Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Playing Favorites: When the Patient Prefers a Certain Provider

Have you ever come across this situation in your practice before?

You have patient that has a favorite hygienist. And they really, REALLY, REALLY only want to be scheduled to see this specific hygienist and nobody else. How can you make a note of this in Dentrix?

First, you can document it in the Family File. Select the patient and double-click the Patient Information block. In the Office group box, select Prov2, and select the ID of the preferred hygienist.

But, maybe you want the reminder to be more obvious. If so, you can create a Patient Alert pop-up message that will appear when working with your patient's future appointments.

First, open Patient Alerts, and check the Always, and Show Symbol on Appointment options. Enter a short description and a note. Then from the right, where you select areas for the alert to appear, keep it simple. Select Create New Appointment and Edit Existing Appointment.

And last but not least, you can edit your patient's continuing care settings so that cleaning appointments will default to the selected hygiene provider. In the Family File, double-click the Continuing Care block. Select the appropriate continuing care type (Perio or Prophy) and click Edit. In the Provider group box, choose Spec (which stands for specific) and select the preferred hygienist. Click OK to save and now, when making an appointment for your patient in the future, and you add a procedure attached to that continuing care type, the appointment provider will automatically change to the preferred hygienist.

Follow these tips and you patients can be scheduled with their favorite hygienist, and your scheduling process can be just a little bit smoother.

For additional information, read the Customizing Recall for Your Patients article in Dentrix Magazine.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Presenting Patients with Different Treatment Options

Often, there is more than one solution to a patient's dental treatment. Of course, some solutions are more appropriate than others. You may feel obligated to present the patient with all options, and guide them to the right one. The Dentrix Treatment Planner allows you to do just that, by creating and linking multiple treatment cases from which your patient can choose the best solution for them.

Let's walk through a very simple example, where the patient needs just one filling on tooth number 3; however, she wants to know the difference between a “silver" and a "white” filling and what each will cost her.

In the Patient Chart, take the normal steps to treatment plan both possible options. When you look in the Treatment Planner panel, the two procedures are together in the same treatment case. And, at least for now, Dentrix estimates the cost and insurance benefits as if you intend to complete both of them.

To give your patient two options, separate the treatment into two different cases. Click New Case, and give the case folder a meaningful name, such as “Silver Filling 3”. Remember that the case name appears on printouts that a patient might see, so make the case name patient-friendly.

Select the appropriate procedure for the case and drag-and-drop it to the new folder.

Click New Case again, and name this case "White Filling 3". Select the appropriate procedure for this case and drag-and-drop it to the new treatment case folder.

Now with one of these two cases selected, click Link Alternate Cases.

Then, check the case that presents the alternative option to it. (Note: This example was simple, but know that as you build more complicated plans, you can link up to 4 plans together this way.)

Review the Recommended Case drop-down menu and select the case you prefer to go forward with — and don't worry, you can change the recommended case later if needed.

Notice how the linked cases now include a chain-link icon, and that the recommended case has a gold star.

You can now select these cases separately, to present them to your patient on the computer screen or to print copies of each plan.

Changing the Recommended Case

Choosing one of the linked cases as the Recommended Case is a big deal, as it's the treatment case that Dentrix assumes you will complete. Choose carefully, because the procedures in the non-recommended case will NOT be visible in the Chart's progress notes, the Ledger's Treatment Plan View, or the Appointment Book's TX reasons.

You can change the recommended case at any time. To do so, select the case, click the Link Alternate Cases menu and choose Set as Recommended Case. The procedures in this case will become visible everywhere in Dentrix, while the other linked case will only available to view as a reference in the Treatment Planner, which can acts as a record that you presented the patient with all of the options.

For additional information, see the Creating Treatment Plan Options for your Patients article in Dentrix Magazine.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Pick Up the Pace of the Lab Case Manager

Does it seem like it takes forever for your Lab Case Manager to load? And once it's open, do you sort through years of finished cases looking for the ones you really want? Make it useful again by changing the default view!

In the Lab Case Manager, select Views. Click open the Miscellaneous Options tab and remove the Finished checkbox. Then also check the Save as Default box and click OK.

The Lab Case Manager will open much faster now on this computer, without displaying the finished cases.

Be careful though, because the Save as Default options actually saves the setting on all three tabs in the View menu, so only adjust the settings that you really want to become your default view!

Learn more by reading in the Manage Your Lab Cases in Dentrix article in Dentrix Magazine.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Reviewing Appointment History

Do you have a particular patient who always seems to be changing — and canceling — their appointments? Would you like to find out just how many times this patient has changed their appointment?

It would be helpful to know the answers to these questions so that you get an idea of what these appointment changes are costing you in lost revenue. That way, you can develop a plan to encourage all of your patients keep their appointments.

The Appointment History List is the tool you are looking for. It can help you with these issues, because it displays a history of changes that were made to an appointment, including information about the appointment date, assigned providers, and assigned operatories. Additionally, you can sort the list and set a range to dates to include on the list to make it more useful for your office.

To create an appointment history list, open the Office Manager, and click Reports > Lists > Appointment History List.

Select the following options to configure your list:

  • Select Patient - Search for a single patient name, or leave set to <ALL> to include all patients that meet the other criteria you set.
  • Select Appointment Provider - Set the range of appointment providers to include, and select whether to include only the current or both history and current appointments with the selected provider(s).
  • Select Operatory - Set the range of operatories to include, then select whether to include only current appointments or both history or current appointments in the selected operatory.
  • Select Date - Select a range and type of appointment dates to include.
  • Sort Options - Select how you want the list to be sorted.
Once all the options are set, click OK to send the list to the Batch Processor where you can view it or print it.

The printed list, shows the following information:

A. Current Appointment - The date and time the appointment was created; the appointment's current date, time, provider, operatory, and reason; the name of the patient whose appointment it is; and the patient's home phone number.
B. History - The date and time of the appointment when the change was made; the appointment's date, time, status, provider, operatory, staff member, schedule type, reason, and length; and a indication of whether a lab case was attached.

Helpful Hints

  • When selecting Patients, you are limited to selecting a single patient or selecting all patients in the database. Consider selecting one patient and experimenting with the other options before selecting all of your patients for the list.
  • Selecting <ALL> for patients, providers, or operatories, and including a large date range, might create a large, unmanageable list. Consider limiting your selections for more specific results.
  • The default Select Date begins one week before the current date. You can change the dates, and you can even set the To: date to a future date — to view future appointments.

  • For additional information, read the related topic in a previous post titled, Viewing Appointment History.