Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Treatment Options . . . a faster way!

Treatment planning is one of the most important functions of the dental practice.  It becomes even more important when the practice is chartless because you need to keep the same trail of documentation when presenting options to your patients.  This is where alternate treatment cases come into play, however what I hear from the clinical team is, “We don’t have time to do all that in the treatment room”.  My answer is “Let me show you a faster way”. 

 
 
 

Hopefully (I know I said that about 50 times in this video) this quick demonstration helps to make treatment planning alternate cases easier and more effecient in your office. 
When your patient has decided which treatment plan to schedule you will accept that case and the system will automatically reject the linked case.   Do not delete any of the cases.  The important thing is to keep the history of presented treatment for documentation.  Hope this helps!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

KISS your Continuing Care types

The Dentrix practice management software has the most powerful Continuing Care system, ensuring that your patients are not falling through those pesky cracks or getting lost in the abyss. Your hygiene department is the lifeblood of the practice; if you don’t have a reliable system for managing when your patients are due for their regular checkups, then your office could be spinning its wheels when it comes to working from accurate lists. I have seen some pretty creative Continuing Care systems out there (and I am not saying that they don’t work), but I always work under the KISS methodology – Keep It Simple, Stupid. My recommendation is to use the Dentrix Continuing Care system the way it is intended to work and it will reward you with accurate and workable lists from which to call.
First, let’s look at the Continuing Care types and see if you have what you need and are using what you have. Did that just make sense? What I want you to do is go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Continuing Care Setup > and look at what is in the list (insert image). My main focus for this article is making sure that you have only one Prophy and one Perio type, however I have seen some offices that have combined the two into one and just called it “Recare.” These continuing care types are then attached to the ADA codes corresponding to their respective names, so the Prophy will get attached to the D1110 and the D1120 codes, etc.
 What I don’t want to see is this:
                                                                           Prophy – 6 months
                                                                           Prophy – 3 months
                                                                           Perio – 4 months
                                                                           Perio – 3 months
                                                                           Perio – 6 months
I completely understand why this would make sense and some of you might be wondering why the Dentrix defaults weren’t programmed this way in the beginning. That leads us to the next topic . . . where to edit the patient’s interval when he or she is on a different schedule than a normal 6-month prophy. Since it is customized to the patient, you will want to edit it on the patient’s Family File inside the Continuing Care box.   When you change it here, Dentrix will know when the patient is due for his or her next Perio or Prophy appointment. Therefore, when you go to work your Continuing Care list, you will have accurate information using a very “simple” method.

For more information on the Continuing Care list and how to work it, refer back to my November 15th blog.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Burn the Calendar

Are you someone who has one of those enormous desk calendars where you map out when to send out Continuing Care postcards and to whom they should go? Or do you have that box full of postcards separated by the monthly tabs so you can go quickly and pull out this month’s postcards and send them out to everyone that is scheduled or due? But … now you have to match up the cards to a list to make sure you don’t send a card out to someone who has scheduled his or her appointment since his or her last appointment. This is your system and you have been doing it like this forever, right? You have it mastered, but it is still a chore.
If you could eliminate this chore from your weekly or monthly routine, you would have more time to spend with patients and more time building relationships by talking to patients about treatment and following up on referrals. This chore can be completely automated with eCentral Communication Manager.
eCentral Communication Manager will send postcards, e-mails, and text messages on a schedule that you set up. You decide who will receive a postcard/e-mail/text, when a patient receives it, and what the postcard/e-mail/text will look like. The only difference is Dentrix does all the work for you. The setup process is streamlined using the Websync Wizard and the eCentral dashboard. With the Websync Wizard, you setup the schedule. For example:
Ø  90 day past due postcard – you would select all patients with a Prophy or Perio Continuing Care type, select the due date range, the postcard template (you will customize this in eCentral), billing type (so you don’t accidentally send one to a collection account), and the patient’s primary provider. After the Websync Wizard is set up, then simply select the postcard style that you like and you are done.
Once you have setup all the templates you want to send out, they will automatically run on a daily basis. The patient will receive a postcard, e-mail, or text depending on the parameters you have selected. Yes, you have just freed yourself from hours of labor intensive work. Now just sit back watch how eCentral manages your correspondence for you. All you have to do is edit the template occasionally with new styles or change up the parameters in Websync if you want to add, edit, or delete any of the templates.
If this isn’t good enough already, when a patient receives an e-mail or text message confirmation for his or her upcoming appointment, he or she can click on the confirm button on the e-mail or press “1” to reply to the text message. This will automatically update the status on the patient’s appointment to “confirmed.” This is an added bonus that can save you time confirming patients.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Even Out the Cash Flow

Do you dread the day that you have to run statements? The mountain of paper that sits on your desk for 3-4 days while you sort through it, piece by piece, writing personalized messages or stamping a page with color-coded stickers to draw attention to the fact that the balance is past due. On top of that, the entire following week is spent fielding phone calls from patients with questions about their bills. Sound familiar? What if you could do away with this archaic routine? Well, listen closely … because I am about to tell you how.
For several years now, I have been doing statement runs every 2-3 days. Yes, you heard it right . . . every 2-3 days. Why? It has made life at the dental office so much better. Running statements every 2-3 days does multiple things.
ü  It turns a dreaded monthly statement run into a daily routine. Rather than sorting through 85-300 statements during a normal dental practice statement run, you can now look at 4-10 each day or 10-15 every 2-3 days. This frees up a great deal of your time since you can spread this task out during the day in between checking out patients rather than tying you up for 3-4 days straight trying to get statements out by a certain day every month.
ü  By running statements every 2-3 days, it will spread out the billing calls from patients and eliminate that feared “week after” phone call fury.
ü  My favorite benefit of daily billing is that it will even out the cash flow for the office. If your office has set production and collection goals, this will help keep the two more closely in line with each other. For example, if you run statements at the end of every month, you will get an influx of payments in at the start of the month. It could appear that collections are really good, but then they will start to drop off and get back in line with the production number as the month goes on.
This all sounds really good, right? So now you are wondering how to make it happen? Dentrix has a great feature in the billing statement screen called, “If not billed since”. If you have a check mark in this box, Dentrix will only generate statements for patients who have not received a statement since this date. It is extremely important that you do not change this date. Let it default to a month ago and the system will only pick up those families who have not had a statement generated in the last 30 days. For example, if you are posting an insurance check today and the Smith family has a leftover balance and you send them a billing statement from the ledger today, then tomorrow when you do your normal statement run, the Smith family would not get a bill because they just got one yesterday.

One more thing . . . Quickbill makes this more efficient process even better! With Quickbill, you won’t even have to do the printing, folding, stuffing, stamping, or mailing. Just sort through your statements on the computer screen, type in any custom note you want to put on the statement, click the ok button, and then send them electronically. Dentrix will do all the work. The best part is that it will only cost you 70 cents per statement instead of the $5 it is costing you to send it in-house. What a bargain!
It’s time for you to get the cash flow back in your A/R and your overhead.