Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 New Years Resolution - clean up your database

Is your New Year’s Resolution for 2014 to clean up your Dentrix Database? Do you find that you have duplicate insurance plans taking over your system? Do you have several unnecessary or duplicate medical alerts that have nothing to do with caring for a dental patient or you have maxed out your 64 limit and you need to find a way to create some space? My focus on the next few blog posts will be to help you straighten things out a bit.

I am going to first teach you how to clean up those unnecessary or duplicate Medical Alerts. Changing or deleting Medical Alerts can be a little tricky because the alert could be assigned to a patient. If you don’t detach it from the patient before you edit it, you will have a much bigger problem on your hands. If you want to edit your Medical Alert list, here is what you have to do.

First, you need to do a search of your patient base to see if the Medical Alert is attached to someone before you edit or delete it. Go to the Office Manager > Letters > MISC > Patient Reports by Filters > Edit > open up the Medical Alerts search and highlight the specific one you want to search for. Click OK, then click on Create Merge and select Create Data File only. This will just give you a list of patient names without merging the information into a letter. Now you can go into these patients accounts and de-select the Medical Alert you want to edit or delete.

After you have done a search for all the Medical Alerts you want to clean up, go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Definitions. In the dropdown menu, select Medial Alerts and it will bring up your list. If you want to edit one of them, just highlight it and change the name then click on the Change button on the right. This will change the definition for anyone who had that Medical Alert assigned to him or her. If you want to delete the Medical Alert, you will need to highlight the alert. Click on the Delete button, then you will need to select a replacement from the list. This is why it was extremely important to do the search for anyone attached to that alert before you make these definition changes.

If you are using the Questionnaire Module for your patient forms and you have the Medical Alerts information as one of your fields that can be merged, it will update your Questionnaire form automatically after you click on the Close button when you are finished. Hope this helps!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Don't let your senior citizen patients hold you back

When I was looking at transitioning my first office from paper charts to digital (of course it was the office I was working at) the one thing that concerned me the most was the reaction of my patients.  How would my patients take to filling out their forms from home on a computer or confirming their appointments from their mobile phones?   My office is on an island with a large population of retired and elderly people and 32% of our patient base was over the age of 61 at the time I started the transition.  I look back now and wonder what I was so worried about.  In fact, according to a April 2012 study by Pew Research Group 53% of people over the age of 65 use the internet or email, and of those who are using the internet, 82% say they use it on a daily basis.  Also, seven out of 10 people in this age group own a cell phone, which is up 57% from 2010. Even with my office being well below the national average we are having extreme success with electronic forms and correspondence.  Continue Reading . . .

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The end of the year is upon us

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 (both located on the Ledger), the steps are exactly the same.   Now there may be some reports that you may run that could be different from your Month End routine because we all like to know how we ended the year.  Here are some examples:

·         Analysis Summary Report – This report can give you a detailed summary of Production, Collections and adjustments for each provider.  Just select 01/01/2013 through 12/31/2013 as your date range (I always select procedure date). 

·         Production Summary Report – This might be a good one because it can show you year to date totals for specific categories in Production or Collection and you could also filter it by procedure code.  If you want to see how many dental implants you placed or how many quads of scaling you did for the year 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 and this is a good way to see where they are writing off money. 

·         Referral Reports – This would be a good report to see where your marketing dollars for 2014 might be well spent.  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 internal marketing! 

You may also be asked from patients to send a ledger history for tax purposes.  This can be printed from the ledger by clicking on Print > Patient Ledger (or Family Ledger) > click on the beginning date 1/1/2013

If you want more information on Year End the Dentrix Resource Center is a great place to look.  There is great information in the Knowledge Base article #49812. Here you can click on a Dentrix Year End Webinar.

Also remember . . . always have a current backup that is free of any errors before you run Month End. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Three reasons you should be using Dentrix Mobile

Sometimes I feel like I am consumed by my mobile phone because it is with me 24/7. My mobile device, however, also brings my world together. It allows me to connect with my friends and family, share pictures with the world, and lets me surf and shop for just about anything. So how can your mobile phone help you in your dental practice? Here are three reasons your office should be using Dentrix Mobile.
  1. Storms, power outages, and theft can happen at any moment. If you don’t have a disaster plan in place at your office, you are not only dead in the water but you are violating a major part of the HIPAA Security Rule. The HIPAA Security Rule states that we must have a disaster plan documented. In my office, having immediate access to my patient’s information is part of that plan. If our office is closed and I have lost access to my office computers, the most efficient and immediate way for me to contact my patients is through Dentrix Mobile.
  2. If your office performs surgical procedures, I would highly recommend someone following up with those surgical patients in the early evening. You want to make sure they are following your post-op instruction protocol as written so they do not have any complications to the procedures. You can also see if they are having any reactions to any medications you have prescribed. This is also a great marketing tool. It doesn’t take very long to make this phone call and the rewards can be tremendous. With Dentrix Mobile, you can view your appointment book and have access to patient information so you can easily see the patients who need a follow-up call.
  3. In every area of the country, you will have patients who will randomly call the on-call phone number seeking out drugs. Your doctor will inevitably get an after-hours phone call from someone making up a story that they were just in and having pain and could the doctor please phone in a prescription for Vicodin to the pharmacy. If the doctor is using Dentrix Mobile, he or she has immediate access to see if the patient is truly a patient of the office, the last appointment date, and the patient’s prescription history. This will save the doctor a trip into the office and the patient will have an answer quickly.

