3 Keys for Using Your Practice Management Software to Increase Productivity

Learning to use Dentrix is essential, and what you do with that knowledge will determine your rate of success.

Updated 6/30/20

It has long been said that most dental practices utilize their practice management software at about ten percent of its capability. One of the most common mistakes dentists make is investing thousands of dollars in new dental software without investing in sufficient training. You wouldn’t buy a new car without knowing how to drive it, would you? Learning to use your practice management software is essential. Here are three keys for using your software to increase your practice’s productivity.

Accurate Data Entry

Entering data properly affects many areas of the practice, creating an environment for successful practice management. When a new patient calls the office for the first time, data must be collected to identify and treat his or her individual dental needs. Once this information is obtained, an appointment can be made. The data entered becomes a tracking tool to determine successes in diagnosis and treatment acceptance.

Read “Preparing for the New-Patient Phone Call” for ideas about the kind of information you should collect from new patients.

Regular Reporting

There are numerous statistics that should be tracked daily, weekly and monthly to determine the success of your efforts. Typically, this is called a monthly monitor report. There are several reports available in your own software that can assist you in tracking numbers to improve your productivity (see sidebar). Below I have listed some of the crucial reports.

Accounts Receivable Aging Report

It is vital to understand how many dollars are outstanding in current, 30, 60 and over 90 day accounts. For each month an account ages beyond 90 days, the practice loses approximately 7%. The costs for tracking and collecting old balances can far exceed the actual value of the account itself! Run this report monthly.

From the Office Manager Reports menu, point to Ledger and then click Aging Report. Refer to the “Aging Report” help file for detailed instructions.

Outstanding Insurance Claims Report

Use this report to identify how many dollars in outstanding claims there are in each category (current, 30, 60 and over 90 days). This report is crucial because the longer dollars remain outstanding in claims, the more costly it is to the practice. Run this report monthly.

From the Office Manager Reports menu, point to Ledger and then click Insurance Aging Report. Refer to the “Insurance Aging Report” help file for detailed instructions.

To improve claim tracking, use eClaims to submit electronic claims and then track them in real-time with the Dentrix Insurance Manager. Visit https://www.dentrix.com/solutions/billing-collections for more information.

Accountant Earnings Report (adjustment report)

This report is important because it details exactly how many dollars are being written off in each category, for example, accounting adjustments, insurance plan adjustments, professional courtesies, prepayment courtesies, etc. Monitor this report daily and monthly.

For daily details, from the Office Manager Reports menu, point to Management, click Day Sheet (Charges and Receipts), and then check Adjustment Only Day Sheet. Refer to the “Day Sheet” help file for detailed instructions.

For a monthly summary, from the Office Manager Reports menu, point to Management, click Practice Analysis Reports and then check Adjustment Summary. Refer to the “Running Practice Analysis reports” help file for detailed instructions.

Production by Provider

This report allows you to track individual provider production for each dentist and hygienist. It is important to track individual production numbers to determine productivity. Typically, hygiene production (in a general dental practice) should produce approximately 30% of the total production in an office. However, if doctor exams are not included, the number will tend to be lower.

From the Office Manager Analysis menu, click Practice Advisor. In the Practice Advisor dialog box, click Practice Advisor Report. Check Include Dentist Detail and Include Hygienist Detail. Refer to the “Practice Advisor Report” help file for detailed instructions.

Production by Code

This report gives you an opportunity to track the number of times a specific procedure is done. Tracking how many times each procedure is performed is a great tool to determine how many should be pre-blocked in the future. Also, tracking how many are performed can be used as a tool to determine productivity, verbal skills, treatment acceptance rates and much more. If the practice is utilizing special techniques, tracking the production by code will help to determine effectiveness.

From the Office Manager Reports menu, point to Management, click Practice Analysis Reports and then check By Proc Code Range. Refer to the “Running Practice Analysis reports” help file for detailed instructions.

Treatment Plan Report

This report identifies how many dollars of treatment are being presented to patients. Utilizing this report effectively can identify your success rate in treatment acceptance. The formula for your treatment acceptance rate is: Dollars Recommended divided by Dollars Accepted. Your case acceptance rate should be at least 85%. Any percentage below this identifies an area to pay close attention to.

From the Office Manager Analysis menu, click Practice Advisor. In the Practice Advisor dialog box, click Practice Advisor Report. Check Include Dentist Detail and Include Hygienist Detail. Refer to the “Practice Advisor Report” help file for detailed instructions.

Flexible Patient Financing

It has long been known that money in the bank is better than money on your books. There are some software systems now with built-in technology for patient financing. Utilizing this valuable tool is important because it is one of the main things that help patients afford necessary dental care.

In order to avoid becoming the bank, systems must be in place to handle this sometimes challenging dilemma. For example, you can use Dentrix Pay to set up automatic, recurring payments from a patient’s credit or debit card. Of course, collecting the fee at the time of service is still the best collection technique. However, there are many patients living paycheck to paycheck who don’t have thousands of dollars in the bank account. Having a system in place for patient financing expands the opportunity for valued patients to say “yes” to necessary dentistry.

Some software systems have a special icon directly on the software system main toolbar which eases the application process of patient financing. For example, Dentrix provides a CareCredit toolbar button which links to an online application for CareCredit, and Dentrix essential patient information to the application. Pre-approval techniques tied directly to the Internet can pre-qualify a patient for financing which can decrease the sometimes awkward conversation that can occur when patients are unable to pay the entire fee up-front.

Remember, your practice management software will become the albatross around your neck unless you understand how to use it. Proper training is the solution to many of the production challenges that happen in the dental office. Knowledge is a powerful tool. More importantly, what you do with that knowledge can determine your rate of success.


Learn More

To learn more about the topics in this article, visit the Dentrix Resource Center and download the Dentrix Reports Reference, a comprehensive catalog of the reports in Dentrix.

For more information about Dentrix Pay, visit https://www.dentrix.com/products/eservices/dentrixpay.

For more information about CareCredit integration with Dentrix, call 833.471.7253 or www.Dentrix.com/CareCredit.


By Lois Banta, Founder and CEO of Banta Consulting

Lois Banta is founder and CEO of Banta Consulting, Inc. established in 2000 and the new owner and CEO of The Speaking Consulting Network. To contact Lois for a personal consultation, or to invite Lois to speak to your organization, call 816-847-2055, send email to lois@bantaconsulting.com or visit www.bantaconsulting.com.

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Spring 2011