Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A Few of My Favorite Dentrix Reports

Dentrix has so many great reports! There are end-of-day reports such as the Day Sheet and Deposit Slip that you run on a daily basis, reports that help you to gauge the overall health of your practice including production and collections, and so many more. 

Here are just a few of my favorite reports and how I like to use them:

Referral Reports

There are two reports for referral sources: Referred By Patient and Referred By Doctor/Other. I recommend running both of these reports on a monthly basis.

  • The Referred By Patient report can be used for internal marketing. If a patient refers a friend or family member, it’s a nice touch to send them a thank-you note. Some offices thank patients for referrals by sending them a gift card for a coffee shop or some other small token of appreciation.
  • The Referred By Doctor/Other report is for referrals from other doctors and other sources such as paid advertising or marketing campaigns. This report is especially important if your office has invested in these types of marketing campaigns. When the report is created it will show the number of referred patients by referral source and the production that was generated by those patients. You can use this information to evaluate the return on your investment of the marketing campaign and if it will be worth continuing in the future. 
  • For additional information on these reports, read Grow Your Practice with Patient Referrals and Tracking the Value of Social Media Marketing in Dentrix Magazine.

Production Summary Report

The Production Summary report, which is available in the Practice Analysis Reports, can be generated by procedure code category or by a procedure code range. This report shows the quantity preformed of each procedure code as well as the total production generated by that code for a selected date range. It also provides the average fee for the procedure and the percentage of the total production generated by that procedure code.


Here are a couple of scenarios when this report is especially useful. When evaluating how much of a product to order to have available for sale in your office, such as electric toothbrushes or mouth rinses, it’s helpful to know how many have been sold over the last month. Reviewing the average fee charged for the product can also help you to evaluate the fee you charge for the product. Another scenario where the Production Summary Report is very helpful, is when considering purchasing a new piece of equipment, such as a new panorex or CT machine. You can review how many of these procedures have been completed and what the average charged fee was, to compare costs and see if the new equipment will be a good investment for the office. 

Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis

The Treatment Plan Statistics Analysis can be generated as a comparison of treatment-planned vs. completed procedures by provider. This report can be run on a weekly or monthly basis for each provider in your office. 


I find this report to be helpful because if the percentage of completed procedures compared to treatment-planned procedures is low, there are several items to evaluate. Are there appointment times available for patients to complete their treatment? If not, you could consider adding additional office hours in order to offer more available appointments. Are patients accepting their treatment plans? If not, does your team need additional training on patient education? A good goal when reviewing this report would be for 75 percent of treatment-planned procedures to be completed. 

Dentrix has so many great reports. The ones I mentioned are only a few of so many. If you would like to review all the reports available in Dentrix, you can find this information in the Dentrix G7.3 Report Reference

E-mail me with questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Rescheduling Cancelled Appointments

Last week I wrote a post about implementing a more lenient cancellation policy for those patients who cancel their appointment due to being ill. During this pandemic, encouraging patients to stay home if they don’t feel well can protect the health and safety of your staff and other patients.  

I suggested using the Wait/Will Call option instead of breaking the appointment for these types of cancellations. Once you have cancelled an appointment and moved it to the Unscheduled List, I would suggest waiting two weeks before following up with the patient to reschedule. You can use the Unscheduled List to quickly find patients on the Wait/Will Call list and contact them to reschedule their appointment. I would recommend using the Office Journal to record the contact made with the patient and what was said. From the Unscheduled List, you can easily access the Office Journal and drag an appointment directly to an open spot in your schedule.

It’s very important to keep the Unscheduled List up to date, so that when you’re following up with patients on the list, you don’t contact patients who may have already rescheduled. You can keep the Unscheduled List up to date with a little team training. Most likely, you have seen this warning message when trying to schedule an appointment.


Train your team that when they see this message it means that the patient already has an appointment on the Unscheduled List. 

If you click Yes to this warning, the patient’s Family Appointment List will open. From here you can click the appointment labeled as <Unscheduled Appt>, and then click the View Appt button. This opens the Appointment Information dialog box, which will have all of the appointment information (procedures, providers, appointment length, and so forth) already attached to the appointment. From here you can manually assign an operatory, date and time, or use the Pinboard or Wait/Will Call buttons to move the appointment to either of those lists.

