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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Complete Patient Clinical Notes at Your Fingertips

Many doctors and hygienists like to review their past clinical notes about a patient at the beginning of their appointment. That way they can see any notes they made about the patient's health or treatment in the past. You can open a list that displays all of the clinical notes at once, so the provider can review them the same way they would in a paper chart.

To view all clinical notes at once:
  1. Select the appropriate patient in the Patient Chart module.
  2. Click the Progress Notes tab to open the Progress Notes panel.



  3. On the Progress Notes toolbar, select the Clinical Notes and Expand Notes view options. All of the clinical notes for the patient will be displayed within the Progress Notes list with the notes expanded so you can see the text of each one.
  4. If desired, deselect any other view options that are selected so that the only things displayed in the list are the expanded clinical notes.
Additional Information: 
  • You can sort the columns of information in the Progress Notes panel by clicking the column heading. For example, if you want to see a specific provider's notes, you can click the Provider column heading and then scroll to the beginning of that provider's notes.
  • You can expand the Progress Notes panel to be taller so it's easier to read several notes at a time. To expand the panel, hover over the top edge of the panel until your cursor changes to an expanding arrow. Click and drag the panel to the desired height. When you are done reading the notes, you can resize the panel back to its original height so you can focus on the tooth chart. 


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Making Last Minute Changes to Procedures

You probably all know that when you are creating an appointment in the Appointment Book, you can click the Tx button in the Appointment Information dialog box to pull up a list of treatment-planned procedures that you can use for the appointment. 




But did you know that after you have selected the treatment-planned procedure, you have the option to edit it?  Simply click the Edit button within the Treatment Plan window.




This will open the Edit or Delete Procedure dialog box where you can make changes to the procedure as needed. 




This can come in handy in a situation where, for example, you have treatment planned an MI amalgam but when you have the patient in the chair for the exam, it turns out that they are going to need an MID instead. You can use that Edit option to quickly update the appointment without having to go into the Chart or Treatment Planner, and it will be corrected before you post the appointment complete.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Making Your Billing Statements Easier for Patients to Understand

Do patients call your office with questions about their billing statements, and wonder what the charges listed as "Balance Forward" actually are?

When you generate billing statements, the balance forward date defaults to one month ago. Any patient balance prior to this date gets grouped into a lump sum labeled as "Balance Forward' on the billing statement.



If you want to be able to see a more itemized list of charges on your billing statements, change your balance forward date to something different, such as three months ago.



Be judicious about how far back you set the balance forward date, because if you move it back too far, some patients may receive statements with several pages of itemized procedures. Work to find the "sweet spot" with the balance forward date, where you give patients as much recent data as they need but not so much that they get confused or overwhelmed by the number of pages included in their billing statement.

To adjust the balance forward date on billing statements:
  1. From the Office Manager, click Reports > Billing. The Billing Statements dialog box appears.

  2. The Balance Forward Date field defaults to one month ago. Change this date as needed.
  3. Modify other settings and filters as needed.
  4. In the Statements group box, select whether to send statements to Batch, Print, or Send Electronically.
  5. To save your changes as the default settings for future billing statements, check the Save as Default box.
  6. Click OK to generate the statements.
For additional tips on generating billing statements, view these other Tip Tuesday posts: