Monday, August 26, 2013

Keep tight reins on your referred patients

Keeping track of all the details of our patients' care can be a daunting task if you dont have a system in place. One of the most important pieces of our patient care that we need to follow happens when we are referring our patient out of our office for treatment by another provider. How do you know if the treatment has been completed? How do you easily find to whom you referred them? What is the best way to follow up?

When you follow the path below, no details will be left out and everyone will be on the same page. Lets walk through the steps from start to finish.

We will pretend that your practice is a general practice and you have a new patient come in with an existing missing tooth that needs replacement. For the sake of this demonstration, we are going to skip through to the treatment planning portion of the exam.

First, treatment plan all the procedures the patient will need to complete the treatment, including all procedures that will be referred to the specialist. Now follow along with the image, double click on the procedure code to be referred out.

  1. Click on the double arrows next to the Related Referral
  2. Select the doctor from the list and click OK
  3. As soon as you click OK, the computer will remove the fee from this procedure
  4. Now you will see a R> next to the procedure code so you know it has been referred out. When your front desk prints a treatment plan estimate for the patient, this procedure will print on the estimate with a 0 fee. You could also put a note on the procedure code if you want more explanation as to why this procedure is being referred out. When you add a referral to the procedure code in the Patient Chart, it will automatically update the Family File and also print on the Patient Route Slip.

If the patient walks out without scheduling, then it is up to you to follow up and track his or her progress. There are two reports to mention here: the Referred To Report and the Treatment Manager Report. For information on the Treatment Manager Report, go back to blog post "Holes in your doctors schedule?" The Referred To report will give you a list of your patients who have been referred out for treatment as long as you have completed the steps above. Go to the Office Manager > Reports > Management > Referred To Report. I suggest running this monthly.

When you have received confirmation that the treatment has been completed, all you have to do is select the procedure code in the list of treatment planned procedures in the Progress Notes tab on the Patient Chart and click the blue checkmark to set complete. This will mark the procedure complete as Existing Other because it was done at another office and removes it from the treatment plan list.

Follow these easy steps and you will never again lose patients through the cracks. One thing I love about computer documentation is there is always a way to track things.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment