Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Make Filling Out Questionnaires More Convenient For Your Patients

Using patient questionnaires, you can easily keep account information up to date with the information your patients provide.

But what if you could send your patients an email link to an online questionnaire and have them fill it out before they arrived for their appointment? Or, what if you could text them a link when they check in at the front desk and have them update their health history from their phone while they wait to be seen?

And who wouldn’t like the ability to quickly update patient accounts with this information with just a few mouse clicks?


In our recent article, Allow Patients to Fill Out Forms Online, you’ll learn how you can create patient questionnaires in Dentrix, upload them to your practice website or send patients a link to them online, and then use that information to keep Dentrix updated.

Your patients will appreciate the convenience of being able to complete and submit forms from their phone or computer ahead of time, and you can focus on the business of dentistry instead of paperwork when they arrive at your office.

Read this and other articles to help you increase productivity in your practice at https://magazine.dentrix.com/.

To help your team develop the skills they’ll need to help your practice bounce back, we’ve temporarily waived all Dentrix Mastery Tracks testing fees. For more information click HERE.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Referring Out an Entire Treatment Case

You just can't do it all yourself, right? Fortunately, Dentrix offers a way to keep a record of procedures that you have diagnosed but will refer out to have completed by a specialist outside of your office.

First, treatment plan the work like you normally would. Then, in the Treatment Planner panel, create a case folder and drag and drop all procedures to be referred out into that case.

With that case selected, click the Update Status button, and select Referred from the drop-down list of options.


You'll be given an opportunity to make a comment on the case, and most importantly to select the Referred To provider.

In addition to adding the referred to provider to all of the procedures in the case, Dentrix also changes the fee to $0.00.

Now is a great opportunity to print a referral slip, which will help you have a successful hand off to the other provider.

When the patient returns to your practice, and has completed the work, update the status of the treatment case again, this time selecting the Completed option. The status of the procedures will be changed to Existing-Other in the Patient Chart.

For related information, read the Charting Referred Procedures article in the Dentrix Magazine online archive.

To help your team develop the skills they’ll need to help your practice bounce back, we’ve temporarily waived all Dentrix Mastery Tracks testing fees. For more information click HERE.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Creating Customized Billing Statement Notes


Did you know that you can create templates for notes that you want to appear at the bottom of billing statements? 

With Dentrix, you can create a library of custom billing statement note templates you can use to print messages on billing statements, such as your updated office hours during the pandemic, information about financing or payment options, and so forth.

To set up custom billing statement note templates:
  1. From the Office Manager, click Maintenance > Practice Setup > Custom Notes > Billing Statement Notes Setup.
  2. Click New.


  3. Enter a Description for the note and enter the note text in the Note field.
  4. Click OK to save the note.
You can also edit any of the existing notes by clicking on a note in the Description list and then clicking the Edit button to make changes to it.

To add a note template when you generate billing statements, from the Billing Statement dialog box, click the Statement Notes button. This will open the Insert Custom Billing Statement Note dialog box from which you can select the Description of the note you want to add to the statement, and click OK.


Note: This statement message will appear on the bottom of every billing statement, and should not be used for specific notes that only apply to a single patient.

Custom billing statement notes can be one way you can communicate important information to your patients without having to retype the same note on individual statements!

For more information see the Generating Billing Statements and Adding Billing Statement Notes topics in Dentrix Help.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Sending Modified Recare Due Reminders with Patient Engage When Your Practice Reopens

After your office has been closed for an extended period of time, how can you catch up on rescheduling those patients who missed out on their regular cleanings? One strategy is to let your automated recall system through Patient Engage invite them back.

To make this work, you will need to complete two tasks.

  1. Edit the automated recall messages in Patient Engage so that they invite the patient to reschedule their appointment.
  2. Delete the scheduled appointment that the patient missed, so that the automated system will send out messages.

Step 1 - Select the Messages

Take a look at your reminder settings. In Patient Engage, click the Settings tab (found on the Dentrix Hub page header). On the left-hand navigation panel, expand Communications, and select Personalized Recall.




By default, these reminders will send to unscheduled patients 2 weeks and 1 week before their due date. If the patient remains unscheduled, additional reminders are sent again 1, 2, 4, 13, 26, and 52 weeks after the due date passes. These messages and intervals can be changed to your advantage, and that is exactly what we will do now.

Before you make changes, realize that at some future time, after your office returns to a pattern of normalcy, you’ll want to restore these settings. So before you edit the time intervals, print or create a screen capture of this web page to have as a reference. Before you edit the text of the messages, select the current message, copy the text, and paste it into a notepad or Microsoft Word document for safekeeping. When the time comes to put things back to normal, you’ll appreciate having that information to guide you!

