Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mining for Gold - the 3 reports for searching unscheduled treatment

When I worked in a dental practice, we still had paper charts until 2009 when I helped my practice transition to a paperless environment. This means that we had a ton of treatment sitting in these paper charts that we had to search for manually in order to find patients who were unscheduled. It was an extremely time-consuming process but it is what we had to do in order to keep our doctor’s schedule full.

When you are working in a chartless environment and all your treatment plans are sitting in the computer, you still must follow up with patients who are not scheduled … but the process is much more streamlined. What I love about computer data is that it is all trackable and you can filter it onto a report. I call it “Mining for Gold.”

In Dentrix, there are actually three reports for you to use to track down unscheduled treatment to follow up with patients. I do have a favorite but I will let you decide for yourself what works best in your practice.
  1. The Unscheduled Treatment Plan Report has been in Dentrix forever and it is what I used back in the olden days. This report gives you information on unscheduled treatment but you have to print it in order to work it and it can be very lengthy. Also, we have to remember that every time we print a report, things will change quickly and then your report is obsolete. To find this report, go to the Office Manager > Reports > Lists > Unscheduled Treatment Plans.
  2. The Practice Treatment Case Report is also a printed report but you can filter it by very specific data points that you cannot find in other reports. What I like about this report is that you can search for treatment that has been Accepted, Rejected or Proposed if you are marking your cases with this status. This is good information for your doctor to see. In this report, you can also search by the case severity if you are using the stop light feature (for more information on this, CLICK HERE). This report can only be found on the Patient Chart and Treatment Planner modules. Click on the printer icon as if you were printing a treatment plan estimate, but instead click on Practice Treatment Case Report. Then select the parameters you want and click OK.
  3. The Treatment Manager Report This is by far my favorite report in Dentrix. It offers you a way to search for patients with unscheduled treatment and create your own interactive spreadsheet where you can resort the columns to organize the report any way you want. You also do not have to print this report because everything you need to follow up with the patient is at your fingertips. For more details about using this report, refer to the blog I wrote called “Holes in your Doctor’s Schedule?” and learn more.

Mining for Gold” is my motto when it comes to looking for patients with unscheduled treatment. You need to be proactive when it comes to following up with patients. You cannot expect them to pick up the phone and call you. Keeping your schedule full is something that requires a little bit of work from you. I hope these report options help make the task a little more efficient.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tracking the ROI on your marketing campaigns in three easy steps

You spend a lot of money on marketing, direct mailers and advertising. I am
shocked sometimes when I see how much these advertising campaigns cost the practice. How do you know if they are working? Do you know the ROI on your investment? I can help you see the statistics you need to know to help make decisions on your referral programs and new patient acquisition.
First things first . . . your team must be recording where your new patients are being referred from. If you are starting a new patient referral program or just signed up with a marketing company that is launching some direct mail campaigns, I want you to add these into your referral sources. Go to the Office Manager > Reference > Referral Maintenance. Then click on add new and enter the name of the campaign. Make sure to check Non Person and then, at the bottom, click on Referred By. The reason you want to select Non Person is because these campaigns will be tracked as Referred by Marketing on the Practice Advisor Report.

Second, make sure your team is checking the new patients against the referring sources on a daily basis. The easiest way to do this is using the Daily Huddle Report. Look at the Daily Huddle each day and make sure the total number of new patients is accurate and make sure the total number of new patients matches the total number of referral sources. This makes sure that every new patient is tracked with how he or she found you.

Now the juicy stuff . . . you can run a report that will show you the total number of patients by each referral source, see how much their treatment plan is worth and how much production has been completed. This is invaluable because you can not only see how many patients this campaign is bringing you, but also how much revenue. AMAZING!

Go to the Office Manager > Reports > Management > Referred By Report. Next, select the referral dates, production dates and select the referring source you want to analyze. Then at the bottom make sure to check Show Production Detail.

This will be great information when you are looking to renew a campaign or just great feedback to your marketing company

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Personal goals = personal growth = practice success

Did one of my recent articles get you thinking about planning for the end of the year? I talked about how you can make adjustments in your appointment book to make room for those last-minute new patients who are trying to get in before the end of the year so you can make your new patient goal number. I also discussed how you can forecast your appointment book production numbers to see if you are coming up short for your production goals. If you would like to re-read this article, CLICK HERE to be redirected.

