Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Appointment Book Customizations to Help Maximize Production

Dentrix allows you to customize your Appointment Book to fit your practice and provider schedules. It’s important to customize the Appointment Book in the following areas, which can be found on the Setup menu in the Appointment Book:

Practice Appointment Setup 

This is where you set up the days the practice is typically open. Adjust the weekdays and times during each day the practice should be open. Be sure to include a lunch break if the office closes for lunch. You can also customize the time block size and Hover window details from within the Practice Appointment Setup dialog box.


Practice Schedule

The practice schedule calendar is where you can close the office on specific dates or holidays. You can close the office for a holiday that occurs on the same date each year, such as Christmas, using the Set Yearly Holiday on selected day feature. But that feature wouldn’t work for holidays such as Thanksgiving that change from year to year. The Close Office on selected date feature lets you pick and choose which individual dates to close. 


Provider Setup

You can customize the work schedule for each individual provider in your office. For example, you can set up a hygienist’s schedule to show that she only works 8:00 am-12:00 pm on Wednesdays even though the practice is open from 8:00 am-5:00 pm. You can also customize provider time blocks and the color of their appointments that display on the schedule.


Operatory Setup

Each operatory can be set up to have different working days and hours. For example, your administrative team may want to start scheduling in Operatory 1 beginning at 8:00 am, but not have appointments scheduled in Operatory 2 until 9:00 am. You can also customize which days of the week specific operatories are open (or closed).

Having these different areas of Dentrix set up properly is crucial for the Practice Advisor Report to be accurate. The Practice Advisor Report calculates the number of dentist and hygienist production days, the daily average production, the hourly production, and unfilled hours. It also calculates the value of those unfilled hours so you can see lost revenue based on unfilled appointments. 

In Dentrix G7.5, there’s a new option to open a day that’s usually closed in Dentrix. This will be very helpful for offices that are open every other Wednesday or one Friday a month, for example. When opening a day that’s usually closed in the schedule calendar for the practice, you also have the option to update the operatory schedules and update the provider schedules right from that screen. Updating the operatory and provider schedule helps ensure that the Practice Advisor Report can provide you with accurate data. 

It’s important to evaluate daily and hourly production in the Practice Advisor Report to make sure you’re maximizing your practice production. Are there areas where you could increase the practice production by doing things like taking X-rays on a more frequent time schedule, or offering elective procedures such as teeth whitening? 

Unfilled hours and lost revenue are important to evaluate because unfilled hours are time you have a provider available but are not generating production. Evaluating this information can help you to determine if your administrative team is scheduling efficiently or if appointment no-shows or cancelations are causing your practice to lose money. 

For more information about other new features in Dentrix G7.5, click HERE.  Register for our new features webinar on Sept 28 at 3pm MDT to learn how to use G7.5 and prepare your team for the upgrade. Click here to register.

Email me if you have questions about setting up days and hours in Dentrix 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, July 15, 2021

Improvements to the Reports and Tasks Scheduler

One of the common questions among Dentrix users is, “How do I close out the month?” The Task Scheduler, which was introduced in Dentrix G6.5, helped to automate routine end-of-month tasks by breaking down the details of the month-end process. This gave practices the ability to pick and choose which processes they wanted to run. 

The most common tasks performed when closing out the month are:
  • Close Transactions - When you close transactions, completed procedures, payments, and adjustments can no longer be edited or deleted. Transactions are locked down and cannot be changed, which protects your practice. This process also causes patient account balances to age, and updates month-to-date and year-to-date production and collection numbers. 
  • Move Perio Exams to History - Performing this task ensures that perio exams can’t be changed or deleted.
  • Move Clinical Notes to History - This process locks clinical notes so that they can’t be changed or deleted. 
  • Reset Insurance Benefits - By resetting insurance benefits, insurance maximums and deductibles will be reset at zero to begin a new insurance year for those insurance plans that renew during that month.
The Task Scheduler includes these common tasks and also many other options for tasks and reports that can be set to automatically run. For example, you can set up the Task Scheduler to have your Aging Report run on a certain date every month or select to apply finance charges on a daily basis. While this is a great feature for many offices, some offices, especially new Dentrix users, may find all the detailed options a little overwhelming. 




