How much are ledger mistakes costing your practice?
If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. Today’s practice systems store the right information, but they can’t prevent mistakes or fraud. Often, financial reports are narrow, confusing, and printed, making it difficult to identify problems. On top of that, most doctors learn teeth and jaws, not audits and revenue cycles. Even if fraud isn’t an issue, mistakes can slip through the cracks and income can be lost.
The good news is, technology can make this mess a thing of the past. Practice SafeGuard was founded by Dr. Don Lewis, a practicing oral surgeon, in 2011, but the story starts earlier.
Dr. Lewis was embezzled for over $100,000 by his office manager in 1993. At the time, he was personally devastated and he could find no fraud experts or resources available for dentists. He became a Certified Fraud Examiner to help his peers and the dental industry prevent similar loss.
As a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Dr. Lewis has educated thousands of businesses for over twenty years alongside global technology and forensics experts, and partnered with financial experts at firms such as BBP and Ernst & Young. As an authority on technology fraud and security, he now chairs the board of a leading oral surgery software, OMSVision, and participates with the AAOMS, a major oral surgery association. He became a highly-respected face of fraud prevention in the dental industry.
But there was still no fraud monitoring software for dentists or doctors. In 2011, Dr. Lewis brought a technology team together to create a software application that automates fraud prevention. They created Practice SafeGuard to protect the income of healthcare providers and small business owners like Dr. Lewis: people at risk of huge personal liability and loss to dishonest or untrained staff members, and those without the resources available to big data enterprises.
Practice SafeGuard conducted research in 2012-13 with over 2000 dentists via online survey, event polling and call campaigns. We discovered:
- 76% of dentists believe they are currently losing income to fraud or mistakes.
- 63% of dentists do not check their audit trail reports daily.
In our first beta period (dental installations, March-July 2013), Practice SafeGuard discovered a combined $4,500,000 in potential anomalous transactions. “Potential anomalous transactions” (PATs) are entries that break defined fraud and accounting rules. PATs do not always mean fraud has occurred; mistakes are common in every practice and can also be costly. In addition, doctors often choose to use a transaction type that is not strictly within best practices (for example, a zero charge instead of a balance write-off for a free service), and PATs indicate the potential impact of nonstandard accounting methods.
Data ranged from 6-18 month history periods for each early adopter. Amounts were verified and our users participated in detailed transaction analysis.
- Loss averaged at minimum $168,000+ per practice.
- All of our beta practices bring in less than $1M annually.
Our early adopters were shocked. We were amazed. We anticipated fraud as a possibility in some practices, but in our early adopter offices, we discovered that Practice SafeGuard had mostly flagged transactions that indicate mistakes, not fraud. Dentists with median-range practices could be losing the financial equivalent of a Porsche, a college education, private school tuition, 20% of an upscale home, 2.5 staff members, and/or roughly 10-15% of their revenue to mistakes. Every year.
Practice SafeGuard is the first fraud monitoring and financial reporting tool available to dental practices.
Fraud Education from Dr. Lewis
- Employee Embezzlement and Fraud in the Dental Office
- Roadmap to Financial Integrity in the Dental Practice
- Clinical Text: Advanced Protocols for Medical Emergencies