Duties In Secretarial Department
Keeping an accurate set of books, attending to the banking, and answering the telephone are important duties in the secretarial department.
A typewritten report should be made of all telephone calls where it was not possible for the dentist to be disturbed.
In Answering Telephone
In answering the telephone the: it is well to say, Dr. Johnson's office," thus saving an inquiry at once. If the party asks for the doctor, explain that he is busy, but you can probably take care of the matter. If it is impossible for you to handle the situation, say that you will take the message, and at the same time learn the caller's name before going to the doctor. This rule also holds good when people call in person.' Inquire if the visit is professional. If the caller informs you that it is a personal matter, ask his name, and if he refuses to give you his name, or state his business, you may treat him accordingly, as he is probably an agent of some kind, or a beggar.
If necessary to inform the doctor of a call either personal or by telephone, while he is operating, write the message on a pad provided for such purposes .so as not to impart information to the patient in the chair.
When informing the doctor of the arrival of a patient, do not mention the name in the presence of the patient in the chair. Write the patient's name and time of arrival in the day book, and at the back of the chair show it to the doctor.
Use judgment in- keeping patients from waiting; thereby many moments may be saved in the course of the day.
The phone is valuable in filling broken appointments, or blank spaces in the day's schedule. There are, in all practices, busy patients who would be glad to run in for an hour, and who could be in the office within ten minutes.
Reviewing the Call List
To review the call list every two or three days will enable you to suggest the names of some of these patients when the occasion offers.
Enter the name of every person who calls, either in person or by telephone, in the day book. This is most important, as it is a double check on the appointment book and in checking up the day's work, a reminder of persons operated on and the fee to be charged.
Keep a call list and, if a patient cancels an appointment, refer to the call list for filling in the time. By this means waste of time can generally be eliminated.
Try to remember the most convenient time for appointments for each patient. It is irritating to a patient to offer her a nine o'clock appointment, when she has previously told you she cannot keep an appointment before eleven o'clock in the morning.
Business .men, as a rule, desire morning appointments or late in the afternoon, and cannot break into the busy part of the day.
Children's school hours must be considered, and appointments made to accommodate their time as much as possible by giving them late afternoon hours and Saturday mornings.
Keeping the Appointment Book
Use a pencil for writing in the appointment book, as many changes are necessary, and unless you are able to erase the notes, you will have a "messy-looking" book. At the end of the day, have a few minutes' consultation with- the doctor, especially in writing up the day's work. You may remember some detail the doctor forgot to enter, and by this means all charges will be entered.
Typewritten Record of Agreements
A typewritten record should be made of all conversations relative to agreements to pay on dental contracts.
The Assistant should interview all salesmen and determine, from their talk, who are presenting important subjects of sufficient consequence to arrange an appointment for the dentist.
Deposit checks and cash as soon after receiving them as possible, and permit a lapse of forty-eight hours after depositing before sending out receipts.
Some employers are in the habit of having an expert accountant audit the books once a month. This is a great comfort for all concerned and, at the end of the year, an easy method of calculating the income tax.
At different periods check up the last appointment of patients and send notification cards to those whose time has elapsed for prophylactic treatment, and also delinquents due for examination, and general periodical visits.
Orthodontia cases should be notified, monthly prophylactic treatments given, and appliances removed so the oral hygienist can thoroughly clean the teeth and bands.
The Dental Assistant should know how to operate the typewriter, as all correspondence and bills should be typewritten; a copy of all correspondence should be kept in an accurate file, over which she should have entire supervision .
She should see that bills are gotten out promptly at the end of each month.
She should see that all time is charged for; that the periodical appointment cards are properly placed in the monthly file, and that they are sent on time when the day arrives on which they should be mailed.
She should learn the health talk as it applies to dentistry, and teach the patients the value of mouth hygiene.
She should keep a perpetual inventory of the stock in the office and determine the quantities used of all material and purchase such material in quantities to afford the greatest saving.
Reading of Dental Journals
She should read all dental journals and mark articles the dentist should read.
She should discount all bills where it is possible to save even the smallest percentage.
She should keep the cost sheet, and each month render a report to the dentist of the, operating expense, the gross and net earnings of the office and the cash on hand in the bank.
She should balance the bank account each month, "okeh" and file the report.
This all comes under the daily duties of the Assistant and, if she is capable, she will attend to these things without being reminded by the doctor.