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4 Must-Ask Interview Questions When Staffing a New Dental Office

Posted September 12, 2019

Kara Masterson

With the dentistry field continuing to evolve, it is important to hire only qualified, trained, and professional staff. If you are responsible for hiring staff in a new medical office, you will want to ensure that a positive tone is set right from the beginning. To do that, you will want to make full use of the interview process and ensure that only the right personnel are hired for each open position. With that in mind, here are four questions that you really must ask each applicant during their initial interview.

“What Patient Management Systems Do You Have Experience With?”

It is critical that patient information is collected and securely stored from the moment an individual first walks through the door. There are many laws and regulations in place today to ensure the safeguard of such information, which means that very few PMS systems are acceptable. You want to know that your staff is well trained with the use of a modern patient management system, and this question will help you to determine that.

Whether you use DentiMax, Dentrix, or Maxi Dent it’s important that potential employees have experience working with these systems, as user error is the biggest reason why claims are rejected by insurance companies. For example, a patient changed their address on your system. You use that new address on your claim, however, the address on their eligibility to the payer is still the old address. Real-time eligibility checks on a PMS can help you avoid issues. This is crucial as one little mistake can cost thousands of dollars that won’t get paid in time. It’s important to keep up to date with the changing billing processes whether you are fresh out of a medical office administration course or you’ve been with your dentist for a decade. You should hold continuous training for employees, and if you are hiring for an entry-level position you should make sure that extensive training on your preferred PMS can be provided. 

“What Kind of Experience Do You Have with EDI/Credentialing?”

Naturally, a medical office needs to get reimbursed for the services that it provides to each and every patient. This usually happens via insurance, and that is why credentialing is so important. When hiring for the healthcare industry, it is important that all staff members understand the credentialing process and its role in the payment process. One mistake can cost an office thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Services like can help you find the most qualified candidates, and if you bill with specialty codes this can be a lifesaver. Finding someone that knows how to work with EDI to make sure a dentist/dental surgeon uses the correct taxonomy codes depending on the service rendered. If the taxonomy codes don’t switch through your PMS/EDI correctly the payer may reject the claims. In the case that you need someone with a special skill set, you should avoid recruiting someone you don’t have to train from the beginning to minimize growing pains. 

“Walk Us Through the Patient Check-in Process”

This question will help ensure that the staff you are looking to hire are actually knowledgeable about what it takes to check in a patient. Do they use the proper forms and check for eligibility correctly? Are all disclosure and confidentiality forms properly noted? Does the staff person get the correct information from the patient, including past medical history and any known allergies? These are all items that should be brought up during the interview.

“Would You Consider Yourself A Team Player? Why or Why Not?”

Everyone in the medical office, from the lab technicians right up to senior physicians, needs to work together. This is how patients receive the best treatment possible. It is important that any person you hire, no matter how major or minor their role may be, understands this key principle.

These four interview questions will help guide you as you staff your new medical office. Remember that the goal is to attract the most highly qualified and skilled personnel to work in a high-stress and modern medical office. If you can do this, then your office will be much likely to succeed from the very first day that you open your doors.

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