Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top 10 Blog Posts of the Year

Writing the Dentrix Office Manager Blog is one of the most enjoyable things I do in my career.  Helping you all become Dentrix super-users is an honor I do not take lightly.  I get so excited when I receive your emails letting me know how my tips have helped your practice be more successful. 

Here are the top 10 topics you clicked on this year . . .

  1. Electronic signatures . . . a must have for going paperless    Since I wrote the blog on March 23, I have been receiving a lot of questions about integrating electronic signature devices, how they work in Dentrix, and which one I recommend. The good news is that I can answer all these questions and I am excited that the shift toward going paperless is growing.
  2. Oops! What to do when the wrong tooth was posted  Have you had a patient in your chair for his or her 6-month checkup and, while you are perio charting, you notice that the wrong tooth is missing. After further investigation, you realize that the patient was in for an extraction three months ago, but the wrong tooth was set complete. You don’t know what to do, but the tooth chart needs to be fixed.
  3. Someone deleted the entire Batch Processor . . . how do I find all those claims?   Do you ever wonder if all your claims are being sent out? Has the batch been completely deleted and you are worried there were insurance claims on there? Do you want to know what reports to look at to manage your claims? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions . . . read on. 
  4. How can you prepare for the ICD-10 deadline?  The countdown to October 1, 2015 continues as we all wait to see if the implementation of ICD-10 really happens or not. Many of you have been using the ICD-9 code sets when billing medical insurance for procedures like TMJ, sleep apnea, and trauma. However, we are now seeing the use of diagnostic coding in the adoption of EHR and practices that are billing Medicaid. After October 1, we are going to see many more requirements for diagnostic coding. So how can you prepare?
  5. Best Practices for Your Team . . . weekly  Last week, we focused on what was important or the “best practice” for your daily protocol.  Today, we want to move to your weekly systems.  I teach my offices about practicing on the business side of dentistry the same things you preach to your patients in the clinical side of dentistry . . .  “prevention will help keep you out of emergency situations.”  Living in a preventative rather than reactive frame of mind will reap tremendous benefits to your practice.
  6. Top 10 features in Dentrix you are not using   In 2003, my dental practice converted from an archaic DOS-based dental software to the impressive and robust Dentrix practice management software. To say the least, I was completely overwhelmed. Two years later, in 2005, I still felt like I hadn’t even scratched the surface of my new powerful software’s potential so I applied to become a Certified Dentrix Trainer in order to learn everything there was to know about the Dentrix program. What better way to learn than to get a certificate?
  7. Dentrix G6 launch . . . . be amazed!   I had the pleasure of talking with Brad Royer, the Dentrix product manager, about the release of Dentrix G6.  The launch date is scheduled on April 30, 2015 during the California Dental Association meeting.  Stop by the Dentrix booth during CDA to see all of the amazing features but you can watch our interview now to hear about the highlights.
  8. Thinking of implementing electronic forms? This is a must read  Which one are you … “chartless” or “paperless?” It is interesting when I talk with dental practices how they use these two terms interchangeably. Most people don’t see a difference. But put yourself in the patient’s shoes and there is a huge difference. If your office sends the patient paper forms to fill out before their appointment, sends the patient a PDF attachment of your new patient forms, or if you send your patients to your website where they have to download a PDF form, your office is ”chartless” not “paperless."
  9. Stop giving the insurance companies so much power   Will whoever gave the insurance companies the power to do whatever they want please stand? Oh yeah … we did. We have given and continue to give them power when we don’t have proper documentation to justify our treatment plan or confirmation showing that our claims have been received. If we don’t manage our systems properly, we have to do what they tell us to do because we can’t prove anything.
  10. Delta EPO's and Co-Pay plans, how to setup  Lately I have been seeing a few new insurance plans creeping up in the market. In Colorado, I have seen these new “EPO” Delta Dental plans that have a patient co-pay instead of the traditional coverage %. Then, when I was in Washington recently, the office showed me a plan where the patient pays a total dollar amount on certain procedures. These plans sound similar, but the setup is slightly different.

I am looking forward to an amazing 2016.  If you have a topic that you would like me to write about, email me directly at dayna@raedentalmanagement.com


Sunday, December 20, 2015

2016 goal setting and planning . . . add this to your list

This week is filled with office holiday parties, baskets of holiday goodies being delivered from your specialists, and making sure you have your out-of-office emergency messages all set up just in case a patient needs to reach your doctor. When you return back to your office after the holiday, you will be looking ahead to 2016 with setting new goals, mapping out your appointment book for a more stress-free working day, and looking at new strategies to attract new patients. There is one thing I am asking you to add to your list of planning for 2016 … and that is to please bring your office up to HIPAA compliance.