Step 2 - Edit the Messages

First, we’ll edit and repurpose the message that would normally be sent 13 weeks after the due date was past. Click on the word Email


Hover your mouse over the main message, and select Click to Edit. Then make wording changes to invite your patients to return following your closure. Tell them about social distancing measures, cleaning and sterilization processes, or other policies you have implemented to ensure a smooth reopening. When you are satisfied with the message, click Save.

Next click Edit to change the timing of the email reminder. Adjust the number of weeks so that the reminders will be sent to the patients whose appointments were bumped at the beginning of your office’s closure (for example, if your closure was for the last 5 weeks, change this setting to 6 weeks). Finally, Save the changes.

Also, edit the messages going out in your 1, 2, and 4 week campaigns, but leave the timelines as they are. If you adjust to this timeline as described, you’ll have several automatic reminders going out each day to patients who were due for recall 1, 2, 4, and 6 weeks before today’s date. Each individual patient that is overdue by 2 weeks or more will only receive a message every 14 days, so they won’t receive messages too frequently to become annoying to them.

With so many emails reaching your patients each day, they’ll be responding at a staggered rate and process of re-booking can happen quicker. 

Step 3 - Delete Appointments in Dentrix

Remember that these reminders are only sent to patients who are detected by the system as not being scheduled for their continuing care appointment. So the next step—and probably the most scary-sounding one—is to delete the scheduled appointments from your schedule.

Before deleting, print the schedule for reference. Open Office Manager > Reports > Lists > Daily Appointment List, and select the operatories where you schedule your cleaning appointments. Enter the date range of the closure, and select the Operatory Appointment List or the Daily Appointment List (the primary difference is that the Operatory Appointment List is double-spaced while the Daily Appointment List is single spaced). Print the report(s) to have as a reference. 

When it comes to deleting appointments, the slow way is to select each appointment one by one and click the Delete button on the toolbar of the Appointment Book. However, the more efficient way to delete multiple appointments is to use the Appointment List. 

At the top of the Appointment Book, click Appt List. Create a view that shows you only the operatories where you schedule cleaning appointments by clicking Setup, Appointment List View. From the Select List menu, choose Appointments. Select the operatories where you schedule cleaning appointments. Click Save List, name it “Cleaning Appts List” and click OK. This will return you to the main Appointment List window.



From the Select List pull-down menu choose the Cleaning Appts List menu item. Use the calendar menu to select the first day your office was closed. Press CTRL+A to select all appointments displayed. Press the Delete key and then confirm the warning message to delete the appointments. Forward your calendar day-by-day, and repeat the process by selecting and deleting the appointments in these operatories for each day of the closure.

Now that these cleaning appointments are removed, the system will recognize that the patients are not scheduled for the services. Day-by-day, as patient due dates fall in line with the campaigns you set up, the patients will receive their email invitations to book their appointment, including the custom messaging you created.

Step 4 - Reset

Make a note to remind yourself to come back to and reset your reminder settings after a couple of months when your schedule begins to normalize.

Sending modified recare due reminders is part of the virtual waiting room you can set up with Dentrix and other integrated tools like Patient Engage and QuickBill eStatements. Visit https://magazine.dentrix.com/setting-up-a-virtual-waiting-room-with-patient-engage/ to read the article and get other ideas.

To learn more about setting up a virtual waiting room with Dentrix and Patient Engage, register for our free webinar on Tuesday, May 19 at 11:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time.











Friday, May 8, 2020

Posting Patient Forms Online Using the Patient Portal in Patient Engage

In our high-speed connected world, your patients are accustomed to being able to log on and find self-service. The Patient Portal provides patients access to their account information, online forms, and secure messages. Best of all, the portal is designed to require very little administrative and maintenance effort from your team.

And right now, during these times when you will have extra safety measure in your office, the patient portal can help you reduce or eliminate the need to pass tablets or clipboards back and forth between patients so they can fill out their forms. Patients can log in to their portal and fill them out online before they arrive.

Setting up the Patient Portal on Your Website

Patients can access their own Patient Portal account through a link you provide on your website or a button you include in your email messages. You can include information in your emails to all patients and in your appointment reminders directing patients to go to your website to set up and access their Patient Portal.

To add a Patient Portal link on your practice website, from the Dentrix Hub, click Settings, then Business Information. On the right side of the page, look for Patient Portal URL. Copy this link and add it as a link on your webpages wherever you'd like it to appear.


