One of the missions of Henry Schein One is “to be trusted advisors and consultants to our customers”. To that end, Dentrix Ascend heavily focuses its development efforts on business outcomes—things that will make our customers successful. One of these is a system called Exit Workflow.
The Dentrix Ascend Exit Workflow system was developed after extensive research into what sets a thriving practice apart from one that is stagnant, or just getting by. Armed with that information, Dentrix Ascend chooses to focus on areas of the practice management system where users can be aided, guided, or reminded to implement a great process or standard way of doing things.
For example, research shows that 38 percent of patients do not have a recare date set upon leaving their dentist exam. So, how to help office staff remember to set a recare date for all your patients? By automatically reminding them whenever a patient comes in for a cleaning and is ready to check out. If you’ve ever worked in the Dentrix Ascend Calendar, this is a familiar sight:
A reminder like this is an example of task automation. Task automation is an essential strength and characteristic of a modern, tech-savvy practice. People forget; a computer program will not. When task reminders are turned on, they will never be skipped. That means a higher task completion rate, which in turn means greater productivity and success.
The Dentrix Ascend Exit Workflow is a form of task automation. It is found within the digital routing panel. This is the familiar status tracking sidebar available from any page in the software:
The reason it is called Exit Workflow is because when a patient gets to the status of Checkout they are done with the clinical portion of their appointment and just about ready to leave. But not quite. Before the patient leaves, a successful practice always makes sure that the following things happen:
- If the patient doesn’t yet have their next recare appointment scheduled, they get it scheduled
- Check that the patient contact information—specifically the mobile number and email address—is up-to-date
- Collect a payment
Because these are common, vital tasks, they are part of the Exit Workflow:
After a recare procedure is posted, the Schedule Recare task automatically checks to see whether the next appointment has been scheduled, according to the interval assigned to that procedure and patient. (For non-recare appointments, the task checks to see whether this patient has any recare types assigned at all.) When no recare is assigned or the next appointment has not been scheduled, the user—and we assume this will usually be one of your front office staff—gets a reminder to do this task.
The Collect Phone and Collect Email tasks automatically check whether Dentrix Ascend has a phone number and an email address for the patient’s primary contact. Why is this important? No-show reduction is based on patient reminders. Studies show that the vast majority of patients would like to receive their reminders electronically. Without a mobile number or email, nothing happens. So Dentrix Ascend automatically reminds you to get the missing information. And like the smart system that it is, if Dentrix Ascend does have the information, there is no task and no reminder needed.
Asking for payment at the time of service is just good business. With this in mind, the Collect Payment task just reinforces whatever payment or collection procedures you already have in place. If no payment has been collected for this appointment, there is a reminder. Always. Simple.
To reinforce the excellent behaviors represented by the Exit Workflow tasks, Dentrix Ascend has an additional safety net: the Reason to Skip Completing All Tasks pop-up. When a user attempts to change an appointment status from Checkout to Complete and one or more of the tasks has not received a “completed task” checkmark, a warning message appears.
If a user is just unable to complete all the tasks, they are invited to provide a reason why this is so:
The software gives you the option to turn off this safety net, by why would you? If an employee complains that it takes too long to check out a patient, consider this: would you rather have the patient gone in a couple clicks, or would you rather send them on their way with their next appointment scheduled, a full set of contact information, and payment collected?
We think you'll be able to see measurable improvement in recare scheduling, over the counter collection, and patient communication success if you implement exit workflow compliance. In an upcoming software release Dentrix Ascend will provide a compliance report so you can review, manage, and reward your employees based on real performance.
 “Achieving Optimum Recall Effectiveness in the Dental Practice,” Software of Excellence, p.3.
 Accenture Consumer Survey On Patient Engagement (2013) https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-patient-engagement-digital-self-scheduling-explode