When I am working with an office or providing a complimentary office assessment, I am still amazed at how many practices are out of compliance. You cannot continue to ignore the three requirements that were mandated by the HIPAA Security Rule in 2005. Yes, it has been more than 10 years since the HIPAA Security Rule was mandated and it is still grossly neglected. There are three questions I want you to ask your doctor or office manager.
  1. Where is your office’s risk assessment documented and what is the results?
  2. Where is your office’s customized HIPAA Security Manual?
  3. When is your next annual office HIPAA training scheduled?

If you cannot get the answers to these three questions, you are out of compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule, which could result in your practice receiving a HIPAA violation. I realize you do not hear of many HIPAA violations, but I am trying to protect you. Becoming compliant is not difficult … just get it done.

I have written on this topic many times and preach it with all my clients. CLICK HERE for more information.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

All I want for Christmas is a new iWatch

Is a new iWatch on your Christmas list for this year or are you already wearing your iWatch wondering what to do with it? I have a couple of suggestions for you . . . use it to help you manage your time and patients at your dental practice.

Imagine this . . . what if you could get a little buzz on your wrist from your iWatch letting you know that patient in room #1 is ready for an exam and you could check her medical alerts before you even walk into the room? What if you could then speak a command into your iWatch and it would automatically launch the patient’s most recent pano onto the monitor? Using these new apps designed around the efficiency of the dental practice gets me all excited … and it should you too.

I have learned about two new products specifically designed around the iWatch and helping you manage your time around the operatory. Below you will see a video interview I did on a company I spoke with at a recent dental meeting and a link to another product that I absolutely love. If you are interested in this technology, research both products and schedule a demo to look at each one.
CLICK HERE to check out Simplifeye
CLICK HERE to check out OperaDDS

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Be prepared for Year End

Welcome to December! I always loved December because I would get excited to see how the practice did for the year, how it compared to the previous year, and start setting goals for the next year. It is kinda like “A Christmas Carol” for the dental practice . . . past, present, and future. Hopefully you don’t have too many scary ghosts haunting your office numbers.

I want to help you be as prepared as possible for year end. With that in mind, Dentrix put together a great info sheet for you to reference when the time comes to close out your year. 

CLICK HERE to access the Dentrix Year End info sheet

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Your Active Patient Base may not be accurate

We are coming to the close of 2015 and I would like you all to start thinking about planning for next year and what that might look like. However, before we can start looking at annual planning for next year, we need to continue focusing on this year and really critiquing the numbers. If you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you know that I talk a lot about how numbers tell a story and having accurate numbers is extremely important in analyzing the health of your practice.

If you are using the Practice Advisor Report on a monthly basis for analyzing, managing, and forecasting your key performance indicators (KPI) … congratulations! If you are not yet using this amazing tool, you can read up about it by CLICKING HERE. Learning how to make the numbers on this report as accurate as possible is the key to using this report to its fullest potential.

There is one number on this report that could be skewed, depending on how you deal with your missed and broken appointments. I realize that the ADA CDT coding came out recently with procedure codes for Missed Appointment (D9986) and Cancelled Appointment (D9987). However, I am urging you not to use them. When you post a procedure code to the patient’s ledger, it automatically updates the patient’s last visit date. So if you post a D9986 to the ledger to note that the patient missed an appointment today, the family file Last Visit Date will still get updated to today. This last visit date number is used on the Practice Advisor report to calculate your Active Patient Base. You might be asking, “Well, Dayna, how would you suggest we track missed appointments?” I’m glad you asked! Here are some suggestions . . .

·        Use an adjustment code instead. You can have a maximum of 40 adjustment types listed in the definitions so if you have not met this max, then this would be my first choice. If you have maxed out on adjustment types, then I would look to see if you have any duplicates that you can combine together and then add two new ones. With an adjustment, you can post a $0 amount just to document it or you can post a dollar amount to show the fee. This would need to be a + adjustment type.

·        Make sure you are using the Break Appointment feature and not the delete appointment when a patient misses an appointment. When you break an appointment, it will make a note on the Office Journal and update the missed appointments on the Family File.  The Practice Advisor Report will also calculate your lost revenue from broken appointments.

·        Document a missed appointment in the Clinical Note. Now this will not give you a searchable code to look for, but it will give you the documentation in case the patient becomes a risk or argumentative about missed appointments. You can always print the clinical notes if needed.

Like I said, “Numbers tell a story.” If you want an accurate Active Patient Base count, stop posting a procedure code to the ledger when the patient does not keep his or her appointment. If you would like to learn more about the Practice Advisor Report, here are some other blog posts on numbers . . .