Including a Patient Portal Link in Emails

You can also use the URL you found in the previous step and add it as a button that appears on your emails. From the Dentrix Hub, click Settings, then Communications, and Email Settings. Under the Customize section, look at the Links you have available. You can change any of the links to use a custom link. In the second box, type the text you want to appear (such as “Patient Portal”), and in the third box the paste the URL for your portal.


Send Personal Invitations by Email

You can be a little more personal by sending a patient a message with an invitation. From the Dentrix Hub, select Patients. Open the patient record, and scroll to the Patient Portal Management section. At the right side, click Send patient portal invite.


Patients Using the Portal

No matter which way the patient gets the invitation, they will be directed to your office’s patient portal site. There they can create an account using their name, birthday, and email address. After creating the account, they can log in to their Portal where they’ll see a home screen that summarizes their information and activity with your office.

Encourage your patients to log in and click Online Forms prior to each appointment, where they can update their forms online before their appointment instead of waiting to do so when they arrive at the office. When a patient submits an online form, their responses appear in both the patient’s Questionnaire module in Dentrix and in the Dentrix Hub under the Communications, Online Forms.


Encouraging patients to fill out their forms online using the Patient Portal is part of the virtual waiting room you can set up with Dentrix and other integrated tools like Patient Engage and QuickBill eStatements. Visit https://magazine.dentrix.com/setting-up-a-virtual-waiting-room-with-patient-engage/ to read the article and get other ideas.

To learn more about setting up a virtual waiting room with Dentrix and Patient Engage, register for our free webinar on Tuesday, May 19 at 11:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time.



Facilitating a Virtual Waiting Room with Two-Way Texting in Patient Engage


In addition to the appointment reminders you send to patients through Patient Engage, for a short time while your practice is operating under temporary policies of social distancing and special limitations it might be a good idea to text instructions to the patients who have appointments tomorrow. You can do this through the Dentrix Hub in Patient Engage.

Then, once patients arrive for their appointments you can use the two-way texting feature to allow your patients to let you know they have arrived and to text them when it is their turn to come in.

Texting Instructions to Tomorrow's Patients

One of the things you can do to prepare for the next day’s appointments during this time is to text your patients and remind them how the virtual check-in process will work. 

To text tomorrow patients, in the top-right corner of the Dentrix Hub in Patient Engage, click Contact Patients and then select Tomorrow's Patients to create text messages for patients who are scheduled tomorrow. In the text message, let your patients know about general instructions, such as how the check-in process will work, to prepare them for their appointment.



When you compose a message for multiple patients, use the Insert Custom Tag menu to add a merge field that will fill in your patients’ names into your messages. When the messages are sent, the field will be replaced with your patient’s names, personalizing the messages for each patient.


Two-Way Texting When Patients Arrive

When patients arrive at the office, they will text you to let you know they are there. When you receive the patient’s text message, a notification will appear in the upper-right corner of the Dentrix Hub. Click Texts to view the text message and respond that you will let the patient know when it is their turn to come inside. Bold messages have not yet been read. Click any message to open the conversation’s history.

This is also a good time to send them any last-minute check-in forms



When you are ready for the patient, start a new message by clicking the “+” button in the upper-right corner of the Dentrix Hub and tell the patient to enter the building. 

Two-way texting with patients is part of the virtual waiting room you can set up with Dentrix and other integrated tools like Patient Engage and QuickBill eStatements. Visit https://magazine.dentrix.com/setting-up-a-virtual-waiting-room-with-patient-engage/ to read the article and get other ideas.

To learn more about setting up a virtual waiting room with Dentrix and Patient Engage, register for our free webinar on Tuesday, May 19 at 11:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time.

Sending Patients a Check-In Link with Patient Engage

When you send patients an appointment reminder email and encourage them to update their forms online before their appointment, many of them will do so. Some may not, however, and in that case you can still give them the option to fill out their medical history and COVID-19 screening forms before coming into the office.

With Patient Engage, you can use the Check In feature to send patients a link to complete Questionnaire forms from their phone. Patients can complete their forms before they arrive at the office or while they wait for their turn to enter the office. Their answers are received and available for you to view in the Dentrix Hub dashboard and in the Questionnaire module of Dentrix.

You can send patients updated medical history forms that include COVID-19 screening questions or even special forms you set up for the day of the appointment to double-check on symptoms they may have developed since they filled out their forms online.

Sending Patients a Check-In Link

Form the Dentrix Hub, in the Today’s Follow-Up Actions section, click Check In.



If the patient has not opted in to receive text messages, you will be guided through a basic script that asks for the patient’s consent to receive text messages. Ask the question and enter the response as prompted on screen. The patient will then receive a prompt confirming that they accept text messages.

