Having a plan to follow up on referred procedures helps to keep patients from falling through the cracks and get them back on your schedule.
In your practice, if you refer patients to a specialist for specific procedures, it’s important to track those referred procedures so you know when to schedule the patient’s follow-up treatment with your office.
For example, if you refer a patient to an endodontist for root canal, it’s important to track who the patient was referred to, the specific procedure(s) you referred them for, and when the procedure(s) are complete. That way, you’ll know when to schedule the patient’s crown appointment with your office.
Referred procedures are easily tracked in Dentrix. When entering a treatment plan for a patient, treatment plan all procedures—both the procedures that will be done at your office as well as those that will be completed at a specialist’s office. Then you can refer procedures to another provider. You can even print the referral directly from the Patient Chart.
Once the patient has completed the procedure(s) at the specialist’s office and you receive the correspondence from that doctor, you can set the procedure complete in the Patient Chart. Because you have previously marked these procedures as Referred, when you post them complete, the color of the procedure in the graphic chart changes from red (Treatment Planned) to green (Existing Other). To keep your records accurate, I recommend that when you set these referred procedures as complete, you adjust the date to the date that the procedure was actually completed by the referred provider.
Once you have done that, then contact the patient to schedule the appointment for the remaining outstanding treatment with your office. Always be sure to record all patient communication in the Office Journal to track when you contacted patients, and what was said during the conversation.
Every month, you can generate a Referred to Doctor Report in the Dentrix Office Manager. Set the referral date range for the last 30 days. Then you can double-check the Patient Chart for referred patients listed on the report to see if their referred procedure(s) have been completed. If the procedures have not been completed yet, you can contact the specialist to find out if the patient is scheduled for an upcoming appointment with their office. If an appointment has not been scheduled for the referred procedures, you can contact the patient and follow up to see why they aren’t proceeding with the recommended, referred procedures. The patient may have questions you can answer to encourage them to schedule an appointment with the specialist, or perhaps they simply forgot and would benefit from a friendly reminder phone call.
If the referred procedure has been completed and the patient is not currently scheduled with your office for their remaining treatment, contact them to follow up and get them scheduled.
Tracking referred procedures in Dentrix helps you to know where patients are within their phases of treatment and when they should be scheduled with your office for any follow-up procedures.
For additional information, see the following:
By Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer
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 almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at [email protected].