Using Digital Consent Forms

Using digital consent forms in the Dentrix Treatment Planner is efficient and easy.

If you’re like me, you read and store books on an eBook reader, view and store important documents and e-mail messages on your computer, receive and pay your bills online, and even submit your taxes electronically. in an age when you can do so much with electronic media, you don’t need to store paper consent forms on shelves or in filing cabinets. Dentrix offers a paperless solution for filling out, signing, and storing consent forms that is efficient and easy to use. this article explores the benefits of using digital consent forms and then explains how to modify and use consent forms in the Dentrix treatment Planner.

The Benefits of Digital Consent Forms

Implementing digital consent forms using the Dentrix treatment Planner module provides several benefits. From any computer in your office, patients can read and sign consent forms immediately after receiving treatment options. Anyone in the office can then access those consent forms from any computer. if you use electronic consent forms and back them up with a secure, offsite service, you can protect signed consent forms from accidental damage or loss. Furthermore, storing consent forms on your computer, instead of in filing cabinets and on shelves, gives your office a more modern, professional image.

Modifying Consent Forms in the Treatment Planner 

The Dentrix Treatment Planner comes with the following default consent forms: Consent for Anesthesia, Consent for Treatment, and Decline Treatment Consent. You can modify a consent form as long as it is not already attached to a patient. (If it is attached to a patient, you’ll need to save the modified consent form with a new name.) With any patient selected in the Treatment Planner, click the Settings bar to expand that section. Under Setup Consent Forms, select the form you want to modify, and then click Edit to change that form.

Using Consent Forms in the Treatment Planner

To use a consent form in the Treatment Planner, right-click the treatment plan case that requires a signed consent form, and then click Consent Forms. In the Dentrix Consent Forms dialog box, select the appropriate form type from the Select Consent Form list box.

Then click Add to view the consent form.

Acquire the required electronic signatures using a pointing device, such as a mouse, touch-screen, or a supported signature pad. Click Save and then Close.

Retrieving Signed Consent Forms

You can view signed consent forms from any computer in your office. In the Treatment Planner, right-click the treatment plan case with a signed consent form, and then click Consent Forms. In the Dentrix Consent Forms dialog box, under Form, double-click one of the forms listed.

If you want to have access to the consent form in another area of Dentrix, you can send a copy of the form to the Document Center by clicking Print (your default Windows printer must be the “Send to Dentrix Document Center” printer driver) and then attaching the PDF to the appropriate patient and/or provider.


Growing Support for Paperless Solutions

Nowadays, increasing numbers of dentists are discovering that they can save money and space, increase productivity, and share information faster and easier by implementing “paperless” solutions in their practices.

Examples of paperless solutions include charting treatment and making clinical notes on the computer, sending e-mail and text message appointment reminders, capturing digital X-rays, submitting online lab prescriptions, verifying eligibilities on the web, and submitting electronic insurance claims to name just a few.

With the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), electronic contracts and electronic signatures have become legal and enforceable just like traditional paper contracts. For dental practices, this means a consent form signed electronically in your office is a legally binding document.

Additionally, a powerful motivator to go paperless has grown out of concern for the environment. Consider a few of the environmental impacts of using paper in our business:

  • The U.S. pulp and paper industry is the second largest consumer of energy.
  • 56,000 gallons of oil are used for every 10 million pages.
  • More than 400 million ink and 100 million toner cartridges end up in landfills each year. (Data Source: www.epa.gov)

Learn More

To learn more about digital consent forms, see the Consent Forms Overview topic in the Dentrix Help.

For information about ongoing efforts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to encourage the use of electronic health records (EHRs) or “paperless” solutions as part of the HITECH Act, visit www.ada.org/5348.aspx.


By Gentry Winn, Contributing Editor

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Fall 2011