After they reply, the patient will receive a link to check in.


The link will open a web browser and allow the patient to answer the questionnaire forms that you created and uploaded previously.


Viewing Patient Responses Online in the Dentrix Hub

Once patients have filled out their forms online, you can view the patient’s responses in the Dentrix Hub under the Communications, Online Forms section. Review the answers here to decide if the patient has any symptoms or risk factors that would require them to reschedule their appointment.


Select View to see the patient’s responses to the form.


In the Form Response Details window, scroll through and read the responses. The form may be broken up into Sections (or pages); if so, click each section header to review that detail.
A note is available at the top, which is saved with the form and viewable in the Dentrix Hub. You may also print or export the form and responses using the buttons at the upper right.

Creating and posting online forms with COVID-19 screening questions is part of the virtual waiting room you can set up with Dentrix and other integrated tools like Patient Engage and QuickBill eStatements. Visit https://magazine.dentrix.com/setting-up-a-virtual-waiting-room-with-patient-engage/ to read the article and get other ideas.

To learn more about setting up a virtual waiting room with Dentrix and Patient Engage, register for our free webinar on Tuesday, May 19 at 11:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time.






Creating an Online Medical History Form that Includes COVID-19 Screening Questions

Before you welcome patients to your office for an appointment, it’s a good idea to ask them a few screening questions about COVID-19 symptoms and history. That way you can discover whether patients have any symptoms that may require them to reschedule their appointments before they arrive at the office.

You can create a new screening form for these questions or you can add them to your current medical history forms. From the Dentrix Questionnaires module click Edit > Questionnaire Setup.

If you want to create a new form, click the New Form button, then select Start with Blank Form. Enter a name for the questionnaire. Remember that patients will see this name when they select the form online from a list online, so give it a patient-friendly description.

If you want to add questions to an existing medical history form, select the form you want to add the question to, click Edit Form, select the option to make a new version of the form, and click OK.

Set up the questionnaire as desired with patient information, signature requirements, and other information. See the Questionnaires section of the online Dentrix help files for more information.

To add the COVID-19 screening questions, click New Question. Refer to the Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit provided by the ADA for guidance about screening questions to ask. Type the question text, and select the answer type you want the patient to respond with for this question (for example, do you want them to respond with a note, to select yes or no, or to select from a list of possible answers, etc). Follow the prompts that pertain to this question type. Check Require response for this field to require a response to these questions so that patients cannot skip them as they fill out the form.


At any time, you can click Preview Form to see how it will look when presented to the patient. When you have finished creating the questionnaire, click Close to save the form.

Uploading the Patient Forms to the Patient Portal

In order to collect the medical history information prior to patients’ appointments, you can upload the forms using Patient Engage so that patients can access them in their Patient Portal and fill them out online. 

IMPORTANT: After creating or editing a questionnaire form, wait at least 15 minutes for the Practice Data Sync service to load these changes in the background. Then proceed to these steps: 

To upload the new form, click the DXWeb button on the toolbar of any Dentrix module. Click Settings > WebSync Wizard. Then, on the left sidebar, click Questionnaire Upload.

You will see two headings - Questionnaire Settings for Patients of Record and Questionnaire Settings for New Patients. While holding the CTRL key on your keyboard, select the new form under either or both headings (depending on if you want the form to be available to new and/or current patient.)


On the left menu, click FINISH, and then click the Finish button to save the changes.

The form will be uploaded at the next regularly scheduled WebSync, which typically happens once per day. If you would like to upload these changes right away, from the DXWeb toolbar, click WebSync, WebSync Override, and follow the prompts.

The forms you created and selected will now be available for all patients to complete through their Patient Portal link on your website. If patient’s haven’t set up a Patient Portal account, they can request one through the same link.

Viewing Patient Responses Online win the Dentrix Hub

Once patients have filled out their forms online, you can view the patient’s responses in the Dentrix Hub under the Communications, Online Forms section. Review the answers here to decide if the patient has any symptoms or risk factors that would require them to reschedule their appointment.


Select View to see the patient’s responses to the form.



In the Form Response Details window, scroll through and read the responses. The form may be broken up into Sections (or pages); if so, click each section header to review that detail.

Creating and posting online forms with COVID-19 screening questions is part of the virtual waiting room you can set up with Dentrix and other integrated tools like Patient Engage and QuickBill eStatements. Visit https://magazine.dentrix.com/setting-up-a-virtual-waiting-room-with-patient-engage/ to read the article and get other ideas.

To learn more about setting up a virtual waiting room with Dentrix and Patient Engage, register for our free webinar on Tuesday, May 19 at 11:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time.


