Thursday, March 17, 2016

Accurate Family Balance or Accurate Patient Balance . . . you choose

In my last post, I talked about the fact that I love how many things in Dentrix can be customized to fit the needs of the practice, from the toolbars to colors on the patient chart. In addition to visual customizations, you can also change the way payments are handled in the ledger as they are applied to the providers and specific patients. You would think that every office would want to handle payments and track collections the same, but this is not the case. Many offices I work with find it is easier to post all the payments to the guarantor and the primary provider, but many offices are very particular about itemizing out the payment to the rendering provider and the specific patient ledger. However your practice handles payments, I think it would be a good time to help you understand how each allocation method affects your patient ledgers.

If you want to walk through it with me, go to your Office Manager > Maintenance > Preferences, under the General Options tab in the upper left area is the Default Payment/Adjustment Allocation settings.
  • ·        Provider
    • Split by Provider will separate out the patient payment to pay off each producing provider. Your insurance claims already do this … so why not split the personal payments as well?
    • To Patients Primary Provider will apply the entire personal payment to the patient’s primary provider (PROV1 on family file) regardless of who the producing provider is. This decision will give too much collections to one provider and, if you run a Provider A/R report, the payments and accounts receivable will be lopsided.
  • ·        Patient
    •  Family account will post the entire payment to the guarantor. The result of doing this will be an accurate family balance, but incorrect patient balances.
    • Current patient will post the personal payment only to the patient ledger you are logged onto currently.
    • Split by Family Members is a new feature with G6. It allows you to take one payment and distribute it out to multiple family members with one step. The result of doing this will be more accurate patient balances because it looks across the entire family account for patients with a balance. PLEASE NOTE: if you have archived a patient with a balance and you are using this new feature, it will pull that patient out of archive to apply a payment.
  • ·Split Method
    • Percentage Payments will equally distribute the patient payment between any providers who has a balance.
    • FIFO (first in first out) will pay off the oldest provider balance first.
    • Guarantor Estimate is always my first choice. What this allocation method will do is look at any current treatment with an insurance claim pending and allocate the patient payment depending on the insurance estimate. After it has allocated the payment to the estimated patient portion of the claim, it will revert to FIFO.
    • Equal payments is very similar to the percentage payments method but will just split the payment into equal payments instead of a percentage.

Why does one office choose an allocation method over another? Well, it depends on how you track collections and how important it is to you to have accurate patient ledgers. I want you to choose the method that fits your practice that is why there are lots of choices. Email me directly if you want to discuss this one-on-one.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Create an environment for efficiency and accuracy with customizing your toolbars

What do I love about Dentrix? I love the fact that you can customize almost anything. I realize that some people think that too many choices leads to confusion and lack of efficiency, but I think the exact opposite. If you can narrow down the choices to exactly what you want in your practice on your monitor, on your reports, on your toolbar, etc., I feel it makes things more precise and streamlined.

I have written a lot of articles on building customized templates, clinical charting button sets, and creating consistent views for the treatment rooms. This systematic type of setup creates an environment where team members thrive on routine and it also creates fewer mistakes. I often hear during training sessions, “What do all these icons do?” or “Do I really need all these icons on my toolbar?” Well . . . the answer is not usually.

In the treatment room workstations, just like you create custom button sets and appointment book views, I would recommend removing several of the icons from the toolbar that your clinical team will never use in the operatory. By cleaning up the toolbars, the eyes have less to scan through which helps make you more efficient. There are two different ways to clean up your toolbars . . .  

The toolbars on the Patient Chart have a drop down menu where you can add and remove items by checking and unchecking. I would recommend setting all the toolbars exactly the same in every treatment room because when the doctor, assistant, or hygienist has to go work in a different room, you want it to look the same. Here are a few icons you could remove (not should, but could) from the toolbars on the Patient Chart. If you decide to remove more than what I have listed, be my guest.

