The product update released August 27, 2019, includes new features and enhancements to existing features. New with this update is a chairside dashboard that allows you to see the chart and your notes at the same time. You can now pop back and forth between the Aged Receivables report and a patient’s Ledger or billing statement using multiple tabs. The reports menu now features location isolation, meaning the numbers only represent the location(s) to which the viewer has access. This update introduces the first phase of sliding fee discounts.
Many doctors and hygienists like to review a patient’s clinical notes at the beginning of their appointment. To facilitate this workflow, the Dentrix Ascend Chart now includes a Progress Notes panel on the same page. This is optional and can be turned on or off with a new Chairside dashboard switcher on the Chart.
You can sort the Progress Notes by clicking a column heading. For example, if you want to see a specific provider's notes, click the Provider column heading and then scroll to the beginning of that provider's notes.
You can expand the Progress Notes panel to be taller so it's easier to read several notes at a time. To expand the panel, hover over the top edge of the panel until your cursor changes to an expanding arrow. Click and drag the panel to the desired height. After reading the notes, you can resize the panel back to its original height so you can focus on the tooth chart.
Dentrix Ascend remembers your sizing adjustments and filter choices on a per-device basis.
The Chairside dashboard includes a new View menu when active. Click the dropdown to get filter options similar to those in the Progress Notes tab.
One important new feature of the view is Today’s work with its accompanying Include related option. More than work scheduled for today, Today’s work includes both what is scheduled and what has been done. Include related adds conditions and other notes related to what has been done or scheduled.
This is the first phase of development for this feature. A future release will integrate the Imaging module so doctors can view X-rays and images without leaving the workflow.
Provider Selection Enhancement
If you work in a large or multi-site practice, the list of providers in a drop-down menu may be quite extensive. To simplify your choices and make your workflow more efficient, Dentrix Ascend no longer displays providers that don’t have access to your location. You will see this improvement in the following areas:
- Add Procedure from Chart
- Add/Edit Condition from Chart
- Quick Exam
- New/Edit Perio exam
- Add Clinical Note
- Edit Clinical Note
- Signature for Case from TxPlanner
- Acquire Images
- Add Patient Prescription
- Enter/Edit procedure from Ledger
- Patient Primary Provider from Patient Information
- Edit Procedure in Progress Notes
Review Ledger and Billing Statement from Aged Receivables Report
One of the challenges to working with the Aged Receivables report historically has been the fact that there was no way to link to the guarantor’s ledger or billing statement if you wanted to do some cross-checking; and if you left the report, you had to regenerate it each time you came back. No more!
With this update, the guarantor name is a hyperlink to the guarantor’s Ledger. A paperclip icon to the right is a hyperlink to the guarantor’s last billing statement. Clicking either of these opens a new tab so you can switch back and forth without regenerating the report. Up to this point, Ascend has not supported this behavior, but opening multiple tabs can now be part of your workflow.
Some things to know about having multiple tabs open:
- While theoretically there is no limit to the number of tabs you can have open at the same time, it’s best to have fewer tabs open to avoid confusion.
- Not all Ascend pages update automatically, so if you make a change in one window you may need to reload the other page for those changes to appear.
- If you are a multi-site practice and you change locations in one page, it will change the location for all pages.
- The automatic timeout clock runs on each page, and the first timer to expire will log you out of all pages. That is, if you have a second page open while working on your first page, the second page will time out as if no one were using it, even though you are using the first page. You may decide it is easier to open a secondary page, do what you need to do there, and then close that page so you can keep working on your primary page.
Override Restriction on Editing a Procedure Amount
A recent release introduced a new Patient Procedures right called Edit patient procedure amount. When that right is not checked, users cannot modify the amount of a procedure in the Ledger.
With this update, a user with this restriction can request an on-the-spot override from a user who does have the right to edit procedure amounts. The authorized user can click the new lock icon, enter their username and password, and click Unlock.
For this transaction only, the user can enter a different procedure amount. Ascend will, of course, remind the user that the configured procedure amount is different from what they enter.
Important: This ability applies only to new transactions. Procedure amounts cannot be unlocked or modified when a procedure is attached to a claim, invoice, or payment plan, or has been voided.
Automatically Add the Patient’s Primary Provider as the Claim Rendering Provider
The correct way to bill all claims submitted to any dental plan is to list the owner/billing provider and the treating or rendering provider. The billing provider receives the check, but the plan pays according to the contract status of the dentist who rendered care.