Adapting Your Appointment Reminders Using Patient Engage

As patients start to return to the office for appointments, they may be apprehensive and not know what to expect when they arrive. You can send a message to all of your patients to describe how appointments will work during this time of social distancing and heightened caution, but patients will want specific instructions to follow for their appointments.

Dentrix Patient Engage allows you to customize the appointment reminder messages that are emailed to your patients ahead of their appointment. This is a great place to provide these messages and instructions!

From the Dentrix Hub dashboard, select Appointments (1), Reminder Settings (2), and Edit (3). Then, click Edit on the default plan.



In the default plan, click Save the Date (4), expand the email settings for messages “Sent one day after the appointment is scheduled” (5) and click Edit Template (6).


In the editor, click the + symbols to add another block of text, and enter a message telling the patient about social distancing measures your office is taking or other policies you have implemented to help ensure a safe operation. When you are finished writing the message, you might want to select and copy the text so that you can use it again in other email messages. Save the message block, and then click Save and Go Back to exit the editor.

Scroll through other email messages and edit them in a similar manner. For example, you might choose to add the text to the emails sent “3 business days before the appointment” and “1 business days before the appointment.”

Now that this messaging is part of your appointment reminders, your patients will arrive better informed and having less anxiety wondering what to expect.

When your practice has resumed normal activity, you can remove or modify these messages by editing the emails once again. Hover your mouse over the block of text and click the pen icon to edit the message, or click the trash can icon to remove the entire block of text.

Adapting your appointment reminder text to let patients know about your policy changes is part of the virtual waiting room you can set up with Dentrix and other integrated tools like Patient Engage and QuickBill eStatements. Visit https://magazine.dentrix.com/setting-up-a-virtual-waiting-room-with-patient-engage/ to read the article and get other ideas.

To learn more about setting up a virtual waiting room with Dentrix and Patient Engage, register for our free webinar on Tuesday, May 19 at 11:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time.

Emailing All Of Your Patients About Policy Changes with Patient Engage

As you prepare to reopen your practice after being closed for the pandemic, you’ll need to let patients know about the new policies you’ve implemented in your practice in order to keep them safe, such as staggering appointments to reduce the amount of people waiting in the office at one time, texting from their car to check in for your appointment, or filling out forms online to eliminate the sharing of tablets or pens and clipboards.

The Patient Engage Campaign Studio gives you an easy way to create email campaigns that are sent to all or a select group of your patients. It offers a variety of templates and layouts to choose from.

To open the Campaign Builder, from the Dentrix Hub, expand the Marketing menu, and select Campaigns.

Choose a campaign template. Click on Educate Clients, and scroll through the available templates to find one that has a look and message similar to what you want to say. Hover your mouse over the template, and then click Use Template.



Next, you’ll be guided through three steps: 1) Design Campaign, 2) Select Recipients, and 3) Schedule Delivery.

Design Campaign

Click the pencil icon to change the campaign name or email subject line. The campaign name is used by your office in case you need to find the campaign later. The subject line goes out to patients as the email subject. If you change either of these, click the check mark icon to confirm the change.
The email is built in blocks or sections. When you hover your mouse over any content section, you’ll see the following options.

A pen icon allows you to edit the text or graphics of that section. The up or down arrows allow you to reposition where the block of content will appear in the email. The trash can will remove the entire block of content. Click Done after customizing each block.

Click the Save & Continue button when you finish designing your email.


Select Recipients

In this step, you will choose which group of patients will receive this mailing. 

Under Filter Recipient by Criteria, select All Patients.



Click the Save & Continue button.

Schedule Delivery

Select the date to start this campaign, and the time of day to send the messages. Click the Send button to send or schedule your campaign.

Emailing patients to let them know about your policy changes is part of the virtual waiting room you can set up with Dentrix and other integrated tools like Patient Engage and QuickBill eStatements. Visit https://magazine.dentrix.com/setting-up-a-virtual-waiting-room-with-patient-engage/ to read the article and get other ideas.

To learn more about setting up a virtual waiting room with Dentrix and Patient Engage, register for our free webinar on Tuesday, May 19 at 11:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Creating Time Between Appointments for Safety Precautions

When your practice re-opens and you begin scheduling patients again, you should keep in mind the time it will take to re-set each operatory for a new patient. You will need to allow time for surfaces to be wiped down and disinfected, time for staff to change gloves and masks, and so forth.

This can be accomplished using one of two methods: scheduling events between appointments, or adjusting appointment time patterns..



Scheduling Events Between Appointments

When an appointment is created in the Appointment Book, right-click the time slot immediately following it, and select Schedule Event.