If you click No to this warning, Dentrix assumes you want to create a completely new appointment for the patient and opens a blank Appointment Information dialog box. This is where you run into problems with keeping your Unscheduled List up to date. If you re-create the appointment for the patient, the old, broken (or Wait/Will Call) appointment still remains on your Unscheduled List. Instead of recreating the appointment, you should train your team to open the Unscheduled List, find the appointment, and reschedule it from there.  When you reschedule an appointment from the Unscheduled List, the appointment is removed from the list, which will keep your list up to date and more accurate in order to follow up with patients.

By keeping your Unscheduled List up to date, your office will have a great resource from which to contact patients to reschedule appointments. This can help to fill openings in your schedule and avoid unscheduled time. Email me with questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Dealing with Cancellations in a COVID-19 World

I’m normally a proponent of having a strict cancellation policy in place in your office. I believe that while we should respect our patients’ time and take them back for appointments in a timely manner, our patients should respect our time as well by not cancelling at the last minute or arriving late for their appointments. 

However, during these challenging times, I feel we need to be more lenient with our cancellation policy when it comes to dealing with patients who are cancelling due to illness. For example, if a patient has an appointment today, but they call and say they’re not feeling well, we shouldn’t penalize them for canceling, because they’re helping to keep your staff and other patients safe by not potentially spreading the COVID-19 virus. 

Usually, I recommend breaking appointments for last-minute cancellations. Breaking an appointment in Dentrix counts as a missed appointment, reflecting negatively on the patient. You can track the number of missed appointments in the patient’s Family File. 


However, if patients call to cancel their appointment because they aren’t feeling well, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, rather than breaking their appointment, you should mark it as Wait/Will Call within the appointment. This will move the appointment to the Unscheduled List, which you can use to reschedule the appointment at a later time without it counting negatively as a missed appointment.  


Whether you are breaking an appointment or marking it as Wait/Will Call, I would recommend making a detailed note of the conversation with the patient in his or her Office Journal. This way the entire team will be able to read the note and know why the appointment was cancelled, and why it was marked as either broken or Wait/Will Call. 



Implementing a more lenient cancellation policy as we deal with the pandemic is just one way we can continue to evolve in how we work and communicate with our patients. Train your team on how to deal with last-minute cancellations, and make sure they know what happens with a patient appointment when it is broken or when it is moved to Wait/Will Call so patients won’t be penalized when they cancel due to not feeling well. In the long run, this will help you to protect the health and safety of your staff and other patients. And when those cancellations occur, it’s equally important to make sure you use the Office Journal to document the communication you have with patients, so that everyone on your team can see the reasons why appointments are cancelled or rescheduled. 

Please email me with questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.



Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A New and Improved Health History

Prior to Dentrix G7, Medical Alerts were used to enter a patient’s drug allergies and medical conditions. The Health History module, introduced in Dentrix G7, uses a more comprehensive approach and allows you to separate medical conditions and allergies, as well as document any patient-reported medications

Once you have documented a patient’s medical conditions, allergies, and medications, you have the option to mark these health history items as critical, which is indicated by a red cross Health History icon, which displays in various locations throughout Dentrix, such as on the patient’s appointment. This is very helpful to let all team members know that the patient has a medical condition that they should be aware of.


I was excited to see all the improvements implemented in the Health History module; and in Dentrix G7.3, the Health History module got even better!

What’s considered a critical medical condition, allergy, or medication may vary from office to office. For example, most offices consider a pre-medication requirement to be critical. Some offices consider drug allergies, such as a latex allergy, to be critical. The health history items your office decides should be labeled as critical and which items should have a pop-up warning, will depend on your doctor’s preferences.

 Customizing the critical and pop-up settings for health history items is now much easier. Once you have had a conversation with your doctor and decided which health history items should be designated as critical and should display a pop-up warning, you can now change the settings for multiple items all at once. Select the medical conditions you want to change the settings for, and then right-click to set the desired options. 


