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Generates and sends Recall postcards and call lists

#4 – Generates and sends Recall postcards and call lists

 

Welcome to this training on running a recall system in your practice! These instructions provide a recall coordinator or dental office manager the tools needed to create postcards or letters through Dentrix as well as to run custom call lists that can be printed and given to staff to fill schedules.

Recall lists are the key to filling schedules and providing high quality care. The more organized your recall systems, the more your patients are returning on time and therefore are maintaining their health.

For front desk staff (who perhaps, like me, don’t have the stomach for clinical care), this is one way that we can impact the care of our patients. By organizing recall systems that work, you make sure that patients know when they are due – and you can customize the communication effectively.

This is also important when you realize that you can create a recall system for any type of procedure code you like. My group learned how important this lesson was the hard way.

Value of Recall

We placed and restored implants for a super nice fellow (husband of a popular teacher in town) who was generally afraid of the dentist. Everything went smoothly.

Two years later, we received a call from another dentist that this fellow had problems with his implant and was very upset with us. We were completely shocked. We checked his ledger and found that although we had sent several prophy recall notices, he had never returned to our office after receiving his implants.

Right then, we decided that we needed to establish a separate recall system for our implant patients. We wanted to customize their communication separate from the general postcards we sent for prophy recall so we could make sure that our patients were receiving follow up care for their implants to make sure no problems were beginning.

Objectives for this training

  • Recognize that you can completely customize your recall communication to fit your style of practice
  • Identify several types of recall you could use with your patients
  • Discover a unique approach to give preferential scheduling to your fee for service patients
  • Learn how to run custom recall reports
  • Set up postcards and/or letters using your Dentrix letter merge
  • In addition to postcards/letters, set up call lists to reach out to patients who have not scheduled
  • Create tracking for your recall system to document your success – and perhaps incentivize your team

So, what recall systems are important to your practice? Sit down with your dentist to find out for which procedures she might like to establish follow up systems.

In my experience, I have sent recall postcards for several procedures:

  1. Adult prophys
  2. Teen prophys – Ages 11-17
  3. Child prophys – under 11
  4. Ortho
  5. Perio maintenance due to see Hygienists
  6. Perio maintenance due to see our Periodontal Specialist
  7. Denture follow up
  8. Pediatric dentist ortho cases
  9. Sleep appliance check up
  10. Implants

Most offices prefer to pre-book their prophy patients six months ahead. However, the group I worked in preferred to send recall postcards or letters to schedule appointments rather than pre-booking. Here is the rationale for that approach:

Why do we send recall cards instead of booking into the future?

4 reasons:

  1. In a busy practice, if you book patients 6 months in the future, the book is filled with fictitious appointments. (What are you doing at 2:30 PM 6 months from now??  Now, when a new client calls, the slots are all filled.  However, on that day, at least 20% of these patients won’t be able to make these prebooked appointments.
  2. In a prebooked system, the 20% patients that were prebooked and can’t make this appointment can’t be rescheduled – all the future appointments are booked for the next 6 months!
  3. It’s difficult for patients to remember future appointments and with the continuing education and changing schedules, we do not want to move patient’s appointments any more than necessary.
  4. This is an excellent system for a new dentist who has lots of holes in his schedule. Some patients are motivated to keep an appointment that was made 6 months earlier.

Timing (A trick to give your Fee for Service Patients Preference)

We send cards (third Tuesday) once a month for the next month. We send full fee patients (billing type 1, 3, 4) first and then we send cards to PPO Plan patients (billing type 2) 2 weeks later – to make sure that our full fee patients get first choice on evening/weekend appointments.

Here is the schedule for the year:

Date to set up Dentrix calendar Month calendar to set up Date to send recall cards Recall due dates
Jan 5 March Jan 23 Feb
Feb 5 April Feb 20 Mar
Mar 5 May Mar 24 Apr
Apr 5 June Apr 21 May
May 5 July May 22 Jun
Jun 5 Aug Jun 23 July
Jul 5 Sept Jul 24 Aug
Aug 5 Oct Aug 24 Sept
Sept 5 Nov Sept 22 Oct
Oct 5 Dec Oct 24 Nov
Nov 5 Jan Nov 20 Dec
Dec 5 Feb Dec 20 Jan

 

Do I have to send letters when we use an online recall program like Lighthouse or DemandForce?

