Thursday, January 31, 2013

CDT 2013 update . . . how to video

This is probably one of the biggest CDT updates that the ADA has come out with in a long time.  This video will help you and your office not only find the instructions to install the CDT 2013 update but how to apply it and update your system.  I cannot take credit for the video however, the amazing team at Henry Schein put together a great learning tool for you.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Save Time . . . be more productive

A goal for many offices this year is implementing an electronic and automated appointment reminder and continuing care system. This is such a great idea! Not only will you save time by having someone else do the task for you, but you will be able to fill that time with more productive things. Here are some frequently asked questions that I have heard from offices.

Q: Is email and text part of Dentrix?

A: It is part of eCentral, which is fully integrated with Dentrix. eCentral is a big umbrella that includes the Communication Manager, Insurance Manager, and Website Manager. I will focus today on the Communication Manager, which includes e-mail, postcards, and texting. With this product, you can set the frequency of the correspondence, customize the e-mail message, and choose from hundreds of template selections. What do I think is the best part of it all? It will update the status of the appointment instantly.

Q: I am not sure about texting as part of our appointment confirmation procedure. What do you think?

A: When I first initiated text messaging, I was very nervous and I hear the same thing from other offices. However, the majority of the confirmations from most of my offices (including my own) come from text. I was surprised by this, but more people walk in and say, “I love the text message” than call and say, “Take me off the text message list.” We have more than 70% of our patient base opting in for text and only slightly more than 50% opting in for e-mail … and my office is in a huge retirement community.

Q: I signed up with eCentral but I don’t know where to start. What do you suggest?

A: I’m glad you asked! You don’t want to overload the patient with too many messages. For appointment confirmations, I suggest sending out a postcard to all the hygiene patients 2 weeks before their appointment. Since you know everyone has an address and these patients have been scheduled for the longest amount of time, they all need a reminder and I don’t want to miss anyone. Next, I would send an e-mail confirmation out 5-7 days before all appointments. This gives the patient the opportunity to confirm the appointment through the e-mail and saves your office a phone call. The final message I would send is a text message out 24 hours prior to their appointment.

Of course, you can tweak these suggestions to fit the needs of your office. I have a few offices that make confirmation calls 2 days prior to the patient’s appointment so they send the text message 48 hours prior to the appointment.

Q: What if the patient does not want to get text messages because he or she doesn’t have an unlimited plan?

A: If a patient receives a text message and he or she is upset because he or she had to pay 50 cents for it, I would offer a $5 credit for the trouble at the next visit and then remove that patient from all future text messages. It is very easy to remove the patient from specific correspondence methods when using eCentral. Open the Websync toolbar (while in the patient’s account), click the wrench, then select patient setup and uncheck text.

Q: Can I edit the content of the e-mail? I don’t like the wording.

A: Yes, if you open the Communication Manager in eCentral, you can go to edit e-mail templates from the dropdown menu. Then if you select the template and click edit, it will open the template in an edit window where you can change the words, font, or merge fields.
For more information on eCentral click here to go directly to the Dentrix website.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tracking Production Goals . . . video

Does your office have a new bonus program for 2013 that is based on production numbers?  Watch this video and learn how to enter your production goals into Dentrix and monitor them on a daily basis.   Also,  see two other places that your goals vs. production can be viewed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Be Proactive . . . not reactive

The New Year is in full swing, so what better time than now to take a good look at your office fees? When was the last time you raised your fees and by how much? Many doctors won’t even touch their fees because they’re afraid that it will upset their patients. However, if done responsibly, most of your patients will not even notice the raise.

Many years ago, before I started consulting, I went to a course and the speaker told the audience, “On Monday morning, you need to go back and raise your fees by 25%,” but this speaker didn’t give us any real system or method of how we should go about raising fees in the future. When I went back to my office on Monday and started doing the math, I said to myself, “Yep, our patients will get upset.” So I took a different approach about raising our office fees that most dentists are afraid to do. I started raising our fees about every 12-18 months … no matter what. You know what? Most of our patients didn’t even notice. They didn’t notice because I was only raising our hygiene fees about 1.5% - 2% and our operative fees 2% - 3%. We kept it consistent, we kept it small, and we did it regularly. When our patients asked, I gave them the same answer every time … and it wasn’t “because our consultant said so.”

Most offices I work with have either never raised their fees or they raise them in response to something. I firmly believe that dental practices should be proactive about raising fees, not reactive, so when something like a 2.5% lab fee increase happens, the practice is already partly there. Once your office gets on a routine of increasing fees, it is just like changing the oil in your car. And, just like the changing your car’s oil, this is an important part of the regular maintenance of your dental practice.

So what is the easiest way to do it in Dentrix? Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Auto Fee Schedule Changes > then at the top select your office fee schedule, now you have some choices -- you can just up it by a certain % or you can click copy to Fee Schedule and select your office fee schedule again and manually change them (this is how I always do it to keep it all at whole dollars). When you are satisfied with your updated fee schedule, click Accept and you are finished. Now make yourself a note to do this again on a regular schedule.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Do I Run a Year End?

This time of year, I usually get the same questions and concerns about the Year End, and my answer is always the same . . . it is just like running a Month End. Whatever your routine is for running a Month End (either using the Month End Update or the Month End Wizard, which are both located on the Ledger), the steps are exactly the same.
Since we all like to know how we ended the year, there are some reports that could supplement your Month End routine. Here are some examples:
  • Analysis Summary Report – This report gives you a detailed summary of Production, Collections, and Adjustments for each provider. Just select 01/01/2012 through 12/31/2012 as your date range (always select procedure date).
  • Production Summary Report – This is a good one because it shows you year-to-date totals for specific categories in Production or Collection, plus it can be filtered by procedure code. If you want to see how many dental implants you placed or how many quads of scaling you did in 2012, this report can give you that information.
  • Adjustment Summary Report – Now the doctors probably don’t want to see these totals, but it is reality. This is a good way to see where they are writing off money.
  • Referral Reports – This report will help you make your marketing plans for 2013. This will show you how patients are being referred and if you should focus more on the newspaper or the next Valpak ad. My opinion, however, is spend your money on internal marketing!
If you want more information on Year End, the Dentrix website is a great place to look. There is great information in the Knowledge Base, articles #15244 and #35525, and there is a Webinar for your viewing in the Dentrix Resource Center under the On-Demand Training tab (add link here also).
Also remember . . . always have a current backup that is free of any errors before you run Month End.