Do you know how many patients are leaving your practice?  CLICK HERE
The 5 Stats Every Office Should Monitor . . .  CLICK HERE

Monday, November 16, 2015

Four ways you can import a patient picture into Dentrix

You step into your reception room to bring your patient, Carrie, into the treatment room and you realize there are two patients sitting there who are about the same age. Who is Carrie? You have never met her so you just throw her name out there and see who responds. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could prepare yourself a little bit more by having a current picture of Carrie?

There are a few different ways to pull in a picture of your patients, depending on which imaging software you are using and if you want to use a webcam. There is an icon on your toolbar for Patient Picture, which has four options for importing your patient picture.
  • If you have a webcam installed on your front office computer, you can use the Acquire feature and select the webcam or iPad to take a picture. I have an office that has started using an iPad as their webcam and it is working great.
  • Many practices are using a digital camera for intraoral images and saving the images in some kind of image gallery software. If you know the location of the images, you can use the Import from File feature to pull in your patient picture.
  • For the offices that are using DEXIS, using the Copy from Clipboard feature is the easiest feature to use in my opinion. From your Dentrix patient chart, double click on the image you want to use as your patient picture (many of my offices are using their intraoral camera to take a face shot), then click on the arrow on the top toolbar and click on copy to clipboard. Then, open the Patient Picture icon and click on Paste from Clipboard.
  • For the offices that are not using DEXIS for your imaging software, using the Screen Capture feature to acquire the patient picture will be the best option for you. Open your imaging software so you have the picture you want to import in view, then open the Patient Picture icon in Dentrix. Click on the Screen Capture feature and your cursor will change shape so you can make a box around the picture and it will appear in the Patient Picture window.

Click Save and you now have a current snapshot of your patient. This will eliminate the guesswork when you walk out to the reception room to summon your patient.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Top 10 features in Dentrix you are not using

In 2003, my dental practice converted from an archaic DOS-based dental software to the impressive and robust Dentrix practice management software. To say the least, I was completely overwhelmed. Two years later, in 2005, I still felt like I hadn’t even scratched the surface of my new powerful software’s potential so I applied to become a Certified Dentrix Trainer in order to learn everything there was to know about the Dentrix program. What better way to learn than to get a certificate?