Our mobile devices can sometimes consume our lives, but they can also free up our lives if we use apps and programs appropriately. Dentrix Mobile is one program that every doctor and dental office with Dentrix software needs to bookmark on their homepage. For more information on how you can get setup with Dentrix Mobile, CLICK HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The most read blogs for the year . . . Enjoy!

If you are new to my blog I wanted to give you a good place to start and if you have been a loyal reader of mine since the beginning here are your favorites.  As I conclude my second full year writing the Dentrix Office Manager Blog, this is a year-end wrapup of the Top 10 most read blogs since I began writing in this space. Here are the topics that you, my loyal readers, have read the most, along with snippets of each blog.
  1. Fee Schedules . . . The Method of Choice for PPO Plans     As I said in my last post, using Dentrix’s Fee Schedules takes a little bit of management but produces huge benefits! I am amazed at how many offices don’t know this Dentrix feature exists for setting up and managing fee schedules. If you are in one of those offices, it’s time to find it and use it – you’ll be so glad you did. Let’s walk through it together so that you can start seeing those benefits sooner than later.   Click here to read more . . .
  2. Fee Schedules or Write Offs . . . That is the Question  This is the hot topic in my home state of Washington since our largest dental insurance company recently slashed our filed fees by 15% or more on June 15th.  Several offices I work with have called me asking for advice on how to deal with it now that even the non-PPO plans are working under a much lower fee schedule.  Before I give my two cents I want you to understand the differences between using a fee schedule and using adjustments.  Click here to read more . . .
  3. The 5 Minute Morning Huddle  Does this sound familiar? You walk into the office in the morning, say “good morning” to all your team mates and put your lunch in the fridge. The hygienists are busy sharpening their instruments for a day of root planing and scaling, the doctor is in the lab finishing up that nightguard that is due at 8:00am and the dental assistants are setting up trays for the day making sure all the lab cases are in.  Click here to read more . .
  4. The New Patient Experience . . . the initial telephone call You know that old saying: “You never have a second chance to make a first impression”? Well that old saying still means a lot in this day when exceptional customer service is so hard to find. How your front office team handles the very first phone call from a new patient not only establishes the patient’s perception of how his or her visit will go, it even impacts the likelihood that they will refer their friends and family. Click here to read more . . .
  5. Become super efficient with templates In my most recent article, “The three core components when transitioning to electronic health records,” I talked a lot about efficiency and consistency. For all the Dentrix users, I want to give you some help when it comes to building templates, which can be a huge time-saver in your office. Here are some of my favorite template tips. Click here to read more . . .
  6. A Little Known Secret If you are transitioning from paper to paperless, do you find that you are scanning paper all the time? Does the paper pile up in the “to be scanned” box and sit there, just waiting for someone to have free time to take care of it? When I work with offices on their paper storage management, I am surprised by how many offices don’t know about the “Send to Dentrix Document Center” feature. I actually received two e-mails about it this week so I thought I would “shout it out” to all of you. Click here to read more . . .
  7. The 5 Stats Every Office Should Monitor When I say “monitor,” I don’t mean you write the numbers down on your spreadsheet, stick it in the 3-ring binder, and forget about it. I mean you are writing it down, discussing it with your doctor, talking about it with your team, and coming up with strategies as a team to improve it or high-fiving each other because you are exceeding your expectations. Numbers tell a story. The numbers help you reinvent systems, protocols, and campaigns. Click here to read more . . .
  8. Don’t Let Unused Insurance Benefits go to Waste September is the perfect time to send out a reminder to your patients who have unused dental insurance benefits. Sending it out now will hopefully get patients to call in sooner instead of waiting until the middle of December when it gets down to crunch time on the calendar. There are two different methods I am going to talk about today: using your Dentrix software to create a mass merge letter and, for those of you using DemandForce, how to merge a list and send out an e-mail campaign. Click here to read more . . .
  9. At Some Point We Need to Let the Patient Go Recently, I was in an office doing some training on the Practice Advisor Report and we were talking about the “Active Patient” count and how Dentrix comes up with that number. I informed them that, with the Practice Advisor Report, you determine the definition of an “active patient” using the amount of time it has been since the patient was in last for an appointment. This led to a new discussion of what was their protocol for patients who haven’t been in for 18, 24, or even 60 months? We ran a search of patients with a last visit date of more than five years ago and the list had more than 700 patients on it. They were shocked! Click here to read more . . .
  10. Holes in your Doctor’s Schedule? What do you do when, during a patient’s continuing care appointment, the doctor diagnoses a tooth that needs a crown and the patient leaves without scheduling it? Have you ever wondered how much unscheduled treatment you have on your books, and how your team is following up on it? Looking for some new ways to reach out to your patients? Click here to read more . . .

If you have a topic that you would like me to write about, or a dilemma you wish you could solve in your practice, drop me a line at Dayna@raedentalmanagement.com.