Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dentrix Continuing Care, Part 1 of 3

An effective recall system is an important part of any dental practice. It is the key to a successful hygiene department. Although many offices try to pre-appoint patients before they leave the office, there are usually patients who don’t schedule or who cancel their appointments. It is crucial to have a good tracking system for patients so that you can follow up.

Dentrix Continuing Care is designed to do just that. It tracks when a patient last had a continuing care procedure, like a prophy or x-rays, and when they are due next. If it is set up correctly, Dentrix will prompt you to schedule the patient’s next appointment and patients will show up on continuing care lists which you can use to find patients without a scheduled appointment. I have found some offices don’t know how to properly set up continuing care initially so that Dentrix does the work for you.

A continuing care type is a term used to describe specific procedures that are completed on a recurring schedule for the patient. For example, a continuing care type named PROPHY could consist of a cleaning and an exam every six months. A continuing care type is tied to a procedure code. When you set that procedure code complete from the Appointment Book, Dentrix will ask you if you want to create a new continuing care appointment. You can use this feature to schedule the patient’s next appointment. If the procedure code is not set up correctly with the continuing care attached, Dentrix can’t function as designed.

To check which continuing care type a procedure code is attached to, open the Dentrix Office Manager. Click Maintenance > Practice Setup > Procedure Code Setup. Find the procedure code and click Edit. Highlight the Continuing Care Type you want to assign to this procedure code then click Select. Save the changes you made in the Procedure Code Setup and Close.


It is important to note that a procedure code can only be attached to one continuing care type.  For example, the code D1110 (Adult Prophy) can’t be attached to both the PROPHY and PERIO continuing care types. 

However, a continuing care type can be attached to multiple procedure codes. 


For example, if you attached procedure code D1110 to the continuing care type PROPHY, you can also have procedure code D1120, a Child Prophy, attached to the same PROPHY continuing care type. 

Once these procedure codes are attached to the PROPHY continuing care type, any time a patient has D1110 or D1120 set complete from the Appointment Book, Dentrix will prompt you to schedule their next appointment for those procedures and the Dentrix Continuing Care system will calculate their next due date according to the interval you’ve set up for that patient and that continuing care type.

Join me next week and we will talk about how to customize Dentrix Continuing Care intervals on an individual patient basis. As always, feel free to contact me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

School’s Out, Get Those Patients In!

It’s summer time and school is out! Now is the perfect time to schedule appointments for children and college students who may have had limited availability during the school year. Throughout the school year many children play sports or participate in other after-school activities, and parents don’t have time to bring them to dental appointments. Summer is also the time when college students who have been away for school are back in town. This makes summer the ideal time for those patients to come in for their hygiene appointments as well as for any outstanding treatment.

In Dentrix, you can create custom lists of patients you can contact about scheduling their appointments using two different filters.

You'll want to narrow down your list to only include children and college-age patients based on their birthday.

Open the Dentrix Office Manager, select Letters & Custom Lists, and then select Misc. From the list, select Patient Report (by filters) and click the Edit button.


Make sure all filters are cleared out before you begin. Otherwise your list will be limited and incomplete. Then set the following filters a) birthday, b) continuing care, and c) procedures:



First, click the Search button (>>) next to Birthday, and enter a beginning date and ending date for the birthdays you want to search for. For instance, if you want to search for school-aged children between the ages of 5 and 18, you would enter 01/01/2000-12/31/2013. Be sure to check Search as Date Range so that your search finds all patients with birthdays within that date range, then select OK.



Then, click the Search button next to Continuing Care and enter a Due Date range. For example, to find patients due during the summer months, enter the Due Date from 06/01/2018 to 09/01/2018. Then choose PROPHY from the Continuing Care Type list, choose the option to include patients Without Attached Appointment, then click OK. This will give you a list of school-aged patients who are due for a prophy between June 1st and September 1st and do not already have an appointment.




Then, if you also want to find which of these school-aged patients are overdue for hygiene visits, and who also have outstanding treatment, you could add a third filter. Click the Search button next to Procedures. Check the Treatment Plan option, and leave the procedure code range set from <ALL> to <ALL>. And click OK.



Only patients that meet the three filtering criteria (birthdate range, overdue for prophy, and have unscheduled treatment) should appear on our list. We’ll generate that list using the List Manager.
The List Manager is an interactive workable list.  From the list you can click a patient’s name and access other Dentrix modules like the Family File or the Patient Chart which can be useful to have accessible when contacting patients and scheduling appointments.



By using the Patient Report (by filters) to find a filtered list of patients, and then working with the list of matching results in the Dentrix List Manager, you can easily identify groups of patients like school-aged children and college students  you can contact about treatment. 


It’s beneficial for the patients and the practice to contact these patients and schedule their appointments while school is out. The patients have more flexible schedules which makes it more convenient for them to come in for appointments. Contacting these patients can help you fill open appointment times in your schedule. For more information or questions about Patient Reports or the Dentrix List Manager, please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Charting Referred Procedures

Have you needed to find the date a referred procedure was completed? For example, a patient is in the chair and the doctor needs to know when the patient’s implant was placed, or a root canal was completed. Charting referred procedures in the Dentrix Patient Chart can help in several ways. The patient’s chart is more accurate, and it gives you the information you need quickly instead of having to search for it in a paper chart or the patient’s Document Center.

When you chart referred procedures, you can also help to generate production. Because the referred procedures are there in the Patient Chart, your doctor can easily see that an implant was placed 3 months ago and is ready to restore. Then you can schedule the patient’s appointment for the implant restoration while the outstanding treatment is still fresh in their mind and they are motivated to schedule. Or perhaps, if your office allows for it, you can provide treatment the same day. That can greatly increase your daily production.

When a procedure is treatment planned in the Patient Chart you can double click on the procedure and mark it as Referred To Doctor.


This will put a symbol (R>) next to the procedure to show it has been referred, and it will change the fee to 0.00. The referred procedure still prints on the patient’s printed Treatment Plan Case, which I like, because it communicates to the patient that procedure needs to be done and if you have set visits in their treatment plan, the patient knows in what order the treatment should be completed.

Once the treatment has been completed by the doctor you referred the patient to, you can mark the procedure as completed in the Patient Chart. Because it was done by another provider, the procedure will have an Existing Other status in the Patient Chart and show as Existing Other in the graphic chart.

 For example, I like the visual of seeing the unrestored endo tooth because it reminds me that the crown still needs to be scheduled. 
Plus, did you know you can print a referral right from the Patient Chart? This can save time having to hand write a referral and then scan that referral into the Dentrix Document Center. After you have marked a procedure as Referred To Doctor in the Patient Chart, click on File > Print > Referral Slip.


The date range will default to today’s date, but you can change the date range as needed to include the date of the referred procedure. You also have the option to write an additional note on the bottom of the referral if there is something you need to communicate to the referred to doctor. 

Charting referred procedures in the Patient Chart can save you time. You no longer have to search for information, it will all be in one place. The Patient Chart will be more accurate with a record of all procedures including those that were referred out to another doctor. If you have questions or comments on this topic, you can email me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.