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.  




Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Getting Ready for the End of the Year

 As we begin the last quarter of 2021, it’s time to start thinking about things to do before the end of the year. Here are some suggestions to help you finish strong in 2021 and start with your best foot forward in 2022.

The first thing I would suggest you do to finish strong in 2021 is to use the Treatment Manager to find patients with outstanding treatment plans who also have remaining insurance benefits for this calendar year. The Treatment Manager is a great tool for finding these patients because you can filter by patients who have outstanding treatment within a specific date range or treatment plans that contain specific procedure codes. You can also filter by treatment plan total. This is a great feature because it allows you to find patients that may have large treatment plans, and you can schedule some treatment in 2021 and complete the remainder of the patient's treatment plan in 2022 to help them make the most of their insurance benefits. You can also filter by remaining insurance benefits to ensure you are only contacting patients who have enough insurance benefits left to pay some benefits towards their treatment plans.


Once you have found the patients with remaining insurance benefits, you can contact them by phone, by mail, or by email using Patient Engage. Be sure to make notes in the Office Journal of the communication you send and any correspondence you have with patients. 

The next thing I would suggest is that you evaluate your fees, both office fees and insurance contracted fees. For your office fees, meet with your doctor or practice owner and evaluate if you want to increase your office fees for the next calendar year. You can meet with your Henry Schein Field Sales Consultant, and they can create a practice analysis to compare your office fees to the averages in your area. Then you can request fee increases from the insurance plans your office is contracted with. The end of the calendar year is a good time to do this so that it’s done annually and gets you on track for the following year.

Another thing to think about at the end of the calendar year is what your office schedule will be like for the upcoming year. It’s a good time to set up the holidays and other days the office will be closed and get them set up in the Dentrix Appointment Book. I always like to get this set up for the beginning of the year so that the team is aware and can adjust their schedules accordingly. This also helps avoid having to reschedule patients that get scheduled on days you plan to close. 

The end of the year is also a great time to think about your practice goals for next year. You can evaluate the production for 2021 and use that information as you consider projected goals for 2022. You can set up production goals in the Practice Analysis in the Office Manager. I’m always a big proponent of setting production goals and helping your team stay focused on achieving them.

Let’s recap on the things you can do to before the end of the year:

  • Contact patients with outstanding insurance benefits and outstanding treatment to get them scheduled. This will help patients to maximize their insurance benefits and also create more production for the office.
  • Evaluate both your office fees and insurance contract fees to see if there is potential to increase those fees for 2022.
  • Look at the 2022 calendar, set up days the office will be closed, and make changes to your schedule as needed.
  • Set up your production goals for the upcoming year. 
If you have questions about some of these end of year procedures, 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, September 29, 2021

Making a Partial Insurance Payment vs. Splitting a Claim

In Dentrix G7.5, a new feature was added allowing you to post a partial insurance payment to a claim. With this new feature, you can post a payment to a claim without closing it, so you can still track it for future additional payments.
 
As in previous versions of Dentrix, you still have the option to split a primary claim in order to post a partial insurance payment if an insurance plan doesn’t pay for all procedures on the claim. (That way you can still track the unpaid procedures.)

Here are a couple of scenarios when I would recommend using these different features.

Making a Partial Insurance Payment

Posting a partial insurance payment is an ideal way to handle orthodontic claims in your practice. Typically, an orthodontic claim is paid by insurance with an initial down payment, then the remaining orthodontic maximum is paid over the course of the patient’s treatment. For example, if the patient has an orthodontic maximum of $1000, the insurance plan may pay an initial down payment of $500, and then the remaining $500 would be paid over the estimated course of treatment of twelve months. 


In previous versions of Dentrix, if you simply posted the initial $500 payment, the claim would be closed and would no longer appear on the Insurance Aging Report. This would mean you would lose the ability to track the claim. Also, it would appear that the entire account balance would be owed by the patient, which would be confusing for both the patient and your office team to calculate how much of the account balance the patient actually owed.  By posting a partial payment, the claim will remain open, and you can still track it on reports. Also, patient and insurance balances will still be calculated accurately. Additionally, you have the option when creating Billing Statements to skip accounts with a partially paid claim, which could help to avoid any patient confusion. 



