Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Using Patient-friendly Procedure Descriptions

Updated 8/23/2019

Let's be honest, unless you have a background in the dental industry, procedure descriptions such as "partial pulpototomy apexogen" might as well be written in ancient Greek for all the sense they make.

And when a patient sees a description of the procedures you have treatment planned for them written in this highly-technical language, it's easy for them to feel uneasy about the kind of treatment they are signing up for.
Luckily, there is a setting in Dentrix where you can replace the technical description of a procedure with one that is more patient-friendly, because "removal of a portion of the pulp to encourage continued development of the root" will sound a whole lot better to patients, and probably make more sense, too.

You can edit patient-friendly descriptions from the Procedure Code Editor dialog box (Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Procedure Code Setup), or from the Treatment Planner.

You can use these patient-friendly descriptions when printing patient treatment cases. In the Treatment Planner, from the View menu, click the Use Patient-Friendly Descriptions option.

To add or edit a patient-friendly description for a procedure:

  1. In the Treatment Planner navigation panel, click the Settings bar.

  2. To add, edit or customize a procedure description, click Patient-Friendly Description.

  3. From the Procedure drop-down list, select a procedure category and individual procedure from the list. Click the + button next to a category to expand it as needed.
  4. Once you have selected a procedure, the Description field is automatically filled with the "technical" description that is sent to insurance, which cannot be edited. In the Patient-Friendly Description field, enter a less-technical description for the procedure.

    Note: Many procedures already have a patient-friendly description, and these can be edited as needed. For example, the patient-friendly description for procedure D2161 is "Silver-colored filling of a cavity of four or more surfaces of a tooth, typically caused by tooth decay," but could be simplified even further to just read "Silver colored filling."
  5. Click OK to save your changes.

Bonus Tip:
If you primarily treat patients who speak a language other than English, you could edit your patient-friendly procedure descriptions to display that language. For example you can edit the patient-friendly description for procedure D0120 to include a Spanish description: "Examen dental para determinar los cambios desde el anterior examen de salud bucal general."

With a limit of 150 characters, if you keep your patient-friendly descriptions short you could include two languages in the description (such as English and Spanish): "Dental exam for overall oral health (Examen dental para la salud oral en general)."

For additional information, read the Patient-friendly Procedure Descriptions topic in Dentrix Help.

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