Then follow these steps:
  1. Under Event Time, set the Start and End time based on how long it will take you to prepare the operatory for a new patient.
  2. Under Event Days the Start and End date should match with the appointment you created. If it does, you don’t need to worry about items that may be selected under Select Days of the Week.
  3. Under Operatories, make sure the operatory that corresponds to the appointment is selected.
  4. Enter a Description for the event, such as Operatory Prep.
  5. Select an Event Color that will stand out against the appointment color it will be seen against.
  6. Add Notes as needed to explain the event. These notes appear when you hover your mouse over the event in the Appointment Book.
  7. Click OK to create the event and add it to the Appointment Book.
It only takes a few extra seconds to create an event after you add an appointment to the schedule but doing so can help to ensure that your staff has enough time to create a clean, safe, disinfected room for both patients and providers.


If something went wrong and the event was created incorrectly, you can edit an event by right-clicking it and selecting Edit Event, or delete it completely by right-clicking it and selecting Delete Event.


Adjusting Appointment Time Patterns

The Appt Length field in the Appointment Information dialog box allows you to specify the amount of time needed for the appointment.

You can adjust the time pattern to add extra time blocks to the end of the appointment to represent time needed for surfaces to be wiped down and disinfected, time for staff to change gloves and masks, and so forth.  

When you edit an appointment’s time pattern from the Appointment Book, you can specify how much of the appointment time will be assigned as Provider Time (where the primary provider will be in the room), Assistant Time (where the assistant, but not the provider, will be in the room), and Chair/Clear Time (for cleaning and other safety precautions). 

To change an appointment’s time pattern:
  1. In the Appointment Book, double-click a patient’s appointment.
  2. Click the Appt Length search button to open the Appointment Time Pattern dialog box.
  3. In the Total Time field, enter the total length of the appointment, or use the up and down arrows to increase or decrease the time.
  4. Under Time Pattern, select a block of time to highlight it. You can hold down the Ctrl button on your keyboard to select multiple blocks at a time.
  5. With the time block selected, click the appropriate button to assign Provider, Assistant, or Chair Time to the block. The corresponding symbol will appear in the time block indicating the type assigned. Use the Chair Time option to represent your extra cleaning precautions.
  6. Click OK to save your changes.

When viewing an appointment in the Appointment Book, the left side of the appointment indicates the time pattern for each time unit of the appointment.

Whichever method you decide to use, make sure that all team members assigned to scheduling appointments are trained on how correctly allow for extra time between patients. It’s important for the safety or your patients and your staff, and will help to keep your scheduling times more accurate.
For more information, see the Scheduling Events for Operatories and Changing Appointment Lengths topics in Dentrix Help.


To help your team develop the skills they’ll need to help your practice bounce back, we’ve temporarily waived all Dentrix Mastery Tracks testing fees. For more information click HERE.



Setting Up Time Blocks for Providers to See At-Risk Patients

As you begin to schedule patients for appointments following your temporary shutdown you may want to consider setting up time blocks in the Appointment Book. You can use these time block to schedule patients who are elderly, immune-compromised, or otherwise at risk. You can set up these time blocks to include times during the first few hours the practice is open, only on specific days, only for specific operatories, or in any combination you need.

By setting up time blocks, and only scheduling specific appointment types within those block, your scheduling staff can work to keep these time blocks reserved for at-risk patients and their intended purpose.


First, create an appointment type which you can assign to patient appointments. In the Office Manager, click Maintenance > Practice Setup > Definitions, and select Appointment Types in the Definition Type drop-down list. Enter a description for the appointment type, such as At-Risk in the Definition Text field, and click Add. Click Close to save your changes.




Then, create a time block for the provider(s) you want assigned to the at-risk appointments. In the Appointment Book, click Setup > Provider Setup, select a provider, and select Setup. Under Set Time Blocks, click Add. Enter a Time Block Name, such as At-Risk Only, and select a color for the block. Select the day(s) of the week and enter Start and End times for the block. Select an Assigned Operatory and from the Block Appointment Type drop-down list select the At-Risk type you created, and click OK.





Finally, as you create new appointments (or move or edit existing appointments), be sure to open the Appointment Information dialog box and change the appointment Type to the one you created.


Important: Make sure that Perfect Day Scheduling is enabled on all workstations in the office. This feature toggles on and off clicking the Perfect Day Scheduling button located at the far-right end of the toolbar in the Appointment Book. You can tell if the feature is enabled if the button icon shows colored squares.




Once enabled, time blocks you have created will appear on the schedule as a visual reminder for those using the Appointment Book.