  •  DxWeb – In my last blog, you learned that this runs on only one computer (usually a front office computer) so there is no need for it in the back.
  • DentriXlink – Unless you are bridging a piece of technology (imaging, CT scan, etc) with Dentrix, you will not use this icon in the back.
  • QuickLetters – Most clinical room computers are not equipped with Microsoft Word so this will not work without Word.
  • Send Message – Most clinical room computers are not equipped with Microsoft Outlook so this will not work without using Outlook. Also, you would want to send out any protected patient information using a secure email server.
  • Treatment Manager – This icon will pull up a report on unscheduled treatment. Since this is a managerial report and will require a phone to be handy so you can call the patient, this icon will typically not be used in the clinical room.
  • Marketplace – Even though the Marketplace has some awesome tools that work with your Dentrix software, I hope that the clinical team members are not shopping while they are seeing patients. This can be removed from the clinical room computers.
On all the other modules (Appointment Book, Family File, Ledger, Office Manager), you will need to right click on the empty space on the toolbar to add, remove, and move around the icons. Here are a few recommendations for which workstations should have what on their toolbar.

  • If you are using Perfect Day Scheduling in your practice, then I would make sure that it is turned on the clinical room computers so you can see all the blocks but then remove this icon off the appointment book. I have seen Perfect Day Scheduling get accidentally turned off and then all the blocks disappear off the schedule.
  • The DxWeb icon can be removed from the computers where it does not run every day.
  • The DentriXlink can be removed from the administrative modules if you want.

Keeping your toolbars consistent and clean will create an environment of efficiency and accuracy. Like I said before, “I love how much I can customize Dentrix. It is a wonderful thing!”

Thursday, March 3, 2016

What is the difference between the WebSync and the eSync?

Doctor asks his front desk manager, Tina, “What is that spinning globe thing that runs on my computer at 4 p.m. every day?” Tina replies, “I have no idea, I just abort it when it comes up. It’s so annoying.” The doctor then asks, “Is it something with Dentrix?” and Tina says “Yeah, but not sure what it does.”

Is this a conversation you have had in your practice? Let me clear the air so you can understand what exactly that spinning globe thing is. There are two applications that run on your computers every day, the WebSync and the eSync. They do completely different things, but the one thing they have in common is that they keep many of your eServices running smoothly and up to date. Here are the things you must know about this. . .
  • ·        WebSync sends information out. When you use some of the Dentrix eServices, there is information that is sent out to the Dentrix servers so it can be accessed from certain applications. For example, if you are using Dentrix Mobile, the Websync will send patient information, prescription history, and bits of your appointment book to the Dentrix servers so you can access it from anywhere. The WebSync checks your appointment book to see what patients are scheduled so it can upload that information to the Insurance Eligibility feature, the Kiosk for electronic forms, and to the Communication Manager for appointment reminders using email, text, and postcards.
  • ·        The eSync brings information back in. If you are using the Questionnaire module for electronic forms and patients are filling out forms via a link from your website or iPad, then the eSync brings that electronic form into your Dentrix software so you can attach it to the patient record. The eSync also brings in those appointment confirmations from the eCentral Communication Manager and changes the status of the appointment to confirm.
  • ·        The WebSync runs once a day on one computer. You may want to go around to all your workstations and check the setup in the WebSync Wizard. Click on the DXWeb toolbar > click on the wrench or gear > click on WebSync Wizard and, on the second page in the upper right corner, check “Do not run WebSync automatically.” This will turn it off on this workstation. Then set it to run automatically from one computer (I recommend one of the front office computers that will stay on 24/7).
  • ·        The eSync runs in real time 24/7. When a patient fills out an electronic form or clicks the button to confirm their appointment, the eSync recognizes that right away and sends the information to your Dentrix software immediately.

Both the WebSync and the eSync require for you to keep them updated so you always have the latest features and security updates to make sure your software is running to its fullest potential. If you click on the eSync (big red e) and open the Plug In Manager, there is a tab for Available Updates, this is where you will see any updates that need to be done. The WebSync should download any new updates if it is running each day.

I hope this helps clear up any questions or confusion about the differences between eSync and WebSync. Communications is a key component to all dental practices now days and it is important for you to maintain the integrity of the information.