Once you have set the desired options, you also have the option to apply those settings to all patients with the applicable medical condition or just the patients to which the medical condition will be added in the future.


The improvements that Dentrix has made to the Health History in recent versions can help your office to keep more current and accurate records regarding your patients' health. This is vital as most offices no longer have a paper chart to refer to for patient health histories. By designating a medical condition to pop up or be considered critical, you can easily communicate important health information to your team. 

For more information about the Health History module and its features, read the following:

If you have questions on this topic, email me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Efficiently Posting Insurance Payments in Dentrix

 Last week I wrote a blog about efficiently posting patient payments. This week, I wanted to give some tips on the best ways to post dental insurance payments. 

When posting insurance payments, you have the option to post a payment to an individual claim by double-clicking an open claim in the patient Ledger. 


You can also post a payment as a batch insurance payment. I really like using the batch insurance feature because it helps you to post payments accurately. You enter the total amount of the check, and then allocate payment among the patients it applies to. If your allocations do not match up with the total amount of the check, Dentrix will warn you that your amounts don’t match. This can save you a lot of time by knowing right away that amounts don’t match instead of at the end of the day while running your end of day reports.


Whether you decide to use the batch insurance feature or post to an individual claim, I recommend you take the time to post itemized insurance payments and update the payment table. By updating the payment table, Dentrix will remember the amount the insurance company will pay for a procedure code. This is especially helpful when treatment planning that procedure code for any patient covered under the same insurance plan. 

Another feature that can be helpful when posting insurance payments is the ability to split an insurance claim. This allows you to split a claim while retaining any notes attached to the claim. This feature is beneficial when the insurance plan pays for some of the procedures on the claim but requires more information to pay for the other procedures. 

For example, if you file a dental insurance claim for a crown and a core build-up, the insurance may only pay for the core build-up until they receive the date that the crown was seated. In this case you could split the insurance claim, post the payment to the core build-up, and the claim for the crown will remain outstanding. This is beneficial because the outstanding claim will remain on your Insurance Aging Report in order for you to track and follow up on the claim. Dentrix will also calculate patient portions and insurance portions of the family balance correctly when the claim remains outstanding. 

Posting patient payments and insurance payments efficiently results in cleaner accounting for your office and more accurate reports. The features in Dentrix can help you to post patient and insurance payments more accurately. If you have questions, email me at  vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

For additional information about insurance efficiency, read Three Steps For Efficient Insurance Systems in Dentrix Magazine.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Efficiently Posting Patient Payments for Cleaner Accounting and Accurate Reporting

 All dental offices know how to post a patient payment in the Dentrix Ledger, but is your office posting payments in the most efficient way? Posting patient payments efficiently can save your office time, result in cleaner accounting and more accurate reporting. 

When posting a patient payment, there are three options in the Enter Payment dialog box you should be aware of that will dramatically affect reports and accounting:


Posting Payments to a Provider

While the default setting is to split a payment by provider, you have the option to post a payment to a specific provider. What does that mean and why is it important? Ideally, the provider of a procedure should have the payment posted to them for that procedure. For example, if Dr. A completed a filling, it’s important that the payment is posted to Dr. A. If Dr. A is paid based on collections, he would not receive credit for the procedure unless the payment is posted to him. 

Similarly, if a patient has an exam with the doctor, and a prophy with the hygienist, the payment should be split between the providers. You will find that your reports will make more sense when payments are posted this way. Do you have inactive providers who still show up on reports, like the Provider AR Totals report, appearing as if they are owed a large balance or have a credit? That’s because payments weren’t being split by provider. If you have this problem in your office, don’t worry! In Dentrix G7.3 there is a feature that can help to correct this issue. The Provider Credit Balances Manager in the Ledger makes allocating provider credits much easier, by providing you with a list of accounts which have provider credits and allowing you to allocate credit balances with just a few mouse clicks. 

Posting Payments by Patient

By default, the selected patient in the Ledger appears as the patient to whom the payment will be applied. You have the option to split the payment by family members, which will allocate the payment between family members who have an account balance. If Split By Family Members is selected, it’s important to know that the payment is posted to the oldest family balance. 