When staff attempts to schedule an appointment that does not match either the provider or appointment type assigned to the time block, a warning will appear. Train your staff to read the warning and only assign those appointments the block is intended for.




By creating and using time blocks, you can designate providers, days, and appointment times for specific groups of patients who may need extra precautions.



To help your team develop the skills they’ll need to help your practice bounce back, we’ve temporarily waived all Dentrix Mastery Tracks testing fees. For more information click HERE.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Updating Treatment Case Statuses

In order for your treatment plan reports to be as accurate as possible, you should take the time to look for expired treatment plans you have created or proposed for patients. If the cases are not likely to be completed, you should change the status of those cases to Rejected so they no longer appear on reports. Change a case status to Proposed for treatment you still want to follow up on when your office opens again.

Generate a report of treatment plan cases 

In the Treatment Planner, click Print > Practice Treatment Case Report. Select the Procedure Code Date Range and Case Fee Expiration Date Range you want to include on the report. Set the case status(es) to include on the report and other report options as needed. Select Print Preview to see the list of treatment plans/patients that match your results, or print the report as needed.

Update the case status for cases unlikely to be completed

From the list you generated, open the Treatment Planner for each patient and view their case in the Treatment Plan Case Setup window. Find the treatment case you want to update the status for, and click it to select it. Then click Update Status, and select Rejected.


Update the case status for cases that need follow-up

If there are treatment cases that may still need follow-up, click Update Status and select Proposed. The case is updated and will have a current date so you know the treatment is still valid, and you need to follow up with the patient when you are able to see patients again.

Add notes explaining the reason for updating the status

Whenever you change a treatment case status, enter a comment detailing the reason for the status update, and click OK.

For additional information, read our previous tip titled, Treatment Case Statuses: What's Old is New Again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Customizing the Reports and Tasks Scheduler

In your dental practice, there are certain reports you should generate and tasks that you should complete on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. With the Reports and Tasks Scheduler, you can set certain tasks and reports to run automatically based on a schedule you devise. Best of all, you don’t have to close Dentrix for this to happen.

Take the time now, when you aren't seeing patients, to determine which reports you want to generate, and the frequency in which you want to generate them.
  1. Create or edit a Scheduled Tasks Queue. Open the Reports and Tasks Scheduler from either the toolbar menu in the Ledger or from the Office Manager by selecting Maintenance > Task Scheduler (Month End). On the right side of the window there are several default queues including Daily, Monthly, and Yearly queues. Click Edit for each queue to set the recurrence frequency, and then click OK. If needed, scroll to the bottom of the queue list and click Create New Queue.

  2. Review available tasks, determine settings, and assign to a queue. On the left side of the Reports and Tasks Scheduler are tasks that you can assign to different queues, and/or generate at any time. Right-click a task and choose to either Run Now, or Add to Queue. Then set the filters to be used for the tasks, and click OK.
Click here for additional information about the Reports and Tasks Scheduler, or watch this short video.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Creating Clinical Note Templates

Clinical note templates can save you a lot of time and can help you keep more accurate and detailed notes. Set up clinical note templates to help you document the procedures you complete regularly in your practice, like prophies, periodic exams, fillings, root canals, and crowns.

Clinical note templates can include both the standard phrases you use to document these procedures as well as specific information like tooth number, surface, or treatment plan.

To create a clinical note template:


  1. Specify the template name and category. In the Patient Chart, open the Clinical Notes tab and click the Template Setup button. Then click New Template. Select the category for this template (or create a new category as necessary), and then enter the template name.
  2. Enter template text and prompts. Type the text that you want to appear in the note. To add procedure-specific information like tooth number or surface, put your cursor at the place in the text where that info should appear and, under Clinical Note Prompts, click Select/Setup. Select the prompt you want to use and click Insert Prompt in Text.
  3. Create new prompts. If you want to add custom information to your note like a checklist of post-op instructions given to the patient, under Clinical Note Prompts, click Select/Setup. Click New and create your custom prompt. Then select that prompt and click Insert Prompt in Text.
  4. Save the template. Finish adding text and prompts to your note template and then click OK.
Click here for more information about creating clinical note templates.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Purging Appointments

The Appointment Book stores data for appointments as far into the past as you have been using Dentrix. After your practice has been using Dentrix for several years, you can accumulate a large amount of data stored in the Appointment Book. You can purge the Appointment Book of data from several years ago to decrease the amount of data being stored in the Appointment Book and speed up your system. To purge appointments:


  1. Open the Purge Appointments utility. From the Appointment Book, click File > Purge Appointments.


  2. Determine the cutoff date you want to use to purge appointments. For example, if you want to continue to see appointments for the past two years in the Appointment Book, set the cutoff date for two years and one day in the past. Any appointments that were scheduled before the cutoff date will be deleted from the Appointment Book. Note: Dentrix automatically adds an Office Journal entry for the patient that notes the date, time, and reason for the purged appointment so you still have record of it.
  3. Repeat the process for unscheduled appointments. Open the Unscheduled List in the Appointment Book and click Appt > Purge Appointments. Determine the cutoff date you want to use for unscheduled appointments.