Now I know that not everyone has the opportunity to become a Dentrix trainer like I did, but with a little self-motivation and some tips from me, you will be well on your way to being a “Dentrix super user.” Since I am working with dental practices every day, I have the unique opportunity to see what features they are using, what features they are not using, and what features they have no idea even exist. My goal today is to give you my top 10 you might not even know exist.
  1. Quick Letters and Letter Merge – Maybe this sounds familiar . . . you have a folder on your desktop with all of your office’s letters you send out to patients, including collection letters, welcome letters, and letters to specialists. When it is time to send a letter, you edit the date, enter the patient’s name, address, and salutation, then sign the letter and scan it into the document center. That process sounds like a lot of work to me. Why not add your custom letters into the Quick Letters or Letter Merge with the proper merge fields and let Dentrix do all the work for you? The best part is it will automatically put a note on the Office Journal and you can “Send to the Dentrix Document Center” without scanning (see #5 on the list).  Here are some more blog posts related to this feature . . .
    1. Send letters that make an impact . . . CLICK HERE
    2. Can you write me an excuse note . . . CLICK HERE
  2. Dentrix Mobile – Have you ever been sitting in the comfort of your home watching the weather forecast and hoping that the power doesn’t go out … then suddenly there’s nothing but darkness. You check the office and the power is also out there … so how are you going to let your patients know not to come in? Has your doctor ever been out of town and received a call from a patient requesting a drug refill but he or she has no way of checking the last prescription or the patient’s last visit unless he or she goes into the office? Both of these two common scenarios can be solved just by registering for Dentrix Mobile. It’s included in your Dentrix customer support plan so there is absolutely no excuse for not using this service.
    1. Three reasons you should be using Dentrix Mobile . . . CLICK HERE
    2. A lifeline to your patient info . . . CLICK HERE
  3. Payment Agreements – I wrote an article called “Get it out of your head and into the computer” back in April 2014. The theme of the article was speaking to office managers who store all their verbal payment agreements in their head. What I am seeing is this is still happening, but I am also seeing new doctors purchasing practices with a significant amount of the accounts receivable over 90 days past due or new office managers taking over a practice where there has been no management of the accounts receivable. Using the Payment Agreement feature in Dentrix will not only help you get organized with patients who are making payments, but also allow the entire team to see on the ledger what the arrangement is with the account.
    1. Two options to help you manage your A/R . . . CLICK HERE
    2. Get the info out of your head and into the computer . . . CLICK HERE
  4. Tracking Gratuities and Referrals - Do you know where your new patients are coming from? Are they hearing about you from friends, Google Search, or the ValPak flyer that cost you $15,000 to send out? Your marketing dollars depend on where patients are being referred from so you should know where to continue spending money and where to stop. When a patient refers a new patient, do you give him or her a thank you gift? Would you like to track if you gave the referral source a Starbucks or Home Depot gift card last time or be able to track a referral source’s gratuity history? Tracking referrals and gratuities in Dentrix is super easy and gives the doctor a lot of good information about where to spend marketing dollars … but I find most offices never use this useful tool.
    1. Building relationships one referral at a time . . . CLICK HERE
    2. Keep tight reins on your referred patients . . . CLICK HERE
  5. Sending to the Dentrix Document Center – This will save your team a ton of time in unnecessary scanning, unnecessary wasted paper, and unnecessary hard drive storage space. When you scan a document into the Document Center, it takes many more steps and the file size of a scanned document is about 100 times larger (just a guess) than that of a file send electronically through the Dentrix Document Center printer driver. Anything you want to print can be virtually printed to the Document Center for file storage. This is such an amazing yet underused feature.
    1. A little known secret . . . CLICK HERE
  6. Perfect Day Scheduling – Close your eyes for a moment and imagine if you could see your patients on time, complete 80% of your production goal before lunch, get out for lunch on time, and finish your day without pulling the roller skates out of the closet. This can be a reality if you create it. Take control of your appointment book with Perfect Day Scheduling. When you use perfect day scheduling, your team knows exactly how to schedule because you have mapped it out for them. There is no room for error.
    1. What if everyday could be a perfect day . . . CLICK HERE
    2. The new patient experience, scheduling the appointment . . . CLICK HERE
  7. Goal Tracking – Every dental practice has production and collection goals they need to meet in order to keep the financial state of the business healthy. I always encourage doctors to share these goals with the team and be transparent with the key performance numbers with the team. There are several places in Dentrix to watch and monitor your practice goals so the team can strategize and work together on exceeding the goals. You can monitor your goals on the monthly calendar, Practice Advisor Report, and the Daily Huddle.
    1. Let's do some goal setting . . . CLICK HERE
    2. Looking ahead to  . . . CLICK HERE
  8. More Information Button – Have you ever been on the phone with a mom and she wants to know when her three kids and husband are scheduled next for all their future appointments … but you’re not sure what’s the most efficient way to find all these appointments for the entire family? Try the More Information button and I can guarantee you will fall in love with this super quick search tool. You can find the More Information feature on all Dentrix modules. When you are selecting a patient anywhere in Dentrix, you will see it at the lower left corner of the window.
  9. Create Batch of Primary Dental Claims – Are you sure you have batched and sent off all your insurance claims from last week? How about last month? Use this second pair of eyes to double check and make sure all your claims have been sent out. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but also keep your accounts receivable out of the 90-day past due column.
    1. Are all your insurance claims going out . . . CLICK HERE
  10. Patient-Friendly Descriptions – Do your patients often ask what a “resin 2surf, post” or a “Crown-porc fused noble metal” is? Or is your practice in an area where English is not the primary language for many of your patients? If you would like to create a treatment plan that your patients would more easily understand and helps them understand what each procedure is, then start using patient-friendly descriptions. With Dentrix G6.1, it is even easier to use because you can edit these descriptions in the procedure code edit.
    1. No speak English, no worries . . . CLICK HERE

Have fun experimenting with these features and working toward increasing your level of efficiency and customer service. Drop me a line at dayna@raedentalmanagement.com if you have other questions. I’m happy to help.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Imagine if your patient could book a hygiene visit just like making dinner reservations?

I was in an office this last week that is using a web-based software solution for their email, text messaging, appointment reminders, and appointment requests. It integrates well with Dentrix. However, when a patient requests an appointment, it becomes a challenge communicating with the patient if the appointment time isn’t available in the Dentrix appointment book. Often, what happens is that the patient assumes he or she will get the time requested when probably 9 out of 10 times the office is fully booked during the requested time. Then the patient either shows up for the appointment anyway and has to be rescheduled or the patient is frustrated because the appointment time he or she wanted is not available. There is a big difference between requesting an appointment and online booking.

What if booking your dental visit was just like making dinner reservations through OpenTable? If the patient could see only open times, then it would eliminate the frustrations between the office and the patient when the patient requests an appointment time that is not available. I know that, with the office I was in last week, this would make a world of difference. The amount of emails and voicemails that were going back and forth to try and get this patient booked was extremely time-consuming.

