Recently we worked with four labs, all of them successful, all having been in business for a number of years, all having new ideas for their software and having one more thing in common...they all wanted to focus on improving their workflow so that they can continue to be the best choice for their customers.
Ideally, being the best choice means a good balance between high quality and affordability, maintaining a reputation for keeping commitments and providing responsive customer service. Some of the ways your software provides for supporting an efficient workflow are:
Standard Procedures for Case Design
In Basic Lists you can set up standard procedures to provide control over the steps and schedule for each standard case design. For each step or task, you select the item, work center, quantity and number of days before advancing to the next open work day in the schedule.
In addition to the standard schedule you would like to follow, you can also setup procedures for the minimum amount of time to handle rush cases and procedures requested by individual doctors.
Although the procedures define your standards, you can edit, add, delete or re-sequence items to meet special requests or requirements. You can also use more than one procedure in your case design. Having the case design broken down into multiple steps provides the basis for closer monitoring of its progress.
Accessing Digital Files/Documents
Digital files and documents for the case can come into your case records in several ways:
1) through a web portal such as DentalRx
2) via email from the dental office
3) from scanning within your lab
4) from a digital camera.
Storing these with automatic indexing to the case helps to assure speedy access, accuracy and good communications.
Communication with the Dental Office
The traditional methods of communicating via telephone and email will continue to have a role but for submitting prescriptions and digital files, preferences, and other communications as well as handy lookup of case status and histories, having a web portal is ideal. This adds both speed and accuracy and helps to minimize disruptions in completing the case on time and as requested.
Marking Case Items
Task or step level scheduling and monitoring have proven to be key ingredients in cost efficiency. An additional component is marking case items with the date/time, technician and any relevant notes as each step progresses. Your software provides several ways to do this:
1) touch technology using the DQBT tablet workflow app
2) barcode scanning of the work ticket
3) marking completions by work center for returns from outsource points
4) key entry in case entry/edit.
The workflow app provides the best set of information as it can record the start, pause, restart and finish for each case item, as well as provide average timings by item for future planning. It also brings a higher level of professionalism to the technician by providing more information on the case and customer to guide their work.
Monitoring Case Progress
In addition to the workflow app, your software provides graphic calendars for the master and weekly schedule that can be drilled down to the case item detail. Dashboards on the home page with bar graphs show case status counts, late cases by work center and scheduled vs.completed items by work center. These also can be drilled down to the detail level.
Both in the Cases and Reports menus there are many queries and reports you can request choosing your own criteria such as date ranges, statuses, selected records.
In addition to daily monitoring of your workflow to spot potential problems, the quality control and remake features provide for recording and reporting issues toward the goal of resolution.
Although the above features will help to assure smooth timely workflow, there will inevitably be special requests from the dental offices, unusual patient conditions, discord in the fulfillment of requests and specifications. Recording, monitoring and resolution of the exceptions are essential to meet government compliance standards as well as your own for trustworthy reliable customer service.
Encouraging your customers to give you feedback and encouraging your staff to record and report any feedback that comes their way can go a long way toward catching any unhappiness early and quickly coming to a resolution.
Coupled with all of the other components, it is always wise to remember to include time for ongoing training and guidance for your staff. This can take many forms from in-house mentoring and meetings to encouragement to call upon Mainstreet whenever there is a need for guidance on any of the aspects of software support.
Ongoing guidance has been one of the hallmarks of our service and is available in a number of ways such as online tutorials, interactive webinars, white papers, help guide, emails and telephone discussions.