#17 – Keep Client Files Organized

Thumbing through a disorganized file to hunt for a specific paper can be very frustrating, if papers are “all over the place.”  To help avoid this frustrating, time consuming hunt, take the time to keep our files in proper order.  When you open the folder there is a pocket on each side.  In this section we’ll review where to put which papers from front to back. Client charts can grow over the years.  Many of these pages are important to current treatment or important historical records necessary to protect us from malpractice claims.  However, some pages can be thrown away.  Here is a list of the pages that can be thrown away.

  1. Old health histories
  2. Any emergency sheets older than 2 years but save all that have endo notes
  3. All old treatment plans
  4. Filled out, old treatment planning sheets
  5. Thorough review exam forms (save current health history forms)

Once the useless pages are gone, go ahead and organize the remaining pages in the following areas:

Inside left front pocket

  1. Current medical/dental health history form
  2. Signed treatment plans
  3. Insurance/financial information
  4. Current formal treatment plan
  5. Picture of Client

Right center pocket (front)

  1. Current medical/dental health history form
  2. Current treatment plan sheet

Left side center pocket (back)

  1. Hygiene Sheets
  2. Periodontal sheets

Inside right rear pocket (from front to back)

  1. Any paper/film x-rays
  2. Old Supporting paperwork- organized chronologically
    1. Intra oral pictures
    2. All lab slips
    3. Other – such as emergency forms that are less than 2 years old, used to record endodontic procedure, Old formal treatment plans, Old yellow treatment sheets, Notes from physicians, hospitals, etc. Sedation info,  Old x-rays

To get signed off on this section, bring a chart to your next level meeting that has not been organized and put the papers where they need to go in front of your dentist. Once you know how to organize a patient folder, then we expect that you will organize all patient folders that you handle.

Regarding digital organization of client files – we use the Dentrix Document center to save scanned documents such as a copy of the client’s health insurance card, their health history and other correspondence. Dentrix automatically saves copies of letters in the Office Journal (this is nice since you can see what was sent without having to save it yourself).

We use the clinical notes for all ledger entries – including secretary follow up calls. We use guarantor notes for financial-related notes. To see how our digital charts are organized, simply look at today’s patients and review the different modules of Dentrix to see what material is stored where.