Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Protect Your Clinical Notes from Tampering

Keeping accurate dental records is one of the most important tasks providers are faced with. According to the ADA, "The dental team should be very meticulous and thorough in the dental office record keeping tasks. All information in the dental record should be clearly written, and the person responsible for entering new information should sign and date the entry. The information should not be ambiguous or contain many abbreviations. In practices with more than one dental practitioner, the identity of the practitioner rendering the treatment should be clearly noted in the record."

In Dentrix, providers can use the clinical notes in the Patient Chart to keep thorough, clear dental records that are signed and dated. Signing a clinical note moves it into history, meaning it can no longer be edited or deleted. However, if changes need to be made, you can post an addendum to the note.

To sign a clinical note:
  1. In the Patient Chart, select a patient.
  2. In the Clinical Notes panel, click the date of the clinical note you want to sign from the left column. The clinical note for that date appears in the middle column.
  3. Click the Sign Clinical Note button. The Sign Clinical Note dialog box appears.



  4. In the Name field, click the Search button to select the provider who is signing the note.
  5. Use the mouse or a signature pad to sign the note.
  6. Click OK. The clinical note will now have a gray background indicating that it is in history and locked from editing. The Sign Clinical Note button will now have a red ink trail behind it indicating that this note has been signed.

There may be occasions when you realize there's been a mistake in a clinical note or that the information in the note is incomplete, and you need to correct the information. If the clinical note has been signed, however, you cannot update the information in the note. In this situation you must add an addendum to the note and describe the change in a new note which will be attached to the original note.

To add an addendum to a clinical note in history:
  1. In the Patient Chart, select a patient.
  2. In the Clinical Notes panel, select the note to which you want to add an addendum.
  3. Click the New Addendum button. The New Addendum dialog box appears.








  4. Select the desired provider for the addendum by expanding the provider drop-down list.
  5. Enter the text of the desired note in the field provided, and click OK.
  6. Click Yes to the confirmation message to add the addendum to the note and return to the Clinical Notes panel.
    Note: Once you click Yes to append the clinical note in history, the addendum portion you've just written is automatically moved into history as well, and cannot be edited or deleted.
For additional information on clinical notes, see these past #DentrixTipTuesday posts:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pass Along that Extra Collection Cost: Assessing Finance Charges and Late Charges

Did you know Dentrix allows you to charge additional fees to patients with whom you have made payment agreements or to whom you have extended credit? These fees are divided into two groups: finance charges and late charges.

A finance charge is a fee that represents the cost of credit, or the cost of borrowing, and is similar to the interest charge you might receive on a home or car loan. Finance charges are typically used for patients with payment agreements.

A late charge is a fee used for accounts that are late in making payments towards an existing balance.

As part of your month end procedures you can apply finance and late charges to all applicable accounts at once. Dentrix only applies late charges to accounts with payment agreements, while finance charges can be applied regardless of whether an account has a payment agreement. See the Dentrix Help for information on how to apply late charges and finance charges monthly.

In addition to applying finance charges at month end, you can also apply finance and late charges for individual patients manually.

To manually post finance or late charges:
  1. With a patient selected in the Ledger, from the Transaction menu, click Enter Finance Charge or Late Charge. The Enter Finance Charge or Late Charge dialog box appears.


  2. Do the following:
    • Date - Enter the charge date in the Date field. The date defaults to the current date.
    • Type - Select Finance Charge or Late Charge.
    • Amount - Enter the amount to charge to the account.
    • Provider - Click the provider search button and select the patient's provider (by default, Dentrix selects the patient's primary provider).
  3. To provide clarification for the charge, type an explanation in the Note field. Click the spell check button to check the spelling of the note text.
  4. Click OK to save any changes and apply the finance or late charge.
The finance or late charge will appear in patient's Ledger and on their next billing statement, and their account balance will include this new charge.

For information on clearing finance charges or clearing late charges, see the Dentrix Help.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Referral Slip, Your Ticket to a Successful Hand-off

It happens to every dentist. A patient comes in with an issue you'd rather refer to someone elsea specialist, an oral surgeon, or  an orthodontist.

So the question becomes, "What do I need to do in Dentrix if I'm referring out the procedures?"

There are a couple of things you must do. First, enter the treatment-planned procedures in the Patient Chart as usual, and then refer the procedures to another provider.

Then, print a referral slip for your patient to give to the doctor you are referring them to. The referral slip contains patient, referring provider, and referral information, a list of the procedure(s) being referred, and any additional notes you want to enter.

To print a referral slip:
  1. From the Patient Chart, select the patient to be referred.
  2. From the File menu, select Print and then click Referral Slip.


    The Print Referral Slip dialog box appears.

  3. In the Date Range fields, enter the range of dates for the referred procedures you want to print on the referral slip.
    Note: Dentrix only prints the referred procedures that were treatment-planned within the date range that you enter her, and are flagged as referred.
  4. In the Additional Notes field, enter any notes you want to print on the referral slip (up to 500 characters).
  5. Do one of the following:
    • To print the referral slip immediately, click Print.
    • To send the referral slip to the Batch Processor, click Batch.

