Learn about the all the places you can make notes in Dentrix and get advice about how to use each one.
Do you feel like everyone in your office makes notes in totally random places in Dentrix and you can never find anything? Do you wish there was more consistency in your office? Are you unsure of which type of notes belong in certain note fields in Dentrix? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, read on for some advice that can help you put your notes in order.
Front Office Notes
The team members in the front office need a place to make notes about conversations they’ve had with the patient, document personal information the patient shares with them, and store reminders about pre-meds or allergies.
Using the Office Journal for your front office communication can be a very powerful tool for documenting conversations with your patients. I recommend using the Office Journal for all phone conversations (non-clinical), collection calls, hygiene calls, and treatment follow-up calls. You can access it from any Dentrix module, the Collections Manager Report, the Treatment Manager Report and the Continuing Care List. And it keeps a comprehensive log of patient correspondence. The Office Journal will also date and time stamp each note automatically so you can see exactly when the conversation happened, which staff member talked to the patient, and what was said. This can really help when you have different staff members making calls to patients because your staff can view each other’s notes and avoid duplicating each other’s efforts or making the patient angry with too many phone calls.
While the Office Journal is great for capturing a record of each communication event with a particular patient, it is not the best place to store information about your patient’s personal profile like what their kids names are, where they went on vacation, and what big events are coming up for them. You don’t want to have to review a whole Journal of notes to get to this information—it is much more useful to have it in one place for quick review. For your patient profile information, I recommend using the Patient Note, located in the Family File. Any notes entered in the Patient Note are only viewable on the Family File, but they will print out on the Dentrix route slip and when printing a patient notes report.
I realize that most of you already know how to use the Patient Alerts note box in Dentrix, but I am here to say “please control your pop-ups!” When used thoughtfully, the Patient Alert can be a very effective way to make sure that your note gets noticed. However, if you create too many pop-ups, your team members will start to ignore them and even start by-passing them because they are so annoying.
When you are creating a Patient Alert, pause for a second and ask yourself who really needs to read it. For example, the Patient Alert is a great way to notify the front office team if a patient has a collection issue. For this type of note, you might only want it to pop-up when opening the Family File, making a new appointment, opening the Ledger and editing an existing appointment. However, if the Patient Alert is to put the staff on notice that this patient needs to take pre-med prior to their dental visit, you might want the note to pop-up in the clinical chart and in the front office departments because it affects both the front office person who needs to remind the patient to take it and the clinical team member that needs to be reminded to ask the patient if they remembered to take it.
Within the Ledger there are two note boxes, the Guarantor Note and the Statement Note, that are used primarily by the billing department.
The thing to remember about the Guarantor Note is that it is for information that pertains to a whole family and not just an individual patient. If you make a note in this box it will show on every family members account. Some examples of what to enter in here are an alternate mailing address for the statement, billing instructions for divorced parents, or a reminder that the family has a credit card on file.
The Statement Note is used to put a note on the bottom of the patient’s billing statement. You can set a particular statement note to print just once, or you can set an ending date so it will print for several billing cycles. If the insurance just paid in full for a family, you might write this in the statement note: “Judy, your insurance has paid, this is your patient portion.” Your statement notes will show up on the statement whether your office is printing statements in house or sending them through Quickbill or QuickBill Email.
In the Ledger, you will find all your posted treatments, payments and adjustments. Each of these transactions has a corresponding note box that you access by double clicking on it. The purpose of these note boxes is to further clarify what the transaction was for. For example, if the office has an adjustment code called “Misc Adjustment” you might want to write a note specifically to what that adjustment was for. This kind of clarifying note is especially important if your doctor reviews his adjustment reports every month.
The insurance notes help you use notes to support a smooth relationship with the insurance company. When you are working your Insurance Aging Report do you know where to document your conversation with the insurance company? Do you know where to insert your clinical narrative for the claim? Let’s review the three notes boxes on the insurance claim that are designed to capture pertinent information.
Claim Status Note
The Claim Status Note is used for keeping track of where the claim is in the process for payment. If you talk to a claim representative at the insurance company, this is where you would want to document the conversation. To enter a Claim Status Note, just double click on this box, insert the dateline and document who you talked to and what was said. The next time you print an Insurance Aging report, these status notes will print on the report. You can also use the Claim Status note to document if you re-send a claim. Just click on the re-sent box and enter the date the claim was re-sent.
Remarks for Unusual Services
The Remarks for Unusual Services box is where you’ll type the procedure justification or the detailed narrative that goes along with the procedures on the claim. For example: Type II Perio or mass amal failing, recurrent decay, fx off DB cusps, etc.
Insurance Plan Note
The Insurance Plan Note is kind of a cool one. This note field pulls information directly from the same insurance note box located in the Family File, in the coverage table section. Having the same note accessible through both places allows you to enter information here from the insurance claim side without having to open up the Family File and entering it through the insurance edit.
Do you ever feel like you are typing too much? You can use note templates in many of the notes boxes throughout Dentrix. You can also make your own templates with your frequently-used phrases or notes. To create your own templates, go to the Office Manager, click on Maintenance, Practice Setup and scroll down to Custom Notes. There, you can add your own templates; all you have to do is click on the sentence you want to add and it dumps in the text for you without typing.
As you use notes just remember: CONSISTENCY IS KEY! These guidelines can be a great starting point for getting everyone on board with one way of using your notes. You might even begin by printing this and sharing with your entire front office team. You could also put these suggestions in your office manual to refer back to for future use or new team member training.
For more ideas about notes, read “Notes, Notes, and More Notes,” “Clinical Notes Made Easy,” and “3 New Ways to Use Procedure Notes in Your Practice.”
To learn more about these three lists, read these topics in the Dentrix Help:
By Dayna Johnson, Dentrix Certified Trainer
Dayna loves her work. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental industry, and she’s passionate about building efficient, consistent, and secure practice management systems. Dayna knows that your entire day revolves around your practice management software—the better you learn to use it, the more productive and stress-free your office will be. In 2016, Dayna founded Novonee ™, The Premier Dentrix Community, to help cultivate Dentrix super-users all over the country. Learn more from Dayna at www.novonee.com and contact Dayna at email@example.com.