Thursday, December 2, 2021

New Location...Same Great Content


Dentrix Office Manager blog content can now be found in Dentrix Magazine.


Click the For Office Managers tab for instant access to articles and content specifically designed for you. 

Be sure to bookmark the new page and check back often for new content and use the Search Articles option to find topics that interest you.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Spread Some Holiday Cheer

 I know there has been some debate lately about when the appropriate time is to decorate your home and office for the holidays. Many people have already decorated, while others prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving. I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m excited to decorate but am restraining myself until after Thanksgiving. I love the holidays! There’s always such a warm and magical feeling in the air.

No matter when you decorate, now is a great time to think about spreading some holiday cheer to your team and your patients.


Donations

The holidays are a wonderful time to collect donations to help less fortunate people. I know of several offices that are requesting Thanksgiving donations from their team members and patients to share with their local food bank. The spirit of giving makes the holiday season so special. 2021 has been a difficult year for many people. Small acts of kindness can make such a difference in their world. 

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. It would be a nice gesture to send out a thank you card to your patients for their support over the last year. This could be done very easily and inexpensively by sending a newsletter via email using Patient Engage. Simply let your patients know that your office is thankful for them and you wish them a happy holiday season. This may also be an appropriate way to let them know your office schedule for Thanksgiving week, because many eating-related tooth problems happen this time of year! 

You can give thanks to your team for their hard work over the last year. Some offices may plan to have a meal together. If finances or schedules don’t allow for that, you could write a heartfelt thank you in a card, and it would be greatly appreciated by your team. 

Sharing

The holidays are a great time to increase your social media presence because there are so many things to post about! I once heard that a dental office should post on social media daily to be most relevant. The more visible your office is, the more patients you’ll attract. During the holiday season, there are so many possibilities for posting. Post pictures of your team dressed up in holiday hats. Or post pictures of your office after you’ve decorated. 

Spread the Cheer

A good marketing tool is to run holiday specials for products. For example, you could sell electric toothbrushes or gift certificates for teeth whitening. These make excellent holiday gifts and increase your office revenue. Be sure to create a procedure code in Dentrix for the product, if you don’t already have one, so that you can track the production generated by the holiday special to see if it will be beneficial to do again next year. 

These are just a few ideas of things you can do to incorporate the holiday season into your dental practice. I love the magical feeling that this time of year brings. The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on all that we are thankful for both at our dental offices and at home. I’m thankful for my readers and appreciate you taking the time to read my weekly blog. I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! You can always email me with your practice management and Dentrix 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.  

Thursday, November 11, 2021

A Wealth of Information Available in the Practice Advisor Report

One of my favorite reports in Dentrix is the Practice Advisor Report. It contains so much valuable information about your dental practice including production, collections, scheduling, case acceptance, and more. I suggest that you run this report on a monthly basis to review your practice statistics for the previous month, the current month-to-date, and the year-to-date. 

The Practice Advisor Report can also be a great tool for your practice consultant. If you don’t have a practice consultant, this report can serve as a practice consultant because it contains advice on how to improve areas of your practice that might be falling short of the recommended benchmarks. 

The Practice Advisor Report includes a range of benchmark recommended statistics. The recommendations vary based on the size of the practice and number of active patients. These recommendations are such a great guide to see if your practice is on track and how it compares to other practices.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the Practice Advisor Report:

Production

Production is broken down by provider type, dentist, and hygienist. You also have the option to view production based on an individual provider. This allows you to see which providers are excelling and which may need to improve. 

Case Acceptance

You can also track treatment case acceptance in the Practice Advisor Report. Based on your diagnosed and accepted treatment plans, you can see if those cases are being accepted by patients. Do you need to spend more time educating patients on their recommended treatment? Or if treatment isn’t being accepted due to financial obstacles, do you need to provide more financing options, like CareCredit?



Scheduling

You can view unfilled hours, which allows you to gauge the performance of your scheduling team. Are they filling holes in the schedule? Are they using tools like the ASAP List to fill last minute cancellations? The Practice Advisor Report also provides a value for those unfilled hours, which will show you lost revenue for unscheduled time.

Continuing Care

Continuing Care statistics lets you see the percentage of recall patients seen that have been appointed for their next visit. This allows you to see if the hygienist or hygiene coordinator is successfully able to pre-schedule appointments, which would save time working recall six months down the road. 


Collections

You can track your collections efforts including collections compared to production, account aging, and percentage of over-the-counter collections. This allows you to determine if patient estimates are being calculated accurately and if your administrative team is collecting at the time service.

Referrals

There’s a referral analysis, which breaks new patient numbers down based on referral source type, by patient, by doctor, or by marketing source. This allows you to easily track how new patients are being referred and if your marketing budget is being well spent. 


The footnotes at the end of the Practice Advisor Report are also very helpful. They give you insight on ways to improve areas where your office may not be within the recommended benchmark range.

The Practice Advisor Report can be a very powerful tool to show you the areas in your practice that are doing well, and other areas that may need improvement. You can use it as an objective source to show your staff where your practice should be based on industry standards and recommendations. Whether you work with a Dentrix Coach, a practice consultant, or you use the Practice Advisor Report and footnote recommendation within your practice, it can be a very beneficial tool for your office. 

