#12 – Specifics to Remember for Entering Information in the Computer

Treatment Planning

When a patient is finished with the dentist and the assistant brings the patient to the front desk to make future appointments you need to take care of several things. First, you need to confirm what treatment was performed that day. Secondly, you need to understand what future treatment is recommended. Thirdly, you need to set financial arrangements and collect payment. Finally, you need to schedule the next appointment.

1. To confirm what treatment was performed that day – Make sure the actual treatment on the yellow treatment sheet matches what the patient was scheduled for if so, click Set Complete in the Ledger. If not, go into the appointment, edit the treatment and then click set complete.

2. To understand what future treatment is recommended – Go into the tooth chart and treatment plan all recommended treatment. Then move to the Treatment Presenter and print a copy for the chart, hand write on treatment statement so they can see what treatment is recommended as well as charges and insurance coverage.

3. To schedule the next appointment – Go to the Appointment book and select the patient, then choose Tx, it will list all recommended treatment and you may select the treatment you are scheduling.

When entering charges on primary teeth use the tooth chart and switch the teeth to primary teeth. To switch back and forth you have to select the patient first, then Click Prim/Perm which will change the teeth back and forth to primary or permanent.

Emergency exam charges are charged out to the provider (assistant or hygienist) who does the exam. This will not necessarily be the doctor, but it could be. On all prophy appointments, make sure the appropriate doctor is listed as the provider on the insurance form. If one of the staff does a PC, the doctor whose staff she is on will be the one on the insurance form. The provider who is listed as primary provider in the family file will print on the insurance form. This will be for each family member individually.

For exams following prophys and preventive care, the exam is always charged to the doctor doing the exam


1.         Go into the toothchart, select patient.

2.         Select the hygienist as the provider

3.         Use the multi codes to schedule – click on the appointment you want to schedule first. Then click Add at the bottom of the list.

4.         Then click OK/Post

5.         Now, go to the appointment book, find a time and double click to set the appointment.

6.         Click provider again, click Treatment and highlight all the treatment listed, click ok, then schedule the appointment.

7.         If you would like to schedule the next appointment, go back to the Ledger

8.         Click on the multicode for the next appointment, click add, then OK/Post.

9.         Now go back to the appointment book and schedule this next round of treatment.


When charging out STM, follow the instructions on your fee sheet. It will tell you exactly which codes you need to treatment plan for STM. Then select the procedures you want to schedule.


Cancellations and no shows:

If a patient does not show or cancels an appointment, put an appointment in the schedule, telling how much time the appointment was for and whether it was a ‘no show’ or cancelled, and set this appointment complete.  Then highlight the missed appointment, click the Broken Appointments icon and say okay when the message says will take them off the appointment list and put them on the unscheduled appointment list.

For No Call/No Shows or same-day cancellations, you need to put a flag in the client’s account that they need to speak with Bobbe before they can reschedule their appointments.  In each patient’s family file the computer automatically tracks every missed or cancelled appointment and keeps a running total for each family member. We record this information so that we can evaluate our success rate as far as patients keeping their appointments at the end of the year.

For people who chronically cancel same-day, create a patient alert that says “Day of Only” and then we will know not to give this person a scheduled appointment, they are DAY OF APPOINTMENT ONLY! Make sure you make a note in the Patient notes that they are Day of Only.

For patients who have an appointment, but would like to come in earlier you can use the ASAP list in Dentrix. To put them on the ASAP list:

1.         Open their appointment by double clicking it.

2.         Click Schedule and choose ASAP

To see who is on the ASAP list:

1.         Open the appointment book

2.         Click Appointment list, ASAP list

3.         Click View – this allows you to see different days worth of patients, so make sure View all is checked, then for span of search Days, set it at 18 days (then Save as Default). Click okay.

Do not schedule an appointment to start a bridge, partial or denture unless you have received the pre-treatment estimate of coverage back from the insurance company and have discussed the financial arrangements with the patient. If the patient is going to have a tooth replaced by a bridge, or several teeth replaced with a partial or full denture, these are the questions you need to ask the patient for the insurance:

1.   Is this an initial placement?

If yes – when was the tooth or teeth extracted? (If the tooth was extracted prior to insurance  coverage, the replacement of that tooth with a bridge or partial may not be covered at all.)

2.         Is this a replacement?

If yes – how old is the present crown, bridge, partial or denture? Why is it being replaced? May need to check with the doctor (usual length of time required to replace an existing crown, bridge, partial or denture is 5 years)

In making payment plans with patients ask them how they would like to cover the expenses.  If this is unsuccessful then paying in full $250 or more to schedule – always give the 5% discount for cash or by check – 3% discount when using a major credit card – since that is what we want them to choose.  Next is to have patients pay their total amount due of $50 or more to schedule the appointment – if treatment time is 1 hour or more, or $250 or more, collect ½ to schedule and indicate that the balance will be due the day of their appointment.  As a third option we offer the All Care that they can apply for like a regular credit card and then they can spread out the payments over a 3 or 6 month period

Contracts (Gold Charts only – offer All Care first):

1.         Go into the ledger, select the patient.

2.         Click on the handshake icon (Billing/Payment Arrangements)

3.         Type in the Balance For PA (Payment Agreement amount), Type in the First Payment Due (date), Type in Payment Amount

4.         Click on Terms, Select Type, OK, OK and OK to get back to the ledger.


Estimate of Dental Work

1.         After you have entered the treatment in the tooth chart

2.         Click on the Treatment Presenter icon

3.         Click on Options, Use Plan Maximum

4.         Click on Printer Icon to print – this will print up all the treatment recommended, the total charges and the estimated insurance coverage. At the bottom, the patient’s payment options are described. You may want to divide the total charges by 3 to show the in-office payment option of paying in thirds.


