A casual stroll through the local department store to purchase a new wardrobe has become a bidding war waged online at various e-auction sites. Grocery shopping has become a snap, or rather a click, with e-grocers capable of delivering your groceries right to your front door. Vacation planning has never been more simple using online sites dedicated to finding you the lowest airfare, least expensive hotel, and best package deals on entertainment attractions. In addition, when you go to the airport for departure, you can use your e-ticket at the computer kiosk to avoid spending extended quality time with the ticketing agent.
IN THE E-GINNING
Not that long ago, our office was still using paper-based statements and insurance claims. Everything ran fairly smoothly, but it was a very time-consuming process to print, stuff, and stamp statements and envelopes. The office staff's time would be better spent doing other things. We did statements twice a month, and it took about 4 hours each time. The office staff enjoyed handwriting notes on the statements-adding a personal touch, but the time it took to accomplish this task was much too long.
After we learned about some of the eBusiness options available to us from a statement perspective through our practice management software provider (we use Patterson EagleSoft, but there are many vendors offering similar eBusiness solutions), the staff discussed going to electronic processing of statements. We really liked the ease of electronic insurance claims and thought we should investigate the ease of use for utilizing eStatement. We have been sending our claims electronically for years. The turn-around time on electronic claims is much faster than by mail, so we decided it was the appropriate time to make the switch to eStatements.
AN OFFICE E-VOLUTION
Our office manager was the real driving force behind the switch, and our office is running even more smoothly and efficiently than it ever has, thanks to eStatements and eClaims.
The statements look so much more professional than before, so it is to our benefit to use them. Let's face it-we are running a business here, and the statements should reflect what we're trying to accomplish. Of course, you can still add a personal note if you want, or print the statements you want to personalize and send them out from the office. You also can add your own message that will print on all statements over a certain age.
Some people still seem to worry that computerization of the workplace means they'll be out of a job before they know it or that they'll start losing the physical control they have with paper-based claims and statements. Neither of these statements is true. First, you won't be out of a job, but you will be more efficient in the job you are doing! By sending everything electronically, our office staff actually has more time to follow up on past due accounts and claims that are older than 30 days. The extra time also is used for phone calls to accounts that need calling and going through charts to reach out to some of the inactive patients to see if we can get them back into the office.
Dr. Hynek is a graduate of Loyola School of Dentistry and has been practicing general dentistry for 17 years. He is in private practice in Oswego, Ill, and Calumet City, Ill, with a staff of 9, including 2 hygienists, 3 assistants, and 3 administrative personnel. He can be reached at (630) 554-1855.
Ms. Schillinger has worked as the office manager of Dr. Hynek's Oswego practice for the past 15 years. She can be reached at (630) 554-1855.