Learn how to filter the Appointment List to find the patients you want to see.
Patient cancellations are a fact of life in every dental office. I was in an office recently where the office manager complained she would get several messages from patients on Sunday night, canceling appointments for Monday. The office schedule was typically very busy and booked out far in advance. The office wished they had a list of patients who would like to come in sooner to fill the schedule.
For example, patients who are retired or work from home may have a schedule that allows them to be flexible in their appointment times. Patients with a toothache may be very eager to get started on treatment as soon as possible.
Dentrix Appointment Status
Dentrix has appointment lists for these very types of patients. When patients schedule an appointment, you can assign these schedule types: FIXED, OPEN, or ASAP. Use FIXED for patients who need a specific day and time. OPEN is generally used for patients who may be able to come in on short notice. Use ASAP for patients who want to come in as soon as possible. (Dentrix defaults the schedule types to FIXED unless you customize this in the practice appointment setup.)
To assign a schedule type to an appointment, open the Dentrix Appointment Book, double-click an open time, and select a patient to display in the Appointment Information dialog box. Under Appointment Description, click Schedule, and select ASAP or OPEN. After specifying other scheduling details, click OK.
Dentrix Appointment List
You can access the ASAP and Open lists from the Appointment Book under the Appt List menu. In Dentrix G6.5 and newer versions, the ASAP and Open appointment lists have been combined and are part of the Dentrix Appointment List, which you can filter to view the patients you want to see.
This new feature makes scheduling last-minute appointments much easier. Using the date calendar (or the Next/Previous Day/Week buttons), you can specify a time window for the appointments you want to view (seven days is the default setting). If you want to change the span of this time window, from the Setup menu, click Appointment List View. Under Span of Search, specify the number of days to include in your span window, click Save List, select the list name (or specify a new one), and then click OK. If prompted to replace the existing list, click Yes.
The Appointment List includes 14 default fields, but you can customize the fields that appear in the list. For example,right-click any of the column headers, and then click Type in the fields pop-up list to add it. I like to display the appointment Type right after the time, so click the Type column header, drag it to the right side of the Time column header, and release it. Now you can click the new Type column header to sort the list by this field so all of your ASAP, Fixed, and Open appointment types are listed together.
You might also find it helpful to sort the appointments by name, by provider, by operatory, or by reason. I like to sort by appointment Reason when using the lists to fill an open appointment. To maintain a productive schedule, I can start by calling the patients who need a high-production procedure, like a crown.
You can also filter a long list so you see only certain types of appointments. Next to Select List, choose ASAP, Appointments, Pinboard and Unscheduled Lists. You can also create custom lists, such as a list to show all Open appointments. To do this, from the Setup menu, click Appointment List View. Under Appt Type, select Open. Click Save List, under New List Name type Open, and then click OK. The Open list type is now available for you to use in the Select List drop-down menu.
In the new Dentrix Appointment List, you can also access additional patient information by selecting the patient’s appointment and clicking the toolbar icon for the module you want to open, such as the Office Journal, Family File, Patient Chart, or Ledger. I find it helpful to reference some of these modules when I’m calling a patient to reschedule.
Use these appointment lists to help you fill schedule openings more easily. Using the Dentrix Appointment List, team members can confidently contact patients on these lists knowing that the patients have expressed an interest in coming in sooner.
To learn more about the Appointment List, see the “Setting new appointments in the Appointment List” topic in the Dentrix Help.
To learn about other new features, watch the feature overview videos.
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.