Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part V: Treatment Notes

Over the last several weeks we have talked about the different areas within Dentrix where you can keep notes. Today's post rounds out the topic of Dentrix notes with treatment notes. Treatment notes are designed to help you keep a complete clinical record for each of your patients and include the following:
  • Clinical Notes - Clinical notes allow you to enter notations about medical conditions, treatment recommendations, or descriptions of work completed for a specific patient. You can write both free-form clinical notes, or use clinical note templates. Clinical notes can be signed and locked so that they cannot be edited. You can print clinical notes in a report.


  • Medical Alerts - You can use medical alerts to remind you of any allergies, illnesses, or conditions your patients may have. 
  • Perio Exam Notes - Perio exam notes are automatically added to a perio exam and consist of the measurements taken during a general periodontal exam, including information about the gingiva, oral hygiene, and X-rays. By default, Dentrix sets the measurement values of perio exam notes to those of a normal healthy mouth.
  • Prescription Notes - You can provide patients with more detailed dosage and usage instructions for a prescription in the Prescription Note field of the New Patient Prescription dialog box. The prescription note appears when you print a prescription.
  • Procedure Notes - Each time you enter a procedure, you can attach a note. Usually, the procedure note would be used to document clinical information about the procedure performed. However, that information can also be entered into the clinical notes. Procedure notes are locked when a procedure is moved into history following the closing of the month. Procedure notes can be printed from the Progress Notes panel.
  • Progress Notes - Progress notes are not text notes. Instead, progress notes are a list of all treatment-planned, completed, referred,  and existing work. They can also include conditions, exams, and clinical notes, if desired. You can print the progress notes from the Patient Chart.
  • Treatment Plan Notes - In the Treatment Planner you can add two kinds of notes: Case Notes and Case Status History Notes. Case notes are text notes that you can add to any individual treatment plan case. (You can also set up default case notes if desired that will be automatically assigned to each new case.) Case notes print on the Case Presentation report. Case Status History Notes are short "comments" that you can add when the status of a case changes.
  • Recommendation Notes - Recommendation notes are pre-written notes that can be automatically printed for patients when they have a specific procedure performed and your print them a walkout statement.
  • Referral Recap Notes - The referral recap note allows you to add notes for the referring provider when you generate a Referral Recap report.
  • Referral Slip Notes - The referral slip note allows you to add a note to the referred-to provider when you generate a referral slip for a patient.
And in case you missed them, be sure to read our previous posts concerning Scheduling Notes, Patient Information Notes, Financial Notes, and Insurance Notes.

Have you ever written a patient note and forgotten just where in Dentrix you put it? Reread a post from August 2016 titled Where Did I Put That Patient Note? that explains how to use the Patient Note Report.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part IV: Insurance Notes

For the last three weeks we've been talking about different areas within Dentrix where you can keep notes. This week we'll focus on notes dealing with insurance coverage, claims, and carriers; why they are important; and how they can be kept in a consistent location where they can be easily accessed and read.

In the Insurance Claim window, there are three kinds of notes that can be entered:


Insurance note locations within claim window.
  1. Claim Note - This note (also called Remarks for Unusual Services) can be used to write short claim narratives that are submitted with the claim. Keep your notes brief, as only 101 characters will display on printed claims, and only 125 characters are sent on electric claims. TIP: You can utilize custom claim remarks templates to make your entries quick and consistent.
  2. Claim Status Note - This note is not submitted with the claim and can be used to document tracking information for the claim once it has been sent. This note can also be printed on the Insurance Claim Aging Report.
  3. Insurance Plan Note - This note should be used to keep track of plan limitations and exclusions that can't be attached to the coverage or payment tables. Insurance plan notes are specific to the insurance carrier and not individual patients. The note displays for all patients covered by the same insurance plan. This note does not print on insurance claims.
To enter notes, double-click the appropriate block within the claim window, enter the information and click OK to close the window and save the note. The Insurance Plan Note can also be accessed from the Office Manager by clicking Maintenance > Reference > Insurance Maintenance. Then select the insurance plan and click the Cov Table button. From the Insurance Coverage dialog box that appears, click the Notes button and enter the note.

If you missed them, be sure to read our previous posts about Scheduling Notes, Patient Information Notes, and Financial Notes. And stay tuned for our final post next week about clinical notes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part III: Financial Notes

If you've been reading our blog the last couple of weeks, you know the importance of keeping notes in Dentrix, and keeping them in the right location. The Ledger is another key area where notes are valuable. Because money is a big deal to everyone involved, it's important to keep good notes about payments, additional charges, and/or adjustments that were made on a patient account, and to document terms and agreements made about an overdue balance. 

There are a couple of different financial notes, and we'll explain each of them each below.

  • Guarantor Notes and Billing Statement Notes - both notes are accessed by selecting a patient in the Ledger and clicking the Guarantor Notes button or by clicking File > Guarantor Notes.

