Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Progress Notes vs. Clinical Notes

As you start to use the patient chart more and more, it is important to understand the difference between the Progress Notes tab and the Clinical Notes tab at the bottom of the patient chart module. The reason I feel it is important is because they show different things and sometimes offices get confused with the language. I also want to show you how these two modules work together and how you can make your chart review each day a lot easier.

  • Progress Notes: Progress Notes keeps track of procedure codes and the status of those procedure codes. You will also notice there are columns of information with symbols and things that I will explain. These symbols will help you visually to know if there is more information about that procedure code.
    • The Date, Tooth, Surface, Description and Provider columns are all pretty self-explanatory so I will not go into a lot of detail about these.
    • “N” column = If you see a musical note here, it means there is a note on the procedure code. I love this note box for the diagnosis and the reason why you are treatment planning that procedure. For information about this note box, CLICK HERE.
    •  “R” column = If you see a > in this box, it means this procedure has been referred out to a specialist. So it would be very common to see a musical note for the reason why along with a > for the referral. For more information about referring out treatment, CLICK HERE.
    • “D” column = If you see a D show up in this box, it means that someone has added a diagnostic code to this procedure code. Now this field is not being used very much yet because the dental industry has not yet adopted a universal diagnostic coding system and the insurance companies are not yet requiring it.
    •  “M” column = If you see a triangle in this field, it means that this procedure code has been flagged for medical cross-coding. If you see a solid triangle, it means that this code has been billed to medical. For more about medical billing, you can CLICK HERE.
    • Status = There are four statuses you will see here; EO = existing other, E = existing, TP = treatment plan and C = completed. Any procedure code that has a C in this column will match the ledger.
    • Amount = The amount you are charging the patient for the procedure.
  • Clinical Notes: The clinical notes tab is what happened today. This is where you will write up the materials used, anesthetic, next visit and anything else that happened during the appointment or anything that was discussed during the clinical portion of the visit. The clinical notes can be written using templates and signed with an electronic signature device. To read more about clinical note templates, please CLICK HERE.

One feature I think is really cool is that you can merge the Progress Notes with the Clinical Notes for an easy patient chart review. If you want to read more details on how to do this, please read my blog titled “Read your clinical notes like you used to” by CLICKING HERE.




Dayna Johnson, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Dayna loves her work. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental industry, and she’s passionate about building efficient, consistent, and secure practice management systems. Dayna knows that your entire day revolves around your practice management software—the better you learn to use it, the more productive and stress-free your office will be. In 2016, Dayna founded Novonee ™, The Premier Dentrix Community, to help cultivate Dentrix super-users all over the country. Learn more from Dayna at www.novonee.com and contact Dayna at dayna@novonee.com.


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