Splitting a Primary Claim

Splitting a primary claim is another way to track unpaid or partially paid claims. I would suggest using the split claim feature if the insurance plan paid for one or more procedures on the claim, but not all procedures. For example, you may have filed a claim for a crown (D2740) and a core build up (D2950), and the insurance plan paid for the core build up but denied the crown because they are requesting additional information. In this case, you could split the primary claim, which would allow you to post the payment for the core build up, while keeping the claim for the crown open and outstanding. That way you will be able to continue to track the claim for the crown, and the patient portion of the account balance will continue to be calculated accurately. 



The new partial payment feature in Dentrix G7.5 is an exciting new feature that will help your practice handle specific situations, such as orthodontic claims. There are other situations when the split primary claim will be the appropriate tool to use. Either way, these features both give you the ability to continue to track outstanding insurance claims to be sure your office is getting paid by insurance properly. 

To learn more about the new features in Dentrix G7.5, and prepare your team for the upgrade, watch this on-demand webinar recording.


If you have questions about when or how you should use these features, 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, September 22, 2021

Using Dentrix To Track Team Member Tasks

When it comes to training your team, it's important to hold them accountable for mistakes and document areas where they need to improve. It’s also important to hold them accountable for positive things they do and the areas in which they excel.
 
In order to do this, it's important to know the team members assigned to each task in your office so you can hold them accountable, and they will know what's expected of them in their position. 
Dentrix has some features to help you track which team members are doing which tasks, so you can evaluate the way things are being done. If you find a procedure isn’t being performed properly, you have the opportunity to change the workflow to improve.

Here are some different areas of Dentrix where you can record which team member is doing a particular task in order to hold them accountable for their job responsibilities.
 

Using Passwords in Dentrix

In order to track who's doing what in your office, you must have user IDs and passwords set up in Dentrix. When you set up passwords in the Dentrix Office Manager, you can assign permissions for particular tasks. It's always a good idea to have passwords set up in your office so that team members only have access to areas of Dentrix that are pertinent to their job classification.


For example, as the office manager, there may be tasks that only you have the right to do, such as running an Audit Trail Report or setting up password permissions. Similarly, you may not want clinical team members to make any account adjustments. By allocating password permissions based on job classification, you can help to eliminate mistakes and have your team focus on those tasks that pertain to their particular position. It can also eliminate “too many cooks in the kitchen,” which makes it difficult to hold anyone accountable and know which team members are exceling and which may need more help.

Tracking Appointment Changes

Once you have user IDs and passwords set up, then you can easily see which team member scheduled an appointment, because that information is stored in the Appointment Information window. When passwords are enabled, you are able to see the team member’s user ID, letting you know who scheduled the appointment. That way, you can ask the scheduler why they allowed a particular appointment length or why they scheduled certain procedures together. 


Also, when passwords are enabled in Dentrix, you are able to track any changes made to an appointment. For example, if someone changes the appointment length, date, or time, you'll be able to see who changed it and when. Being able to track this information is helpful if you have any scheduling issues, and you can address them with the appropriate team member. Sometimes you may find that your team member simply needs more training in a particular area. Tracking who is doing what in the office gives you the ability to provide your team with the training they need. 

Documenting Patient Communication

Another area you can track is the communication you have with patients. The Office Journal is the place to make notes about communications with patients, such as phone calls about their continuing care or an outstanding treatment plan. These communication notes should be recorded in the Office Journal—even if you don’t talk to the patient and leave a message. It’s easy to review patient contacts from the Office Journal as well. 

When making an Office Journal entry, you can indicate which team member contacted the patient by selecting the appropriate user ID in the Office Journal.


You can view the Office Journal by provider or by staff member from the Office Manager. So, if your hygiene coordinator says she's working diligently to call all patients due for continuing care, you can periodically check the Office Journal to see how many phone calls she's actually making per day. This would be a great way to monitor her progress and provide incentives if needed. 

