LeadingReach Proves its Worth to Fort Worth Oral Surgery
“I don’t think we’ve had anything we’ve added or done, since I’ve been with the practice, that has had a more profound positive impact on our day-to-day relationships with our referring offices.”
Bob Pendry, Director of Professional Relations
- 3 Local-born Oral Surgeons
- Serving Fort Worth for over 40 years
- Over a dozen surgical procedures offered
About Fort Worth Oral Surgery
Fort Worth Oral Surgery is a state-of-the-art oral and maxillofacial surgery practice located in Fort Worth, Texas. Boasting three dedicated oral surgeons who grew up in Fort Worth, the practice has served the community for over 40 years.
For any referral-based dental practice, effective referral management is key to success. This can be especially true within a tightly knit dental community, where maintenance of relationships with other practices is of paramount importance. And both of these considerations apply for Fort Worth Oral Surgery, an oral and maxillofacial surgery practice located in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We are nearly a 100% referred business, as opposed to marketing directly to the public,” explains Bob Pendry, Director of Professional Relations at Fort Worth Oral Surgery, whose primary role is to act as a liaison with referring dental offices.
Boasting three oral surgeons who all grew up in Fort Worth, Fort Worth Oral Surgery prides itself on its close ties to the area. And Pendry can attest to the close knit nature of the local referral community. “It’s really a friendly place to do business for dentistry.”
The referral-based nature of Fort Worth Oral Surgery’s business, combined with the close local community, make referral management critical for the practice. The practice must effectively care for patients and satisfy the referring dentists and physicians. In addition, Fort Worth Oral Surgery sends out many patient referrals, and these must also be well-managed.
Before LeadingReach, Fort Worth Oral Surgery handled its referral management with traditional software-free methods. “We had the classic fax program and a referral pad that we had distributed,” says Pendry, “which was an 8 1⁄2 x 11 sheet of paper that had all the details of what the referring office wanted us to perform on their patients. The referring offices would complete that referral pad and fax it over.”
There were numerous issues with this approach. “One of the biggest problems was if you had a busy signal on your one fax machine,” says Pendry. “Or if you had questions or concerns about a bad fax, you had to make a phone call to the practice and straighten it out. The huge amount of phone calls we had to make back and forth with these offices, just for purposes of clarification or verification before the patient arrived, was just a day-to-day routine for us.”
“And the referring offices couldn’t send us X-rays or photos via fax,” adds LeAnn Beamish, Lead Referral Coordinator at Fort Worth Oral Surgery. Instead, the referring office might send the X-ray or other documentation with the patients themselves, which the surgeons would only have a short time to review before the consultation. Or the referring office might mail the documents, but Forth Worth Oral Surgery would not be able to see the patient until the documents were received.
“We did the best we could,” sums up Pendry. “Using our referring pad. Using the fax machine. Using the phone. Using me. Whatever needed to be done to start and complete the communication process, we just did it. We didn’t know any better.”
“The huge amount of phone calls we had to make back and forth with these offices, just for purposes of clarification or verification before the patient arrived, was just a day-to-day routine for us.”
Fort Worth Oral Surgery was introduced to LeadingReach by Austin Oral Surgery, which had implemented the platform itself. They were immediately excited about this communication tool for referrals. “And to be able to have an automated, digital, HIPAA-compliant platform for that communication,” says Pendry, “that could also transmit the X-rays, panorexes, pictures and documentation that we require for our diagnosis process. When we heard about LeadingReach, it was like the clouds opened and the sunshine came through.”
The practice ultimately implemented the LeadingReach platform in early 2015. Now Fort Worth Oral Surgery uses LeadingReach for management of both incoming and outgoing referrals, including patient text messaging, appointment reminders, and patient education.
The process of receiving referrals, X-rays and other documentation from referring offices, as well as communication, was streamlined immensely. “They can shoot them right over to us, and it’s so easy to download and save to the charts,” says Beamish. “And I can communicate back and forth with the referring offices about scheduling or rescheduling.”
