for others to access. Seriously, we use this nonstop every day. Even this article is being written, shared, and edited by our team on a shared Google document!
Another item we use daily is the shared Google calendars. Each employee has their own calendar that is shared with the rest of the team. It’s easy to see who’s on vacation, plan out marketing calendars, set up meetings, include agendas, and link attachments (yes, even attachments through Google Drive).
For over a decade we’ve been using digital phone lines. Why? Because it allows us to easily manage incoming calls. With RingCentral™ I have my phone right on my computer desktop. I can see all of the details of an incoming call, including what extension was dialed by the caller. And when I’m out of the office I can use the app to take calls from my cell phone.
This awesome software allows me to see real-time stats. For example, I can see how long my team took to answer the phone (we have a rule that all calls must be answered by the 3rd ring), I can see how long a caller was placed on hold, if they were transferred, and much more! Having technology like this helps us to provide an exceptional phone experience.
I know some offices that have CA’s on call on Fridays when the office is normally closed. This is a great way to have an app on their cell phone where the on-call CA can help the patient without having to be in the office simply to answer calls.
Another feature that I love is we can also text from their suite of tools whether on a cell phone or on our desktop. Texting is a great way to get a hold of the patient when you just quickly need to reach them and a lot of times has a better success rate than phone calls or emails.
On the same topic of communication, sometimes you need to get a quick message to your co-worker or the doctor who is in the back office, and texting is not an option. This is where instant messaging comes in handy. We have tried several instant messengers and Brosix offers secure and efficient team communication that we need.
You can quickly send a message to the doctor in the other room letting him know there is a patient waiting to see him without leaving the desk or yelling across the office. Or you can securely send a screenshot of a ledger asking the billing manager a question about an insurance payment. This tool is so helpful in running the office efficiently while effectively communicating with my team without leaving my desk.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in my experience is dealing with money. It can become a time-consuming hassle, can lead to more awkward financial conversations, and gives your patients “an exit” to leave your practice if the process isn’t handled properly. On top of that, if you aren’t doing things in an organized fashion, it can lead to chaotic messes of who owes what and when. After years of trial and error, we have found a solution for this challenge that works like a charm. The solution to time-consuming and inefficient financial processes is having your patients on monthly recurring auto-debits.
Let me use the analogy of a gym. The gym staff are responsible for signing up the customer on a game plan or “membership”, they mention finances one time at the beginning of the process, and then they sign the customer up on a monthly recurring auto-debit. Money may come up again here and there, but it’s not a part of the everyday process. The gym staff are now able to focus on rapport, customer experience, and the other duties of keeping up a gym. Can you imagine if every time you went to the gym you had to stop and pay at the front desk, have a new financial conversation, and then have to make a new financial decision? What a buzzkill for the customer and what a time sucker for the gym staff!
So you may be wondering how to implement monthly recurring auto-debits. With the help of the right software, this process is super quick and easy! The patient is set up on a care plan that includes all services, we save their billing information in the software, we get the patient’s authorization to charge their billing on file, and then schedule the recurring auto-debits. From that point on, there is no regular talk of money at all. If they need to make a one-time payment (e.g supplements, massage, etc), we will charge their billing on file and at a time that’s most convenient in our day-to-day duties.
Are you printing mailing statements or invoices out to patients once a month and hoping they pay the balance due? Imagine having software that allows you to email the patient their statement and include a secure link so they can pay online. Using this software makes this whole process so much more efficient. Printing and mailing invoices is not necessary for this day and age. Software that can take all of those steps away is such a time-saver. People are paying their invoices and balances due while I’m busy doing other things and not chasing down money.
The next challenge that has driven me crazy for years also has to do with managing payments. And that challenge is how to manage family plans and their payments so that they’re allocated correctly in the ledger. The biggest pain is having an auto-debit run (or even a one-time payment) for a family and having to manually split it amongst each person. With the help of the Auto-Debit System®, I can link the patients together, and then when scheduling the auto-debit, I can tell the system how much to put into each patient’s account. This will then sync to our EHR and I don’t have to manually separate them out. GAME CHANGER. This is what’s been missing in so many other softwares!
There are so many software programs available in today’s world and it can be confusing choosing what’s best for your office. My advice, take a look at your biggest challenges in practice and look into the software that can solve that problem for you. When you have systems and software in place you’re able to be more productive, organized, and less overwhelmed. It will free up your time and allow you to focus on the fun part of the job… patient care!