Survey Results: The 2 key factors that keep Periodontists from completing clinical records contemporaneously

Uncategorized Feb 07, 2020

We have asked hundreds of Periodontists…

 “What are the primary reasons you are unable to complete your clinical records contemporaneously?”

Here are the top answers we received.

  1. “It’s physically impossible to do it manually if entering an adequate level of detail.”
  2. “I must do all of it myself because my staff is unable to complete the notes properly.”

Even Periodontists who have highly proficient staff helping them in the operatory report the following.

“I have to fix too many typo’s and it bogs me down.”

The one thing that seems to be a nearly universal misconception is that the doctor must do all of it manually.

Periodontists who already use PANDA Perio are the exceptions.  (click here to see a list of testimonials)

We concluded there are 2 key factors that keep Periodontists from completing clinical records contemporaneously. These factors are multiplied when they are combined.

  1. The Periodontist is solely responsible for, and manually documenting each and every case.
  2. The staff is not contributing to the data collection and data entry process besides the basic charting collected chairside.

It is physically impossible for records to be contemporaneous when the Periodontist acts as a soloist in the documentation process.

You are only one person.

Here are the hidden yet very detrimental results that can happen when Periodontists try and do everything manually without staff participation.

No. 1: Exhaustion and burn out.

Ironically this one should be the most obvious.  Day after day you face the same mountain of work with seemingly no end in sight.  We call this “Periodontal Groundhogs day”.  It always seems to be the same thing over and over, and you can’t escape. 

Burn out begins to feel inevitable and it happens far too often, Periodontists continue to fall prey to feeling lost in paperwork. 

No. 2: Lower production.

Let’s face it, time is money.  There is no way around that fact.  The more time you spend manually doing busywork, the less money you can make in the long run.

Something to consider that is often forgotten…

What is your time worth?  How much of that time is spent on paperwork? 

Realistically, you only have 8 to 10 hours a day before your mental capacity begins to become impacted by fatigue.  I have seen some of you “superman” types work longer, so be it... Then think of this; when you waste your time on non-production efforts, think about how much you are costing yourself per hour to do …


Meanwhile, if you skip processes, cut corners, or are hasty with your clinical record keeping to save a bit of lost time, you can only survive so long until you either get caught and the truth is exposed, or fall so far behind you won’t be able to keep up at all.

No. 3: Damaged reputation.

It’s a known factor, that the key to loyalty with your referral relationships lies with good communication.

In addition, if you don’t communicate in a timely manner with your referrals, they will become frustrated, and call interrupting you during production hours for clarification on their cases. Or worse, they'll refer to someone who is more attentive.

Another price paid toward your reputation comes from not utilizing your staff to your advantage.  If your staff is not required to be involved in the documentation process it will be evident in their conversations with referring doctors and patients.  

When referrers call your practice and witness the staff fumbling, it can send a message that they are incompetent, and by extension, you will appear to be incompetent.  

Don’t forget, your staff members are representatives of you and the care you provide. They can negatively impact your reputation if you do not involve them in critical office functions. 

How to overcome it.

Start by eliminating extraneous manual efforts.

Surprisingly, what may seem like an inevitable conundrum we call it "Periodontal Groundhogs Day" (as described above) can be changed. 

It may seem farfetched and unrealistic to think that the kind of change I'm talking about is not possible.  However, with a clear understanding of the core reasons and with the application of a little discipline, you can get off the “hamster wheel” in a gradual and controlled manner.

Everything worth doing does take some amount of effort.  Staying disciplined and sticking to the basic principles for success will make this process surprisingly simple.  Setting clear expectations and holding the entire team accountable, is the number one factor that sets the successful practices apart from the rest.

Adapt your methodologies into a tangible system.

Standardize your practice so that all clinical documentation follows a systematized process.

At a minimum, even if you don’t use PANDA Perio, make sure that you have template samples and guides that set the foundation for the way in which data is supposed to be collected and recorded. 

Templates can be used to provide structure and good templates also help to eliminate redundancy.  When using templates, be sure to include all the criteria that need to be met.  The templates in PANDA Perio not only offer structure and consistency, but they also include proposed answers to help eliminate the need to guess or type.

The use of templates, allows you to freely add the necessary components you feel are needed and narrow down the parts that need further specification after your template gets you 80% to 90% of the way there. 

Above all, get your staff involved and make it a job function requirement. They can assist with the foundational elements which not only makes it better for you but also helps them in improving their work competency skills as it becomes a standard function of their work performance.

If you start with a chart like PANDA Perio, that allows you to collect more data chair side the whole process becomes easier for your team.  PANDA Perio will help to provide a clear and tangible path to follow with less time spent on your manually delivering it.  

Do you want to find out How PANDA Perio Can Help You and Your practice?

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