Entering Clinical Notes

For the clinical team, have your hygienists sign their clinical notes as a provider, so you’ll know which hygienist saw the patient. Doctor notes are usually written by the assistants and signed off by the doctor. The assistant can put her initials at the end of the note before the doctor signs it so that if there's a question about what was done during a patient's procedure you can know which assistant worked with that patient. For example, if the lab calls with a question about the case, you will know who to direct the question to. 



Holding your team accountable for their tasks within the office can help you to build a better, more efficient team. By monitoring their workflow, you can congratulate on jobs well done and train team members who may need help in other areas. You can use the features in Dentrix to help track who is doing particular tasks in your office. If you have questions, 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, September 15, 2021

Tips for Presenting Treatment Plans to Patients

How do you present treatment plans to patients in your office? Do you present them by displaying the Dentrix Treatment Planner on your computer monitor for the patient? Do you print the treatment case and present it to the patient on paper? Or do you use a combination of on-screen and printed presentations based on the situation? 

No matter which method you use, here are some tips that you can use when presenting treatment plans to patients. 

Whether you are printing the treatment case or presenting it on-screen, it’s always a good idea to arrange the treatment plan based on priority and ordering visits for procedures. It can help your treatment coordinator to have a conversation with the patient about which procedures are the priority, and the patient will be able to see their portion of each visit either on screen or on the printed treatment case so that they can be financially prepared for each visit.

Another benefit of ordering procedures by visit is that the administrative team will be able to see which visit should be scheduled next within the Appointment Information window.



Another good tip when creating treatment plans is to set the case severity. The case severity is indicated by a red, yellow, or green light icon on the treatment case in the Treatment Planner to specify whether the treatment case severity is immediate, eventual, or optional. A patient may have a treatment case for veneers, which is optional, while they have another treatment case for a root canal and crown that needs to be scheduled immediately. By setting case severity for the treatment case, your administrative team will know how urgently they need to schedule a procedure, and the patient will also see the colored light icon next to the case in the Treatment Planner as a visual reminder. 


You can also choose to include the case severity as an option when printing treatment cases, which will communicate the urgency to the patient.


You can select what type of procedure information is displayed when viewing the Treatment Planner: information such as entry date, procedure code, tooth number, and description. These options are found in the Treatment Planner’s View menu, under the Procedure Information option.



How much (or how little) information you want to display depends on your office. Some offices like to have very minimal information, while others like more.
 
Two of my favorite options to display are the Procedure Progress Notes and the Other Fee. For example, if a patient needs a replacement crown, and the insurance won’t consider any benefits due to a ten-year replacement period for crowns, I like to notate that information in the Procedure Progress Notes and then select the option to display those in the Treatment Planner. This makes it very clear to the patient exactly why they will be responsible for payment for the procedure in full. 

For treatment plans for patients who are being charged a fee schedule amount based on your office being in-network with their insurance plan, I like to display the Other Fee as the office fee along with the fee schedule procedure amount. This allows patients to see how much of a discount they are receiving by choosing your office, since you are in-network with their insurance. It can help to create value and can increase case acceptance. You can set the Other Fee to be your office fee. To do this, from the View menu, click Select Other Fee and select your office fee schedule.
 
You can also select what procedure information is displayed on printed treatment cases. When you select Print Treatment Case, select the options you want to include, and then click Select Columns for additional information to print.



An exciting new feature in Dentrix G7.5 Update 2 provides detailed information about how Dentrix is calculating insurance estimates. You’ll be able to see if the estimate involves a deductible, if the patient is reaching their insurance maximum, if the insurance payment is being calculated based on information in the payment table, and other explanations. This is an easy-to-use feature, and you can view or hide the explanations by individual procedure or for an entire treatment case. This feature will save offices lots of time by not having to research this information themselves. It is also a great tool to use when presenting treatment plans, so patients better understand why their insurance is estimated to pay a particular amount. This new information, however, will only be displayed onscreen in the Treatment Planner. 

Whether you present treatment plans to patients onscreen or printed on paper, you can use these Treatment Planner features to customize and create treatment cases that are clear and easy to understand for your patients. 

