A Closer Look at Two Health History Features and Why They’re Great

Prioritizing medical conditions with corresponding colored cross symbols and pop-up notifications ensure all team members are notified of Health History concerns.

In recent Dentrix releases, we have seen many enhancements to the Health History module:

  • Dentrix G7 Health History gave us the ability to separate medical conditions and allergies and also removed the old limitation of 64 medical conditions.
  • Dentrix G7.1 gave us the ability to enter an emergency contact name and phone number, a preferred pharmacy name and phone number, and a physician contact for patients. It also gave us a way to record patient reported medications (prescribed by another doctor).
  • Dentrix G7.2 gave use the ability to assign individual medical conditions, allergies, and medications as critical, and create a pop-up message to appear for specific conditions.

Assigning Medical Conditions as Critical

Assigning a medical condition as critical allows you to prioritize health history items based on what your doctor feels is important. Assigning a medical condition as critical results in the patient having a red cross within their Health History and on their appointment. If they have a medical condition, allergy or medication entered in their Health History and it is not assigned as critical, this will result in a yellow cross. And if nothing is entered into their Health History, the cross will be white and there won’t be a symbol on their appointment.

On the face of appointments, the red cross icon indicates a Health History item has been marked as critical. A yellow cross indicates there are items in the patient’s Health History, but none are critical, and no cross icon indicates there are no Health History items for the patient.

These colored cross icons indicate the same information, no matter where in Dentrix they are seen (example from the Family File above, and on Dentrix toolbars below).

These color-coded cross symbols are a helpful feature. You can quickly look at the color of the cross in the Health History to determine if the condition will impact their visit in the dental office. If the patient has a red cross, it’s a critical concern and you need to investigate what their condition is and determine how it will pertain to their upcoming appointment. If the cross is yellow you will know although the patient does have something listed in their Health History, it’s not critical so there is no need for concern. If the cross is white, you know the patient has no entries in their Health History. This new feature could save the team in your office time by providing at-a-glance information.

Health History Pop-Ups

The Health History pop-up feature is also very helpful. Prior to Health History pop-ups, offices commonly used Patient Alerts (flag notes) for medical/allergy alerts. In my opinion, the Patient Alerts are misused in many offices. The alerts are commonly marked to show up with a date range of “Always” and they are assigned to pop up in all areas of Dentrix. This can cause the alerts to become a nuisance. For the Patient Alerts to be most effective, set a date range and designate the appropriate areas for that alert to pop up. For example, if it is a note regarding billing or payment, have it pop up in the Ledger. When team members have to struggle through multiple pop ups, the Patient Alerts lose their value and they can be ignored. Team members may sometimes check the box “Do not show again today” which can cause the team member the note was intended for not to see it.

The pop-up feature in Health History eliminates the Patient Alert problem in relation to a patient’s medical issues. You can assign where the pop ups will be displayed (for example, Create New Appointment, Family File, Patient Chart, Prescriptions). This setting is workstation-specific which is helpful because clinical team members may want to view the pop-ups in certain areas, while the front desk team may prefer others.

I’m very excited about the changes that have been made to the Health History in the recent releases of Dentrix. Most offices have become chartless and Health History allows offices to have a comprehensive Health History for every patient right in their practice management software.

Prioritizing medical conditions, allergies, and patient medications can save you time by displaying a corresponding colored cross symbol in the patient’s health history, and pop-up notes can ensure all team members are notified of Health History concerns.

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By Charlotte Skaggs
Certified Dentrix Trainer and The Dentrix Office Manager columnist

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for over 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.