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Onboarding with an outsourced dental billing company: Timeline, Process & Purpose

February 1st, 2021 | 9 min. read

Onboarding with an outsourced dental billing company: Timeline, Process & Purpose Blog Feature

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You are one of the thousands of dentists that have made the decision to utilize an outsourced dental billing company. This could be the perfect decision for your office, but what made you decide to engage in outsourced dental billing in the first place?

Maybe you have your key insurance billing employee leaving for any number of reasons. Or you may be looking for quick fixes to internal insurance claim collection issues. Maybe your dental office is increasing your patient base and you simply need the additional help but don’t have time to train. 

Whatever the reason, you have decided to take the outsourced dental billing leap. Any change in your office personnel or teaming up with an outsourced dental billing company will come with some sort of onboarding.

So depending on your own needs, how long does it take to get rockin’ and rollin’ with a dental billing company?

Having assisted and onboarded hundreds of offices, we at Dental ClaimSupport know from our experience, there should be a strategic onboarding process with a dental office. Don’t rush this! Making sure both parties are on the same page and knowing what to expect is crucial for building the relationship and working together.

After reading this article, you will understand how long it takes to begin using an outsourced dental billing company. You will also understand why onboarding takes a specific amount of time. What’s important is doing this right, not rushing it.

Well… how long will it take to get started with a dental billing company?

In short, it will take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to begin working with an outsourced dental billing company. Sure, you can get started right away depending on how the billing company operates. However, we strongly recommend going with a company that has a formal, strategic onboarding process. 

Put it this way…You wouldn’t elope with your blind date to Vegas, would you? You don’t know if they have committed a felony, and you surely haven’t met the in-laws!  That’s why you shouldn’t work with a billing company that wants to jump right in and work on day one. You don’t know them yet.

We’ve seen this backfire in many ways:

  1. There has not been communication between your office and the dental billing company
  2. There is no clear definition of “who does what”
  3. Your dental team doesn’t know how it works and who is going to be involved

These issues often lead to the new business relationship not working. If the new relationship lacks communication and clarity, the very problems in your dental office you wished to fix may remain unsolved. Rushing into a working relationship that ultimately doesn’t even work, can be a stain on your office culture as well.

Remember, this is new to your dental team. Building trust with each other is key. Also, clearly understanding each other’s roles and responsibilities reduces the uncertainty your team may already have. These issues can be eliminated with a streamlined onboarding process.

What does a typical onboarding process with a dental billing company look like?

Back to the marital analogies, it’s like taking your dental office out on a few dates before proposing. As stated above, a good dental billing company will have its own onboarding process to take your dental team through. This process usually answers any and all questions related to:

  • How does outsourced billing work?
  • Who is my point of contact (POC)?
  • Who all is involved with my account?
  • What tasks will your company do for us?
  • What will my dental team still do?
  • How do we communicate?

These are all important questions that warrant clear answers. As an example, take a look at our Dental ClaimSupport onboarding process below:

  1. A contract must be signed.
  2. A laptop and scanner are shipped to your office arriving within 2-3 business days after the contract is signed.
  3. An email is sent outlining the next steps, your equipment delivery information, and what software will need to be installed.
  4. The billing company’s IT team will be in touch to help you get the equipment setup.
  5. Contact your local IT team to install your Practice Management Software, Clearinghouse, and Imaging Software.
  6. Once you install your software, the billing company’s IT team confirms everything is set up and all is working properly. Your account will then be passed on to the Team Lead (primary point of contact).
  7. Introduction from Team Lead to schedule orientation.
  8. Orientation occurs, outlining daily roles and responsibilities
  9. Follow-up email sent summarizing orientation, concluding onboarding   
  10. Day-to-day work begins.

As you can see, there is a clear flow to getting started with an outsourced dental billing company. During onboarding, your team gets to know the new billing company. Your team develops a working relationship and communicates almost daily.

This ensures there is no uncertainty in roles and responsibilities. Ultimately, these touchpoints set the stage for healthy communication that should last the entirety of the working relationship.

