Making Your Patient Alerts More Effective

If your office is using patient alerts, then you are probably familiar with the pop-up messages that go along with them. But are you really reading them, or just clicking OK to get on with the task at hand? If you’re not reading them, why not? Is it because they are constantly popping up every time you try to perform a task in Dentrix and they are more of a nuisance than they are informative?

So let’s talk about how to make these pop-up alerts more effective and, most importantly, more likely to be read. It's all about how you set them up. The key to using patient alerts effectively is to set them up to only appear when they are relevant and necessary. In the steps below, you'll find insight about key settings that will make this feature more effective in your office.

  1. In the Family File, select the patient for whom you want to make an alert.
  2. Click the Patient Alerts button. The Create Patient Alert dialog box appears.

  3. In the Select Date group box, enter the Start and End dates that you want the alert to be active, or check Always to permanently activate the alert.
    *If the alert is only going to be relevant for three weeks, enter a start and end date. That way the alert will stop popping up after the information is outdated.
  4. If desired, in the Options group box, check Show Symbol on Appointment to display a flag on the face of the appointment.
  5. Check Display Aged Balance with Note to display the patient's balance at the bottom of the patient alert pop-up.
    *If you are setting up the alert for a financial reason, such as the need to collect at time of service, then check this option so you can see at a glance what the balance on the account is without having to switch to another module.
  6. If you want the note to be applied to one or more family members, check Also apply Patient Alert to and mark the desired option:
    • Mark All Family Members to apply the patient alert to all family members.
    • Mark Select Family Members to select the family members to whom you want to apply the patient alert.
    *Be judicious when using this option. If the alert really only applies to the guarantor, then don't have it pop up for every family member.
  7. Enter a Description for the alert (Collections or Pre-Medicate, for example).
  8. Enter a detailed description for the alert in the Note field.
    *Be sure to include enough information that the reason for the alert is clear to anyone who reads it.
  9. In the This Patient Alert should be displayed in the following areas list, select only those areas of Dentrix in which you want the alert to display.
    *This is the most important thing to consider when creating alerts, and the most often misused. Think about the alert you are creating, and in what areas of Dentrix this alert is relevant. For example, if your alert has to do with not scheduling an appointment for John Doe until his outstanding balance is paid off, then you should only set the alert to show when you are performing scheduling tasks such as Create New Appointment, Edit Existing Appointment, or Move Appointment. You don't need to see this alert any other time. Think about the tasks listed here and only select the ones that directly pertain to the alert you are creating.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Click Close to return to the Family File.

For more information about creating patient alerts, see the topics in the Other Dentrix Features > Patient Alerts folder in the Dentrix Help, or sign up for the Organizing Your Patient Notes course offered at this year's Business of Dentistry Conference.

Author: Sean Eyring
Published: 05/31/2014
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