“I Need the X-Rays Right Now, the Patient is in the Chair”

“Really?” was my reply “but the other patient coordinator is off today, I’m working along and I have two other calls on hold and a patient standing at my desk, you’ll have to wait, may I place you on hold?”  amalgam-and-cavity

It never ceases to amaze me when a specialist office, which we refer to, calls when the patient is in the chair to request x-rays and they want them NOW. I always wonder; if getting the patient’s x-rays from the referring office is as important as the specialist office makes it seem why doesn’t their admin team check if the x-rays have arrived BEFORE the patient is in the chair?

One would think that simply reviewing their schedules two days out and calling any referring offices that didn’t previously send them, would be no brainer. A win/win for everyone as it must be stressful for those gals when I put them on hold to finish with my patient and answer those two other calls before I check for x-rays. I bet their doctor is standing over them breathing down their necks, waiting to start working on that patient in the chair! dental-appointment-software

Sometimes I think the simplest solutions are the hardest ones to see but I am guessing that these gals are just poorly trained. I know a ton of office managers and their admin teams from my Facebook group (The Dental Marketing Project) who run top notch, highly organized and efficient specialist offices; I know they have a better system for requesting x-rays than this. I wish we could refer to them. 

So if you work admin for a specialist please take note and spread the word. If the general office that refers to you automatically sends you x-rays, keep them for at least 1 year. You know that it takes some people some time to work up the guts to call you for that extraction, if we send you X-rays in May and you don’t need to call us in June saying “you never sent the x-rays.”

We did send them, in May and it’s only July. You asked us to send the ASAP when we make referrals, so we can’t understand why you cannot save them. It would be so easy, just make some folders on your desktop. One for each Doctor who regularly refers to you, inside that main folder, you can make other folders using the patients name; put the x-rays that we automatically send you in the folder. Save them for one year, if the patient doesn’t call and schedule with you, right click and delete the folder. If you think that takes up too much space on your hard drive, buy a flash drive, their fairly inexpensive.

Please keep in mind that we’re busy too, we can’t just drop what we’re doing and get you that x-ray because you neglected to check if you had if before the patient was in the chair which should make you happy, because if we’re too busy to help you without a moment’s notice, that probably means more referrals for you!

With your success in mind,



  1. Michael Perpich | | Reply

    This happens too often Nomi! Great comments today!

  2. Teresa D. | | Reply

    This is so true. What do they do w/ the radiographs we send over ASAP??

    • Nomi Waters | | Reply

      Teresa, that is what I would like to know. Very organized IMO! 🙂 NOMI

  3. Stacey | | Reply

    Ok So just to shed a little light on this problem. I am a specialist office who does request xrays while the patient is in the chair. We have had many discussions about how to better avoid this and here is the problem. Everytime we make an appointment we ask the patient if they have a ref and xrays. If they say they are being emailed we note it. Most time the patient says they are bringing them and we trust they are bringing them. Then they walk in the door and don’t have them and tell us to call the DDS. Same goes for insurance info as well. I can’t tell you how many times someone has walked thru our door and told us we could and should call the DDS for info.

    🙂 just a specialist point of view
    So here we go thru 2 days prior and any that were suppose to be emailed are checked and called on if we didnt receive if a patient was suppose to bring the xray they are sent an email reminder about the appointment as well as bringing the xrays but we still ed up calling on 2 or three a week that the patient is in the chair for. It is very frustrating for everyone.

    • Nomi Waters | | Reply

      I am sure it is just as frustrating for the specialist office but a clear cut system set up with each referring office would easily solve this problem. Counting on patients to remember to bring the x-ray is just asking for problems IMO and not a good system.

      If I were the Office Manager of a specialist office, I would be visiting the referring general offices and sitting down with their admin team, to create a clear cut system that would make it as easy as possible for everyone, including the patient’s benefit information could be part of that system.

      I hear what you’re saying Stacey and I empathize with both sides but I still think it’s a easy solution..it just takes a clear cut system that is communicated to and followed by all!
      NOMI 🙂

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