5 Tools You Can Use Today to Boost Efficiency and Productivity

You are a busy practice and these days there’s even more on your plate as you follow additional protocols to keep everyone safe. This post will cover 5 kinds of tools you can start using today (and we can help!) to boost the efficiency of ongoing processes in your practice.

1. Tools to Streamline and Automate Recall

Recall is at the heart of your practice and is a process you have to continually work at to keep your patients, and your practice finances, healthy. Here are two ways you can make the process much more efficient (and automated):

  • Send automated recall reminders: Patients call you to schedule
    This option automatically sends emails (or texts, if you’re signed up for Integrated Texting) to remind patients they are due for a cleaning. Patients then call your office to schedule their appointment.
    See the Send Automatic Text or Email Recall Reminders section on our manual page to get this set up.
  • Send automated recall reminders: Patients schedule their own appointment online!
    Fully automate Recall with the Web Sched Recall feature. Recall reminders are automatically emailed or texted to patients with a link they can use to schedule their own appointment online!
    First, you’ll need to sign up for Web Sched Recall using the Signup Portal. There is a monthly cost for this optional eService. If you have the eServices Bundle, this is already available for you to use.
    Next, follow the steps on the Web Sched Recall manual page to define the options that affect available time slots, review your recall settings, and set automation options.
    Once set up, patients will receive automatic recall reminders with a link they can use to make their appointment online. No more running the reminder list, sending out reminders, or scheduling patient appointments over the phone.

2. Tools to Boost Charting Efficiency


Quickly chart groups of commonly-performed procedures and add them to your appointment using Appointment Procs Quick Adds. These show up in your Edit Appointment window when you create an appointment.

To create or customize this list, go to Setup> Definitions> Appt Procs Quick Add. Once set up, they will display in the list (shown outlined above) and can be quickly added to an appointment.


Procedure buttons allow you to quickly chart common procedures with a single click. They are located in the Chart Module in the Enter Treatment tab.

There are two types of Procedure Buttons:

  • Quick Buttons are designed to quickly chart fillings and sealants on teeth. Each quick button can be associated with one procedure, and if applicable, tooth surfaces.
  • Other Procedure Buttons can be associated with multiple procedure codes and Auto Codes.
    Combining procedure buttons with Auto Codes helps prevent coding errors because the system checks the selected tooth and surface(s). It then automatically charts the correct code that represents anterior/posterior and the number of surfaces.

Watch the Procedure Buttons webinar to learn more, and find setup steps on our manual page.

3. Tools to Make Appointments Quickly and Efficiently


Once provider schedules are set up, use the Make Recall and Appointment Search tools – these buttons make scheduling recalls and finding specific available openings quick and easy.

In newer versions, the Make Recall and Make Family Recall buttons are in the main toolbar 

To use the Appointment Search tool, first, create your appointment and put it on the pinboard.
Then, use the Appointment Search button to find openings in your schedule that fit into your patient’s busy schedule.


Eliminate the conflict between the back office and the front office. With planned appointments, treatment can be scheduled in groupings of procedures, in priority order. When the patient is ready to schedule, the front office can quickly see what needs to be scheduled next, and it’s just a matter of putting the planned appointment on the schedule (Tip: use the Appointment Search to find options that fit the openings the patient wants).


Appointment Types are a powerful tool that makes manual appointment scheduling a breeze!
Using Appointment Types, the appointment can:

  • Have a custom appointment length (when an appointment length is specified, it overrides the usual appointment time calculation based on procedures attached to an appointment).
  • Have one or more procedures attached to the appointment (it will chart the procedures and attach them to the new appointment automatically). In some cases, this may replace your Appt Procs Quick Adds.
  • Color-code a specific type of appointment for an easy visual reference.

Go to Setup > Appointments > Appointment Types to get these set up. Learn more about Appointment Types in our online manual.

TECH TIP: When you set up Appointment Types, be sure to check “New appointments prompt for appointment type.” This will prompt the person making the appointment to select an appointment type from the list you’ve created.

4. Automation Tools to Boost Efficiency

Automation can be used to perform actions when a specific trigger occurs and a condition is met. Automation can give you a heads-up of action that needs to be taken, automatically generate things like issuing a letter so that doesn’t get missed, or restrict scheduling for a patient who may be in collection status.

Here are some things Automation can do:

  • Pop up a warning when a patient’s insurance plan effective date ends.
  • Pop up a warning when a patient has a specific allergy or condition.
  • Generate patient instructions when a specific procedure is completed (e.g. extraction).
  • Automatically generate a letter when a patient misses their appointment.
  • Automatically generate a letter to a referral source when a new patient schedules their first appointment.
  • Restrict appointment scheduling when a patient has a specific billing type (e.g. collections).

See the Automation manual page for more details on this set up in your practice.

5. Tools for Claim Payment Processing

If you are a high-volume practice, managing claim payments can be very time-consuming. Using ERAs (Electronic Remittance Advice) can greatly enhance the efficiency of claim payment processing, and all but eliminate data entry errors, saving you valuable time.

There are two dental Clearinghouses integrated with Open Dental that will automatically download ERAs for you: ClaimConnect and EDS (Electronic Dental Service). For medical claims, Emdeon (Change Healthcare) is integrated to automatically download ERAs.

 See our post, ERAs and What They Can Do For Your Practice to see how this could benefit your organization.

Sometimes just doing the setup to boost efficiency can feel daunting, especially when you already have a slew of tasks you’re juggling. That’s where we come in! Our Support Technicians are here to help answer any questions you may have and help get things set up so you can start working even smarter right away. Reach out today, and let’s get going.

A penny for your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.