These practice goals are not only important, but they are critical to the health of the office overhead and the stress level of the team. But what about you? What are your personal goals? When I was working in a practice, I got my hands on as much CE as I could handle. Do you know what goal I think you could set and accomplish by the end of the year? You could become a Dentrix Master and receive a certificate to prove it. This could be your personal end of the year goal.

Clinical CE is great and, for some of you in the dental practice, it is a requirement in order for you to maintain your license. Your entire day revolves around your practice management software and most offices have zero training or continuing education for the software you use every day. You all must maintain a certain level of knowledge of Dentrix in order to function on a daily basis. I am asking you to up your game and not just function, but excel. Become a Dentrix Master.

It’s easy to start and extremely rewarding to finish. The Dentrix Mastery Tracks were launched to help you learn more about your software, things you might not know exist and things you want to learn more about. This is your chance to set a personal goal and help your office at the same time.  I believe in you.

Your first test is free! 

To get started CLICK HERE and Create New User. Then enter code FreeTestDOM

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bracing for Hurricane Matthew or any natural disaster

As I write this blog for you all today, I am sitting in a hotel in Jacksonville, Fla., because I am working with an amazing periodontal office with their systems, health history updates and overall practice efficiency. Last night, I spoke to their study club members on some practical measures when it comes to protecting their patient records. It is ironic that, as I write this, we are on the verge of Hurricane Matthew hitting the east coast of Florida … so this post becomes so much more important.

It is up to the practice to make sure that their patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI) is kept confidential, the integrity of the record is sound and your patients’ records are accessible. So as I watch the Weather Channel from my hotel room tonight, I wanted to put together some tips you can follow to help you protect your patient’s information.

Notice what I said “some tips you can follow to help you protect your patient’s information.” It is not the job of your software, your hardware or your office design to ensure the protection of your patient’s data. It is up to you to put systems in place.

Since Florida is on the verge of a Category 4 hurricane, I want to point out a few things that could potentially affect the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of your patient’s protected health information.
  • Power outages are going to be a huge issue with this upcoming storm. If you are going to close the office and want to have access to some of your patients’ information for returning calls, phoning in medications or following up with your patients after some surgeries, I would recommend you using Dentrix Mobile. When you use Dentrix Mobile, you have the opportunity to remote in using a mobile device and having access to some of your patients’ critical information.
  • Make sure an authorized team member has access to the backup of all the patient data in case of flooding or destruction of the practice. The backup of the data might be on an external hard drive or in an online secure backup system. Dentrix has the option of using eBackup to store your patients’ information securely and safely. This would give your practice a good option to access patient data in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure you have your Business Associate Agreements in place with your outside contractors. What if you are working with a consultant, accountant, attorney or computer company who has access to your patients’ information and they are the ones who are affected by the storm which jeopardizes the confidentiality of your patients’ information?

You can never do too much to prepare for a disaster and you have an obligation to protect your patients’ health information. It is not something you want to take lightly. Seeing this storm and looking back on storms in the past makes me realize we should be prepared for anything.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Will you finish the year at goal?

Okay teams, we are down to the last three months of the calendar year. Now is Are we going to meet our YTD goals?” You still have time to prepare and make some adjustments in your schedule if you are coming up short for the year. Just a couple of weeks ago, I talked about reaching out to patients with unscheduled treatment and how to make sure you have an accurate list of patients with whom to follow up. Now is the time to give your patients a gentle nudge and get them in before they lose out on those precious dental benefits.
the time to ask yourself, “

