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#10 – Noting New Patient Referrals

The success of our practice is greatly influenced by the number of new client referrals we receive from our present clients. A basic “rule” in public relations is that you get more of the type of behavior you praise. We try to get our existing clients to refer more of their friends, relatives and business associates to us by thanking them for helping us.

We send our client a thank you letter acknowledging the referral, and if the dentist takes the time to add a personal note, so much the better.  We run a report to find all referrals at end of month, usually in the first week of each month. We will print a list of all our new clients and their referral sources. In a perfect world, every new patient has a referral source documented. However, usually a few of the referrals are missing, these are the referrals that you will need to follow up on. This is a very easy project that can be completed quickly.

To Do When you Receive this Report:

1. If there is no documented referral source in Dentrix or EagleSoft, then look in the chart to find one. In EagleSoft, select the patient and look in the SmartDoc to see if the new patient registration includes a referral source. In Dentrix, go to the Document Center to see if the new patient forms were scanned.

2. To enter a referral in EagleSoft: Click on Edit Patient, then click the Referrals button on the right. Click on the blue Referred by link and select from the list, click ok to close the Referrals window and Okay again to close the Edit patient window.  To enter a referral in Dentrix: Click on Family file, then double click in the Referred by box – this brings up the Referral window. Click Add Referral and If the referrer is a patient, click “patient”, ok, search the name, ok. If the referrer is anything other than patient, click “doctor”, ok, search the name, ok to close this window. In Dentrix, make sure the referral date listed is the same as the first visit date.

3. If there is no information on the referral section on health history, you can call the person and use this sample speech. “Hello Mr. Baker, this is Josie calling from HealthPark Dentistry, we are so glad that you are coming to our practice, we also wanted to thank whoever referred you to us. We like to send a thank you card to that person. Can I get that information?”

4. If you are using paper charts, an idea to help the dentist and clinical staff thank patients for referring is to put stickers inside the charts. Write the name of the new patient on the sticker and place it inside the referring patient’s chart. Then, each time the dentist or clinical staff opens the file, they will see this sticker & be sure to thank the patient for the referral.

More items to check when you receive your End of Month New Patient Report:

1. If the new patient was scheduled but ended up never coming in b/c there is nothing recorded in the ledger/account (and they don’t have an upcoming appointment, then we want to change their status. In Dentrix double click the patient info box & select non-patient under Status. In EagleSoft, go to the Edit patient screen, click the Preferences box & then uncheck Active to make this person Inactive.

2. In Dentrix, sometimes the last visit date field is left empty – this can cause problems with reports later, so its best to check your new patients to make sure the last visit date matches the first visit date. To do this, go to the family file, double click on the Patient Info box and edit the first visit date to make it match the first visit date in their ledger.

3. Confirm insurance is set up properly. In Dentrix, look in the Document Center to see a scanned copy of the insurance card. In EagleSoft, look in SmartDoc to find the insurance card. Make sure the card matches the employer and insurance company documented in the computer. To see this in Dentrix, look at the Family File to see the company and plan. To see this in EagleSoft, go to the Account screen, click on the down arrow beside Patient info (below their name top left) then choose Insurance Info tab.

4. Confirm all phone numbers and emails – Pull the patient chart and make sure the home, cell and work phone numbers, as well as the email, are all entered correctly in the computer.

5. Make sure the correct Billing type (Dentrix) / Account type (EagleSoft) & use of ALL CAPS are correct. In Dentrix, the billing type should be set to match the insurance plan – this allows for insurance plan reporting. In EagleSoft the account type is usually just set to standard for new patients.  Also, be sure to check with your office manager to understand how the practice uses CAPITOL LETTERS – sometimes this indicates Medicaid patients that should be scheduled differently.

To get signed off on this section, you will need to do this for 2 months.

As you are working through this section, remind all staff to thank patients and to look in the charts for your referral notes.

To run a new patient report in Dentrix:

  1. Office manager
  2. Letters, Misc. then choose a report & edit
  3. In patient filters:
  4. Patient name A – Z
  5. Status: Patient; uncheck the gender, position & balance aging boxes
  6. All providers & billing types should be selected
  7. First visit date: for the month
  8. In data fields: Last name, first name, first & last visit dates, referred by
  9. Create/merge – Data Only
  10. Then copy & paste this data into excel where you can easily read it.

To run a new patient report in EagleSoft:

  1. Home screen – Reports
  2. Choose Patients then select Patient Master and Process
  3. This brings up a new window – choose the first visit dates for the month
  4. Click Preview Report
  5. Then Print

This first report shows you all the new patients.

Next, you have to run a separate report to find the referrals:

  1. Home screen – Reports
  2. Choose Referrals then select Referral Productivity Detailed Report and Process
  3. This brings up a new window – select Other Range of End of Days – and enter the dates for the month. Also enter the first of the month into the field: First visit on or after ___.
  4. Click Preview Report
  5. Then Print

Now, you need to compare these two reports to find a new patient listed on the first report, but not listed on the Referral report – those are the ones missing referrals.

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Team Leader                                         Date