Software Takes Bite Out of Time-Theft at Upstate, New York Dental Practice:

Dr. Mark Tornatore, DMD established his practice, Victor Dental Care, in 1989. His philosophy – to provide patients with the most attentive, high-quality care – has endured since the first day he welcomed patients to his office.

While clinical care is his number one priority, Dr. Tornatore also has a business to run, as is the case with any private practice physician. With six employees, the doctor had the usual staffing issues to contend with and manage, such as coordinating work and vacations schedules, enforcing work schedules and dealing with employees who arrived “a tad late” or left” just shy of 5 p.m.” Fortunately, such incidents were more the exception than the rule, but he recognized the potential to abuse his leniency – which, he feared, could cause “things to unravel.”

The day the rope started to fray was when Dr. Tornatore returned from lunch and began seeing afternoon patients without the support of his chairside assistant. Though she’d worked all morning, she asked other staff to relay to the Dr. that personal errands would result in her late return from lunch.

The end of the rope came later that same week, when Tornatore began processing payroll and as he totaled the hours from employee timesheets, he noticed that his chairside assistant had reported 100% of her scheduled hours. This, says his Office Manager Eileene Trace, was an unsettling inconsistency that conflicted with the hours he spent working without his assistant who failed to return from lunch in accordance with her schedule.

“The irony”, according to Trace, “is the doctor is an unusually accommodating employer. Mark is a really generous, good-hearted guy who, as a matter of routine, will give staff permission to handle personal matters during business hours,” says Trace. “But, this incident exemplified a developing problem with a timesheet process that is dependent on the honor system.”

According to Trace, this was not the first time an employee had failed to report hours accurately: “There had been numerous occasions where staff took sick, vacation or personal time and then failed to claim it on their timesheet. But, this was so blatant, it made us realize that failing to address the problem could ultimately undermine the practice.”

Tornatore was determined to do a better job of monitoring and managing staff time and schedules, but wasn’t comfortable with the idea of confronting employees about discrepancies without having concrete evidence to support allegations of time theft.

“What the office needed,” says Trace, was an objective, reliable method for capturing and documenting the comings and goings of employees.” While researching time-tracking applications she recalled Tornatore’s satisfaction with QuickBooks, his financial management program, and turned to its website as a trusted source of information. There she learned what other healthcare providers were using to achieve effective management of employee time and attendance. After reading product descriptions and reviews she settled on an application integrated with fingerprint biometrics that, with two finger-taps on a digital sensor, authenticated the identity of the employee as it logged-in his/her precise hours of arrival and departure.

“Not only would this provide an accurate, real-time accounting of staff hours, it would also prevent employees from reporting time on behalf of late or absent co-workers.”

The system, made by award-winning, small business software solutions developer, Count Me In, LLC, also won Trace’s vote with its QuickBooks compatibility: “I had just started doing the payroll and was hand-entering the time into QuickBooks. The way Timeclock Monitor directly bridges to QuickBooks was a huge benefit, eliminating all the errors and time-consuming, redundant tasks that were part of preprocessing payroll.”

After implementing the application, Trace applied other value-added features through its reporting capabilities.

“In the past, I had to go back through pages and pages of records to determine whether employees had used up allotted vacation or sick time. Now, I simply generate reports that pull together all the information I need from the QuickBooks database – on employees, 401Ks, employer contributions, and other financial data.”

So pleased with the program, Trace wrote her own review of Timecard Monitor for healthcare industry users on QuickBooks’ website. “It’s an affordable two step solution that when it comes to getting the job done, is the real deal.”