Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Archiving Patient Records

Updated 9/20/2019

Dentrix allows you to delete patient and family records, which results in all information associated with the patient (including alerts, notes, prescriptions, etc.) being deleted. This information can only be recovered from a backup of your database. As a result, it is recommended that you only use the delete function when correcting a mistake. Patients who have left the practice or who have passed away should be archived rather than deleted so that you still have access to their electronic record if you need it.

When patients have passed away, moved, or will no longer be seen at the practice, you can change the patient status to "Archived." Archiving patients simplifies your database and makes selecting patients faster and easier.
Keep in mind that you cannot archive:
  • Patients with future due payment plans or outstanding insurance claims.
  • Patients who are subscribers to an insurance plan for other family members.
  • Guarantors, until you have archived all other family members.
  • Guarantors that have a payment agreement or a balance.

To archive a patient:
  1. From the Family File, select the patient.
  2. Double-click on the Patient Information block.

  3. From the Status drop-down list, select Archived.
  4. Click OK to save your changes. Several messages appear asking you to confirm that you want to archive the patient or to tell you that you need to complete additional steps before you can archive the patient.
  5. Click Yes to confirm archiving the patient.

When you archive a patient, the following occurs:
  • A note appears in the Office Journal for any future appointments that the archived patient had, with the date, time, provider, and reason the appointment was deleted from the Appointment Book. Past appointments still appear in the Appointment Book, with an <A> next to the patient's name.
  • Dentrix deletes all continuing care, employer, insurance, and referral information and adds it to the Patient Note. You can view this information after you archive the patient.
  • All address, procedures, insurance claims, payments, adjustments, medical alerts, prescriptions, patient questionnaires, and periodontal exams remain intact.
  • Dentrix will not allow you to edit a patient's information as long as the patient is archived.
  • Archived patients do not appear in the Select Patient dialog box unless you select the Include Archived Patients option.
  • When archived patients appear on a report or in a module, <Archived> or <A> appears in front of their names.

For additional information, read Reactivating Archived Patients or Deleting Patient Records in Dentrix Help, or read the Clean Up Your Active Patient Base article in Dentrix Magazine.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Protect Your Clinical Notes from Tampering

Updated 9/20/2019

Keeping accurate dental records is one of the most important tasks providers are faced with. According to the ADA, "The dental team should be very meticulous and thorough in the dental office record keeping tasks. All information in the dental record should be clearly written, and the person responsible for entering new information should sign and date the entry. The information should not be ambiguous or contain many abbreviations. In practices with more than one dental practitioner, the identity of the practitioner rendering the treatment should be clearly noted in the record."

In Dentrix, providers can use the clinical notes in the Patient Chart to keep thorough, clear dental records that are signed and dated. Signing a clinical note moves it into history, meaning it can no longer be edited or deleted. However, if changes need to be made, you can post an addendum to the note.

To sign a clinical note:
  1. In the Patient Chart, select a patient.
  2. In the Clinical Notes panel, click the date of the clinical note you want to sign from the left column. The clinical note for that date appears in the middle column.
  3. Click the Sign Clinical Note button.

  4. In the Name field, click the Search button to select the provider who is signing the note.
  5. Use the mouse or a signature pad to sign the note.
  6. Click OK. The clinical note will now have a gray background indicating that it is in history and locked from editing. The Sign Clinical Note button will now have a red ink trail behind it indicating that this note has been signed.

There may be occasions when you realize there's been a mistake in a clinical note or that the information in the note is incomplete, and you need to correct the information. If the clinical note has been signed, however, you cannot update the information in the note. In this situation you must add an addendum to the note and describe the change in a new note which will be attached to the original note.
To add an addendum to a clinical note in history:
  1. In the Patient Chart, select a patient.
  2. In the Clinical Notes panel, select the note to which you want to add an addendum.
  3. Click the New Addendum button.

  4. Select the desired provider for the addendum by expanding the provider drop-down list.
  5. Enter the text of the desired note in the field provided, and click OK.
  6. Click Yes to the confirmation message to add the addendum to the note and return to the Clinical Notes panel.
    Note: Once you click Yes to append the clinical note in history, the addendum portion you've just written is automatically moved into history as well, and cannot be edited or deleted.
For additional information on clinical notes, see these past #DentrixTipTuesday posts:

Or read the Making Changes to Clinical Notes article in Dentrix Magazine.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pass Along that Extra Collection Cost: Assessing Finance Charges and Late Charges

Updated 9/20/2019

Did you know Dentrix allows you to charge additional fees to patients with whom you have made payment agreements or to whom you have extended credit? These fees are divided into two groups: finance charges and late charges.

A finance charge is a fee that represents the cost of credit, or the cost of borrowing, and is similar to the interest charge you might receive on a home or car loan. A late charge is a fee used for accounts that are late in making payments towards an existing balance.

As part of your monthly tasks you can apply finance and late charges to all applicable accounts at once. Dentrix only applies late charges to accounts with payment agreements, while finance charges can be applied regardless of whether an account has a payment agreement.

In addition to applying finance charges as part of your monthly tasks, you can also apply finance and late charges for individual patients manually.

To manually post finance or late charges:
  1. With a patient selected in the Ledger, from the Transaction menu, click Enter Finance Charge or Late Charge.

  2. Do the following:
    • Date - Enter the charge date in the Date field. The date defaults to the current date.
    • Type - Select Finance Charge or Late Charge.
    • Amount - Enter the amount to charge to the account.
    • Provider - Click the provider search button and select the patient's provider (by default, Dentrix selects the patient's primary provider).
  3. To provide clarification for the charge, type an explanation in the Note field.
  4. Click OK to save any changes and apply the finance or late charge.

The finance or late charge will appear in patient's Ledger as well as on their next billing statement, and their account balance will include this new charge.

Additional Information

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Referral Slip, Your Ticket to a Successful Hand-off

Updated 9/20/2019

It happens to every dentist. A patient comes in with an issue you'd rather refer to someone else—a specialist, an oral surgeon, or an orthodontist.

So the question becomes, "What do I need to do in Dentrix if I'm referring out the procedures?"

There are a couple of things you must do. First, enter the treatment-planned procedures in the Patient Chart as usual, and then refer the procedures to another provider.

Then, print a referral slip for your patient to give to the doctor you are referring them to. The referral slip contains patient, referring provider, and referral information, a list of the procedure(s) being referred, and any additional notes you want to enter.

To print a referral slip:
  1. From the Patient Chart, select the patient to be referred.
  2. From the File menu, select Print and then click Referral Slip.

  3. In the Date Range fields, enter the range of dates for the referred procedures you want to print on the referral slip.
    Note: Dentrix only prints the referred procedures that were treatment-planned within the date range that you enter here, and that are flagged as referred.

  4. In the Additional Notes field, enter any notes you want to print on the referral slip (up to 500 characters).
  5. Do one of the following:
    • To print the referral slip, click Print.
    • To send the referral slip to the Batch Processor, click Batch.

For additional information see the Referring Several Procedures at Once tip, or read the Charting Referred Procedures article in Dentrix Magazine.