Now close your eyes and imagine what it would look like if the email or text message continuing care reminder contained a link where the patient could book an appointment with his or her favorite hygienist on a day and time that not only worked for the patient but is also open in the office’s Dentrix appointment book. Keep your eyes closed for a minute and imagine that you are still in full control of the situation. Yes, you say what is open and what isn’t (I know this is important because I was a scheduling coordinator once J ).

Now open your eyes and let me bring you into reality with Dentrix Online Booking . . . launching in the first quarter of 2016. You can be a part of this technology movement by pre-registering for this service and receive 50% off the price. CLICK HERE to reserve your place in line.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Coding the top horror movies with the new ICD-10 codes . . . Happy Halloween!

It’s a dark and stormy night in the small town where your dental practice is located. It’s also one of the first late, late afternoons you’ve worked in the practice since it relocated from the center of town to a new location out by the lake.

There have been some strange rumors about why the previous dentist moved out of the location so quickly, but it was such a good price, how could the new owner turn down such a spacious three-operatory location … with a lake right next to it … and some abandoned buildings on the property … and some funny little stones sticking out of the ground near the lake? I mean, what’s not to love about this location?
Just as the dental practice is getting ready to shut down for the night, you hear a scream from just outside the front door. Each your coworkers has gone completely pale. It’s dark outside. It’s pouring rain. Suddenly, you hear another scream and a badly injured person comes bolting through the door.
You’re the only medical facility in the area, so you know you can’t turn this person away. You ask what happened. All she can do is look at you and sob softly.
You know you have to do something. Sure, you’re going to help her … but what ICD-10 codes are you going to use to bill for the treatment? Hey, your practice didn’t start doing medical coding just because it sounded cool, right? This is your time to help a damsel in distress … and also show off your new coding skills.
In this article, we’ve devised five ways the damsel could be injured by Freddy, Jason or any of the other psychos who are running loose in the area where you’ve just moved your practice (it doesn’t look like such a good deal now, huh?). Read on to see her injuries and the ways that ICD-10 codes have actually anticipated that this type of injury might happen.

 CLICK HERE to continue . . . be afraid!

Monday, October 26, 2015

What if your lab cases were linked to the patient chart . . . would you be interested?

There is so much more that goes into going paperless than eliminating your paper chart. Since launching my Path to Paperless coaching and presentation, I have watched the digital landscape evolve significantly. With the addition of the HIPAA Security Rule in 2005, dramatic changes had to occur in order for the dental practice to become compliant with the exchange of electronically protected health information. To this day, many dental practices are still not compliant with the HIPAA Security Rule.

One of the most challenging information exchanges is in the form of images and digital impressions to your lab. My goals is to find solutions that are have a user-friendly interface for the team, seamless integration into your practice management software, and a low-cost price tag for the office. I found that with DDX. This web-based software solution has it all.

When I found out that DDX is woven right in to the Dentrix Patient Chart, Document Center, and Lab Case Manager, I knew I had to get the word out. Here are some of the ways DDX and Dentrix talk to each other.
  • You will get a new tab at the bottom of your Dentrix Chart, along with the Progress Notes and Clinical Notes tabs. This gives you and your team easy access to your digital lab files.
  • When you create a lab case, DDX automatically creates a clinical note in the patient’s chart, avoiding any missed documentation.
  • DDX is fully integrated with the Dentrix Lab Case Manager for better case management and scheduling.
  • All lab case summaries are automatically entered into the Document Center as a PDF file. This makes it easily accessible for review or transferring to another provider.

If you are using Dentrix G5 or higher, you have probably seen the DDX icon on your tool bar and wondered what it does. If this is a solution you or your doctors are looking for in your practice, CLICK HERE to learn more.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Remind and Confirm the entire family with one message

Do you have a practice where you have several patients from the same family come in together on the same day for their dental visits? If so, this blog post is for you.
I am a huge fan of automation in your continuing care and appointment reminder system.
Automating these systems not only helps your front office team be more efficient, but also helps make sure patients don’t fall through the cracks. We not only want these systems efficient for the dental team, but also for the patients. This is why eCentral has added . . . . drum roll please!!!
Family Reminders
The new family reminders are available for email, text, and postcards so your practice can choose which method you want to setup. The email and postcard will show all family members and the start time of each appointment where the text message will show all family members and the earliest start time. When the appointment reminder is replied with a confirmation, it will confirm for every family member with one reply.
Update your software now to take advantages of these amazing eCentral features and stop the confusion of multiple appointment reminders. If you want these features in your office, call the Dentrix sales department today at 800-336-8749.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Join Dayna's Wall of Fame

Three months left in 2015,  this is your year to become the best you can be in your career.  Show off your skills and brag about your accomplishments. 

