Learn about the options in Dentrix you can use to make the process of communicating with other team members about patients’ next visits easier to integrate into your workflow.
Communication between team members about the details of a patient’s next visit is an important process to define in your practice. There are different ways to communicate the details of the next visit. The way you decide to handle this process in your office will ultimately depend on your practice workflow.
In a previous article, I’ve talked about the handoff of the patient between the clinical team and the administrative team. This is such an important process because it’s the opportune time for both the clinical and the administrative team to confirm which procedures were completed during today’s visit and indicate when the patient’s next visit should be.
The details of the next visit should include information such as the order of the visits, which procedures should be completed at each visit, which provider the patient should be scheduled with, and how much time should be allocated for the procedures. It’s important that this information be readily available in case the patient isn’t able to schedule the next appointment while they’re still in the office and needs to call back to schedule.
Ideally, treatment-planned procedures would be entered into the patient’s Chart by the clinical team. Dentrix has some great tools to make this process quicker and easier for your clinical team since they have limited time with each patient. Make sure procedure buttons are customized for procedures you perform in your office and that your team knows how to use them. Using multi-codes is also a timesaver when treatment planning procedures because multi-codes can include more than one procedure code, for example a root canal, crown, crown build-up, and crown cement, and can be added to a patient’s treatment plan with a single click. The Auto-State button in the Patient Chart is sometimes overlooked but saves time by enabling you to treatment plan procedures with fewer clicks.
Once procedures are treatment planned by the clinical team, they can then use the Treatment Planner module to organize the treatment plan and set visits. This will make it clear to everyone in the office which procedures should be done together and in which order.
Treatment-planned procedures can be assigned to a specific provider by making sure their provider ID is attached to the treatment-planned procedure.
Appointment times for procedures can vary by patient. If you have a patient who takes longer to get numb, or a particularly difficult procedure, you may want more time scheduled for that appointment. A great place to record this information would be in the procedure notes. After setting visits for treatment-planned procedures, the clinical team could enter a procedure note indicating how much time should be allocated for an appointment. For example, for a difficult crown prep, the doctor may want two hours allotted instead of the usual ninety minutes. If this information is entered in the procedure notes, it will stay with that procedure for that patient and will be easily accessible, whether they schedule while in the office or call back later.
Some offices have their clinical team schedule the patient’s next appointment while they’re in the back office. Some offices allow the administrative team to discuss finances first, then the administrative team schedules the next appointment. In either scenario, having appointment-related details in the procedure notes would be helpful.
To learn about ways to help your team members learn more about scheduling, read Take the Guesswork out of Scheduling Treatment Plans.
For more ideas about improving your schedule, read Don’t Just Fill Your Schedule, Build Your Schedule.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.