Saving Information to DocumentCenter

As we move towards paperless, we are able to save documents such as financial arrangement contracts and personalized client letters to the document center.

Once you have the document typed:

Save the document to the patient’s family file document center:

  • With the FA contract open, click edit, select all- then right click, copy
  • Now, go to patient family file
  • Select document center
  • Click aquire, paste from clipboard
  • Select document type as which ever correspondence description best fits your document
  • Under Description type phrase that describes your document (Example: “Ortho FA contract”)
  • Click ok
  • Contract should be saved

Documentation for when patient death

  1. If patient was not the head of household, put note in family file that says pt is deceased. Make a flag letting the rest of the office know who passed away so we don’t ask about them. Delete the C/C box information.
  2. Then archive the patient.  Here’s how: Family file, double click on block with name, address info, then change status to “archived.”  (Once this is done, you can only view this when you are selecting patients from the family file- click on select patient, and check the box that says “Include Archived Patients” and then it will add all these archived patients to the search).  If you need to look at the archived patient’s file later, you must change the status to anything other than archived and you can view their history, etc.  When you are finished then you would change their status back to archive.   (You cannot see archived patients by selecting them from the ledger or anywhere else).
  3. If patient was the head of household, need to change H of H to someone else.  Family file, edit, set head of household.  Then do the same thing as noted in #1. Loraine does this part email her.
  4. Put the chart on Dr.’s  desk. He will review it and send a note to the family. Then you will put the chart in breakdowns.

Entering blocks into the schedule (monthly) – create a table that reflects which provider/column, type (STM / NP),  length, etc.  of block are needed.

For example, in hygienist schedules, you will want blocks for new patients/STM to make sure patients can be scheduled in a timely manner.  You also want to put blocks in the schedule for primetime (evening or early am or Sat) appointments if you’re running a first come, first served list for these popular times.

You may also want to set up blocks to reserve emergency time – for GPs or specialists.  For ortho, you may want to reserve time for records, bandings and removals as well as consults.

To enter a block:

  • Double click on the time in the appt book
  • Type in Hygiene check time or Block
  • Click ok twice
  • Click No (at alert to see the broken appt list – usually comes up when click on block”
  • Set the appointment length for 15 minutes (remove the X’s by clicking on them)
  • Type note
  • Click ok to close the appointment

Occasionally a patient calls and wants a specific day for a cleaning appointment.  This happens a lot for college students coming back during breaks, patients with a last minute day-off from work, etc.  If that day is already completely booked, please create a “cancel block”.  Set up a block appointment on the day the patient is requesting, with the appointment description being “If cancels…”  In the appointment notes, insert dateline, and enter the patient’s name, specific hygienist (if applicable), and the best contact number(s) to reach them.  Multiple patients can be added to this block.  We will call the patient who was entered first, and continue to attempt to reach patients to fill openings in the schedule.  These patients may be called well in advance, or just hours before the appointment, depending on when time becomes available.  Please note any attempts to contact the patients in this block, as well as in the patient’s G-notes.  Once the patient has been scheduled, please remove them for all blocks in which they were entered.

For patients scheduled for appointments who are interested in coming in sooner, continue to use the ASAP list.  They need not be added to the cancel block.

How to check email & Efaxes

  1. Sitting at the hot seat  – this is the computer that has our main office email address.
  2. Open Microsoft Outlook and click on the inbox
  3. If no new emails, then can click Send/Receive icon in the upper taskbar
  4. If you see an email from “Efax” – then double click on the pdf attachment. This will open the Adobe Reader program, you need to click Open it on the window that pops up. Then the fax will display and you can print it (do not print in color) if it’s good. If the fax is junk mail (offers for cruises or investment schemes) then close the Adobe program & delete the email. If you are not sure, then please forward it to the office manager who will let you know.
  5. Faxes from  insurance companies that pay us electronically may also fax the information.  Print any important info and give to the insurance manager.
  6. Watch for email scams: Never open email from someone you do not know. Never double click on a pdf or exe file in an email unless you confirm with the office manager first. Read the subject & first sentences of content before opening email – best to set up your layout so you can see these without opening email.
  7. Forward emails to other staff as needed.
  8. For the doctor’s personal emails – forward to _____________.
  9. For email or faxes with no ones name – then you need to review it and take care of it of possible. Forward patient emails you cannot handle to the office manager.
  10. Open Outlook at the beginning of the day and deal with each email/fax and delete each when taken care of. Leave this program open during the day and you can check email as the day progresses. Close this program at the end of the day.
  11. Do not delete sent items.

Correct email formatting:

Dear Patient first name,

Thank you for your email.

I appreciate your request for information about scheduling an appointment. Here is the information  . .

Thank you,  or   Take care,   or Best wishes,

Your name

Title (Treatment Coordinator)

HealthPark Dentistry

Notes of formatting:

  • Always start with the patient’s name and a comma, just like you’re writing a letter
  • Use spaces to make your email easy to read.
  • Generally use emails to communicate a few sentences – if you find yourself typing a full paragraph, then it’s best to send an email instead to arrange the best time to call – asking for specific day/time and number to call.
  • Always sign off with Thank you and a comma – just like a regular letter.
  • Always go ahead & type your full name, position, and  our website.

_______________________________________                  ______________________________

Team leader                                                                            Date