My group subscribed to DemandForce for years – and we used this system in addition to the postcards and call lists approach. We set up DemandForce to reach out to our patients first (for more info on on how we used DemandForce, look in Secretary Level 2 for this task) with the hope that this online program would automatically reach out to our patients and allow patients to request appointments. We set up DemandForce to start reaching out to recall patients due a month before their due date.

Then, we ran postcards only for patients who had not scheduled a recall appointment – and we ran these a few weeks after the DemandForce emails went out. Then, two weeks after the postcards went out, we created call lists – again, focusing on patients that did not schedule. By using this system of three different types of contacts- online email/text, postcard and phone call – we hoped to increase our odds of scheduling every patient possible. And, we tracked our performance and incentivized our team.

Next, I provide instructions to run a variety of postcards using the Dentrix G software.

To create Adult Prophy Postcards in Dentrix:

Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight one of the existing postcards and then overwrite the title to say  “Recall cards adults”

Click Edit – and set the following defaults:

  • Patient name: A-Z
  • All providers
  • Check status:  Patient, Uncheck gender, position
  • Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  • Billing types – Choose the ones you want
  • Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  • In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “prophy adult”

You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to “Prophy Adult” to bring up the window.

  • Due date for next month (10/1/15 – 10/31/15)
  • Prior tx field should be blank
  • Check the box that says “without attached appointment”
  • Click OK to close this window

 

RecallAd

Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is check marked: First, last name, address, city, state, zip, title, salutation, preferred name, CC due date, CC note. Now click OK again to close this window also.

Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file & merge letters” make sure check Add to journal – click OK

Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system.

Now the computer will bring up MS Word – and you need to delete any internal notations that we may have made. Delete – ? , $, ^, *, + symbols from the name

To do this: Edit – Replace, then Find what: *  and   Replace with:              (leave blank, click Replace All – ok)

Now press the print icon and put your recall postcards into the upper tray of the printer, blank side up. If there is a design on the other side, make sure that it is to the right of the tray and upside down when you set the paper in it.

You need to record how many recall cards you sent. Just count the cards after they are printed.

Create an excel document to record how many adult prophy recall cards you sent. In this file, add the Date Sent and how many were sent.

Last, important step – Go back to Word where the recall cards have already printed. Click file – save as and SAVE THE CHANGES. Create a folder for all your recall postcards and letters and label it for the month/ year. This will save your digital version of the postcards you printed. You want to save this in case you have problems and need to go back and either reprint the cards or you want to look and see if a certain patient received a card.

Postcard layout for Adult Prophy recall cards: recrdad

To create Child Prophys postcards and Teen prophys postcards in Dentrix:

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Recall cards kids under 11” or “Recall cards kids 11-17”
  2. Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:
  • Patient name: A-Z
  • All providers
  • Status:  Patient checked, Uncheck gender, position
  • Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  • Billing types 1 & 3 & 4  (Or just billing type 2 for the second round)
  • Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  • In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “prophy child”
  • In the field that says Birthday it should say 1/1/95 – 12/31/05 – this is for the kids under age 11 – and each year we need to adjust the first date (so the next year it would read 1/1/89). For the kids ages 11-17 the dates should read 1/1/88 – 12/31/94. These dates must be coordinated with each other to make sure we don’t miss anyone. In December we need to update these dates for the next year.
  1. You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to “Prophy Child” to bring up the window.
  • Due date for next month (10/1/05 – 10/31/05)
  • Prior tx field should be blank
  • Check the box that says “without attached appointment”
  • Click OK to close this window
  1. Now click OK again to close this window also.
  2. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, address, city, state, zip, title, salutation, preferred name, CC due date, CC note.
  3. Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file & merge letters” – click OK
  4. Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system.
  5. Now the computer will bring up MS Word – and you need to delete any internal notations that we may have made. Delete – ? , $, ^, *, + symbols from the name.
  6. Now press the print icon and put your recall postcards into the upper tray of the printer, blank side up. If there is a design on the other side, make sure that it is to the right of the tray and upside down when you set the paper in it.
  7. You need to record how many recall cards you sent. Just count the cards after they’re printed
  8. To record what you sent – open Excel and open the file.
  9. In this file, add the Date Sent and how many were sent.
  10. Last, important step – Go back to Word where the recall cards have already printed. Click File Save as and SAVE THE CHANGES. Save in the appropriate folder then choose the month and save as Teens Mar. 1-15.doc. and Kids Mar.1-15.doc.