Click here for more information about purging appointments and events.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Altering Your Practice Hours in Dentrix

There may be times when you need to alter the default hours for your whole practice. This could be when you shut down completely for an emergency, when you open your office back up with modified hours, or even if you just need to change your schedule temporarily.

Re-opening your practice following a shutdown will likely happen in stages. If you closed your practice on specific dates in the Appointment Book when you shut down, you’ll have to open those days again before you begin modifying individual days’ business hours.


It's important to know how to correctly change your practice's default hours so that the practice hours match up with your individual providers' hours, and so that production is calculated correctly on reports.

  1. In the Appointment Book, click Setup > Practice Appointment Setup.
  2. Under Default Schedule, select the days of the week your practice is open.


  3. To set the working hours for each day, click  the search (>>) button, and in the Set Time Limits window, enter a Start Time and End Time for the day. The default for each day is 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Make adjustments as needed, and then click OK.
  4. Click OK to save your changes.
You may need to adjust your practice hours to add additional time at the beginning or end of the day to see more patients who have been waiting for treatment, or to allow extra time between appointments for cleaning and disinfecting, without cutting down on the number of patients you are able to serve.

For additional information, see the following topics in Dentrix Help:

Monday, March 23, 2020

Changing a Provider's Schedule in Dentrix

When you make changes to your practice's default hours, you also need to make similar changes to the schedules of the providers in your practice. Re-opening your practice following a shutdown may require you to reduce the number of people in the office at one time or to have enough team members working to accommodate extended practice hours.


It’s important to ensure that each provider's work schedule is accurately set up in Dentrix to reflect their availability, and that their schedule aligns with your overall practice hours, any adjusted office hours or additional working days you added to your calendar, and operatory hours.

In the Appointment Book, click Setup > Provider Setup. Select the provider whose schedule you want to make changes to, and click Setup.



Select each of the weekdays the provider will be in the office seeing patients. Use the search button >> next to each day you selected to set a Start Time and End Time for the workday. Click OK to save your changes, and repeat as needed for each weekday the provider will be scheduled. This will be the overall "normal" schedule for the provider.


If there are particular dates where a provider will have adjusted hours (for example a provider that works half-days every other Friday), once you have set their normal weekly schedule, you can modify individual dates by clicking Setup > Provider Setup, selecting the provider, and clicking Schedule.




Double-click the date on the calendar that will have hours differing from the normal schedule, customize the Start Time and End Time as needed for that particular date, and then click OK.


If a provider is taking a vacation day, click Schedule, select a specific date on the calendar, and from the Options menu, select Set Vacation on selected date.




For additional information, see the Setting Up Providers, Changing Provider Schedules, and Scheduling Vacation Days topics in Dentrix Help.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Changing Operatory Hours and Availability in Dentrix

There are a couple of things that all work together when you are re-opening your practice and setting up your schedule again. First you should set up your practice’s default hours, and then make sure that your providers’ hours work within those limits. Finally, you should make sure that your operatory hours correspond with both the practice hours, and provider hours.

Before you adjust an operatory’s hours, appointments within the operatory should be moved. You can move those appointments to the Pinboard, or drag them to other operatories that will remain open.

Once all appointments have been moved, from the Appointment Book click Setup > Operatory Setup.



  • To modify an operatory’s overall weekly schedule, (days of the week and hours of the day the operatory is available), select an operatory from the list and click Setup. Select the day(s) of the week the operatory will be open. Use the search arrow next to individual days to set the Start Time and End Time when the operatory will be available. The default times match those that the practice is open. Click OK to save your changes. Repeat as needed for additional operatories.


  • To modify an operatory’s schedule for a specific day, select an operatory from the list and click Schedule. A calendar appears showing the days of the week and times during the day the operatory is open. Double-click a date on the calendar to adjust the operatory’s Start Time and End Time as needed. Click OK to save your changes. Repeat as needed for additional operatories.


Use the same steps to if you need to modify an operatory’s hours and availability in the future.

For additional information, see the Setting up operatories and Scheduling events for operatories topics in Dentrix Help.