Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Your Active Patient Base may not be accurate

We are coming to the close of 2015 and I would like you all to start thinking about planning for next year and what that might look like. However, before we can start looking at annual planning for next year, we need to continue focusing on this year and really critiquing the numbers. If you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you know that I talk a lot about how numbers tell a story and having accurate numbers is extremely important in analyzing the health of your practice.

If you are using the Practice Advisor Report on a monthly basis for analyzing, managing, and forecasting your key performance indicators (KPI) … congratulations! If you are not yet using this amazing tool, you can read up about it by CLICKING HERE. Learning how to make the numbers on this report as accurate as possible is the key to using this report to its fullest potential.

There is one number on this report that could be skewed, depending on how you deal with your missed and broken appointments. I realize that the ADA CDT coding came out recently with procedure codes for Missed Appointment (D9986) and Cancelled Appointment (D9987). However, I am urging you not to use them. When you post a procedure code to the patient’s ledger, it automatically updates the patient’s last visit date. So if you post a D9986 to the ledger to note that the patient missed an appointment today, the family file Last Visit Date will still get updated to today. This last visit date number is used on the Practice Advisor report to calculate your Active Patient Base. You might be asking, “Well, Dayna, how would you suggest we track missed appointments?” I’m glad you asked! Here are some suggestions . . .

·        Use an adjustment code instead. You can have a maximum of 40 adjustment types listed in the definitions so if you have not met this max, then this would be my first choice. If you have maxed out on adjustment types, then I would look to see if you have any duplicates that you can combine together and then add two new ones. With an adjustment, you can post a $0 amount just to document it or you can post a dollar amount to show the fee. This would need to be a + adjustment type.

·        Make sure you are using the Break Appointment feature and not the delete appointment when a patient misses an appointment. When you break an appointment, it will make a note on the Office Journal and update the missed appointments on the Family File.  The Practice Advisor Report will also calculate your lost revenue from broken appointments.

·        Document a missed appointment in the Clinical Note. Now this will not give you a searchable code to look for, but it will give you the documentation in case the patient becomes a risk or argumentative about missed appointments. You can always print the clinical notes if needed.

Like I said, “Numbers tell a story.” If you want an accurate Active Patient Base count, stop posting a procedure code to the ledger when the patient does not keep his or her appointment. If you would like to learn more about the Practice Advisor Report, here are some other blog posts on numbers . . .

Do you know how many patients are leaving your practice?  CLICK HERE
The 5 Stats Every Office Should Monitor . . .  CLICK HERE

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 www.novonee.com and contact Dayna at dayna@novonee.com.

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