Monday, August 22, 2016

Don't settle on the defaults

Okay, I get it. You are not quite ready to dive into electronic forms, load them up on your website for patients to fill out online or link them up to an iPad. If you are wanting to go paperless, then using the document center in Dentrix is going to be how you will manage all your paper forms. What I am finding with so many offices is that they think they have to settle with the default settings that came with the Dentrix installation.

Since the document center will be your best friend when it comes to paper storage, here are some tips to make it work as best as it can for you.
When you think of the document center, think of it like a big file cabinet with hanging file folders and then you put the pieces of paper into it. I want you to customize the names of the hanging file folders just like you would in a real file cabinet.

Here are some examples . . .
  • Referring Doctor Letters
  • Lab Slips
  • Original Forms from Paper Chart
  • New Patient Forms
  • Health History Update (of course if you read my blog you know that I love the Questionnaire module for HHX)
  • Consent Forms
  • Pre-Op Forms

So how do you edit the category types? Open the document center > setup > document types, then you can edit the existing names and/or create new ones. Create verbiage that your team will understand and will make it easier to find information.

NOTE: If you are using the feature that sends a virtual copy of the patient billing statement to the document center, make sure you keep the Billing Statements line item at the top of the list.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's the little things . . .

It’s the little things that matter.  I hear that statement all the time being out in the
dental industry working with dental practices from all over the country. I love it when I show clients something and their eyes light up because they now know something that is so simple but makes such a huge impact on their day.

Dentrix is by far the most comprehensive and feature-rich practice management software in the industry and this is why it is the leading software for dentists.  However, when a keystroke or menu maneuver helps you do something better, faster and easier, it is HUGE.

Here are some of the top “Ah-Ha” moments I have seen over my career as a certified Dentrix trainer.

  • Printing the full day of Route Slips or sorting them.  When I walk into an office and I see in the Batch Processor 30-60 single Route Slips being printed, I know this office does not know how to print out the whole day at one time.  There are two ways to accomplish this . . .
    • Office manager > Reports > Lists > Daily Appointment List > check mark Patient Route Slips and send to the Batch.  From this menu, you can also sort by provider or operatory.
    • You can also print the Route Slips within the Daily Huddle Report.
  • Filter the Office Journal.  If you have been reading my blog, you know how much I love the office journal and I recommend all teams use it for admin communication with patients.  However, I find that a lot of offices refuse to use it because it takes so long to load.  Good news! You can filter your office journal so it will load less information and speed it up.  Open the office journal and click on View and then Filters.  Here you can select only the information you want to list in your view and you can select a starting date so it doesn’t look back to the beginning of time.
  • Lock your computer with a CTRL + ALT + DEL and select LOCK COMPUTER when you leave your workstation. This way, you do not have to close down all your Dentrix windows to secure your computer.

Let me know what some of your “Ah-Ha” moments are.  I would love to hear your stories and quick tips to share.  You can comment  on this post or email me directly.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Give your scanner a break . . . two ways to eliminate scanning

Does your front office have a basket over flowing with papers with a sign on it that reads “TO BE SCANNED?” No one in the office wants to touch it because it is one of those tedious tasks that no one wants to do … so it just grows and grows. I know how you feel and many practices I work with say that scanning is one of the biggest pain points they deal with every day.

Let’s look at how we could cut that pile of paper in half … but first let’s look at what’s in that pile and how we can deal with it in the electronic world. Some examples of what ends up in that pile of “TO BE SCANNED” paper are . . .
  • Letters from specialists
  • Treatment plan estimates
  • Insurance EOBs and pre-estimates
  • New patient forms
  • Health history updates
  • Consent forms
  •  Letters to/from patients

We can’t really do much with the paper that comes in through the mail because it is already in a paper form. There is not much we can do other than scan it. What I would recommend is reaching out to the people who are sending you paper and see if you can receive electronic correspondence or (even better) see if they can send the letter as an attachment to an email. NOTE: Make sure you are using a HIPAA-compliant email service when you are sending protected patient information.

There are two in-house ways you can eliminate the scanning without adding any additional cost or third-party service.
  1. “Send to the Dentrix Document Center” is the easiest, most efficient way to get a document into the Document Center without scanning. This can be used for anything you receive in an email, off a website (insurance breakdowns, EOBs, etc.) or as an attachment. You can also send all your treatment plan estimates to the Document Center using this feature and then have the patient sign in the Document Center using an electronic signature device. If your referring doctors are still sending their follow up letter in the mail, you can implement a way for them to send it to you via email and now you can send it to the Document Center without scanning. CLICK HERE for instructions on how this works.
  2. Start using the Dentrix Questionnaire module for all in-house forms, including health history updates, all treatment consent forms, financial arrangement forms and updates to your HIPAA acknowledgement. You can use the Questionnaire Module without adding any expense for electronic services … all you will need is a signature pad. You can print out your consent forms and have them laminated so the patient can read them in a paper form. After that, have the patient sign in the Questionnaire or just pull the form up on your monitor for him or her to read. It is so easy. CLICK HERE to learn how to create a new form.

Give your team a break . . . give your scanner a break and save time. Use this time to do more productive things like fill your schedule and improve your collections. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Protect yourself from an insurance audit with proper documentation

Have any of you been noticing your X-rays being denied more frequently than usual or have you been subject to an insurance audit on excessive X-rays? It is
happening and if you have not seen it yet, you will soon. I want you to be as prepared as possible when the insurance companies come knocking on your door.

When I work with dental teams, I often see the practice using the Continuing Care system in Dentrix as a way of tracking when a patient is due for his or her next series of X-rays. Your recare system is the most powerful system in your practice and it is the lifeblood of your practice. If you let patients fall through the cracks, you are letting thousands of dollars walk out the back door and your patients may suffer from unscheduled treatment. I do not doubt that your team has the best patient care at heart when you use the Continuing Care system in Dentrix as a way of staying focused on staying current on your diagnostics for your patients. However, taking X-rays is not based on the insurance frequency nor your “office policy” on BWX frequency.

Diagnostics is the reason for taking X-rays, not frequency. With this being said, your clinical documentation needs to reflect this in order to defend yourself in the case of an insurance denial or insurance company audit. I recently attended a study club meeting presented by my good friend and colleague, Teresa Duncan.  She stressed two main points in your clinical documentation.

Since I help dental practices all the time with their custom clinical note templates, there are two things you need to include in your template.  This can easily added to your clinical note template with a checkbox prompt so you can choose the variable answer for each patient.
  • X-rays were reviewed by . . .
  • X-rays are needed because of . . .

One office I know has made a new office policy that the doctor comes into the exam before the hygienist or dental assistant starts to take the X-rays so they can be properly diagnosed. I have another office that has changed up its recare appointments so that the X-rays are diagnosed at the current appointment and then scheduled with the next recare visit so they cover all their bases.

Now, I am not suggesting that you stop using the Dentrix Continuing Care system for tracking X-rays. However, I am suggesting that you add the risk assessment and diagnosis in your clinical note to substantiate the taking of the X-rays.

If you would like the full report developed by the ADA and the FDA on this topic, please email me directly and I will send it to you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Creating rich, meaningful relationships to increase your patient retention

If you have been reading my blog for a while you probably have stumbled across an article or two about Patient Retention and if you have worked with me personally we definitely have discussed ways to improve your patient retention and create more meaningful relationships.  In many of my articles you will find tips on where to document these relationship building tidbits about your patients so you can create a dental experience your patients will rave about online.

I met a company recently that shares my view on creating those meaningful relationships and improving your patient retention.  Social Dental believes that the best practices deserve the best patients. If you share this belief, read on.

By definition, the best patients are engaged. They’re not just “shoppers” who are looking for the lowest price on a one­-time procedure; they’re looking to invest in a long-­term relationship. These “above-­the­-bar” patients keep their appointments. They appreciate the care they receive and they accept and follow through on treatment recommendations. Consequently, these highly engaged patients achieve the best outcomes and the highest levels of patient satisfaction. And engaged patients tend to have friends and family members who are a lot like them. Audience engagement is, of course, the key to a building a successful online presence for your practice. Trust is the currency of the web and being real and authentic online builds trust. Not surprisingly, the most effective way to create engagement is by sharing real photos of real patients. Authentic patient photos (vs. stock photography or manufactured content) open a window into your office culture, helping potential patients feel connected to you before they ever step foot in your office.

Social Dental also makes it easy to quickly request Google Reviews from your patients by getting their attention before the distractions of life take over.

The one thing that makes all of this work is for you and your team to genuinely care about your patients. Otherwise, asking to take a photo with a patient may feel forced and cause your team to feel like they’re imposing. When this happens, the process can feel more like a chore than a celebration and the idea of creating a lasting culture of patient engagement will never take root in your practice.

Developing a culture of appreciation is the most important way to grow your practice—online and offline. Visit to schedule a demo and
mention this article and Dayna Johnson and you’ll get a $1000 discount off the set up.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How can I see which doctor is scheduled to do the exam? Here are 3 ways . . .

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from multi-doctor practices about the Dentrix appointment book is, “How can we see which doctor is assigned to the patient for the exam?” Since the appointment is set in the provider color (usually the hygienist color), it is difficult to see which patient each doctor needs to see during the day. Another question along these same lines is, “Can I post the exam to the doctor and the cleaning to the hygienist?”
In the past, there was no good answer. 

Now with the release of G6, there is a way to answer both these questions . . . Yeah!

When you schedule a patient for an appointment in G6, you will notice an Addl Provider box in the upper left corner where you can add the specified doctor for this patient’s exam. When you add an additional provider, you will be able to view it in a couple of places depending on your preferences.  

  • If your practice is using Route Slips or Patient Visit Forms, then you will see the additional provider in the Appointment Details section of the form.
  • Back in (I think) Dentrix G3, they added the Hover. When you let your mouse sit over the top of the appointment, it will pop up a window that will give you more information about the patient such as his or her picture, birthdate, insurance info, etc. One of these new pieces of info in the Hover is the Additional Provider.
  • You can add the Additional Provider to the View. From the Appointment Book, click on View from the top toolbar, and select the view you want to edit, then on the right side you will see a bunch of drop-down menus for Appointment Display Info. Here you can select the Additional Provider to show on the appointment book view so you can see visually on every appointment.
When you go to check out the patient and set the procedures complete, you can assign the exam to the additional provider and give that production to the doctor without having to go to the ledger and change it manually. This will save you a ton of time.  

I hope this tip helps you be more efficient and productive in your everyday routine. You use your practice management software every day and it is the little things that make the biggest impact on your day.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Thriving Dentist with Gary Takacs - podcast

Practice management software is a critical element in every thriving practice. Yet many Dentists and Team Members are only using a small fraction of the capabilities of their practice management software. In this Thriving Dentist Show, Gary interviews his friend Dayna Johnson on specific tips to optimize your dental practice management software. Dayna is an authority on this subject and passionate about helping her colleagues. In this interview, Gary and Dayna discuss; Why many dental offices are still using a paper chart, the four specific benefits of converting to digital records, the three key elements of a successful paperless transition, important security tips, a fool proof back up system and the five most important statistics that every office should monitor with their practice management software.

CLICK HERE to be directed to the podcast