Similar to the way posting payments to providers works, it’s important to post payments for procedures to the patient who actually had them completed. Have you ever had to audit a family account and experienced that finding which patient actually owes for which procedure is like finding a needle in a haystack? This typically happens when payments are posted to the guarantor for all patients in the family. You can correct this problem by allocating credit balances. In Dentrix G7.3, allocating balances doesn’t affect the aging of the account, so you don’t have to worry about aging being altered by making these allocations. 

Choosing a Split Method

When you choose a method for splitting a payment, it determines the way in which payments are applied to the account. There are four options to choose from:


  • Percentage Payments - This option divides the payment among the providers based on the providers percentage of the amount owed. 
  • FIFO - FIFO stands for "first in, first out" and will apply the payment to the oldest completed procedures first.
  • Equal Payments - This split method splits the payment equally among the providers who are owed a balance.
  • Guarantor Estimate - This is my preferred method of splitting payments because it takes into account what Dentrix is estimating insurance to pay for a procedure. So, it’s looking at the patient portion for the procedure and then allocating the payment among the providers based on that insurance estimate. 

Once you’ve decided which payment options are best for your office, you can set them as default by selecting Settings right from the Enter Payment dialog box. 


Posting patient payments efficiently results in cleaner accounting and more accurate reports. It will be easier to answer questions patients may have regarding their account by making it more clear which patients in the family still owe a balance. If your office doesn’t currently post payments to the provider of the service and to the patient who received treatment, this may be something to consider. If you have questions, e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

For additional information about allocating credit balances between providers, read Are Your Provider Credits Making Your Accounts Off Balance? in Dentrix Magazine.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Verifying Patient Insurance Information


How often do you verify patients’ insurance benefits in your practice? If you want to provide patients with the most accurate estimates, it’s important to know what their insurance will pay for a specific procedure. I recommend that you verify a patient’s benefits at least every six months. It’s quick and easy to verify insurance benefits by using the eCentral Insurance Manager. You can access the eCentral Insurance Manager from the patient’s Family File by clicking the “E” icon. Once you have entered the patient’s information, you can find general benefit information such as maximums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts. 

When you initially verify insurance benefits for a patient, there are many important details you should look for in their benefits. For example, is there a missing tooth exclusion? What is the replacement period for crowns and prosthetics? 

You can use the insurance plan note in the coverage table to document this type of information. Maximums, deductibles, and co-insurance amounts can all be entered into the coverage table and will be used to calculate insurance estimates. You can also copy the benefit information from the eCentral Insurance Manager directly into the patient’s Document Center in Dentrix. When something is added to the patient’s Document Center, it is automatically labeled with today’s date. You can refer back to that date in order to see the date the benefits were last verified. 

Once you have the insurance benefits entered initially, the information will need to be updated regularly. I suggest reviewing the patients who are coming in for an appointment the next day. Check the patient’s Document Center for the date of the last insurance verification. If it has been six months or more, reverify the benefits. 

When reverifying insurance benefits, here are some important things to look for:

  • How much of the insurance maximum has been used?
  • Has the deductible been met?
  • Has the patient met his or her frequency limitation for an exam or a prophy?
By obtaining this information, it will help you to collect patients’ out-of-pocket expenses more accurately.

If you are an out-of-network provider for a patient’s insurance, it can be helpful to know what the insurance usual and customary charge is for common procedures. This will help you to provide patients with more accurate estimates. A few insurance companies will provide you with that information over the phone. The information can then be entered into the insurance plan’s payment table. 

The payment table can also be updated whenever you post an insurance payment for a claim. I highly recommend updating the payment table, because the payment table applies to all patients in Dentrix that are covered under that particular insurance plan. The only time I advise offices not to update the payment table is if a procedure is denied or pays less for a reason specific to a particular patient. For example, if a prophy isn’t covered because a patient has exceeded their frequency limit, I would not update the payment table. 

Verifying patent’s insurance benefits frequently helps your office to provide your patients with more accurate insurance estimates and keep your records up to date. Using eCentral Insurance Manager makes the process quick and easy. If you have questions on this topic, please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.