 

Custom recall message for children’s postcards:

RecallKdmsg

Custom recall message for teenager’s postcards:

RecallTnmsg

To create Ortho postcards:

(An explanation here, since we have an orthodontist in our group, we have decided to identify ortho patients with ZZ in front of their last name. If we have Tom Smith that comes in to see our general dentists and hygienists, and then begins ortho – we will create a second Tom ZZ Smith in order to keep the aging and recall tracking separate. That’s why you’re seeing ZZ in these instructions.)

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Ortho Recall cards (any type)”
  2. Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:
  • Patient name: – zz A through – zz Z  (you want ortho patients only)
  • All providers
  • Status – Patient check.  (Nothing else is checked)
  • Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  • Billing type 7
  • Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  • In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “ortho”
  1. You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to “Ortho” to bring up the window.
  • Due date for next month (10/1/98 to 10/31/98)
  • Prior tx field should be blank
  • Check the box that says “without attached appointment”
  • Click OK to close this window

Ortho

  1. Now click OK again to close this window also.
  2. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, address, city, state, zip, title, salutation, preferred name, CC due date.
  3. Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file & merge letters” – click OK
  4. Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system. Using Edit, replace, delete the ZZ’s, and any other symbols ($$, ??, *, +)
  5. Now the computer will bring up MS Word – and you need to delete any internal notations that we may have made. Delete – ? , $, ^, *, +, zz symbols from the name
  6. Now press the print icon and put your recall postcards into the upper tray of the printer, blank side up. If there is a design on the other side, make sure that it is to the left of the tray when you set the paper in it.
  7. You need to record how many recall cards you sent. Just count the cards after they’re printed
  8. To record what you sent – open Excel and open the file:
  9. In this file, add the Date Sent and how many were sent.  Type names, print and give copy to ortho coordinator.
  10. Last, important step – Go back to Word where the recall cards have already printed. Click File Save As and SAVE THE CHANGES. Save as Ortho Mar. 1-31.doc. in the folder.  Also need to delete zz in front of the names.

Sample ortho recall postcard message:

OrthoMsg

To create Perio maintenance letters for hygienists and our Periodontist: (Done by Dr.’s Coordinator)

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Perio Maint Recall Hyg” or “Perio Maint Recall Specialist”
  2. Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:
  • Patient name: A-Z
  • All providers
  • Status:  Patient checked; Uncheck gender; position
  • Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  • Billing types 1 – 4  (No need to hold back the billing type 2 managed care folks since there are so few people in this list.)
  • Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  • In the field that says Continuing Care it should say Perio Maintenance
  1. You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to Perio Maintenance to bring up the window.
  • Due date for next month (10/1/05 to 10/31/05)
  • Prior tx field should be blank
  • Check the box that says “without attached appointment”
  • Click OK to close this window

Perio

  1. Now click OK again to close this window also.
  2. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, address, city, state, zip, title, salutation, preferred name.
  3. Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file & merge letters” – click OK
  4. Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system.
  5. Now the computer will bring up MS Word – and you need to delete any internal notations that we may have made. Delete – ? , $, ^, *, + symbols from the name
  6. Now press the print icon and put letterhead into the upper tray of the printer. Now go through the letters – check the family file for each patient to make sure they haven’t already had a visit – the easy way to check this is to look at the continuing care box. If they have a future date for prophy recall, then just pitch their letter since they’re already on track and delete the STM continuing care.
  7. You need to record how many STM letters you sent.
  8. To record what you sent – open Excel and open the file:
  9. In this file, add the patient names, date sent and how many were sent. Print and mail letters.
  10. Last, important step – Go back to Word where the recall letters have already printed. Click file Save As and SAVE THE CHANGES. Save as Perio Maintenance Mar. 1-31.doc. in the folder

 Sample content for Perio Maintenance Letters

«Salutation»

In order to help you control your gum disease, it’s very important to continue regular maintenance to

prevent further bone loss. I will clean your teeth, smooth the roots, measure your pocket depths, and

evaluate how much your gums have healed. The key to having your teeth all your life is good home care

and continuing regular cleanings with me here at ______________.

