Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Don't Overlook the Dentrix eDex Module!

The eDex module is available in Dentrix versions G6 and newer. eDex is an electronic contact list and directory. It’s like the Rolodex you used to keep on your desk with all your important phone numbers and addresses.  eDex puts contact information at your fingertips, which can eliminate the need for you to store this information on paper. Post-its with phone numbers or business cards can easily be misplaced or lost and if they are in your desk drawer, no one else in the office has access to them. Having contacts right in Dentrix eliminates the chance of these contacts being lost and allows the entire team to access the information.

I’ve found that many offices aren’t familiar with eDex or it’s features, so I wanted to provide you with some more information.

The eDex icon is available in many Dentrix modules, including the Appointment Book, Family File, Patient Chart, Ledger, and Office Manager.


eDex comes with thirteen pre-set categories. These categories are generated from the information already in your Dentrix database and help you to filter the information you want to see. They pre-set categories are:
  • Active Patients
  • Inactive Patients
  • Archived Patients
  • Non-Patients
  • Employers
  • Insurance Carriers
  • Labs
  • Pharmacies
  • Primary Care Physician
  • Providers
  • Referred By
  • Referred To
  • Staff

Remember though, that this information will only be complete and accurate if you are entering it when you create new patient account, or when you update patient information from paper or online forms.

Two great things about eDex are that 1) you can filter your Dentrix database to search for contacts and information and 2) that you can also add your own contacts or create additional categories.

To filter your database, open eDex and click the Filter icon.



Check the box for the category of information you want to see.


When filtering by Employer, Insurance Carrier, Referred By and Referred To, a list of attached patient’s names will be displayed along with a total number of patients. This can be a quick reference as to how many patients are attached to employers, insurance carriers and referral sources rather than having to generate a report to get this information.

When you filter by Insurance Carrier, covered patients and an insurance coverage table based on that carrier and group plan will be listed.


You also have an option to add notes for the insurance plan within eDex and create note templates as well.

When filtering eDex by Patient, the patient’s next appointment will be listed, and you have the ability to update the Appointment Status or go directly to the appointment from within eDex.


eDex also allows you to create your own categories and contacts. This is a great place to store contacts like your equipment repair service, office cleaning services, your IT guy, or pharmacies you use for prescriptions. Storing these contacts in eDex eliminates the need for you to keep these contacts on paper or as a collection of business cards.

Dentrix eDex serves two purposes. The first is a way to filter your Dentrix database and give you information quickly without having to move to another Dentrix module or generate a report. The second is to provide you with a place to store office contacts so they are easily accessible.

For additional information, read these helpful blog tips about the eDex module:



If you have questions about eDex or the benefits of using it in your office, 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, July 24, 2019

Don't Limit Yourself to Just Attaching Documents to Patients...

You’re probably familiar with the Document Center, and how you can use it to store scanned documents in Dentrix. But here’s some things you may not know about the Dentrix Document Center:

You can avoid printing paper copies of documents (such as emails from referring doctors) and turning right around and scanning them into the Document Center. You can simply send those documents straight to the Document Center. While in another program, like Microsoft Word, print your document. When you have the option to print, instead of selecting a physical printer on your network, select the Send to Dentrix Document Center option. Instead of printing on paper, the document will be sent to the Unfiled Documents folder in the Document Center. From there the document can easily be attached to patients. Save time and paper by avoiding printing and scanning!

Most often, you’ll attach documents to individual patients in the Document Center but consider attaching documents to other sources as a way of further organizing them.
  • By Provider/Staff - Documents can be attached by a provider or staff member in the Document Center for future reference. Examples of Documents you may want to attach to providers or staff could be copies of forms or articles you may want to refer to in the future.
  • By Employer - Documents can also be attached by employer. For example, you may want to attach a document listing insurance companies a particular employer offers, to that employer in the Document Center.
  • By Dental Insurance or Medical Insurance - Attaching documents such as coverage tables by insurance carrier would prevent you from having to remember benefit information for the insurance you accept and can refer to it when patient have questions about their benefits. 
  • By Referred To or Referred By - For specialists you refer patients to, you may have a copy of a referral or a map to their office to attached to the referred doctor within the Document Center. 
To attach a document to a source, open the Dentrix Document Center, select the document you want to assign, select Edit > Modify Document Attachments. Then click the > button and search for the individual the source(s) you want to attach the document to.


A document can be attached to more than one source. For example, you can scan a patient’s insurance card and attach it both the Patient, and to the Dental Insurance Plan. Or a specialist referral could be attached to the Patient and the Referred To provider. When you attach a document to multiple sources, the same document is visible in each source’s Document Center. 

It’s easy to view the Document Center based on the source of information you wish to see. For example, if you want to view documents that are attached a specific provider, from the Document Center, click View > By Provider/Staff and then select the provider whose documents you want to view. 

Organizing documents and assigning attachments can make it quicker and easier to find the information you are searching for. Being more organized and having information more readily available to you can help your office be more efficient. 

If you have questions, 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, July 17, 2019

Route Slips or Patient Visit Forms: Which is Right for Your Office?

Offices that are “paperless” can still require some paper. In Dentrix, you have two different paper options that can help to complete a successful patient transition throughout the office: the Patient Visit Form, or a route slip. Both are beneficial to use at different points during the patient appointment. Route slips and Patient Visits Forms are documents that have pertinent patient information such as their health history, outstanding treatment, account balance, and insurance information can be very useful to use throughout the patient’s appointment.