For additional information, read the following:


If you have questions about the Practice Advisor Report, 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, November 3, 2021

Make the Most Out of Your Daily Huddle

How do you start your day in your dental practice? In my opinion, the best way to start every day is with a morning huddle. Many misunderstandings and missed production opportunities can be avoided by taking ten to fifteen minutes in the morning to discuss that day’s patients. 


Here are some things that are important to cover during the daily huddle to start your day off for success. 

Outstanding Balances

It’s important to be aware if any patients or their family members have an outstanding balance. It’s an opportune time to collect that balance while they’re in the office. If it’s a large balance, it may be a good idea to take them into a private area to answer any questions and discuss payment options. If they commit to a payment agreement, you can enter the payment agreement into the Dentrix Ledger and have them sign the authorization for your office to process payments. With the entire office being aware of outstanding balances during the daily huddle, the team can work together to make sure the financial coordinator has an opportunity to speak to the patient. 

Health History

The daily huddle is also a great time to discuss any important patient health conditions with both the clinical and administrative teams. For example, you could discuss which patients have to pre-medicate, and the administrative team can confirm that the patient did pre-medicate upon their arrival at the office. Or, if a patient has an extensive health history, you could bring it to the doctor’s attention to review before seeing the patient. Make sure to record any updated information in the Health History module in Dentrix.

Office Goals

You can discuss office goals during the daily huddle, including both production and collection goals. You can go over what was completed yesterday, what is scheduled for today, and where the office currently stands in relation to your monthly goals. If there is an opportunity to increase the day’s production with patients that have outstanding treatment, you discuss how to work those patients into the schedule. 

Patient Reviews

Bring patient reviews to the daily huddle. Telling the team about positive patient reviews can boost morale and start the day off on the right foot. 

Daily huddles are an important way to communicate about the upcoming day. By discussing the patients scheduled, you can avoid misunderstandings and missed opportunities to increase production. You can use the Daily Huddle Report in Dentrix to easily find most of the information I mentioned. You could have a team member print a copy to discuss during the morning meeting. The Daily Huddle Report is customizable so you can choose the information that you want to include to communicate to your team. 

If you have questions about the Daily Huddle Report, 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, October 27, 2021

3 Ways to Print Patient Totals for End-of-Year Accounting

As we are approaching the end of the year, many of your patients may need information regarding payments they’ve made to your office over the course of the year to use for their health savings accounts or for their taxes. There are several different ways you can print a patient's account information in Dentrix, depending on what type of information they need.

Billing Statements

You can generate a billing statement for the patient. If they want detailed account information for the entire year, you can change the Balance Forward Date to 01/01/2021, which would then print all procedures and payments for the entire year. Many health savings plans require procedure codes to be included on billing information and receipts. In the Office Manager, click Maintenance > Practice Setup > Preferences and click the Print Options tab. Under Print Display Options, select Use ADA Codes in Descriptions to include the American Dental Association procedure codes on billing statements.


One thing to keep in mind is that when you generate billing statements, they will include all family members on the account who have had a procedure or payment posted during the selected time period, but the patient may or may not want all family members to be included.

Patient or Family Ledger

Many offices prefer to print a Patient Ledger, but previous versions of Dentrix did not have the option to include procedure codes on the printed ledger. In Dentrix G7.5, when you select the option to Use ADA Codes in Descriptions in the Office Manager as I described earlier, the ADA codes will also be included on the printed Ledger. This is a great improvement because many offices prefer to print the Ledger. In the Office Manager, under Reports, click Ledger, and then either Patient’s Ledger or Family Ledger. Change the First Transaction Date to 01/01/2021. If you are printing the Patient Ledger for the patient to provide to their health savings account, I would suggest selecting the options to Include Guarantor Payments/Adjustments and List Individual Patient Balances for Family. You would want to include the payments so that the health savings account processor can see that the payment was made towards a dental procedure. By selecting the option to list individual patient balances, it’s clear if the individual patient (and not another family member) owes any remaining balance.


Search Payments

If the patient doesn’t need specific procedures and/or procedure codes included on their printouts but simply wants a printed account of any payments they made throughout the year, you can use the Search Payment feature in the Dentrix Ledger. You can search by the guarantor for the account you want to print, by date range and/or by payment type. If you want to include all patient payments, be sure to include all patient payment types. For example, select the options for Check Payment, Cash Payment and the various Credit Card payment types. 


This would be a great report for the patient to provide to their accountant for tax purposes since they would only need the total dollar amount of the patient payments and not the procedure information. 

There are several ways to print information for patients regarding payments they’ve made to your office throughout the year. When your patients request them, you can decide the best option based on the information the patient needs. If you have questions about how to print patient account information, or which option would be best for your patients, 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, October 20, 2021

Customizing Procedure Codes to Fit Your Office Workflow

There are many ways to customize Dentrix in order to make it work more efficiently for your office. In today’s post, we’ll talk about some ways you can edit the way procedure codes are set up so they work best with your office workflow. 

