Feature Highlight

Creating Harmony Between the Front and Back Office

Finding ways to better utilize Open Dental can help you create harmony between your front and back office staff. Click the thumbnail below to see our infographic and read the post for more details.

Delegate Responsibilities

With some things, it’s pretty standard who will do them, but for others, it can be a bit of a gray area and will depend on your office flow on which staff members are best suited to complete certain tasks. Below is a list of tasks commonly delegated to the front or back office. It is helpful to set a standard of whose responsibility it is in your office so that these tasks don’t get missed or routinely passed off.

  • Setting Appointments Complete
  • Scheduling Recall Appointments

Once you’ve settled on that, you can go forward with office flow.

Entering and Verifying Patient Information

This is going to be done by your front office for the most part. As new patients call in to schedule appointments, the front office staff can collect their information and enter it into Open Dental. What is going to connect most with the back office will be things like patients’ medical history. Whether you’re having your patients fill out forms by pen and paper or electronically (using the eClipboard or Web Forms), front office staff can process these forms and make sure information is imported into the patient’s chart for the back office.

If forms are filled out electronically, use the Form Import tool to do this in a few clicks. Front office staff can import forms before the patient’s appointment if they are filled out ahead of time, or before the patient is in the chair. This way, the back office staff can verify any medical information, like allergies or medications, as needed, rather than starting from scratch. Harmony!

Prioritize Treatment & Create Planned Appointments

One of the disruptions to harmony between the front and back office can be the fact that treatment is planned in the back office, but the front office is doing the scheduling. With the hustle and bustle of a dental office, you don’t always have the time to talk between patients to go over treatment in detail with the front office.

In the back office, you can prioritize and plan treatment, so that the front office knows exactly what needs to be done, and it can all be done without leaving the Chart Module.

As you’re treatment planning, if there are procedures that need to be done in a certain order or need to be done together, they can be prioritized. From the Enter Treatment tab, select a Priority from the dropdown before selecting the procedure codes or procedure button.

harmony - treatment priorities

If you forget to prioritize treatment as you’re charting it, no problem, just double-click the procedure and update the priority from the Procedure Edit window.

Now when the front office staff goes to present treatment to the patient, the procedures will already be prioritized in the correct order, taking the guesswork out of treatment presentation.

Once treatment is prioritized, back office staff can also create Planned Appointments for non-recall appointments, so the appointment can be set up without needing to actually schedule it.

Again, this can be done without leaving the Chart Module. Once procedures have been treatment planned, click the Planned Appts tab and click +Add.

harmony - planned appointments
Add the procedures to the planned appointment, select the time length, add an Appointment Note, and assign a Provider, color override, or Appointment Type as needed. Click OK to save the appointment to the Planned Appointments list.

Front office staff will be able to see this appointment when they go to schedule the patient.


Presenting Treatment & Scheduling Appointments

Now that the back office has prioritized treatment and created planned appointments, it’s a breeze to present treatment to your patient and schedule their next appointment.

In the Treatment Plan Module, your treatment coordinator or other front office staff can easily present treatment that has been prioritized and is now grouped together.

harmony - presenting treatment

The prioritized treatment will be grouped together and subtotaled so that the treatment presenter can let the patient know what their total will be for each visit in addition to their grand total. From here, they can save or print out the treatment plan for the patient, or even send preauthorizations.

Once the treatment has been presented and the patient is ready to schedule, front office staff just need to jump over to the Appointments Module and click Pat Appts.

In the Patient Appointments window, you will see all of the Planned Appointments the back office has created – along with any notes. Select a planned appointment (or multiple appointments) and click Copy to Pinboard. The Planned Appointments are now copied to the Appointment Pinboard. Search for openings in the schedule and click and drag the appointment into the calendar to schedule the appointment.

Harmony in your office flow has now been achieved! Use these tips and tricks in your practice to help things run more efficiently, and as always, if you have any questions, make sure to reach out to Open Dental Support.

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