But there is more to goal-setting than just production goals. You have new patient goals and collections to strive for if you want a healthy practice. You might be asking, “Okay, what can we do over the next three months to maximize the time we have left in the year?” Let’s talk about some things you can do to set your practice up for an end of the year success.
  • Make sure you have time set aside for those new patients who are going to procrastinate and want to schedule in November and December. If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I love Perfect Day Scheduling and it is ideal for blocking out time for new patients. If you have a goal of 20 new patients per month, then using Perfect Day Scheduling will ensure that your new patients calling in will have some options when they call you. It kills me when I am working with practices that say, “We can’t get a new patient in for two months.” This is unacceptable if you want to grow your practice. For more information on how to use Perfect Day Scheduling, refer back to these articles . . .
  • Monitoring your production goals on a daily basis can give you and your team the statistics needed to make adjustments throughout the month and hopefully end the month on a positive note. You can enter your monthly goals into the software and use the Daily Huddle Report to manage your production goals on a daily basis. Also, when you enter your monthly goals into the software, you can use the monthly calendar as a quick visual to see where you are in respect to your goal. This is a great tool for your morning huddle. For more information on how to enter goals into Dentrix, refer back to these articles . . .
  • Tracking your collections and forecasting where you will end up for the year is also an extremely important piece for the last three months of the year. Monitoring your collections and accounts receivable can be watched from the Daily Huddle, Practice Advisor and the Practice Analysis. You can have amazing production … but if you are not collecting it, then none of it matters. If your collections are short for YTD so far, then let’s look for ways to step it up and find out where the outstanding money is. For more information on managing your accounts receivable, refer back to these past articles . . .

You can do this! Give your team the tools and reports they need to look ahead toward the end of 2016. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Medical Billing or Bust - what you need to know now

I had the pleasure of speaking last week at the annual American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) meeting in Boca Rotan, Fla. My topic, Medical Billing or Bust, is a passion of mine and anytime I have the opportunity to spread the word about how you can change the world and change the lives of your patients is important to me. Keep your eyes open for registration to The Business of Dentistry Conference coming up in August 2017 where I will be teaching the Medical Billing or Bust to Dentrix users.

There are several things I can bring you up to speed now in this article that will help you understand how to set it up in your Dentrix software. Medical billing is not only about trying to maximize your patients’ benefits that they might not have access to, but it is also about providing the necessary coding for other organizations to use for growing awareness about disease patterns. With this being said, you can use medical coding on both the ADA claim form and the HCFA medical claim form.

Here are a few things to know now . . .
  • You will need to upgrade your Dentrix software to G6.1 in order to using medical coding on any claim form and send out a claim. This upgrade was released on October 1, 2015 so it has been out for almost a year.
  • When you upgrade to Dentrix G6.1, the software will include the most common ICD-10 codes for a dental office. This will save you a ton of time with having to input these codes. If there are some codes not included that you need, you can manually enter them into your system.
  • Make sure the HCFA claim form is added into the Definitions because you will need to attach it to the insurance plan information. There are several medical claim forms available. If you need a different format than the HCFA, you can search the Dentrix Knowledge base for the article that lists all the medical claim forms available so you can add the one you need into the Definitions.
  • When you upgrade to Dentrix G6.1 and you have not done any medical billing yet, you will need to add in all your CPT codes, Modifiers, Place or Service codes and Type of Service codes. If you need resources for these codes, please email me directly and I can send you a resource page at

For more information on medical billing, please read these past articles . . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Three tips for an accurate list of patients with unused insurance benefits

We have all heard the phrase “Garbage in, Garbage out.” This phrase comes into play especially when you and your team are trying to generate a list of patients who have unscheduled treatment and unused insurance benefits. Since this is typically the time of year when you want to start reminding patients to use or lose their unused insurance benefits, you want to make sure that this amount used is not a bunch of garbage. 

How do you make sure your unused insurance benefits is a number you can count on? 

Here are three tips . . .
  • Make sure you are up to date on month end. One of the many tasks that the month end procedure will tackle is resetting the insurance benefits used back to zero. I was in a practice a couple of months ago and one reason they have never been able to trust their treatment plan estimates is because they had not performed a month end since 2009. RUN MONTH END!
  • When you are setting up the insurance plan, make sure that the benefit renewal date is set accurately. Open the Insurance Data window. About halfway down, there is a benefit renewal date. Make sure this is accurate.
  • Update the patient’s insurance amount used if he or she has gone to a specialist or used benefits at another practice. Open the deductibles tab in the insurance window and manually update the benefits used. This way, when you search for a list of patients with remaining insurance benefits, you will get an accurate list.

For more information on how to run the reports and exports the lists, check out these past articles.