You’ll find the Procedure Code Setup in the Office Manager.  From the Maintenance menu, point to Practice Setup, and then click Procedure Code Setup. Select the procedure code category and individual procedure you want to customize, and the click Edit.


Patient Friendly Treatment Descriptions

You can customize a procedure’s Patient Friendly Description to reflect the verbiage that you use in your office. For example, instead of having a procedure code description of “Crown - porcelain/ceramic” for procedure code D2740, you could use a patient friendly description of “Tooth colored porcelain crown.” These patient friendly descriptions can be used on the patient’s printed treatment case so it’s easier for the patient to understand. 

Treatment Flags - Difficult Procedure

You can mark a procedure as difficult, which will flag that procedure for patients on the Day Sheet. This is a good tool to use if your doctor wants to call patients that had a difficult procedure performed that day to check on them. Adding the Difficult Procedure treatment flag makes it easy for the doctor to glance at the Day Sheet to know which patients had those procedures completed and may need a follow-up phone call. 

Treatment Flags - Show In Chart

If there are procedures that your office doesn’t ever complete, you can clear the Show in Chart treatment flag so those procedures don’t show in the Patient Chart. This reduces the risk of a team member accidentally selecting an incorrect procedure code from the Patient Chart and can also help streamline your treatment planning processes. 

Paint Type

The Paint Type is how a procedure appears when posted in the patient’s graphic chart. Many offices say that bridges don’t look like bridges in the Patient Chart. If that’s the case in your office, double-check the Paint Type assigned to the procedure in the Procedure Code Setup. You can also use Paint Type to document conditions. For example, some offices use the Circled Tooth paint type to indicate they are watching a tooth; others use the Watch Tooth paint type, which puts a W at the bottom of the tooth. The paint types you use for different procedures are based on the needs and preferences of your office. 

Do Not Update Patient Visit Dates

A patient’s first and last visit dates affect your new patient and active patient numbers and reports. If there are procedures that shouldn’t count towards a patient’s last visit date when set complete in the Patient Ledger, you can set up those procedure codes with the option of Do Not Update Patient Visit Dates. For example, if you have set up a procedure code for a missed appointment or for products, you can set these as Do Not Update Patient Visit Dates and still post them to the Ledger. 

Edit Note

You can attach automatic notes to procedure codes and then select whether you want them to copy to the procedure note or clinical note. This can save time when writing clinical notes. For example, if you always fabricate porcelain crowns in your office on a milling machine, you could edit the note for the porcelain crown procedure code and then mark it as Copy to Clinical Note to automatically attach the note stating that the crown was milled in-house. 


The Procedure Code Setup in the Office Manager helps you to customize and edit procedure codes to work more efficiently in your office. If you have questions, 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, October 13, 2021

3 Tools to Help Manage Accounts Receivable

Dentrix has several reports to help you manage your accounts receivable. The Aging Report, Insurance Aging Report, and the Collections Manager are all great tools to use to manage patient accounts within your practice.

Aging Report

The Aging Report provides you with information about all accounts with an outstanding balance in your office. The balances are a combination of both insurance and guarantor portions. The last page of the report breaks down total accounts receivable by age and shows whether the balance is current, over 30 days, over 60 days, or over 90 days past due. A good rule is to keep accounts over 90 days to less than 12 percent of your total accounts receivable. When you generate the Aging Report, it’s important to note that account credits are included in the totals unless you include a minimum balance to print when setting the filters for the report. If you include a minimum balance of $0.01, you’ll ensure that all outstanding balances are included in the report. You also have an option to include guarantor notes on the report, so if you’re entering account notes, you can easily see those notes right on the Aging Report.

Insurance Aging Report

The Insurance Aging report provides the account aging information for outstanding claims in your office, which can be used to follow up on the status of outstanding insurance claims. A good goal is to avoid any claims becoming over sixty days past due. One way to achieve this is to consistently follow up on insurance claims to check the status. You can do this on a weekly basis so you can ensure that if any claims require additional information, or need to be resent, you can do so right away and avoid claims becoming past due. In Dentrix G7.5 you can choose to include partially paid claims so you can continue to track them. If you’re using claim status notes, you can also include them on the report.

Collections Manager

The Collections Manager is a great tool to use to manage all accounts in your practice. My favorite things about the Collections Manager are:

  • It’s an interactive module where you can access other areas of the patient’s information like the Guarantor Notes, Office Journal, and Payment Agreement without leaving the Collections Manager. This is especially helpful when you are working with this report.
  • The Collections Manager view is customizable, so you can filter the information on the report to find only the accounts you want to see. For example, you may only want to view accounts over 60 days past due or if you want to exclude patients with a payment agreement, because you’ll be using the Payment Agreement Manager to manage those accounts. You can also choose what information you want to view by showing or hiding columns. This will also help you to view all the necessary information from one screen without having to open several different modules to work an account. 
Managing collections and accounts receivable is an important task in your office. You can use the Dentrix Aging Report, Insurance Aging Report, and Collections Manager to help you to keep accounts current and paid in a timely manner. If you have question about managing accounts receivable in your office, 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.