Learn More


If you have questions about the Treatment Planner or best practices for presenting treatment plans 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.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Set Up Your Continuing Care System So It Works For You

The Continuing Care module in Dentrix is the tool you use to track when patients are due for recall procedures. But, for continuing care to function effectively it has to be set up properly.

Setting Things Up

First, you assign a continuing care type to a procedure code. For example, you would attach the prophy continuing care type to the D1110 and D1120 procedure codes. Then, when a patient has one of those procedure codes posted as complete, Dentrix will track when that patient is due for their next prophy, and you can generate continuing care reports to see which patients are due and contact them.
 
Once you’ve designated which procedures are assigned to each continuing care type, you can customize those types to track different procedures a patient may be due for. Some offices track when periodontal charting is done so they can be sure it’s done on a regular schedule. Some offices track that their orthodontic patients are due to come in for an adjustment every six weeks. In the examples I gave, you would first create a custom procedure code for the procedure, then create a continuing care type and attach it to that custom procedure code. When creating office codes like for periodontal charting, I suggest using something that has never and will never be an American Dental Association procedure code, so don’t start the procedure code with the letter “D”. You can use Dentrix Continuing Care to track lots of different procedures in your office.

You will want to make sure that you don’t use different continuing care types for the same procedure code because a procedure code can only be attached to one continuing care type. For example, some offices create a three-month, a four-month, and a six-month prophy continuing care type. Since the prophy procedure code (D1110 or D1120) can only be attached to a single continuing care type, the others aren’t tracking anything. It’s best to have one continuing care type for a procedure code and then adjust the patient’s frequency for the procedure in their continuing care in the Family File. 

Generating Views and Lists

When you generate a continuing care list to see which patients are due, you can customize the view to filter and provide you with a list of patients that fit your selected parameters. You can customize continuing care views in the Appointment Book, or in the Office Manager. Keep the following three items in mind when generating a continuing care list:


  1. Give the continuing care view a descriptive name, then select the continuing care type you want to view to focus on. When creating continuing care views, I suggest you create and save one that focuses on prophy and one that focuses on periodontal maintenance. If a patient is due for periodontal charting, or bitewing X-rays, you would generally just do those procedures in combination with the prophy or periodontal maintenance.
  2. One important filter to consider when creating a continuing care view is the Sched. Appt? filter. If you’re generating a continuing care view to contact patients who are due for a procedure, I suggest selecting Only WITHOUT under this filter because there would be no need to contact the patients that already have an appointment.
  3. You have the option to change the sort order of the list of patients. I recommend that you sort by family first, then by patient. The reason for this is that patients from the same family will be grouped together. So, if Jane, the mother of the family, is due on September 10th, and her son John is due on September 29th, they will be together on the continuing care list, and you will only have to contact that family once for both patients.
For more information about other filters, see the Continuing Care List View Options topic in Dentrix Help.

Dentrix continuing care is a great way to track when procedures are due, as well as when they have been completed. You can customize continuing care types to track procedures in your office and ensure patients are having all procedures they’re due for. If you have questions about continuing care, you can 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, September 1, 2021

Let Your Marketing Goals Determine the Best Type of Campaign for Your Practice

What are your practice marketing goals for the remainder of 2021? The goals you are trying to achieve determine the marketing techniques that will work best in attracting patients to your office. Let’s take a look at three common goals practices have, and what you can do to achieve them.



Boost New Patient Numbers

If your goal is to attract more new patients, you may want to consider a new patient special for uninsured patients, which provides a discount for their first visit. Or you may want to consider becoming contracted with an insurance company which is offered to a large number of employees in your area, providing that the fee schedule is competitive and acceptable to your practice.

Increase Higher Production Cases

If your goal is to have more patients with high production cases, you may want to target patients who show interest in cosmetic dentistry. You could add some questions to your patient questionnaire to find out who may be interested, such as, “Do you like the way your teeth look?” and “What would you change?” If a patient answers that they would like their teeth to be whiter, you could discuss teeth whitening options. Or if they answer they would like their teeth to be straighter, you could discuss orthodontics. 

