The product update released November 6th, 2018, includes many exciting new features and feature enhancements. New with this release is phase one of an insurance benefits breakdown utility in the ledger. Schedule Templates have been enhanced to designate time blocks for preferred production types, and online booking can now accommodate a selection of appointment types in addition to recare. This update introduces a new workflow compliance reminder option, and you may now designate whether any given adjustment affects production or collection numbers.
Exit Workflow Compliance Reminder
For the last couple of releases, Dentrix Ascend has been adding workflow tasks to the digital routing panel (status tracker). The purpose of this feature is to provide a programmatic approach to keeping your schedule full, a process feature unique to Dentrix Ascend as far as we know.
This release adds a new enhancement: requiring users to provide a reason when they choose not to complete a task. To review, the tasks are: scheduling recare, making sure you have a phone number and email for the primary contact, and collecting a payment when the patient portion is greater than zero.
The story behind this feature is that studies show the average time between recare appointments is 11 months, and that nearly 40 percent of patients leave without scheduling their next recare appointment where there is no rigorous exit workflow in place. Completing the exit workflow tasks will ensure your practice has more complete patient communication data and can thereby increase its recare effectiveness rate. To learn more about the philosophy guiding the development of this tool, read Exit Workflow in the knowledgebase.
It works like this: when a user attempts to set an appointment that is in the Checkout status to the Complete status and one or more of the tasks has not received a completed task checkmark, the user receives warning messages and an invitation to provide a reason for not completing all tasks.
When the user clicks on the provide a reason for skipping incomplete tasks hyperlink, the Reason to Skip Completing All Tasks window opens and he or she can select from a standard reason or provide a custom reason for skipping one or more tasks.
After the user enters a reason and clicks Save Reason, the appointment will move to the Complete status.
Administrator Notes for Workflow Compliance
- The compliance feature is turned off by default. To turn this feature on, in the Location Information page toggle the new Track appointment tasks and require reasons for incomplete tasks switcher to Yes.
- When this full compliance reminder feature is turned on, Schedule Recare reminder pop-ups no longer appear; however, the Update Patient Recare pop-up appears if a patient has no recare associated or has unscheduled recare.
- A report on workflow compliance will come out in the next software update; there is no report on skip reasons at this time.
Schedule Template Appointment Reasons
The Schedule Template page (Settings > Schedule Template) is now much more than just the place to set up online booking; it’s a place to set up how you would like your schedule to be filled with appointments. While it will not force anyone to schedule according to the guideline, it can provide a visual reminder of the practice’s preferences in reserving certain times during the day in which to schedule specific procedure types.
The Calendar View menu has a new toggle allowing you to show or hide the template time slots. Turn Show template time slots to On to see the time slots in the Calendar. The guide is just a background and will become hidden as you fill up that time slot with appointments.
Schedule Template Booking Types
In addition to recare appointments, you can now define and set aside time slots for new patient visits, or for existing patients only, or any combination of the three.
Schedule Template “Book on your website” Link
To make it easy for your practice website manager to link patients from your website to online booking, the Schedule Template page now includes a Book on your website button. Click this to open a window with HTML code that can be copied and pasted directly into your website.
When a patient clicks the link, they are ready to start the online booking process.
The online booking interface guides the patient through selecting an appointment reason, selecting a provider (if they know your providers and have a preference), and selecting an appointment time. The patient must enter their basic information, and a verification code, which will be sent to the patient’s email or SMS, depending on which option the patient selects. The verification code must be entered to complete the appointment.
NOTE: In your schedule template you will define blocks of time which can accommodate multiple appointments; for example, a three-hour block can hold six 30-minute appointments. Dentrix Ascend automatically offers the first open appointment time. For example, if the time slot runs from 9:00 to 12:00, Dentrix Ascend tells the first patient that 9:00 is open. When that appointment time is taken, the next patient is told that 9:30 is available, and so on until the time slot is filled.
Online Booking Appointment Reasons
When patients book online, you can assist them by allowing them to select from a list of reasons for booking an appointment. This reason will populate the appointment Other section automatically.
Although you are limited to defining 12 appointment reasons, you are otherwise in complete control of the appointment reasons list. In the Schedule Template page click the Appointment Reasons button to open the Appointment Reasons dialog box. For each appointment reason you create, you will also define a default appointment length. Dentrix Ascend will reserve in the schedule the amount of time you specify when an appointment is booked.
Identifying and Validating Appointments Booked Online
In the Calendar, appointments booked online have several indicators to help you see that they came from that source. First, there is a Booked Online icon.
