Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Using Patient-friendly Procedure Descriptions

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 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. The Settings pane opens.

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

  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. 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.
In Dentrix version 6.1, you can also edit patient-friendly descriptions from the Procedure Code Editor dialog box (Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Procedure Code Setup).

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 read, "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)."

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