These forms can be used in the morning meeting or Daily Huddle and discuss topics among the team such as:
  • Patients with Health History items that may require extra attention
  • Patients who need to stop at the front desk and pay their account balance
  • Patients with outstanding treatment that needs to be scheduled
A route slip or Patient Visit Form can also be a useful tool for the clinical team to refer to when the patient is being treated in the operatory. Staff members can easily see what the patient is coming in for, and if there is any outstanding treatment that we may be able to add to today’s appointment. The route slip or Patient Visit Form can also provide a good place for the assistant and hygienist to make quick notes which they can refer to when writing their clinical notes.
I find that having a route slip or Patient Visit Form can be especially useful during patient checkout. Any additional procedures that were added to the patient’s appointment can be noted on either of these forms and handed to the front desk. This eliminates communication problems if the front desk team is busy while the patient is brought to the desk to check out. 

Patient route slips and the Patient Visit Form each have important information that is useful to your office staff. Which form you choose to use in your office will depend on the type of information you want to see. 

Route Slips

The route slip is very clean and easy to read. It includes Patient Notes (from the Family File), the patient’s Health History, patient account balance and insurance information, continuing care information for the patient and other family members in their Family File (including scheduled appointments for those types of procedures), and treatment plan information. 



While I like the route slips, they aren’t customizable, and some offices prefer to choose what type of information is being displayed. 

Patient Visit Forms

If you would prefer to customize your form, you should use the Patient Visit Form, which allows you to display or hide patient information including Patient Notes, patient alerts, account information, insurance information and more. 


You also have the option save these settings as the default for when you generate them in the future.

Choose what you want to display on your Patient Visit Forms.

I recommend you view both the patient route slip and the Patient Visit Form for an upcoming patient appointment. Review it with your team and determine which is best for your office based on the type of information you want to see.

For additional information, see the following topics in Dentrix Help:

Email me with questions 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, July 10, 2019

Building and Maintaining a Strong Team

As I was watching the USA women’s soccer team play in the World Cup this past weekend (and win!), I started thinking about the importance of teamwork. Teamwork is important not only in sports but also in other areas of our lives including the workplace. Sometimes, it can be difficult to get the staff at your dental office to behave as a team, but when they do, it can create a more pleasant working environment, which can result in better care for your patients. Here are some tips to help your staff better interact as a team.


  1. Each position in your office should have a job description. When a new employee is hired, take the time to go over the description of the job, and what is expected of them. This can help to prevent ambiguity and make it clear what their responsibilities are. In my experience, employees preform better and are happier with structure.
  2. Assign mundane tasks and chores like cleaning the break room or sterilizing instruments to the entire team. If one person feels like they are always doing the chores while their co-worker goes home early, it can create resentment and negativity among the staff.
  3. Communicate constantly. I think morning meetings and monthly business meetings are a great way to communicate and make sure the whole team is on the same page. In the morning meetings, cover the upcoming day’s patients and topics the team needs to be aware of. The monthly business meeting is a good time to cover production and collection goals and to review office procedures and policies.
  4. Have fun with your team! I’ve found that doing team-building activities can help to promote a positive team mentality. It can be nice to get out of the office and get to know each other on a personal level. Some ideas for team building activities are an escape room, a fun run/walk, a sports event, or a simple lunch. These activities don’t need to be frequent or expensive but can be a nice way to create a team mindset.
  5. Approach any misunderstandings as soon as possible. Sometimes, your staff may have misunderstandings or disagreements. I find it’s best to resolve these types of issues right away to stop any negativity that may affect the rest of the team. Meet with both parties, listen to both sides of the story, and come to a fair resolution. This way your team won’t become divided. 
Having your staff work as a team can help to create a more pleasant work environment for everyone. When each player plays their position efficiently, your practice will run smoother and be more productive. By working as a team, you can also provide better patient care.

For more information, read the Building that Illusive Winning Team article from the Dentrix Magazine online archive.

If you have any questions about this topic, please 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.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Some Thoughts About Clinical Notes

Having accurate clinical notes is very important in your dental office because clinical notes are the record of the patient’s treatment. It’s so important that each clinician document accurate clinical notes and electronically sign them. Clinical notes can make or break your doctor in the case of a lawsuit or complaint. When it comes to clinical notes, I live by the motto, “If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen!” 

Since these notes are so important, what can you, as an office manager do to ensure these notes are accurate in order to protect your practice? Start by creating clinical note templates in the Dentrix Patient Chart.

Clinical note templates are completely customizable, and you can choose to include procedures your doctor preforms, drugs he or she prescribes, and materials used in your practice. You can also choose to include important additional notes in your templates. 




For example, I live in Florida, and with the opioid crisis being such an epidemic, as of July 1, 2019 the state requires doctors who prescribe an opioid to counsel those patients on the risks. Doctors should also provide them with an informational pamphlet informing them of opioid alternative pain medications. This is something I’ve included in the clinical note template when prescribing an opioid, to ensure that it is noted that the required procedures were done.

Another important factor concerning clinical notes, is the need for the doctor and hygienists to electronically sign their notes. Usually hygienists can do this once they’ve completed their note. 


Signed notes appear in gray, and indicate the date they were signed, and the staff member who signed them.
For doctors who have their assistants write their notes, I recommend the doctor review the notes at the end of the day. After checking the note is accurate, the doctor can sign the note. Signing the note locks it down so it can no longer be edited. This helps to protect your practice and ensures notes aren’t being altered. If something needs to be added to the note, you can add an addendum to it

Detailed, accurate clinical notes can help to protect your practice, and by using clinical note templates in the Patient Chart, you can be sure this is done properly. As the office manager, assign an assistant to create the doctor’s templates, and assign a hygienist to create the ones they will use.  Once set up, the templates are accessible from all computers in the office.

Not only can using clinical note templates correctly help to protect your practice by keeping a detailed and accurate record, but they can also save clinical staff time when writing their notes. 
If you have any questions about why clinical notes are so important, 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.