Within the appointment panel, the Note section tells you that the appointment was booked online, including the time at which it was booked.
The appointment panel also has a message near the patient name.
Dentrix Ascend will always check to make sure the patient booking online is known to the system. When a patient appears to be new or is not a perfect match for an existing patient record, Dentrix Ascend will ask you to verify the patient. When verification is needed, an extra “booking needs to be assigned to a patient” icon appears in the appointment block.
The appointment panel provides guidance to help you finalize the patient assignment. An assignment is only required for new patients or for existing patients which Dentrix Ascend cannot match with a high degree of certainty.
The Appointments Booked Online report (Schedule > Appointments Booked Online) has been enhanced with filters by appointment type, provider, and operatory. Booking Type and Reason columns have been added to the report.
For more information on how to set up online booking in the Schedule Templates page, read Online Booking in the knowledgebase.
Insurance Benefits Summary from Ledger
The Patient Portion amount in the Ledger is now a hyperlink, which reveals a Show Details button. When you click it, a new Patient Portion page opens.
The Patient Portion page summarizes how Dentrix Ascend calculated the Patient Portion amount by listing the charge amount, the insurance portion, and any adjustments or payments made. If you entered the page from a guarantor view, all patients for that guarantor will be listed. Payments and credit adjustments are listed as negative numbers to help make it clear how they affect the remaining balance. When you are done looking at the explanation, click Back to Ledger to return to the Ledger.
Note that the hyperlink does not show for a new patient with an empty ledger, nor when a patient’s portion is 0.00.
Procedure Distribution by Service Date
The listing of procedures when you are creating claims in the Create Claims, Patient Walkout, and Unattached Procedures pages has been updated. Procedures are now grouped by service date, and the fee for each procedure is now included.
Insurance Estimate Calculation for Custom Procedures
Previous to this update, insurance estimate calculations were applied only to recognized ADA procedure codes. Dentrix Ascend is now able to create estimates for custom procedure codes.
In order for a custom procedure code estimate to be calculated, you must toggle that code’s Bill to insurance field to On in the procedure code editor, add a Code Range entry for the custom procedure code in the coverage tables, and indicate the coverage percentage.
As always, be warned that custom procedure codes may not be recognized by all insurance carriers.
Insurance Information Usability Enhancements
The insurance carrier and plan pages can now be accessed directly from within the patient’s Insurance Information page. The carrier name and plan name are now hyperlinks to those pages. Also, the payer ID is now included with the carrier name displayed.
Ledger Production/Collection Options
This update adds the ability to change adjustments to indicate whether each adjustment impacts production or collections (Settings > Ledger Options), according to your accounting practices. Making changes here will not affect balances—a transaction is still either a charge or a credit—but it does affect the production or collections logic, which is revealed in the reporting.
For a description of the default production/collection assignments in Dentrix Ascend, please see the article Common Adjustments & How to Use Each One in the knowledgebase. We always recommend you contact your accountant or consultant if you have questions about whether an adjustment type is for production or collection.
Provider A/R Totals
A Totals line was added at the bottom of the Provider A/R Totals report.
Clinical Decision Support
Clinical Decision Support in Quick Exam was enhanced to show recommended treatment procedures that require additional information (such as a tooth number or surface) when the corresponding condition code doesn’t require the same information.
A new Diagnosis tab has been added to the Edit Procedure window in the Progress Notes. In it, you can manually link an ICD-10 code to a completed procedure code. This is a preparatory step for future updates where the linked ICD-10 code can be included in an insurance claim.
When searching for diagnostic codes, an additional 23 of the most frequently-used ICD-10 codes that were missing have been added to the Dentrix Ascend database.
Search Based on Location
The search by location feature added to the main patient search bar and other areas has been expanded to additional areas within Dentrix Ascend. This means when a user tries to search for a patient name, only patients belonging to the location to which the user has rights will appear. Any patient in the organization can still be seen by using the advanced search option. New areas with this capability include:
- Patient “Referred by” search box in the Patient Information page
- Reassigning an examination in the Imaging module
- Selecting claims inside the Bulk Insurance Payment module
Claims Details and Pre-Authorization Details
The button layout on the Claim Details and the Pre-Authorization Details dialog boxes have been re-arranged to make them more consistent with other areas of the user interface.
New Feature Request Portal
As you already know, when you have an idea for an enhancement or a new feature that you would like to see in Ascend, you click ? > Request a Feature. With this update, you will notice some changes to the look and feel of the site. This is because it is now powered by a new roadmap software that allows the Dentrix Ascend development team to use a single solution to track ideas from request through roadmap prioritization.