Sunday, December 16, 2012

What is the Status of the Lab Case?

Do any of these lab-related scenarios ever happen in your office?

·         You call to confirm a patient for tomorrow, only to be told later that the lab case is not in the office and you have to reschedule the patient.

·         The lab case was never sent out.

·         UPS, FedEx, or the Postal Service lost the patient’s case and you have no way of tracking it.

·         You are trying to fill an opening in your schedule for tomorrow, but you have to go into the back and find the spiral-bound notebook containing the log of all the lab cases to find out if the case is back so you can call the patient.

Do you wish you had a better system for managing the lab cases in your office? The Dentrix Lab Case Manager can help with all the above scenarios. It is easy to set up, easy to use, and will help you and your team communicate better about lab cases and, in turn, help your office run more efficiently. When I say help your team communicate better, I am talking about non-verbal communication … you don’t even have to talk to get an answer to your lab-related question. With the Lab Case Manager, you can see right from the patient’s appointment if the case is out or in, check the due date, check what lab it went to, and check the status of it with the tracking number. I am amazed that more offices are not utilizing it.

To use Lab Case Manager, you must first set up your labs. Go to the Appointment Book and click on the Lab Case Manager icon (click stop if it starts loading). Before Dentrix will allow you to enter a lab, you must first create shade guides and shipping methods that will be attached to the labs. Select Shade Guide and click add, then you can just type in “office default” or you can actually type in your shade guides here. Next, hit close, go back to setup, and select shipping method. Enter any type of shipping you use with your labs (UPS, FedEx, lab delivery, Postal Service, etc.). Click add and close, then open the Setup again and select Labs. This is where you will enter the list of labs with which you do business. Fill in the important information about your lab and, in the drop down menu in the upper right, select how this lab delivers cases to you. You are done with the basic setup.

I use the Dentrix Lab Case Manager in a very simple form — I check the case out and I check it in. If you want to get more detailed than that you can, but I am not going to go into that much detail in this blog (you can watch a webinar in the Dentrix Knowledgebase article # 45893 ). From the patient appointment box, put a check mark next to the Lab Case and click on the Patient Lab Cases button, then select Create Lab Case. In my opinion, the most important pieces of information are Lab, shipping method, tracking number (if there is one), and the Case #. Click OK, then select your case to link with this appointment. You can see in the picture below why I am having you put in a brief description of the case in the Case # box. Over time, a patient can have multiple cases and this will help you to select the right case for this appointment.
After you have created the case and attached it, a blue L with a white background will appear on the appointment. When the case is delivered, just double-click on the L on the appointment, double-click on the correct case in the list, and click on the Receive button on the lower left corner of the box and a new box will open. If you want to track the fee for this case, you can enter it in the upper right corner of this screen, then click OK. Now the white background will turn green and you know that the case is in.

If the case needs to be returned to the lab for any reason, just double-click on the L again, double-click on the case #, click on the Receive Case button in the lower left corner, and then check the box Return Case to Lab. The case will then turn back to a white background on your appointment book so you know the case has been sent back out of the office.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, the Lab Case Manager can improve your communication in your office for managing the patient lab cases. Communication does not always have to be face-to-face; it just has to be consistent.

Dayna Johnson, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Dayna loves her work. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental industry, and she’s passionate about building efficient, consistent, and secure practice management systems. Dayna knows that your entire day revolves around your practice management software—the better you learn to use it, the more productive and stress-free your office will be. In 2016, Dayna founded Novonee ™, The Premier Dentrix Community, to help cultivate Dentrix super-users all over the country. Learn more from Dayna at and contact Dayna at


  1. what does it mean when the L turns RED?

    1. The L is red if you are using the In House lab. All others are blue and green

  2. Normally we keep a copy of our lab slips, does this attach to pts history in any way? Or is there a way of searching lab cases after completion?

    1. If you are using the DDX electronic lab slip system it will automatically store a copy of your lab slip in the Document Center and you can definitely search the status of your lab cases. If you are using the Dentrix Lab Case Manager you can search the status of the lab case and I would scan a copy of the lab slip into your Document Center for history.

      Hope this helps,