Monday, February 23, 2015

Best Practices for your team . . . daily

I have written many articles in my blog about all the different reports you should be looking at and the different statistics that are important to keep your eye on … but what is the “best practice” for these reports? Who should be looking at them and when? In the next three weeks, my goal is to give a guideline for these questions. I will be breaking it down into a daily, weekly, and monthly format and what each team member should be monitoring in his or her department.
This first week of the series, we are going to start with what you need to be looking at on a daily basis. 
·        Front Office or Back Office – Someone on the team needs to be looking at the daysheet and matching it up to what was scheduled for the day. This can be the office manager looking at the whole day or break it up with the dental assistant and hygienists looking at their own column of patients. You are looking to make sure that every patient who came in had the correct procedures posted and that nothing else was accidently set as “complete.”
·        Back Office – The clinical team needs to make sure that there was a clinical note written for every patient you saw in your chair that day. If you are chartless, the easiest way to do this is to filter the view with completed work and clinical notes in the patient chart on the progress notes tab. For more on this, CLICK HERE for more information.
·        Office Manager – There are a couple of management statistics I would check on a daily basis because it will make reviewing the monthly numbers a whole lot easier if you have monitored it throughout the month. All these numbers can be found on the Daily Huddle Report, CLICK HERE for more information.
o   New Patients – Make sure every new patient who is entered has a referral source so your doctor knows how the patients are finding his or her office. Also, this is a good time to write out your thank you notes to referral sources and your new patients.
o   Case Acceptance – How much was diagnosed vs. how much was scheduled? If this is low, check to see if the treatment plan was scheduled and not marked as completed.
o   Collections - If collections for the day were low, why?
o   Production – Are you on track for the month?
If you look at these numbers on a daily basis, then you will have a much better chance for success of meeting your monthly goals. You also have time to make adjustments in your schedule and systems if you don’t wait to the last minute.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Get creative with your patient chart

When you are traveling down the path to paperless, the computer IS your patient chart and the clinical documentation becomes one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. You no longer have your blue and red indelible pencils to draw in the existing fillings, put Xs on the missing teeth, and mark up the tooth chart the way you want it. The goal with an electronic chart is to make it look as accurate as possible so when you are discussing the treatment plan or when the doctor walks in for the exam, there are no assumptions and there is no misguided information.

Let’s get a little creative and learn some of the tips and tricks you can do with your Dentrix software to make the patient chart look as accurate as possible.

Remember when you were treatment planning that occlusal pit composite filling or the MOD that covered the entire mesial cusp and you could get out your colored pencils and color away? You can do the same thing in Dentrix. Just click on the Cusps/Pits button and select the paint type you want. If the filling has already been treatment planned and you want to change the look of the filling, just right click and click on Edit Surface Painting.

Remember in the paper chart you could pick up your pencil and draw in a lingual bar retainer or circle something you wanted to remember? With the Chart Notations, you can do exactly that. On the tool bar, select the Chart Notations icon and then select the color and size of pen you want. Use your mouse to freehand draw on the tooth chart. If you want to erase your drawings, then select the eraser tool.

What about the patient who had 4-bi extractions during ortho when they were a teenager? You don’t want it to look like they have missing teeth. What about the patient who has a large diastema between 8 and 9? Using Conditions can create a visual picture of the patient’s mouth. Here are some common conditions to use:
1.      Drifting Mesial – Use this for missing teeth when the space has been closed. This paint type will put arrows to show the space has been closed.

2.      Open Contact – Use this for diastemas and open space between teeth

3.      Unerupted – Use this condition when the tooth is below the gum line. Using this condition will also cause the perio chart to skip the tooth.

Here are some other blog posts on clinical charting:
CLICK HERE for video on treatment options
CLICK HERE for a great way to review clinical notes

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The clock is ticking . . . June 1st deadline

The clock is ticking to your June 1st, 2015, deadline for Medicare enrollment. Yes, you heard me correctly. Your office has until June 1st to choose which type of Medicare enrollment is best for your practice. I first wrote about this back in October 2014 when I got the news and it was one of the least-read blogs of all time. For those of you who didn't read it, CLICK HERE to be re-directed.

We all know how government paperwork can be, so don't dilly dally around and lose track of time. If you want me to send you a Medicare enrollment guidance information sheet, I would be more than happy to do so. Just send me an email to and in the subject line put Medical enroll.