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Multiple Locations: Clinic Flow and Logic

You’ve decided using the Clinics features is right for you. You’ve set up Clinics, and now you’re ready to see patients. This post will provide best practices for managing patient flow, no matter where they receive treatment.

Working in a Clinic

When you’re an employee working in a specific clinic, first make sure the correct clinic is selected in the dropdown.

When you have your clinic selected in the dropdown, the rest of Open Dental defaults to your clinic.

For example:

  • Reports will default to your clinic
  • The Select Patient window will search for patients assigned to your clinic (and includes patients who are unassigned)
  • Opens the Appointment Module to your clinic’s schedule
  • Assigns the clinic to Time Card events (clocking in & out)

Assigning Patients to a Clinic

Patient’s can be assigned to a specific clinic, typically whichever clinic they are seen at most. You can schedule a patient in any clinic as needed.

Each patient should be assigned a clinic in the lower-left area of the Patient Edit window.

To determine whether patients must be assigned to a clinic or can remain unassigned, see Allow new patients to be added with an unassigned clinic in Family Module Preferences.

Patient Flow & Clinic Logic

The clinic a patient is scheduled in will follow them throughout the patient process for the visit (even if the patient isn’t assigned to that clinic). 

The appointment

First, the patient’s appointment is scheduled in a Clinic A Operatory – the appointment is automatically assigned to Clinic A.

TECH TIP: If the appointment is moved to an operatory at another clinic, the appointment will update to that clinic.

In this case, the procedures were charted using the Appt Procs Quick Adds. This automatically associated all procedures to Clinic A as well.

TECH TIP: When adding treatment from the Chart Module, the treatment planned procedures will use the clinic the patient is assigned to.

The Claim

When the claim is created, the clinic will be automatically selected based on the associated procedures. Clinics on claims cannot be changed.

TECH TIP: Only one clinic can be assigned on a claim, so procedures on the claim cannot be from multiple clinics.

The Insurance Payment

The insurance payment associated with the claim will also match the claim’s clinic. However, the clinic associated with the insurance payment can be changed if needed.

Patient Payments

Patient payments are a little different. They default to the clinic assigned to the patient. Be careful if you are treating a patient who is typically assigned to a different clinic. Be sure the clinic on the payment is associated with the clinic that you wish to receive credit.

If you change the clinic on a payment, you will be prompted to change the clinic on associated paysplits. This is because each paysplit is also assigned to a clinic. If a patient has been seen in Clinic A and Clinic B and is paying for services at both, the paysplits will keep the payment straight between clinics.

Reporting with Clinics

One of the key benefits to clinics is the ability to report on each clinic individually. Nearly all built-in reports have clinic level filters.

Keep an eye out for the clinic section on each Report window.
Select All to see all clinics, including Unassigned, or select a specific clinic.


Are clinics a good fit for your practice? Need help setting up Clinics in Open Dental? Have a question on patient flow when using the clinics feature? Contact us – we’re here for all your clinic needs.

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