Please call us at 667-1234 to arrange your cleaning. I’m looking forward to maintaining the success

you’ve already accomplished.

Sincerely,

 

To create Denture Recall Letters:

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Denture Follow up Letters”
  2. Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:
  • Patient name: A-Z
  • All providers
  • Click on box marked Patient
  • Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  • Billing types 1 – 4
  • Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  1. In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “dtr followup” and change the dates to the month you want: i.e. 11/1/14 to 11/30/14.

Denture

  1. Now click OK again to close this window also.
  2. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, address, city, state, zip, title, salutation, preferred name, CC due date.
  3. Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file & merge letters” – click OK
  4. The merged letters will appear on the screen. There will be very few.  Use edit, replace to delete any symbols ($$, ??, * or +).
  5. Print the letters.
  6. Fold and insert so address shows in window envelope.
  7. To record what you sent – open Excel and open the file
  8. In this file, enter the date sent, how many letters and the names of the patients.
  9. Last, important step – Go back to Word where the recall letters have already printed. Click File Save As and SAVE THE CHANGES. Save as Dentures Mar. 1-31.doc – same folder as above.

 

To create Sleep Appliance Recall Letters or Implant Recall letters:

Do this quarterly b/c there are so few.

First, run a report to find all sleep appliances placed in the last month

Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Sleep Appliance Recall Ltrs” or “Implant Recall Ltrs”

Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:

  1. Patient name: A-Z
  2. All providers
  3. Click on box marked Patient
  4. Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  5. Billing types 1 – 4
  6. Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  7. Click the button for Procedure, click Completed, Select Procedure from D9940.1 to D9940.1 (this is for sleep appliances) or you can choose D6010 for implants placed and set the dates to the quarter you want: i.e. 1/1/09 to 3/30/09.

Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, Middle Initial, address, city, state, zip, title, salutation, preferred name, CC due date and note, OK.

Sleep

Select Create/Merge

Click on Create Data File only –  click OK. When the count is completed, click View List.

Once this window is open, then click Edit, Select all and Edit Copy.

Paste this report into the Excel file  Select the worksheet “Sleep appl” or “Implants”

Under heading “Snoring Appliance Placed (insert date), right click and paste above copied info.

 

Once you have this list of people, then go into the ledger for each person and check the date when the appliance was placed. Now you will set their continuing care for the sleep appliance recall for one year.

Family file, Double click continuing care box, select Snore Recall, click Set, enter the due date for next year, then click okay. Click close to close the window. Now that you have set the recall, you will find them each quarter in the report below.

 

Again, do this quarterly

Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Sleep Appliance Recall Ltrs” or “Implant Recall ltrs”

Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:

  1. Patient name: A-Z
  2. All providers
  3. Click on box marked Patient
  4. Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  5. Billing types 1 – 4
  6. Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  7. In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “Snore Recall” or “Implant Recall” and change the dates to the quarter you want: i.e. 1/1/09 to 3/31/09, ok.

Now click OK again to close this window also.

Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, Middle Initial, address, city, state, zip, title, salutation, preferred name, CC due date, note, OK.

Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file & merge letters” – click OK

The merged letters will appear on the screen.  There will be very few.  Use edit, replace to delete any symbols ($$, ??, * or +).

Print the letters. Fold and insert so address shows in window envelope.

To record what you sent – open Excel and open the file

In this file, enter the date sent, how many letters and the names of the patients.

Last, important step – Go back to Word where the recall letters have already printed. Click File Save As and SAVE THE CHANGES. Save as Sleep Jan. 1-31.doc – same folder as above.

 

To create Pediatric Dentist Ortho postcards:

(As an explanation, in our group we had both an orthodontist and a pediatric dentist. Our pediatric dentist provided phase 1 ortho as well. To make sure our recall were customized to the proper provider, we created a separate recall system for the pediatric dentist – since our pediatric dentist last name started with MA, we created the identifier ZZMA for all his ortho patients.)