  • Example of a guarantor note

    • Guarantor Note - The top part of the Guarantor Notes dialog box has an Account Note field where you can enter financial notes about the account. Every patient in the family shares the guarantor note.
    • Billing Statement Note - The bottom part of the Guarantor Notes dialog box has a Billing Statement Note field that should be used to enter text or reminders that you want to print on the billing statement for the selected family. This field is limited to 82 characters, and you have the options of using any custom billing statement notes you may have created previously, and entering a Print on Statement until date.
  • Payment Agreement Note - This note should be used to record any information related to a payment agreement that is included in the payment agreement terms. The terms of the payment agreement can be added to the Payment Agreement Note field by clicking the Copy Agreement to Note button (they appear in the field with a ***NEW*** heading). Additionally, when a payment agreement is cleared from a patient, a copy of the terms of the cleared agreement are entered in this field (under a ***CLEARED*** heading).

  • Example of Payment Agreement Note with agreement terms copied to the note field.

  • Payment Plan Note - This note should be used to record any information related to a Future Due Payment Plan that is included in the payment plan terms.
  • Transaction Note - Similar to a procedure note, you can add notes to any financial transaction posted to the Ledger, including payments, adjustments, finance charges, and late charges.
Example of transaction note entered for a late charge.

If you missed it, be sure to read our previous posts about Scheduling Notes and Patient Information Notes. And stay tuned for next week's Tip Tuesday post about notes dealing with insurance.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part II: Patient Information Notes

Continuing on the theme of Dentrix notes, today's tip will focus on the kinds of notes you can use to document patient information. While you could argue that every kind of note could technically be called "patient information," keep in mind that in the coming weeks we will still be covering financial notes, insurance notes, and clinical notes. Today's post deals with those notes that are specific to individual patients.
  • Document Note - Each time you add a document or image to the Document Center, you can attach a note to the file as part of the Document Information dialog box. You can use this note to clarify information about the document being saved. For more information, see the Entering document information Dentrix Help topic.
  • Office Journal Notes - Notes in the Office Journal have two main functions: to keep a record of past events and to remind you of events in the future. Dentrix adds automatic notes to the Office Journal, and you can manually add the following notes: Phone Call, Reminder, Miscellaneous, and HIPAA Privacy. For more information about the kinds of notes that are automatically entered in the Office Journal see the Understanding the Office Journal blog post.
  • Patient Note - Patient notes apply only to an individual patient, and can be used to keep track of personal information about the patient that doesn't belong in more specific areas. You might include information about hobbies, preferences, family situations, etc. You can choose to print patient notes on the route slip, and can hide them from displaying in the Family File. For more information, see the Entering or editing patient notes Dentrix Help topic.
  • Patient Alert Note - Patient alerts are pop-up messages to remind you of important information. You can create a patient alert for a single patient, an entire family, or selected members of a family. You can set a time limit on patient alerts so that you only see the alert when the information is timely, and you can select which tasks in Dentrix activate the alert so that you only see the alert when it is pertinent. For additional information, refer to our previous post about Effectively Using Patient Alerts.
  • Referral Analysis - As you are reviewing referral information, you can add notes about your referral program in the Note dialog box accessible from the Referral Analysis dialog box. These notes will show anytime you attach the referral source to a patient. Additional information can be found in the Analyzing referrals by patients Dentrix Help topic.
Example of an Office Journal note.
If you missed it, be sure to read last week's tip about Scheduling Notes. And stay tuned for next week's Tip Tuesday post about financial notes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dentrix Notes Part I: Scheduling

Sticky notes were a great invention, and I'm sure we've all used them for one reason or another since they came out back in the early 1980s. But a patient chart that becomes completely covered with yellow squares of scribbled notes without any method of sorting or prioritizing the pieces of information quickly has you wondering if there is a better way to organize your notes. With Dentrix, you have a variety of features that not only allow you to make note of patient information, but allow you to use that information more effectively.

By ditching the sticky notes, and revamping your note organization in Dentrix, you can discover the many places where patient notes can be stored and how you can manage that information in more effective ways.

Over the next few weeks, the Tip Tuesday blog will cover the different kinds of notes you can enter in Dentrix, their purpose and use, and from which modules you can access these notes. Notes will be divided into the following areas: Scheduling Notes, Patient Information Notes, Financial Notes, Insurance Notes, and Clinical Notes.

This week, we'll tackle Scheduling Notes:

Note Purpose & Use Accessed From More Information
Appointment Note Appointment notes are attached directly to an appointment and usually reference special situations that the office should be aware of before seeing a patient. The Appointment Note can be printed on the route slip, patient visit form, and Daily Huddle report. Appointment Information dialog box Scheduling appointments
Appointment Book Day Note An Appointment Book Day Note is available for each day of the year and is generally used to keep track of information for a certain date. Appointment Book Day Notes are displayed on each workstation in the office. They are not specific to a patient. Appointment Book Creating Day Notes
Continuing Care Motivational Note The Motivational Note available in the Continuing Care type dialog box was designed to create personalized messages to be printed on continuing care reminder cards. You can also use the note to keep track of special circumstances related to continuing care, but you must be careful to hide any text you don't want to print on the patient's card. Edit Continuing Care dialog box Assigning Continuing Care Types (step 9)
Lab Case Notes Notes about a lab case can be entered in the Lab Case Note field. Lab Case Manager Creating Lab Cases (step 2)


Example of an Appointment Book Day Note



For additional information about entering each of these notes, please see the links in the More Information column above, and be sure to catch next week's Tip Tuesday post about Patient Information Notes.