Expand Patient Demographics

If you are trying to gain more patients from different demographics, such as additional patients from a particular ZIP code, you could purchase an advertisement, like a banner, for a local youth sports team. That would give your practice name recognition in the neighborhood, so when potential patients think about which dentist to see, your office will come to mind.

If you want to target a specific age group, such as school-aged children, you could focus on school presentations for Dental Health Month to help teach children good oral hygiene techniques. Send the children home with your practice business card and maybe a toothbrush with your office name and logo. When the children are excited about the dental office school visit, it may prompt the parent to make an appointment at your office.
 
Once you have focused your practice marketing strategies, it’s important to track referral sources in Dentrix to see which campaigns have been successful. A successful marketing campaign that attracts patients to your office may be worth repeating in the future.
 
You can require that a referral source is selected when adding a new patient in Dentrix. This will ensure all new patient referrals are tracked and eliminates the possibility of forgetting to add a referral source. 

Generate referral reports monthly so that you can evaluate which marketing campaigns have been most successful for your practice.
 
Before investing in a marketing campaign, consider what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to boost your monthly new patient numbers? Do you want to do more cosmetic and orthodontic cases? Or are you trying to attract a particular demographic, like a specific age group, to your office? Your marketing goals will determine the best type of campaign for your practice.

If you have questions about marketing and referrals, 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, August 25, 2021

Attaching Documents and eEOBs to Patients using the Dentrix Document Center

The Document Center is the place designated for you to store scanned documents in Dentrix. Here are some tips and tricks that can make it easier for you to locate your scanned documents. 

Attaching Documents to Patients

When scanning documents into the Document Center you can select where to attach scanned documents. Most offices are familiar with scanning documents into an individual patient's Document Center. There are also other areas where you can attach documents. A single document can be accessible from numerous places within the Document Center. For example, you could scan an insurance explanation of benefits into a patient’s Document Center and then edit and modify the document attachments to be able to attach it to multiple entities. 


If the insurance explanation of benefits includes more than one patient, you can modify the document attachment and attach it to each patient it applies to without having to re-scan the documents into each individual patient's Document Center. 

You could also modify the attachments and attach the document to the appropriate insurance carrier. This would be beneficial if you wanted to look up an explanation of benefits for an insurance company to refer back to how they paid for a procedure, without having to remember the patient's name that had the procedure. 

Another example of when you can modify document attachments is in the case of a pediatric office which has parents sign a COVID form for all children in the family. You could scan the form once and then attach it to all applicable family members. The ability to modify document attachments can help you to save time when scanning and assigning documents. 

New Feature in the Dentrix G7.5 Document Center

In Dentrix G7.5, the Document Center has improved how it handles electronic Explanation of Benefits (eEOBs). eEOBs are attached to patients automatically in the Document Center. 


If the eEOB has more than one patient on it, only the information pertinent to the individual patient will be attached to the patient’s Document Center. However, the entire eEOB will automatically be attached to the insurance carrier’s Document Center. This is a nice new feature because if you need to file a secondary claim, the primary eEOB saved in the patient’s Document Center will only contain information pertinent to that patient, which will help to protect patient privacy. 

Because eEOBs are automatically attached to patients, you can have easy access to that information if you need to provide a patient with a copy. For example, if an insurance company pays less than you estimated due to a procedure being denied, when sending that patient a billing statement, you can also send them a copy of their EOB so that they can see exactly why their insurance company didn't pay, hopefully saving you phone call from the patient down the road. 

Because the eEOB saved to the patient’s Document Center only contains their specific information, you could quickly print it and include it with the patient statement without having to cut and paste so no other patient's information is included. 

Recap

When you scan a document into the Document Center, you can use the modify document attachments feature to assign the document to the individual patient’s Document Center, the dental insurance carrier’s Document Center, and/or the provider’s Document Center, without having to scan the same document multiple times.

By modifying the attachments in this way, you can make your documents easier to locate. The new Dentrix G7.5 features dealing with eEOBs help to protect patient privacy by including information pertinent to only the patient in the patient’s Document Center. 