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Dr. MA Ortho Recall cards”
  2. Select Edit – (all defaults remain the same)
  1. Patient name: – zzMs A through – zzMs Z  (you want Dr. MA’s ortho patients only)
  2. All providers
  3. Status – Patient check.  (Nothing else is checked)
  4. Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  5. All Billing types
  6. Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  7. In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “ortho”
  1. You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to “Ortho” to bring up the window.
  1. Due date for next month
  2. Prior tx field should be blank
  3. Check the box that says “without attached appointment”
  4. Click OK to close this window
  1. Now click OK again to close this window also.
  2. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, address, city, state, zip, title, salutation, preferred name, Continuing Care due date.
  3. Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file & merge letters” – click OK
  4. Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system. Using Edit, replace, delete the ZZ’s, and any other symbols ($$, ??, *, +)
  5. Now the computer will bring up MS Word – and you need to delete any internal notations that we may have made. Delete – ? , $, ^, *, +, zzdj symbols from the name
  6. Now press the print icon and put your recall postcards into the upper tray of the printer, blank side up. If there is a design on the other side, make sure that it is to the left of the tray when you set the paper in it.
  7. You need to record how many recall cards you sent. Just count the cards after they’re printed
  8. To record what you sent – open Excel and open the file:
  9. In this file, add the Date Sent and how many were sent.
  10. Last, important step – Go back to Word where the recall cards have already printed. Click File Save As and SAVE THE CHANGES. Save as Ortho Mar. 1-31.doc. in the folder.  Also need to delete zz in front of the names.

 

Other Thoughts

  • You may want to save a printed copy of “Tracking Recall Cards Sent” to record the dates you sent each type of recall
  • Make a note in your planner when to send “Type 2- PPO Plans” recall cards- usually 2 wks after regular recall was sent.

QR Codes

When QR codes became popular, we thought it might be fun to insert a QR code onto our recall postcards so patients could easily go to our “Request an appointment” page in our website. Here are the instructions:

To create QR code for postcards:

  1. Go to the following website: http://smartytags.com/
  2. Click on Create a code
  3. Choose Website
  4. Give your code a name: Recall Postcards
  5. Enter the scheduler website address: ________________
  6. Click Next
  7. Our ID and Password for the smartytags website:
  8. Click Next
  9. Now you have your QR code!
  10. Click the icon for download- this opens up a new window
  11. In the new window – choose jpg as the type of file format, then choose the size you want (small was fine for the postcards) and leave it black. Select download.
  12. Now save this image into our T:/marketing/internal/photos – I labeled this in 9/12 QR Code for scheduling.jpg
  13. Next, you can insert a photo into any word document you like – I inserted it into the adult recall postcards.

To scan a QR code with an iPhone:

  1. Download the Qrafter application
  2. Scan your image with the camera – the photo will automatically take
  3. Select “Go to URL”
  4. Now you’ll see our scheduling page!

 

As you can tell – we invested a significant amount of time in our recall systems – and I have outlined the recall search we used for every specialist in our group in the instructions above. As you think about your practice, you can use this approach to first, consider, what types of recall do you want to focus on in your practice – and then create a system around that. If you run into challenges, reach out to me.

In addition to sending postcards/letters for a large variety of patients, we also created call lists. This next section describes how our call list system worked.

Call Lists

After sending all the recall postcards and letters, hopefully every single patient immediately picks up the phone or requests an appointment online. Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Since this isn’t reality, we print call lists for patients that are due for each type of procedure and we call patients as a courtesy to follow up. We do this because we care about our patients – we want them to come in on time for their recall so they can stay healthy and avoid expensive repairs.

It takes extra effort to go the extra mile and reach out personally to patients who do not respond to our postcards, emails or letters, but we believe it’s worth it. We also know we can fill schedules more effectively with this thorough approach to follow up.

We make a follow up call for several lists:

  1. Monthly recall (adults, teens children that did not schedule from the postcard mailing)
  2. Yearly recall (adults, teens and children that have not had a prophy in one year)
  3. Unscheduled treatment

On the first of the month, run the report for each of these call lists using the date range for last month. Since these lists can be long, you may want to separate these lists and give certain pages to different staff members.

