Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Can you write me an excuse note for school?"


I was at the mall yesterday shopping for some curtains for my mom’s new condo and the mall was bustling with kids shopping for back to school clothes, shoes, and backpacks. When I was working in a practice, we had a middle school directly across the street from our office and kids would walk over from school for their dental appointments. Since these kids were usually not with their parents, we would write them a note to take back to school so they could receive an excused absence. For a long time, our office would photocopy the excuse notes and write the name and date of the appointment on the note. Then I got smart . . . I added a new Quick Letter so all we had to do was click on the appointment, open Quick Letters, highlight the excuse note, and click print. My team thought this was the coolest thing ever!

So how can you do this? First, go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Preferences and then click on the Paths tab. Look at the Letter Template path and click on Open Folder. This is the location where you need to save your new letter so the Quick Letters can find it. If you look through this list of letters, you will find a document called dtxlm99.doc. Right click and open it. This document contains all the merge fields that are available to create a new letter.

Now let’s create your letter. Since you already have Microsoft Word open, click on new document to open a blank page. The excuse note doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, it can be short and sweet. Maybe something like this:

Please excuse <First Name> <Last Name> from school/work. <First Name> had

a scheduled dental appointment on <Appt Date> with

Amazing Smiles Dental. If you have any further questions, please don’t

hesitate to call.

You can see the merge fields in the letter. There are two different appointment dates you could use, <Appt_Date>  which pulls today’s appointment date if it has not been set complete or <Last Visit> which pulls today’s appointment date if it has been set complete.  You need to select the correct merge field depending on how your appointments get set complete.  These merge fields can be copied and pasted into your excuse letter from that dtxlm99.doc letter that you opened. When you are ready to save your letter, make sure you save it in the Letter Template Path from above. The letter name cannot have more than seven characters, so my recommendation would be excuse.doc.

Now back in Dentrix, open Quick Letters and let’s add your new letter to the list. Click on New. Enter the description of this letter on the first line and the letter file name on the second line. Click OK, then open template to make sure Quick Letters can find the letter. You are now ready to use your new, custom excuse note for patients.

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