How should you inform your dental team about using an outsourced dental billing company?

Be open about this! As soon as you have decided to outsource your dental billing, inform your team either in your morning huddle or a planned meeting. Regardless of who you have selected to be the main point of contact with the dental billing company, let your whole team know about the decision

Keeping this information from your dental team can breed a source of contention with the new billing company. Often, some members of your dental team may think their job is in jeopardy.  Depending on the reason for outsourcing your billing, this is usually not the case.

Outsourced dental billing companies act as an extension of your office and work directly with your dental team to accomplish your office’s goals. This is one of the many benefits of outsourced dental billing.  Good billing companies don’t want to disrupt any office culture, which can be one of the problems with outsourced dental billing. Explaining just these few things to your team will facilitate the relationship from the very beginning.

Not explaining these things to your team can delay getting started. Having upfront open communication with your dental team, and encouraging open communication with the outsourced dental billing company will help ensure an easy launch. Oftentimes, a seamless onboarding process between the two parties indicates a flourishing, long-lasting working relationship.

Who is involved in the onboarding process with a dental billing company?

Typically, the onboarding process involves the doctor(s), office manager or insurance coordinator, any personnel working in an IT capacity for the dental office, any other necessary team member, and of course, the outsourced dental billing team. The dental billing team will usually consist of account managers, a team leader, the sales representative, and the billing company’s IT team. 

Having everyone involved throughout the process will make for a more streamlined onboarding. Who remains involved throughout the working relationship is subject to the desires of the dental office. Most billing companies will provide a team of billers for an account with a main point of contact. Most dental offices will provide a main point of contact as well. These two individuals will communicate the most, and likely on a daily basis.

If there is ever to be a change in the main point of contact for either party, it needs to be communicated as soon as possible. This prevents any breakdown in the dental billing process and relationship between the two parties. Should there be technical issues or concerns with the working relationship, I.T. and doctors can remain involved. 

What equipment will your dental office need for onboarding?

Dental billing companies operate differently. Most, however, will want the dental office to have a scanner and computer that the dental billing company can access 24/7.

Some billing companies will send this equipment to the dental office during the onboarding process, and go through the necessary steps with your dental team or dental office IT, to get the computer and scanner setup. Setup includes access to your dental software, x-ray software, and dental claim clearinghouse. 

Many times, the IT departments of both parties will work together to make sure the setup is complete and accurate. If your dental office doesn’t have an IT person, the billing company’s IT can usually handle the setup with the “physical” help of someone at your office. 

It’s important to note that the equipment could be part of a start up cost to your dental office.

Nevertheless, the dental billing company needs to have a way to access your dental software and perform their billing tasks on a daily basis. Who “owns” the property will depend on the contract entered into between the two parties.

Is there a contract when working with an outsourced dental billing company?

Yes. There should be a contract when working with a dental billing company. The contract will explain the main pillars of the working agreement:

  • How the dental office is invoiced
  • When the dental office is invoiced
  • Contract termination period
  • Duties performed by the dental billing company
  • Duties the dental office still performs

Remember, contracts are in place to protect both parties. When entering any contract with any vendor, read it and make sure you understand it.

After onboarding, what results should your dental office expect to see?

You now understand how long it takes to get started with a dental billing company. You also understand the ins and outs of getting started and the importance of the onboarding process. So, what results can you expect? 

At Dental ClaimSupport, we know exactly what you should expect. We implement our own onboarding process, and it continually works when beginning a relationship with a dental office.

After onboarding, we see offices benefit from the initial open communication and new billing process. These benefits could be in the form of higher collections and lower accounts receivables. It could be a clean insurance aging report. It could also simply be a more streamlined dental billing process.

However, achieving these feats relies heavily on building a relationship and openly communicating. 

Obviously you want these benefits for your own office. We recommend using the 2-4 week onboarding process to familiarize yourself with your new billing company and properly set yourself up for success. If you want to reap the benefits of outsourcing your dental billing, it starts with the onboarding process. Take this seriously and make sure your dental team is on board to begin the adventure. New call-to-action

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