The digital filing system for all call lists and mailers is located in the file: F:AdminCalls & Mailers

Then, there are 2 folders:

  1. Call lists
  2. Mailers

In the Call Lists folder:

A – Monthly recall list – This has the monthly recall list of patients for each month of 2015 in a different worksheet.

B – Yearly recall list – This has the yearly recall list of patients for each month of 2015 in a different worksheet.

C – Pedo Recall

D – 5 Yr Review List

E –Call  results – This is where we track results for all the calls made each month

F – Unscheduled treatment results – this is where we track the results for each secretary for their Scheduled & Pte lists

There is also a folder marked unscheduled. In this folder are excel worksheets for each month. Each month consists of 4-5 weekly sheets for unscheduled treatment and PTE’s received from insurance

Instructions for creating all lists in Dentrix

 

Monthly Recall Call List

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Recall cards adults”
  2. Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:
  • Patient name: A-Z
  • All providers
  • Check status:  Patient, Uncheck gender, position
  • Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  • Billing types 1 – 4
  • Balance aging – no boxes should be checked
  • In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “prophy adult”
  1. You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to “Prophy Adult” to bring up the window.
  • Due date from 4/1/15 to 4/30/15 (this month)
  • Prior tx field should be blank
  • Check the box that says Include “All”
  • Click OK to close this window
  1. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, work phone, home phone, email address, Continuing Care Due Date.
  2. Now click OK again to close this window

Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file only” – click OK

  1. Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system.
  2. Click View List; Edit select all, Edit copy
  3. Open Excel and Paste into the correct worksheet for that month in

Now, run the same list for teens and children – paste all these lists together & sort by C/C (button that says sort according arrow pointing down). This will group families together so when we make our calls we can see which family members are due at the same time.

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Recall cards kids under 11” and “Recall cards kids 11-17”
  2. Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:
    1. Patient name: A-Z
    2. All providers
    3. Status: Patient checked, Uncheck gender, position
    4. Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
    5. Billing types 1 – 4
    6. Under aging – no boxes should be checked
    7. In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “prophy child”
  3. In the field that says Birthday it should say 1/1/95 – 12/31/05 – this is for the kids under age 11 – and each year we need to adjust the first date (so the next year it would read 1/1/89). For the kids ages 11-17 the dates should read 1/1/88 – 12/31/94. These dates must be coordinated with each other to make sure we don’t miss anyone. In December we need to update these dates for the next year.
  4. You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to “Prophy Child” to bring up the window.
    1. Due date from 4/1/08 to 4/30/08 (this month)
    2. Prior tx field should be blank
    3. Check the box that says Include “All”
    4. Click OK to close this window
    5. Now click OK again to close this window also.
  5. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, work phone, home phone, email address, Continuing Care Due Date.
  6. Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file only” – click OK
  7. Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system.
  8. Click View List; Edit select all, Edit copy
  9. Open Excel and Paste into the correct worksheet for that month in

 

Yearly Recall – Call List

(As an explanation, we created a recall system to follow up with patients who had not been seen in 12 months. We wanted to make the extra effort to reach out to these patients to keep them actively coming into our practice. So, we divided up the alphabet into a couple letters for each month and then we contacted patients with last names beginning with A-B in January who had not been seen since the previous year. )

  • Go to Office manager, letters, Inactive Pt.s., Inactive Pts. to call monthly
  • Click edit
  • Choose pt filters
  • Status: Patient and Inactive Patients
  • Pts. (ex.  Patient last names S to S)
  • Select all providers
  • Billing types 1-4, 11-13

For 2011 year cross over :

Jan       A-B     Dec. 31, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2009

Feb      C-D     Jan 31, 2007 to Jan 31, 2010

 