Challenge yourself to become a Dentrix master.  Join me on the Wall of Fame as I post up your accomplishments on my blog all throughout 2015.   CLICK HERE to start your success.

Watch my video to hear all the details . . .

 Wall of Fame

You are a Dentrix Master

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thank you for scheduling with our office

One thing I would be asked after scheduling a patient for an appointment on a daily basis was, “Can you email that to me?” My answer always was, “Sure, I will do it right now.” Then I would open up my Microsoft Outlook and manually send the patient an email at his or her request. It was a time-consuming task, but my patients were happy. If we could somehow automate this task, we would have happy patients and happy teams, right? 

Well . . . Dentrix eCentral has made this a reality! When you schedule a new patient or an existing patient, the eCentral Communication will send out automated correspondence with all their appointment details. You have the option of sending out a customized email, text message, or postcard.  Since you have the option of customizing the email to make it personal for your practice, why not include a link where your new patients can click to be directed to the new patient forms?

These new features sends the Dentrix eCentral Communication manager into overdrive. It makes me excited to see all the new features making a huge impact on the daily lives of the front office team’s efficiency and giving our patients the tools they need to manage their appointments.
CLICK HERE for more information on these exciting new features.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Why do I need encrypted email?

Let’s picture a postcard. This mode of communication is perfect for documenting your latest trip laden with landmark pictures on the front and a simple “Wish you were here” written on the back. Anyone can flip over the postcard, read your sentiments. You’d never write anything too personal knowing this postcard can be an open book. No need to safeguard this innocent letter.

Now imagine if it has your social security number written on the back under your name. Not so innocent anymore! This is exactly what an email is. A regular email is open for anyone to view while in transit to its recipient. Now imagine a letter, duct taped and carried by an armored van to the recipient. This is an encrypted email.

As a Covered Entity, you are responsible, by HIPAA law, for safeguarding your patient’s data.

Anytime electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) is being sent in an email, HIPAA recommends implementing procedures to ensure secure transmission and storage. The easiest way to do this is to utilize an encrypted email system.

Ideally, look for a provider that offers the option to send regular vs. encrypted mail. For example with Aspida Mail  it is triggered by a keyword, encrypt in the subject or body of an email. If that keyword is omitted, all emails flow as usual.

Additionally, if you are receiving ePHI to your email, verify you are implementing secure storage procedures. Typically, (free) Gmail, Aol & Yahoo Mail do not store securely.

Additional Tips:
  • Opening Emails
    • Use a mail solution that has antivirus and a robust spam filter enabled.
    • Inspect all email messages thoroughly, including the senders address.
    • Do not open any email that looks suspicious. If you do not know the sender, treat it as suspicious email.
  • Sending Emails
    • Confirm the email address with which you are sending information.  
    • Do not put any ePHI in the subject line of an encrypted email – this information is still transmitted through an unsecure environment.

By familiarizing yourself and your team about these email procedures, you’ve taken the first steps to protection. The next step would be to figure out what works best for your practice and come up with a plan for implementation. And don’t forget, documentation of all policies and procedures is key!
CLICK HERE for more info on Aspida email solutions

About the Author:
Laura Miller is Compliance Manager of Aspida, has quickly established itself as an industry leader in providing compliance security products and services for healthcare providers.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Top 5 things to bring the miracle of technology to life

During my 22 years in dentistry, I have been both the trainer and the trainee when it comes to implementing new technology in the dental practice. People who know me see me as kind of a computer geek.

The satisfaction of getting a new computer, network or piece of technology to work was the thrill of the hunt. It’s amazing sometimes that it all works together.

The miracle that all the technology works together is actually not a miracle at all—it takes planning and professional help. It doesn’t just happen. There are five critical things to consider when purchasing a new piece of technology, whether it is for the clinical or business side of your practice. These five things will not only help bring this miracle to life but also make sure your team is as efficient as it can be:
CLICK HERE to continue reading my full article on DPR

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Unused insurance benefits . . . it's now more than a once a year project

Since I have been writing the Dentrix Office Manager blog, I have posted up an article about this time of year reminding you to reach out to patients who have unscheduled treatment with remaining insurance benefits. This year is no different. However, I think that it might be a project you might want to tackle a couple of times each year depending on when the big employer groups start their benefit year. When I was working in my practice in Washington state, we had several groups that renewed at other times than January. Boeing, for example, renews in July and the school districts renew in October. 

If you decide to generate this lists of patients, you can filter the list by benefit renewal month. To generate the report, go to the Appointment Book > Treatment Manager > select the filters you want, including the benefit renewal month.


