Paperless Records Tip

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paperless tip tracking procedures with appointments

Insurance CDT codes are set up by procedure and are designed primarily to track fees. However, in real life in the dental office we work on appointments not just codes. Many procedures require multiple appointments to complete. For example a traditional crown (not CAD CAM) includes a preparation and then a delivery. A denture requires impressions then a bite, a try in and then a delivery. Root canals are often multiple appointments. Then there are follow up appointments that have no fee and no code such as suture removal, bite adjustments and such.

Set up additional appointment based procedure codes, just for your practice, to accommodate all the extra appointments that do not have an assigned CDT code. The most obvious being the delivery of a crown. Doing this makes using the software much more efficient; you can create procedure notes for each extra code. You can assign a default appointment time and you can treatment plan it.

Once you have set up the formal CDT procedures and created your own appointment based codes you can create digital procedure or progress notes for each one. These are the notes you used to scribble in the chart after every appointment. When you write your digital notes start with what you usually hand write in the chart but keep in mind that you can now add detail that it is impractical to include in manual notes.

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Larry Emmott

is one of the most entertaining speakers in dentistry and he is considered the leading dental high tech authority in the country. He has over thirty years of experience as a practicing general dentist in Phoenix, AZ. He will have you laughing while you are learning. Check out his site at 

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is one of the most entertaining speakers in dentistry and he is considered the leading dental high tech authority in the country. He has over thirty years of experience as a practicing general dentist in Phoenix, AZ. He will have you laughing while you are learning. Check out his site at 

Last modified: May 27, 2015

One Response to " Paperless Records Tip "

  1. Allen Jorgensen says:

    Excellent suggestion – and additionally (depending on your software) – make sure that any “artificial code” you create is marked to NOT submit to insurance. When they receive a code they do not know or cover – they use this as a reason to stop processing EVERYTHING associated with the claim. Another hint is to be careful the codes that you pick, because even though they are not REAL now – in a year or two the code may become a valid ADA Code and create issues in your practice. Try to select your artificial codes in a range that is least likely to be used in the future. Chartless for 20 years, so been there, done that.

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