Jan       A-B     Dec 31 of 2 years ago – Dec 31 of 1 year ago

Feb      C-D     Jan 31 of 2 years ago – Jan 31 of 1 year ago

Mar     E-F      Feb 28 of 2 years ago – Feb 28 of 1 year ago

Apr      G-H     Mar 31 of 2 years ago – Mar 31 of 1 year ago

May     I-K       Apr 30 of 2 years ago – Apr 30 of 1 year ago

June     L-M     May 31 of 2 years ago – May 31 of 1 year ago

July     N-P      Jun 30 of 2 years ago – Jun 30 of 1 year ago

Aug     Q-R     Jul 31 of 2 years ago – Jul 31 of 1 year ago

Sept     S          Aug 31 of 2 years ago – Aug 31 of 1 year ago

Oct      T-U     Sep 30 of 2 years ago – Sep 30 of 1 year ago

Nov     V-W    Oct 31 of 2 years ago – Oct 31 of 1 year ago

Dec      X-Z      Nov 30 of 2 years ago – Nov 30 of 1 year ago

 

  • Last visit date (ex. 8/31/11-8/31/11)
  • Click Ok
  • Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, home & work phone, mobile, email address, Continuing Care Due Date, Click OK
  • Create / Merge -nCreate data file only, Click OK
  • Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file only” – click OK
  • Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system.
  • Click View List
  • Edit select all
  • Edit copy in excel – save in call lists – yearly recall list 11.xls. (the year you are in)
  • Do not delete any names even if they have an appt.

 

5 Year Review Recall

(As an explanation, our dentists provided a comprehensive exam to patients every 5 years – we called this the 5 Year Review. We found this was a valuable visit where the patient could talk about their care in our office over the last five years and discuss how things were going as well as make a plan for treatment that had been recommended but was not completed.)

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “5 Year Review”
  2. Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:
  • Patient name: A-Z (not the ZZ for ortho)
  • All providers
  • Check status:  Patient, Uncheck gender, position
  • Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  • Billing types 1 – 4
  • Balance aging – no boxes should be checked
  • In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “5 year review”
  1. You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to “Prophy Adult” to bring up the window.
  • Due date from 4/1/08 to 4/30/08 (this month)
  • Prior tx field should be blank
  • Check the box that says Include “Without Attached Appointment”
  • Click OK to close this window
  1. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, work phone, home phone, email address, mobile phone, Continuing Care Due Date, Continuing Care Type Name.
  2. Now click OK again to close this window

Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file only” – click OK

  1. Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system.
  2. Click View List; Edit select all, Edit copy
  3. Open Excel and Paste into the correct worksheet for that month in

 

Unscheduled Treatment Call List

Even though this is not a recall list – we run the Unscheduled Treatment list every week in order to follow up with patients who had treatment recommended, but not completed. We found that by running this report on a weekly basis (even in a very large group practice) there were only 10-20 patients on the list. Since our goal was to maintain personal relationships with patients despite the fact we were a very large group, we took the extra time to look up the front desk staff person who checked that person out and may have personally discussed the treatment with them – and then we assigned that person to make the follow up call. This worked well because each front desk staff person knew that every patient they did not schedule would end up back on their list to call and follow up.

You will create the report from Dentrix and then type the names and information into Excel for the team to follow up with patients weekly.