Since I have written on this topic every year, I am going to point you back to the articles so you don’t have to do a search.

               CLICKHERE to read “Don’t let unused insurance benefits go to waste.”

               CLICKHERE to read “Unscheduled treatment . . . the urgency is now.”

               CLICKHERE to read “Send letters that make an impact”

Monday, August 31, 2015

Two options to help you manage your accounts receivable

I recently created an online course called “Show me the Money,” which ties in perfectly to today’s article. As you may have figured out, my online course is all about accounts receivable. Managing your accounts receivable takes into account many factors, including the new patient phone call, treatment planning, follow up, and collection letters. One thing you can do to manage your accounts receivable is to create the appropriate payment plan when needed. There are two different types of payment plans in Dentrix that can help you with the management of your accounts receivable.

The Payment Agreement is one type of payment plan in Dentrix. Use this if patients have already completed their treatment and have an existing balance you want to extend for a period of time. Entering in the payment agreements into Dentrix will help you manage your accounts in three huge ways.

  1. If you have read my articles about patient collections, you know that I use the Collection Manager Report for managing accounts receivable. This report allows you to enter columns of information that will show you Payment Agreement Balance, Payment Agreement Amount Due, and # of missed payments. Having this information at your fingertips can be extremely helpful on this report because you don’t have to do any research about the account balance. You can see that the patient is on a payment plan and if he or she is current with payments. Read More . . . on the Collection Manager Report.
  2. When you create a Payment Agreement, it will light up the Payment Agreement Summary section on the Ledger so anyone who opens the ledger will see that the account is on a payment plan as well as the status of the payments. If there are missed payments, this will show up in red in the Past Due section. This will be extremely helpful if the financial coordinator is on vacation and relying on other team members to collect money at the time of service or field phone calls.
  3. When you send billing statements, if you have entered in the Payment Agreement, it will accurately reflect the amount due from the family. The billing statement will show the total account balance and, in the PLEASE PAY THIS AMOUNT box, it will show the agreed payment amount. Also, if the patient has missed a payment, the billing statement will show a past due amount at the top of the statement to draw attention to this missed payment. If you are not using this feature, you might be writing on the statement … and that takes more time out of your schedule.

The second option for setting up a payment plan is using the Future Due Payment Plan feature. Use this when the patient is going to incur charges over a period of time in the future, such as orthodontic treatment. The Future Due Payment Plan helps you manage your accounts receivable in three ways as well.
  1. In a similar manner as discussed above, you can filter your Collection Manager Report to search for patients with a FDPP so you can focus on those accounts and see if any of these accounts have missed a payment.
  2. When you create a FDPP, it will remove the balance out of your accounts receivable and bill it out at increments you decide on. For example, if a patient is going to schedule a $5,000 12-month ortho treatment and put $1,500 down, then you can set up the payment plan to “hide” the $3,500 and bill out $291.66 each month automatically. Additionally, you can set it up so it will automatically create an insurance claim to go out to the insurance company as well.
  3. Finally, you can print out a coupon book if the patient would like a reminder for their payments.

If you would like more information on my online course titled “Show me the Money” . . . CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's time to replace your paper Rolodex

Do you remember when you had that big Rolodex sitting on your desk? With this vital office supply, you could easily find the number to the local Walgreens pharmacy to phone in a prescription for a patient or locate the janitor’s number to let him know the office would be closed on Monday for a holiday? Oh, you still have one on your desk? How is that working out for you? Did one of your team members “borrow” one of the cards and accidently re-file it back in the wrong order?

What if Dentrix G6 could organize your Rolodex for you so you never lost anything and your entire team could have access to it? That would be pretty awesome, right? Also, what if Dentrix G6 could pull all your labs, referring sources, employers, insurance carriers, and providers/staff into an electronic Rolodex for you so you could organize them by color and filter them by category? Would that just blow your mind? Let’s just step it up one more notch and let you add your own categories like pharmacies, contractors, family members, etc., so you can keep all your contacts right at your fingertips.

Let me introduce you to eDex. eDex has been launched in Dentrix G6 and is one of my favorite new features. eDex will completely replace that paper Rolodex sitting on your desk and your entire team will have access to it because it is inside your Dentrix software. Now you have room for that dual monitor you have been asking for J.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Are you an organizational freak?

I am an organization freak. If you walk into my closet, you will find my clothes arranged not only by style but also by color. Everything has a place. The same thing applies for organizing your patient’s chart. I go into offices that use color-coded forms in their paper chart or stickers to designate certain things.

