Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Letter Merge vs. Quick Letters

In my last post, I talked about sending out a letter as a reminder to patients who have unused dental benefits and also have unscheduled treatment. After I wrote that blog, I started to think, “Does everyone know how to use the Dentrix Quick Letters and the Dentrix Letter Merge features?” Today, I would like to spell out the difference in the two features and also give you some instructions on how to customize your own letter.
  • Quick Letters works wonders when you want to send a customized letter to one patient. You can merge personalized patient information into the letter without having to manually type in the information. For example, you can merge patient name, address, remaining insurance benefits, patient balance, last payment date or last visit date.
  • The Letter Merge feature is amazing for sending out a bulk set of letters to a group of patients. This is a great way to target a list of patients who fit your specific parameters and you want to send them out a customized letter with the same content. For example, you could send a letter to patients with a specific medical alert, insurance company or who have had a particular procedure code set complete.

No matter which feature you use, the procedure of adding the letter into Dentrix is basically the same. The first thing to remember about adding a new letter into your system is that it must be saved in the Dentrix letter folder. You cannot just save it on your desktop or C: drive. How do you find your Dentrix letter folder? Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Preferences > then click on the Paths tab. You will see the Letter Template Path and click on Open Folder. This will take you to where all your custom Dentrix letters reside. Now that you know where to save your letter, you are ready to create your own letter.

Now, if you have a letter already built, you could open it, add in the merge fields and then save it to your Dentrix letter folder or you could build a new letter from scratch, add the merge fields and save it in your Dentrix letter folder. In Dentrix G4 PP8 update, there was an add-in for Microsoft Word 2007 or higher to make it easier for you to add the merge fields into your letter. You will find this add-in under the Mailings tab in MS Word. The merge fields help take an ordinary letter and make it personal. After you have created your letter and saved it into the Dentrix letter folder, you are ready to add it to your Quick Letters or the Letter Merge.
  • For Quick Letters, open up the feature and click on New, select Browse and it will take you to the Dentrix Letter folder. Find your letter, highlight it and click on Open. Now just give your letter a name and you are good to go. It will show up in the list alphabetically by title. If you need to edit your template, click on Edit Template. When you are ready to mail your letter, click on Build View. NOTE: When you build a letter, make sure you do not click on Save because it will write over the top of your merge fields. My recommendation would be to print one copy of the letter to send to your patient and print one to the Dentrix Document Center to save a perfect copy.
  • To add your new customized letter into the Dentrix Letter Merge feature, go to the Office Manager > Letters & Custom Lists, select a category and click on New and it will open the Letter Merge window. Click on Browse in the upper right corner to find your letter, highlight it then click on Open. You can have your custom letter in both the Letter Merge and the Quick Letters. Now give your letter a name in the upper left corner and you are good to go. When you are ready to create a list of patients to send this letter to, you will come back here to the Letter Merge and select Edit instead of New. Then select your parameters for the patient list, click OK and then Create Letters.

I realize letters might seem old school, but in some cases, they can make an enormous impact. People these days don’t expect to receive a letter in the mail so, when they do, they open it because it might be important. It is so easy these days to ignore or delete emails but it is harder to ignore a letter sitting on the kitchen counter. It will get opened and read.


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