  1. Open the Excel document  and look at the dates of the last week’s report. You will run your Dentrix Unscheduled Treatment Plans report starting the day after the previous report ended. So, assume today is July 17th, if your previous report was dated July 1-6th, then you will need to set your dates for the Dentrix report as July 7 – 16th.
  2. Go to Office Manager, Reports, Lists, Unscheduled Treatment Plans to print this list.
  3. Select the dates you want and include the year (be sure to watch b/c the first date automatically sets to last year!).
  4. Print (best to print front/back on the copier)
  5. Next, open the Excel document
  6. Insert 25 rows or so and note the weeks’ dates in red along with the name of the secretary who will be responsible for that week’s follow up.
  7. Use your Dentrix report and look at the treatment planned for your first patient – that does not have an S beside their name. The S means that they have a Scheduled appointment. Type in the patient’s name into your Excel report. Look in the Dentrix ledger for the provider that recommended the treatment – guidelines to use:
  8. If treatment is STM or sealants – always note the Hygienist as the provider & put their name to follow up.
  9. For kids that see our pediatric dentist – give to our Pediatric Coordinator
  10. For large or complex treatment, give to our office manager to follow up.
  11. Delete emergency exams, x-rays and continuing treatment from the patient’s treatment plan if those are the only treatment plan.
  12. For folks that see our Periodontist – give to our Perio Coordinator
  13. When you check the ledger to see which provider saw this patient last, look at the G note icon – if it has color, then you might click on it to see if there are notes. If you see that a client is headed for collections or see a strange note – go ahead & type this onto your unscheduled treatment list for the secretary to check into.
  14. When you finish creating the Excel list, then print one copy of just that list – highlight just your section of the report and select File, Print area, Set Print Area. Use a paperclip and put that list with the Dentrix report and give to the secretary whose name you assigned it to in the report. You are responsible for creating this report on Tuesday and giving it to the secretary team on Tuesday (preferably in the morning) and then they must follow up by Friday end of day.
  15. Since this is a weekly list, you also should print last week’s unscheduled treatment list and give it to the secretary whose name was on it from last week – ask them to fill in all the 2nd follow up boxes – again, they get one week to follow up.
  16. Finally, you should print the unscheduled treatment list from 2 weeks ago and give it to the secretary whose name was on it then. Her job is to review this list (which has already had 2 follow up contacts completed) and pull charts for clients who have significant treatment (expensive or complex) and give the report & charts to Jill by end of day Tuesday – yes, they only get a few hours to get this chart pulling completed. Jill will take these charts and this list to the Wednesday morning doctor meeting for review.

 

To print a pedo recall list

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight the letter that says “Recall cards under age 11”
  2. Select Edit – the defaults are all correct, they are:
    1. Patient name: A-Z
    2. Provider: DRMA
    3. Check status: Patient, Uncheck gender, position
    4. Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
    5. Billing types 1 – 4
    6. Balance aging – no boxes should be checked
    7. In the field that says Continuing Care it should say “prophy child”
  3. You need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow next to “Prophy Child” to bring up the window.
    1. Due date from 5/1/05 to 5/31/05 (2 months ago)
    2. Prior tx field should be blank
    3. Check the box that says “without attached appointment”
    4. Click OK to close this window
    5. Click on the Data Fields tab & make sure the following is checkmarked: First, last name, work phone, home phone. Then click back into patient filters
    6. Now click OK again to close this window also.

13.Click on Create/Merge – Select “Create data file only – click OK

14.Paste into Excel, do not save this list

15.Print list and give to the pediatric team

 

Calls to each Recall Call List

Now that you have printed a call list for each type of continuing care – you may want to divide up these call lists among your staff. You will need to keep track of which staff person has which call list (or which pages of the different call lists) and give your team a deadline to complete their calls.

Running these reports, assigning the work and then summarizing the results is level 4 work – you need to be familiar with Dentrix and have enough authority and people skills that your team will work these call lists. Since making calls to try to schedule patients for prophies can be taught reasonably easily, making these calls is level 2 work. To see instructions for making these calls, handling objections and then summarizing individual results is located in: Monthly Recall Call List.

 

Name  _________________________________  has mastered producing, printing and recording recall cards.

____________________________________/__________

Team Leader                                                                               Date

 

Your Turn

Congratulations! You’ve made it all the way through this training on printing recall postcards/letters and printing recall lists. Now, it’s your turn. Here’s a checklist you can use to set up the recall system in your practice.

Recall postcards/letters Checklist

  • Meet with your dentist to talk through the types of procedures that would make sense to set up a recall system around. Gain approval for the content of the letters/postcards you will use.
  • Purchase postcards for each type of recall – adults, teens, kids
  • Set up your continuing care for each recall type – if you identify new procedures you will send recall cards/letters, be sure to train your team to start using these new continuing care codes
  • Set up your postcards/letters into your Dentrix
  • Print & send your postcards/letters for each recall

Recall Call Lists Checklist

  • Run your recall call list for each type of recall
  • Meet with your full staff to let everyone know about these call lists and to ask for everyone’s help in downtime
  • Create your tracking in excel
  • Work each and every call list on a monthly basis in order to fill your schedule
  • Meet with your dentist to show your success!

Feedback

Please share your experience in working with this recall system with me. I’d love to hear how it is working for you – or if you ran into any roadblocks. If there is anything I can improve in this training, please let me know!