How to Accurately Chart Referred Procedures

Tracking referred procedures in Dentrix ensures patient charts are accurate and allows you to more easily schedule follow-up appointments.

If your dental office is a general practice, you may find that there are certain procedures your doctor refers to a specialist. Even though you aren’t actually completing those procedures in your office, it’s still important to track when they are treatment planned, referred, and completed so that the patient’s chart is accurate. By keeping track of referred procedures, you’ll also know when the appropriate time will be for follow-up procedures to be done in your office, such as when the patient will need to have a crown done at your office following a root canal that you referred to a specialist.

First, enter information for the doctors you often refer patients to. You can do this in the Dentrix Office Manager. Click Maintenance > Reference > Referral Maintenance. Verify that the information has not already been entered in the Referred TO list. Select New and enter the appropriate information. Be sure to select Referred To as the Referral Type.

Later, when you have a patient you need to refer to a specialist, first treatment plan the procedure as you normally would. Once the procedure has been treatment planned, there are two ways you can refer the procedure.

Referring Individual Procedures

You can double-click the procedure in the Progress Notes to open the Edit or Delete Procedure dialog box.

Under Related Referral, click the search button and select the Referred To Doctor option and click OK. Then select which doctor you want to refer the procedure to.

This is a great option if you are referring a single procedure, such as a root canal on one tooth.

Referring an Entire Treatment Case

The other option is to refer an entire treatment case at once. To use this method, select the treatment case containing the procedure you want to refer, and click the Update Case Status button and select Referred.

You will have the option to enter any comments needed and then select which doctor you are referring the case to.

Keep in mind that this will refer all the procedures in the treatment case, so you may need to create a new treatment case if the patient has other treatment-planned procedures that aren’t being referred. Referring the treatment case is a great option when you are referring multiple procedures at once, such as third molar extractions.

After You’ve Made the Referral

Once you have referred the procedures, you can easily print a Referral Slip directly from the Patient Chart, which saves time. Your team doesn’t have to hand write a referral. You can make notes on the referral as needed.

When you receive the information from the specialist that the patient has completed their referred treatment, you can mark the treatment complete in the Patient Chart. Adjust the date to the date the treatment was actually completed so your records are accurate. The completed, referred treatment will appear green in the Patient Chart to indicate that it is Existing Other (treatment completed by another provider). This will give your team a clear view of who did the treatment and when it was done, and it gives your office the opportunity to contact the patient to schedule follow-up procedures with your office that may need completed, such as a crown that will need to be placed following the root canal procedure.

On a monthly basis, you can generate a Referred To Doctor Report in the Office Manager to see which patients were referred to a specialist so you can follow up and make sure they had the procedure completed. This will help to ensure that no patient falls through the cracks if they don’t schedule their referred treatment.

Keeping track of referred procedures in Dentrix is important to ensure that patient charts are accurate. By tracking referred procedures, you’ll know when to schedule the follow-up procedures patients need to have done in your office. Entering referred procedures also gives the ability to track them using Dentrix reports.

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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