To learn about note field character limitations, see knowledgebase article #24903, Character Limits in Dentrix, in the Dentrix Resource Center.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Track Family Financial Situations with the Guarantor Note

Guarantor notes are used to document information specific to the finances of a family account. Guarantor notes are shared for an entire family, and can be viewed from the Ledger, or by double-clicking the family balance block in the Family File.

To add a guarantor note to an account:
  1. With a patient selected in the Ledger, click the Guarantor Notes button to open the Guarantor Notes dialog box.
    Note: The color of this button changes depending on whether there are notes already entered on the account. The "G" on the button changes to blue when a note is entered for the account.


  2. Click Insert Dateline to insert the date you are making the note.
  3. In the Account Note field, enter the desired note.


  4. Click OK to save the note and return to the Ledger.
    Note: I
    f you are using passwords, you can restrict which users can create and edit guarantor notes.

The Guarantor Notes dialog box also has a place for billing statement notes. A note entered in the Billing Statement Note field only prints on that family's statement, and only until the date you specify. To learn more about billing statement notes see the Adding Billing Statement Notes topic in the Dentrix Help, or the Custom Billing Statement Notes post from this blog.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Correcting Posting Errors on Payments in History

Occasionally, you may find that you made a mistake on a payment posted in the Dentrix Ledger. You cannot delete payments in history, but you can correct the mistake and maintain accurate A/R records by entering an adjustment to offset the incorrect payment amount and then posting a corrected, backdated payment. Knowing how to correct posting errors in history will allow you to close each month without fear that you won't be able to go back and correct mistakes later.

Consider this scenario:
Jane Doe called today with a question about her billing statement. Her statement shows a balance of $270, but she says she made a $300 payment the last time she was in the office. You look at her Ledger and see that there was a $30 payment entered for her last month on the date of her visit. You check your credit card receipts and verify that she did make a $300 payment, it was just posted incorrectly. Since the payment is in history, you cannot delete it. To correct the mistake, you will need to post an adjustment to offset the incorrect payment amount and then post a corrected, backdated payment.

To correct posting errors for payments in history:
  1. In the Ledger, select the patient.
  2. Find the payment that needs to be corrected. Double-click it to open the Edit History Payment dialog box. You won't be making any changes in this dialog box, but you need to open it to take note of the Date, Amount, and Provider the payment was allocated to, which you will need to know when you enter the adjustment. Once you have noted this information, click OK to close the dialog box and return to the Ledger.
    Note: If the original payment was split when it was entered, you may need to find two or more payments when, when added together, equal the payment amount you are trying to correct.
  3. From the Ledger menu, select Transaction > Enter Adjustment. The Enter Adjustment dialog box appears.



  4. Enter the amount of the payment you are correcting in the Amount field.
  5. Select the type of adjustment being made in the Type pane. For example, if you are offsetting a payment, you will select a debit (+) adjustment to negate the amount of the payment.
    Note: If you do not already have one, you should set up a debit (+) adjustment type specifically for correcting payments in history.
  6. Select the Provider to whom the adjustment should be applied. This should be the same provider the payment was originally applied to.
  7. In the Note field, enter a note explaining why the adjustment is being made. This is a good practice to be in the habit of doing, so you have a record of why a change to the payment is being made.
  8. Click OK to enter the adjustment.
  9. Now that you have posted an adjustment to offset the amount of the payment, it is as if the payment were never made. You must next post a new payment with the correct information to complete the process. From the Ledger, click the Enter Payment button. The Enter Payment dialog box appears.


  10. In the Date field, enter the date the original payment was made. Refer to the notes of the original payment you made in step 2; backdate the new payment to the date of the original payment.
  11. Enter the correct amount of the payment in the Amount field.
  12. Enter the rest of the payment information as you normally would.
    Note: Make sure you apply this payment to the specific patient for whom you are correcting the procedure in history, and make sure you apply it to the correct individual provider. You should not split by provider or by family when posting a corrected, backdated payment. If you have two providers with incorrect payments, you should correct them individually and post two separate backdated procedures.
  13. In the Note field, enter a note explaining the situation and reason for this corrected payment.
  14. Click OK to post the corrected payment. The payment will have a ^ symbol listed in the Transaction Flags (*) column of the Ledger to indicate that it was backdated.


For additional information on how to manage Ledger transactions, consider signing up for and attending a Dentrix Accounts Receivable Management Workshop, offered in 17 cities around the country this fall. Or visit our Dentrix Workshops page for information on other workshops in your area.