To make sure that the right provider name appears on the claim, Dentrix Ascend now contains an option to automatically add the patient’s primary provider as the Rendering Provider when the actual provider (for example, a hygienist) is not the primary. This option is in the Insurance Defaults page.
As before, when you select Provider of Procedures as the rendering provider, you must also select an alternate rendering provider to handle cases where the patient has no primary provider.
Prequalifying Images for Claims
If you’ve worked with claim attachments, you know that Ascend submits electronic claims through National Electronic Attachment, Inc. (NEA) and that the only accepted image format is .jpg or JPEG. You might be tempted to finesse the system by changing the file extension, from example from .png to .jpg, to bypass this restriction. But this is as effective as renaming a .docx file to .xlsx and hoping a Word doc will open in an Excel spreadsheet.
Ascend has up to this point accepted attachments with modified file extensions, but in the end, NEA knows the difference and the result is a rejected attachment and possibly a rejected claim. To avoid this problem and improve your claim success rate, Dentrix Ascend now pre-checks the file format. What happens when you click Add from Document Manager in the Claim Detail window is that files in a non-valid format will simply not appear for selection—even if their extension is .jpg.
Add Clinical Notes from the Routing Panel
Users now can add and sign clinical notes from the routing panel when appointments are in the Chair, Checkout, or Complete status. Previously this feature only appeared in the Complete status.
When you click the Add Clinical Note link, Dentrix Ascend opens the patient’s chart and then pops up the Add Clinical Note window. The patient’s primary provider is selected by default.
With this update, when users with rights to see financial reports run any of the following reports, the data returned represents only those locations to which the user has access, according to their user account assignments.
- Day Sheet
- Payment Analysis
- Aged Receivables Report
- Provider A/R Totals
- Recare Management
- Workflow Compliance
- Audit Log
The Include Organization Summary option in the reports presents grouped totals, but only for the allowed locations, not the entire organization.
Sliding Fees Discount
If yours is an FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) facility, you know that offering a sliding fee discount program (SFDP) is one of the HRSA requirements. If you are not an FQHC, you might have a policy designed to make quality dental care available to people who lack adequate insurance and who have limited income. Either way, Dentrix Ascend now includes the ability to offer a discount based on government poverty guidelines and family size and annual income.
To configure the sliding scale, go to Settings > Discount Options. The Discount Fee Scale is prepopulated with a Patient Pays configuration that does not provide a discount; you will have to make that change.
The Patient Pays amount can be figured as a flat amount or as a percentage of your location’s preferred fee schedule as configured in the Location Information page.
To apply the sliding fees discount plan to a patient, go to the patient’s Patient Information page, Basic Info tab. Select Sliding fees from the Discount Plan dropdown. Two additional fields appear: Family size and Annual family income. Enter values in these fields and Ascend will automatically calculate the patient’s poverty level and payment amount.
You can see discounts in the patient’s ledger and treatment plans. When you post a procedure in the Ledger, a discount adjustment appears automatically.
Discounts display in the Treatment Plan preview.
Other things to know about sliding fee discounts:
- Only uninsured patients can use sliding discount plans.
- Ascend applies discounts on a per-procedure basis.
- Discount plans are location-specific.
- Discounts are included in Production Totals calculations (Calendar).
- The Audit Log tracks changes to the discount fee scale.
- A new Edit Discount Options right, which also requires the Review Discount Options right, controls the ability to edit the discount fee scale.
Additional enhancements to this feature will be included in a future release.
The following changes to user rights are included in this release.
- Added a right to work with the discount options page, in the Settings category, named Edit Discount Options. A new Review Discount Options right is a requirement for using the edit option.
Print to Share includes Tooth Numbers
When you click Share exam in the image history menu and then choose Print as the share option, the PDF file automatically includes the tooth number(s) on each page if you print as individual images, or as a new additional page when you share the entire exam in one image.
Display Preference Remembered
When viewing images, the Preference button allows you to select the display size; sometimes a smaller image looks sharper than a larger version. The enhancement is that both the Image Peek and Acquisition modes remember your display preference, as set by this button.
Delete Individual Images
In addition to the Delete option in the image history menu, which allows you to delete an entire exam, now when you view a selected image there is a new More button, which opens a flyout menu. This allows you to delete just this one image from the exam.
New Learning Content
Keeping pace with the updates and enhancement to Dentrix Ascend software, the following Resource Center articles have been added or updated to help you understand how to use and benefit from your practice management software.
Using Ortho with Dentrix Ascend << New!
And of course, don’t forget the Friday Forum webinars recorded since the last release!