Monday, July 22, 2013

No speak English . . . no worries

Is your practice located in an area with a high concentration of non-English-speaking patients? Do you find it challenging to discuss treatment in a way that they will understand? What happens when they get home and discuss their treatment needs with a spouse or other family member and they have to try and repeat what they were told in the dental practice? Using Dentrix, what if there was a way that you could send the patient home with a treatment plan that was written in his or her native language? Would this help you grow your practice and increase your level of communications with your diverse patient base?

Using Patient Friendly Descriptions in the Treatment Planner can give you the customization you need to better communicate with your patients inside and outside the office. This feature is fully customizable and can be turned on or off with the click of a button.

Open the Patient Chart in the Treatment Plan View or open the Treatment Planner Module. Click on the Settings tab at the lower section of the panel (1) and you will see a button in the middle
of the page that says “Patient Friendly Descriptions.” (2) Click on this and a new window will open. Now you can select the procedure code and, in the white box, type in your customized text. This can be written in Spanish, Russian, German, or whatever language you choose. Continue this with all the procedure codes that your office might present to a patient.

Another feature you can customize in a foreign language is the Treatment Plan Case Note (3). Most offices use this as a disclosure statement and a place where patients can sign that they understand and accept the treatment. If you want to customize the case note in a foreign language, click on the Settings Tab as you did above and then select Note Template. A new window will open where you can add a new case note in Spanish, Russian, German, or your language of choice. The case note then will be attached to the case so it will print at the bottom of the estimate. Select the Supporting Information (4) and, in the drop down menu, select which case note to attach to this case.

When you are ready to present the Treatment Plan and print an estimate, you can select either the English version or the foreign language version of each of the two features above. If this treatment plan is for a non-English-speaking patient, select the correct case note to attach then click on the printer icon. On the right side of the print screen, put a check mark where it says, “Patient Friendly Descriptions.” Now this treatment plan will use your customized descriptions rather than pulling the ADA code descriptions (which patients don’t understand anyway).

In Washington state, we have a lot of seasonal workers who speak Spanish. If the dental offices in Yakima and Wenatchee could provide this kind of specialized service, it would greatly improve the communications with their community. I hope it will help expand your patient relations in your office.

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 and contact Dayna at


  1. You have a good point I really like this post And it's very helpful

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