For additional information see the Editing Treatment topic in the Dentrix Help. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

They're Called Quick Letters for a Reason!

Did you know that Dentrix comes with over 40 pre-defined letter templates that you can use with Microsoft Word to create custom correspondence between your office and your patients?  By using the Dentrix Letter Merge feature, you can pull patient information into the text of your letter easily.

The Quick Letters option takes advantage of the interface between Dentrix and Word in a simplified fashion to help you quickly create a letter for a single patient. Not only does the Quick Letters list contain over a dozen different types of letters that dental offices often need to send to patients, but you can add more letters to the list as needed.

To merge a Quick Letter:
  1. From any Dentrix module (except the Office Manager), select a patient.
  2. From the module's toolbar, click the Quick Letters button to open the Quick Letters dialog box.


  3. From the list, select the letter you want to merge. Dentrix comes pre-loaded with the following letters, though your office may have added or removed items from this list:


    • Address on envelope (form feed) - Creates an envelope for the selected patient
    • Appointment Super Bill - Creates a detailed receipt for the patient to send to his or her insurance company
    • Blank Letter Form - Creates a blank letter for the selected patient with the patient's name, address, and greeting pre-written
    • Collection Notification - Creates a 90 Day Past Due letter for the selected patient
    • Congratulations - Graduation - Creates a congratulations letter for a new graduate
    • Congratulations - Marriage - Creates a congratulations letter for a newly married patient
    • Congratulations - New Baby - Creates a congratulations letter for a new parent
    • Internet Communications Consent - Creates a letter granting consent to communicate with a patient over the internet
    • New Patient Welcome - Creates a welcome letter for new patients
    • Patient Information - Consent - Creates a patient information  and consent for services form with some patient information pre-entered
    • Referred by Doctor - Creates a thank you letter for a doctor who referred the patient
    • Referred by Patient - Creates a thank you letter for a patient who referred the selected patient
    • Referred to Dr./Specialist - Creates a referral information letter for the doctor to whom the selected patient was referred
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To create and print the letter without reviewing it, click Print. Dentrix opens Word, merges the letter, prints the letter, and then closes the letter.
    • To create and review the letter prior to printing it, click Build/View. Dentrix opens Word and merges the letter. Once the letter has been successfully merged, make any necessary changes and then click Print. After the letter has printed, close it.
      Note: After the letter is printed, Dentrix automatically adds an entry to the patient's Office Journal, indicating that a letter was sent to the patient.
  5.  Exit Microsoft Word.
For additional information on managing Quick Letters, see the Adding Letters to Quick Letters and Removing Letters from Quick Letters topics in the Dentrix Help.

For information regarding supported versions of Microsoft Word, please refer to the current Dentrix System Requirements available from the Documents tab of the Dentrix Resource Center.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Shedding Some Light on a Gray Area

The Dentrix Ledger holds a wealth of information in the transaction log area. But do you understand the other financial information found at the bottom of the Ledger window? Let's shed a little light on this "gray area."



The Aged Balance block shows the balances due in aging brackets (designating how long the balance has been due), such as 0 > 30 days, 31 > 60 days, etc. Each account balance appears in the appropriate aging bracket. The total guarantor account balance appears under Family Balance.



The Account Information block shows the following billing information for the patient's account:


  • Billing Type - the assigned billing type for the account. (See Assigning Billing Types for more information)
  • Last Payment - the amount and date of the last guarantor payment
  • Last Ins. Payment - the amount and date of the last insurance payment
  • Last Statement Date - the last time a billing statement was printed for the account
  • Outstanding Billed to Insurance - the total amount of all outstanding claims
  • Expected from Dental Insurance - the estimated amount that insurance will pay on all outstanding dental claims
  • Family Portion of Balance - the estimated amount the patient will owe after insurance has paid.

The Today's Charges block shows information about the patient's billing charges for today's visit, including the following:


  • Today's Charges - the total of all transactions with today's date
  • Est. Dental Ins. Portion - the estimated amount that dental insurance will pay on today's charges according to the coverage set up in the Family File
  • Est. Patient Portion - the estimated amount the patient owes on today's charges according to the coverage set up in the Family File

If the patient has set up a financial agreement, the Payment Agreement Summary block shows information about what the patient has agreed to pay, and when. The following information is included:

  • Monthly Amount - the amount the patient has agreed to pay per installment. The name of this line item changes based on the terms of their agreement (ie. Weekly Pmt, Bi-Weekly Pmt, etc.)
  • Pmt Due - the monthly payment amount the patient owes for this month
  • Amt Past Due - the amount past due that is still owed by the patient
  • Due Date - the due date for the next payment

If a future due payment plan exists, the Future Due Payment Plans Summary block shows information about the patient's future due payment plan, including:


  • Original Bal. - the patient's original balance
  • Remain Bal. - the patient's remaining balance
  • Payment - the next payment amount
  • Due Date - the due date of the next payment 

For additional information on these last two blocks, see The Difference Between Payment Agreements and Future Due Payment Plans.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Got the Picture?

