In the article I posted last week on DentistryIQ.com, "three best practice management tips for the new dental patient" , I talked about three practice management ideas for a unique and inviting new patient experience. For Dentrix users, I would like to take this opportunity to point you in the direction of implementing these three tips into your Dentrix software.
First, I mentioned that I am a huge fan of “mapping” out the schedule and setting aside special spots just for new patients. This gives your team a good visual aide so they know exactly where to schedule a new patient that will fit best into the practice's day. To set up these special spots just for new patients, I am going to point you to the Provider Setup on your appointment book. From the Appointment Book go to > Setup > Provider Setup > select a provider ID (it really doesn’t matter which one you pick), then click on Setup. You should have a new window open up and there is a box for Set Time Blocks. If you click on Add, then you will have another window open where you can set up the parameters for your New Patient blocks. After you have entered in the pertinent information and click OK, back out to the appointment book and you will see colored outlines in your appointment book. If you want to read more about Time Blocks, read my blog titled “What if Every Day Could be a Perfect Day?”
Second, all my new patients receive a welcome letter. This is where I let the new patient know we are very happy he or she has chosen us for their dental needs, remind the new patient when his or her appointment is scheduled, and point the new patient to our website so he or she can fill out the forms electronically. If you are still using paper forms, I would include the new patient forms in this welcome letter and ask that the patient to bring them in at the first visit. To send out a Welcome letter in Dentrix, go to the Office Manager > Letters > Welcome > select Welcome before 1st visit, click edit. Select your parameters in the Appointment tab for the date range for which you are running the letters. Make sure you have “Prospective Patients with appointment in the date range” because your new patients do not yet have an open account. Click OK then Create Merge and it will create the letters in Microsoft Word. When you are finished printing, your letters do not save on exit.
Finally, during our new patient exams we perform many diagnostic procedures including oral cancer screening, nutritional counseling, TMJ screening, perio charting, muscle testing, and I/O photos ... and we do not bill for these because they are inclusive of other codes. However, we can create our own in-office codes for these things so they will show up as line items on the patient's billing statement at walk out. If you want to create your own in-office codes, go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Procedure Code Setup > click new and it will open up a blank procedure code box. The details you will need here is a Description (this is what will show up on the patient statement), ADA code (make up something that does not resemble a real ADA code), Abbv description, Category, Treatment Area set to mouth, then put a check mark in Do Not Bill Dental Insurance. Now the last piece might be to group these new codes together along with the D0150 Comp Exam and your X-rays into a multi code. A multi code will bill out multiple procedure codes together. If you want to create a multi code for your New Patient Exam go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Multi Code Setup. If you want to read more about multi code setup, read my blog titled “Stop All ThatClicking”.
I can definitely see some very satisfied new patients in your future and, don't forget, the happy ones always refer.