When you are organizing your patient chart in Dentrix, you can organize certain things to make it work better for you and more efficient for your team. If you are using the clinical note templates, you will notice that there are about 17 categories listed. What I find in every office I work with is that they probably use about six of those categories. For example, a general dentist might have templates in Hygiene, Restorative, Fixed Prosthetics, Periodontics, and Endodontics, where as a pediatric dentist might only use Hygiene, Exams, and Restorative.

My point is that when you have 17 categories listed and you are only using four to six of them get rid of the ones you are not using. You have the flexibility here to combine, eliminate, and add your own categories. Make the list work for you.

First, go in and delete any clinical note templates you will never use then delete the category. For example, if you are a periodontist then delete the endo templates and the endo category. Next, rearrange the categories so that the most frequently used categories are on the top. Finally, create categories that are not listed but you would use in your office. I have worked with some offices where we have created categories for Products, TMJ, Sleep Apnea, etc. If your practice has multiple doctors, you can create categories specific for their templates. For example, Dr. John’s templates, Dr. Joe’s templates, Susie’s templates, etc.

Keeping things organized helps your team become more efficient and productive. Take advantage of all the customization that your Dentrix software has to offer and you will become a super-user.

Check out other blog posts on the topic of customization and efficiency in your patient chart:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How can you prepare for the ICD-10 deadline?

The countdown to October 1, 2015 continues as we all wait to see if the implementation of ICD-10 really happens or not. Many of you have been using the ICD-9 code sets when billing medical insurance for procedures like TMJ, sleep apnea, and trauma. However, we are now seeing the use of diagnostic coding in the adoption of EHR and practices that are billing Medicaid. After October 1, we are going to see many more requirements for diagnostic coding. So how can you prepare?
  • Find out if your practice management software will be ready for ICD-10 by October 1. This is critical if you have already been including diagnostic codes on your claims because the insurance providers will start denying claims without ICD-10 after October 1. I reached out to the Dentrix product manager and Dentrix G6.1 will be ready for ICD-10 … but you will still be responsible for adding the codes into the system.
  • Make sure you are using the ADA 2012 claim form because it has been upgraded to accommodate diagnostic coding. Within Dentrix, you can use the DX2012 or the DX2012F claim form to add diagnostic codes. Email me directly at dayna@raedentalmanagement.com if you would like an instructional PDF from the ADA on how to fill out the claim form.
  • Check your state Medicaid requirements to find out what diagnostic codes will be required. If you are already billing Medicaid, you are already familiar with the ICD-9 coding and hopefully you have already been informed about the looming October 1 deadline. Email me directly if you need more information about Medicaid requirements.
  • Start asking the insurance payers if they will pay for additional services if you are submitting the proper diagnosis codes. Many dental plans are now paying for additional preventative cleanings because of the direct relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes and heart disease.

As I get more information about his topic, I will keep you informed as much as possible. However, you can do your own research by clicking on the links below. Also, email me if you would like any of the information I discussed in this blog.

CLICK HERE  for ICD and CDT Coding Examples, you must be an ADA member to use this service.

CLICK HERE for free reference tools on the ICD-10 codes

CLICK HERE for the definition and final release from the CDC



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Your hygiene department is the lifeblood of your practice

Do you sometimes feel a little out of touch with your recare patients? Do you think sometimes there are patients you haven’t seen for a while and you wonder where they are? Are you ready to take your hygiene department to the next level?

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. If set up properly, the Dentrix Continuing Care system will run like a well-oiled machine. Let’s look at the features that will help you generate accurate lists, give you some custom filter options, and streamline the process.

First, decide what continuing care types you want to track and make sure they are linked to the correct procedure code. Remember, you can only have one continuing care type per procedure code. Some examples might be:
  • PROPHY linked to D1110 and D1120
  • PERIO linked to D4910 and D4341
  • RECARE linked to D4910, D1110, and D1120

CLICK HERE for more information on linking up your continuing care types to procedure codes.

The next piece you want to think about is how you might filter your lists and what kind of customization you can do within the Dentrix Continuing Care system. You are dealing with different biological systems and personalities, so Sally might need to come in every 3 months for her prophy and want to be scheduled only with HYG1 and Michael might need to come in every 6 months for his prophy but want to see HYG4. How do you keep track of all these personalized settings? Its super easy!

On the Family File, double click on the Continuing Care box > highlight the Prophy and click edit. This will open a new window. Here you can edit the patient interval and select a specific hygienist of choice.

After you have customized the patient’s Continuing Care screen, you and your team can now generate customized lists with the push of a button. You can create a list for HYG1 patients and a different list for HGY4 patients. This can help your hygienists and front office team fill openings faster and feel confident your lists are accurate and up to date. CLICK HERE for more information on keeping your hygiene schedule full (make sure to read all three articles).