Now, in Dentrix G7.5, you have the option to run the common month-end process mentioned above with one simple click. This would also be a quicker, easier option if you like to run your tasks manually instead of using the automated scheduler.

In this release, more intuitive icons have been added to the Task Scheduler to make it easier to use. The icons are consistent with the new icons in the new Dental Insurance Benefits and Coverage window in Dentrix, like the pencil icon to edit and the red X to delete. This consistency will help your team to easily understand what each icon does.

There are also warnings that will alert you if reports aren’t able to run, and the warnings will remind you once a day. This is a great new feature. I’ve had offices tell me they aren’t sure if tasks and reports are running successfully, and then before they know it, three months have gone by without the month-end process.

These new features will improve the Task Scheduler to make it much more functional and easier to use. I think the one-click option to close the month will be a benefit to many offices. If you haven’t enjoyed working with the Task Scheduler yet, I encourage you to check out the new features in Dentrix G7.5. 

For more information about new features in Dentrix G7.5, click here, or register for our new features webinar on September 28 at 3pm MDT to learn more about the features in Dentrix G7.5 and prepare your team for the upgrade.

Email me and let me know your thoughts 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, July 7, 2021

Communicating Appointment-Related Details to Your Team

In a previous blog post, I’ve talked about the handoff of the patient between the clinical team and the administrative team. This is such an important process because it’s the opportune time for both the clinical and the administrative team to confirm which procedures were completed during today’s visit and indicate when the patient’s next visit should be.



There are different ways to communicate the details of the next visit. The way you decide to handle this process in your office will ultimately depend on your practice workflow. 

The details of the next visit should include information such as the order of the visits, which procedures should be completed at each visit, which provider the patient should be scheduled with, and how much time should be allocated for the procedures. It’s important that this information be readily available in case the patient isn't able to schedule the next appointment while they’re still in the office and needs to call back to schedule. 

Ideally, treatment-planned procedures would be entered into the patient’s Chart by the clinical team. Dentrix has some great tools to make this process quicker and easier for your clinical team since they have limited time with each patient. Make sure procedure buttons are customized for procedures you perform in your office and that your team knows how to use them. Using multi-codes is also a timesaver when treatment planning procedures because multi-codes can include more than one procedure code, for example a root canal, crown, crown build-up, and crown cement, and can be added to a patient’s treatment plan with a single click. The Auto-State button in the Patient Chart is sometimes overlooked but saves time by enabling you to treatment plan procedures with fewer clicks.
 
Once procedures are treatment planned by the clinical team, they can then use the Treatment Planner module to organize the treatment plan and set visits. This will make it clear to everyone in the office which procedures should be done together and in which order. 

Treatment-planned procedures can be assigned to a specific provider by making sure their provider ID is attached to the treatment-planned procedure.
 
Appointment times for procedures can vary by patient. If you have a patient who takes longer to get numb, or a particularly difficult procedure, you may want more time scheduled for that appointment. A great place to record this information would be in the procedure notes. After setting visits for treatment-planned procedures, the clinical team could enter a procedure note indicating how much time should be allocated for an appointment. For example, for a difficult crown prep, the doctor may want two hours allotted instead of the usual ninety minutes. If this information is entered in the procedure notes, it will stay with that procedure for that patient and will be easily accessible, whether they schedule while in the office or call back later. 

Some offices have their clinical team schedule the patient’s next appointment while they’re in the back office. Some offices allow the administrative team to discuss finances first, then the administrative team schedules the next appointment. In either scenario, having appointment-related details in the procedure notes would be helpful.
 
How do you communicate appointment related details within your office? Practices have developed different processes based on the workflow of the office. Email me and let me know your thoughts 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.