Let’s Get Back to the Basics

Sometimes when you have been using a system for a very long time or you walk into a practice you did not start at from the very beginning, you need to step back and look at the basics. Looking at the basics is like starting with a good foundation. Having a good foundation will set you up for success and create a database that is much easier to understand and will give you better information. Many times, I will go into a practice and the database is so cluttered with duplicate information and details that are so complicated that it makes it difficult for any new team member to understand let alone train someone.

I work off the mentality of “Keep it Simple Stupid” so that the systems are easy to understand and create less work for the team. Having a KISS mentality will also create a better environment for learning and your protocols will be less complicated. There are a few basics I want to touch on today and then we will go over in more detail during our upcoming webinar later this month.

First, let’s look at your practice definitions and look for duplicate information and details that do not need to be there. The practice definitions were probably set up during your very first Dentrix training session and may have been edited and added to over time. This is where I usually find the most duplicates and unnecessary information.

  • Do you all even know what you use Billing Types for? Dentrix thinks that you need a billing type for almost every situation. However, since I work from the KISS mentality, we do differ on this. Think of a billing type as a way to separate out groups of patients for billing statements, reports or other data searches. If you have too many different billing types to choose from, your team may be having to change the billing type all the time and this can cause frustration and inaccurate data. Remember that the billing type is assigned to the entire family and not per patient. When you evaluate your billing types, I find that you probably only need about five or six and no more than that. If you have more than that, clean it up.
  • Do you have duplicate or unnecessary adjustment types? I find that many offices just have way too many adjustment types and this can create confusion when looking at reports and knowing which one to choose. I also find that many of the adjustment types in the Dentrix default list are just way too generic. My recommendation would be to make them as descriptive as possible. This way, when you are reading a report, you know what is being written off and why.
  • The continuing care system in Dentrix is the most powerful system in your software and also one of the most misused. I find offices have created new continuing care types for 3 month Prophy, 4 month Prophy, 6 month Prophy, 1 year Prophy, 3 month Perio, 4 month Perio, 6 month Perio and then they wonder why their system isn’t working. We need to get back to the basics and keep it simple. You should only have one Prophy and one Perio continuing care type. Otherwise, it won’t work.

Don’t make things too complicated for your team. I see offices that create very elaborate definitions and they make it work … but when they hire a new team member or try and explain it to someone, it doesn’t make sense. It might be time for you to re-evaluate the foundations of your practice and see if there needs to be some maintenance. Your reports and data will function so much better if you keep things simple.