Additional Information

For more information, see the Dentrix G7.5 Insurance Improvements video. The information specific to eEOBs and the Document Center are at the 1:35 point of the video.

To learn more about the new features in Dentrix G7.5, and prepare your team for the upgrade, watch this on-demand webinar recording.

Read the following articles in Dentrix Magazine for more information about the Document Center:

If you have questions about using the Dentrix Document Center, 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, August 18, 2021

The Importance of Inactivating Providers in Dentrix

Many offices have a long list of providers stored in Dentrix who have left the practice or are otherwise no longer current. 


When I come across this when working with offices, I am often asked why it’s important that they inactivate these providers. There are a couple of reasons why it’s so important.

Appointment Scheduling

The first reason to inactivate providers who are no longer current is so that those providers no longer appear in the Select Provider list when scheduling an appointment. 


It can be very cumbersome for anyone trying to schedule an appointment to have to scroll through a long list to find the doctor or hygienist they want to assign. Having only current providers to choose from can also eliminate appointments being accidentally scheduled with the wrong provider. 

Provider Balances

Another reason to inactivate providers is that it can help you achieve more accurate payment posting. Many private practice offices have always posted payments to the main provider, for example, DDS1. Somewhere along the line, there may be other doctors that have joined the practice: DDS2, DDS3, etc. 

If all payments are posted to DDS1, then DDS1 will have a large credit on Dentrix reports, while the other doctors will look like they are owed money on Dentrix reports. 

When inactivate providers that no longer work at the office, you can transfer their balances. This will help you to clean up past balances and credits for providers that no longer work at your office. 

If your primary provider retires, you can inactivate the provider user ID for DDS1. In Dentrix G7.4 a new feature was introduced so that when you inactivate a provider you can select a provider to replace them and then you have the option to transfer balances. For example, if DDS1 was replaced by DDS2, then DDS1’s credits would be transferred to offset DDS2’s balances.


It’s important to have provider balances correct in Dentrix for two reasons. The first is so that reports such as the Provider A/R Totals Report are accurate. And the second is so that the Split Payment by Provider feature functions properly. Posting payments to the provider of the procedure is the most accurate way to handle collections. It’s especially important if you have an associate in your practice that is paid based on a percentage of collections or if any providers or staff get paid on commission.

By inactivating providers that no longer work at your office you can remove their provider user ID from the available providers when scheduling appointments. By transferring provider balances when inactivating, you can help your practice generate the most accurate report information and help the Split by Payment feature to function properly in the future. 

If you have questions about how to inactivate providers, or why it’s important, 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, August 11, 2021

Important Changes in the Dentrix G7.5 Perio Chart

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about new features in Dentrix G7.5:
In this week’s blog post, we will look at some of the improvements made in the Perio module in the Patient Chart.

Dentrix G7.5 has updated the periodontal classifications to meet the new industry standards from the American Academy of Periodontology. 

In the Perio Exam information, you can enter lots of detailed information regarding the patient’s periodontal health, including risk factors such as tobacco use and health conditions such as dry mouth that may contribute to periodontitis. 

Once you have entered the perio exam information you can copy that information and paste it into the patient’s clinical note. This will save your hygienists time because they won’t have to re-type all the perio information. It’s a very user-friendly tool.


You can also create perio exam templates for your hygienists to use. Then they can use the template and change any necessary information that may vary from patient to patient. For example, you could create a template for a tobacco user, that includes heavy stain, and the risk factor of smoking. 



By creating and using templates, you can give your hygienists a starting point for their perio exam. This reduces the need to enter all of the information for each option from scratch, which can encourage your team to use the perio exam feature more often. 

Since many dental malpractice lawsuits are claims of undiagnosed periodontal disease, it’s very important for your office to have periodontal probing depths, detailed periodontal exam information, and notes for each patient to protect your practice.

Perio exam information can be used outside of the Perio module as well. Exam information can be printed and included in a letter to the patient’s referring dentist, or if your office sends insurance claims electronically, exam information can be added as an attachment to an electronic claim.