Pendry also embarked on a campaign to convert their referring offices to LeadingReach, first introducing them to the platform and even training them on it. The quality of the platform made that process much easier.
“When we started to use it day-to-day, and I started to teach it office-by-office, the compliments just came pouring in,” says Pendry. “ ‘Wow, this is so much easier, this is so much better!’ When competitors started to pop up, they weren’t nearly as user-friendly. You had to get a password every time you logged in. It just wasn’t the same level of ease of use as LeadingReach. We started to see more and more of the specialists and the dental community in Fort Worth start to tie into LeadingReach.”
“Even the very few who were reluctant to try it,” continues Pendry, “I’d say, ‘Just try it, please, just give it a chance,’ and they’d call back about a week later and go ‘Bob, this is amazing!’ ‘Well, I told ya!’ Most people embraced it, and now you couldn’t pull it away from them.
When LeadingReach was more widely implemented throughout the referring base, the impact on the practice was dramatic. “We started to see that we’re able to be more productive on other things,” says Pendry. “Rather than having to spend all that time calling and verifying and clarifying. Even for simple communications like ‘Hey, the case went great, no problems, we’re going to need to schedule Stage Two on the implant process in about 60 days.’ Now a lot of that is automated, and it’s wonderful!”
“When we started to use it day-to-day, and I started to teach it office-by-office, the compliments just came pouring in”
Over time, LeadingReach has come to completely dominate the practice’s referral management. “We went from having 1 or 2 LeadingReach transactions per hour to 1 or 2 transactions
every few minutes,” says Pendry.” It takes nearly two full-time employees to process all the LeadingReach activity. That’s a real testament to the program and people’s ability to use it easily.”
“This really helps us clarify everything the referring office expects us to do, versus what they have already done, with respect to scheduling the patient,” says Pendry. “Our case compliance and acceptance rate is extraordinarily high, and I’m sure LeadingReach has helped us with that.” And LeadingReach has helped with outgoing referrals as well, with Fort Worth Oral Surgery getting very high response rates.
The ability to send photos and X-rays through the platform has helped the practice deal with its referral bottlenecks. “The immediacy of treatment and getting patients into our practice has been definitely increased with LeadingReach,” says Pendry.
Now it is standard practice for Fort Worth Oral Surgery to introduce new referring offices to LeadingReach. “When I’m going over there with the introductory package of our paperwork, along with pens, pads, peanut M&Ms and everything else, I say, ‘Look, I’d like to get you guys trained on LeadingReach,” says Pendry.
In fact, Fort Worth Oral Surgery informs new referring offices that LeadingReach is the only way they would like to receive referrals. “We say ‘We take referrals through LeadingReach.’ Anything outside of that from a digital standpoint, or a legal standpoint concerning HIPAA-compliance, is just not acceptable anymore.”
For Beamish, recommending LeadingReach to another practice would be a no-brainer. “Once the front-desk person handling referrals becomes familiar with LeadingReach, it’s awesome. It’s so simple to use, and you can use it while you’re trying to do something else. Just the easiest system to use and save information.”
The opportunity to connect with referring offices is one of the biggest draws of LeadingReach from Pendry’s perspective. “That office may be sending you referrals, but do you know who’s in that office who’s doing it? You need to know that person’s name. You need to know each other face-to-face. And LeadingReach was a great way to get out and establish that relationship with them – the front office, the dentist, the whole team – that you might not otherwise have.”
“I don’t think we’ve had anything we’ve added or done, since I’ve been with the practice, that has had a more profound positive impact on our day-to-day relationships with our referring offices,” says Pendry. “This has been the best decision the practice has made in a long, long time in terms of tying all of this together securely. It’s been brilliant!”
“(LeadingReach) really helps us clarify everything the referring office expects us to do, versus what they have already done, with respect to scheduling the patient.”