The Patient Picture feature displays a full-color portrait that you can access from the Appointment Book, Family File, Patient Chart, Treatment Planner, Document Center, Perio Chart, or Questionnaires modules and is helpful in patient recognition and identification.

This feature can be especially helpful if you have patients with the same or similar names, where you can pull up the patient picture and double-check that the Dan Johnson sitting in the chair is the same Dan Johnson whose treatment plan is calling for an extraction!

To open the Patient Picture window:

  1. Select a patient.
  2. Click the Patient Picture button.
    • In the Family File, Appointment Book, and Treatment Manager, the Patient Picture button looks like this:


    • In the Patient Chart, Perio Chart, Document Center, and Questionnaires modules, the Patient Picture button is a small thumbnail of the actual patient photo:


    • If no patient picture exists for the patient, the Patient Picture button has muted colors:

The Patient Picture window appears.



Click the following links for additional information about how you can add patient pictures to your database using various methods, such as acquiring the image from a digital camera or other device, importing pictures from a file, or copy and pasting from the Windows clipboard.

Once you have added a patient picture, you can use the tools in the Patient Picture window to crop or rotate the image, as well as adjust the image properties.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Just the Way They Like It--Customizing Insurance Claim Forms

Some insurance companies require specific adaptations to an otherwise standard form. In Dentrix, the Claim Setup dialog box allows you to select from several options to make these accommodations. These options are set up per insurance plan, so you can set the options just for the plans that require it and not for others.

Note: This customization is only available for the DX2007 and DX2012 claim formats.

To modify DX2007 or DX2012 claim settings:


  1. From the Office Manager, click Maintenance > Reference > Insurance Maintenance. The Insurance Maintenance dialog box appears.


  2. Select the insurance plan you want to customize and click the Ins Data button. The Dental Insurance Plan Information dialog box appears.


  3. Click the Claim Setup button. The Claim Setup dialog box appears.


  4. In the Formatting Options group box, set the Font Size and Date Format using the drop-down options.
  5. In the Provider and Fee Options group box, select the Fee Schedule to use from the drop-down options.
  6. In the Advanced Settings group box, select the options you want to set for claims associated with this insurance plan:
    Note: When you hover over any of these options with your mouse in Dentrix, a tooltip appears explaining what each option does. 
    • Use Patient's SSN for ID Number - Check this box to print the Social Security Number for the patient instead of the patient ID in box 15 of the claim form.
    • Print Completion Date in Remarks - Check this box to print the completion date (selected in the procedure entry) in addition to the procedure code in the Remarks for Unusual Services section of the claim form.
    • Print Primary Payment in the "Other Fee" - Check this box to have the primary insurance payment appear in the Other Fee box on the secondary insurance claim. If checked, secondary claims where this insurance is the secondary will print the primary payment in box 32 (DX2007) or 31a (DX2012) on the claim form. 
    • Use SSN for Chart Number - Check this box to print the patient's Social Security Number in box 23 of the claim, in place of the Chart Number.
    • No Arch, Sextant or Quad in 27 - Check this box to leave box 27 of the claim form blank when the procedure is assigned to something other than a tooth number (for providers who don't want quadrant or sextant information on the claim).
    • Print Primary Payment in Remarks - Check this box to print the primary insurance payment in the Remarks for Unusual Services section of the claim form.
    • Print 'No" for Claims Without Assignment of Benefits - Check this box to print the word "No" in the Subscriber Signature line (box 37 of the claim form) for patients who have not provided assignment of benefits to the provider.
  7. Click OK to save your changes and return to the Dental Insurance Plan Information dialog box.


  8. In the Insurance Claim Options group box, do one or more of the following:
    • Replace initial character of procedure code with - Check this box if the carrier requires ADA CDT-3 or CDT-4 codes and you have not converted all of your codes to this format. Type the appropriate letter to replace the initial character of each procedure code, such as "D".
    • Do Not Include Dental Diagnostic Codes - Check this box to exclude dental diagnostic codes on claims.
    • Do Not Include Group Plan Name - Check this box to exclude the group plan name from printing on the claim or from being sent electronically.
    • Do Not Bill to Dental Insurance - Check this box to prevent creating batch insurance claims for the carrier, to have Dentrix ask if you want to include or exclude procedures flagged as "Do Not Bill to Dental Insurance" when you create a claim, and to exclude procedures from the Procedures Not Attached to Insurance Report.
    • Print Name for Provider's Signature on Claims - Check this box to print the provider's name on claims instead of the provider's signature.
For additional information, see the Customizing Claim Formats and Editing Insurance Carriers topics in the Dentrix Help, or view our previous Tip Tuesday post titled Insurance Claims Setup.