The perio exam information can be entered when your hygienist is doing the perio exam for the patient and recording probe depths. The updated classifications will ensure that your office is current with industry standards as well as protect your office from any claims that something was missed during an exam.

The introduction of Dentrix Voice Perio, would be an additional tool to assist your hygienists with recording periodontal probe depths and perio exam information. Dentrix Voice Perio is a voice-to-text tool that can be used to record periodontal information, as well as clinical notes by speaking into a hands-free microphone.

For more information, see the Dentrix G7.5 Perio Exam Information video. 

To learn more about the new features in Dentrix G7.5, and prepare your team for the upgrade, watch this on-demand webinar recording.

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, August 4, 2021

Insurance Features in Dentrix G7.5 You Can Get Excited About

In recent blog posts, I’ve written about some of the new features and improvements introduced in Dentrix G7.5. This week, we will look at some of the new features that are designed to help practices manage patients’ dental insurance. 

Partial Insurance Payments

Dentrix G7.5 gives you the ability to post a partial insurance payment. I think this new feature is going to be especially useful when you’re posting a payment for an orthodontic claim or another type of claim that is paid over a period of time. 

By posting a claim as partially paid, the claim will remain “open” instead of closing the claim and appearing as if the guarantor owes the remaining account balance. You have the option to exclude partially paid claims from the Insurance Aging Report; or if you choose to include them, there will be an asterisk to indicate the claim has been partially paid. 

You also have the option to exclude accounts with partially paid claims when sending billing statements. This can help to eliminate patient confusion when sending a statement. For example, if you were to send a statement to a patient with a $1000 account balance which you are expecting dental insurance to pay over the next twelve months, the patient may call your office concerned about the account balance. By not sending statements to these accounts, you can avoid confusion. 

Tracking Allowed Amounts

The option to enter allowed amounts is an exciting new feature in Dentrix G7.5. 

You’ll find the allowed amounts in the same window as the payment table within the Dental Insurance Benefits and Coverage window. Within the payment table there are two columns: the Paid column should contain the amount the insurance company actually paid for a procedure, and the Allowed column should contain the insurance company’s allowed fee for a procedure. 

For example, if your office fee for a two-surface posterior filling  is $300, but the insurance company’s allowable amount is $200, and the insurance company will pay 80% of their allowable amount, you would enter $160 in the Paid column of the payment table and $200 in the Allowed column. 


Paid amounts entered in the payment table are taken into account when calculating patient estimates. For example, when you create a treatment plan for that procedure code for a patient covered under the insurance plan, the payment table Paid amount of $160 will be calculated into the estimate, therefore calculating the patient portion accurately as well.  However, amounts entered in the Allowed column are NOT included in insurance estimates but are for reference only.

You can update the payment table, including allowable amounts, through the Dental Insurance Benefits and Coverage window (see image above) or when you’re posting insurance payments (see image below).

Calculating Write-Off Amounts

In Dentrix G7.5 you also have the option to change how Dentrix will calculate default write-off adjustments. It can adjust off the difference between either the paid amount and the procedure amount, or the procedure amount and the allowed amount. This will be very beneficial for offices that prefer to post their office fee to the patient’s Ledger and then make insurance adjustments. You can choose which way adjustments should work in the Ledger by clicking File > Insurance Payment Setup. Then, under Calculate default write-off amount by difference between, select the option you prefer.

Some offices prefer to handle accounts this way to track insurance write-offs and adjustments, so this new feature will be really helpful for them while posting insurance payments. 

Conclusion

The new insurance features in Dentrix G7.5 can help you to track insurance claims more easily, especially for claims paid over a period of time, like orthodontic claims. The option to exclude these types of accounts from billing statements will help to avoid patient confusion when it comes to their balance.

The option to enter insurance allowable amounts will help you to track insurance payments more accurately, and the default adjustments between procedure amounts and allowable amounts will help you to make adjustments more quickly and accurately. 

There are many more great improvements to use in Dentrix G7.5! Click here to view new feature overview videos!

To learn more about the new features in Dentrix G7.5, and prepare your team for the upgrade, watch this on-demand webinar recording.

Email me if you have 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.