Growing Your Practice

Using and Tracking Referrals in Open Dental

ReferralsWhether patients are referred to your practice or referred out to a specialty practice, you want to be able to see the comings and goings; track income from various sources, create referral slips or letters, and track treatment referred to other providers. Referrals in Open Dental can be handled in a few different ways, depending on your needs. This post will review the different types of referrals and associated referral reports.

Referral List

Before you start entering referrals, checkĀ your list of referrals. This is the master list of sources referring patients into your practice, and referrals you are sending patients to. The referral list can be added to and edited as you go. Use it to store contact information, addresses, and any notes.

Referrals List

Referrals can be other patients, specialty offices, or even marketing campaigns (so you can track the success of a billboard, Facebook, or Google ad, for example).

Referrals on a Patient

To maintain records of where patients are coming from and where they are going, enter referrals on the patient in the Family Module. Referrals show in green under the Patient Information.


When entering a referral for a patient, you have three options:

  1. Referred From: These are patients who were referred to your office from another office, patient, or marketing campaign.
  2. Refer To: These are other practices you may refer patients to.
  3. Refer Custom: Use this when you want to note a referral of any sort, but do not want to report on it.

Referrals for a patient can be reported on and tracked. When entered, the patient will show in the dropdown menu in the Referral.

Referrals on a Procedure

To track procedure-specific referrals, enter a referral on the procedure itself. There are two ways to do this.


1. Marking a procedure that has already been charted as Referred Out

Double-click on the procedure. Set Procedure Status to ‘Referred Out’, click […] next to “Referral”, then click “Refer To” and select your referral source. Once a referral is attached to the procedure, double-click on the referral source to add any procedure-specific information.
TECH TIP: When entering a referral this way, you will need to zero out the procedure fee.

2. Newly charting a procedure that’s being referred out

Change the Entry Status in the Chart Module to “Referred”, then chart the procedure. The procedure will automatically have a status of “Referred Out” and the fee will show as zero. Once charted, double-click the procedure and enter the referral source using the steps noted above.

Referral Slips & Letters

Referral Slips and Referral Letters can be customized using Sheets. Add as many slips and letters as you need.

Referral Slips are given to the patient when they are referred out. By default, Open Dental uses the built-in referral slip. To use a custom referral slip, attach one to each referral in the Referral List. This is a great way to have a custom referral slip ready for each practice you refer patients to.
Referral Slip.png

Referral Letters are letters you send to thank someone for referring a patient to your practice. Once you’ve attached the referral to the patient, use the dropdown menu next to “Letter” in the Main Menu. Select the referral source you want to send the letter to, then select the letter from the list.
referral letters.png

Referral Reports

There are three built-in reports for tracking referrals.

  1. Referrals – Raw Report. This is an advanced report used to build your own referral query. Once you have built the query you like, save it to your Query Favorites.
  2. Referral Analysis Report. This report analyzes the incoming referral count and production within a date range.
  3. Referred Procedure Tracking Report. Use this report to track procedure-specific referrals.

If you are looking for something more specific that our standard reports don’t cover, see our Query Examples Page.

Using referrals in Open Dental, you will be able to evaluate how patients find your practice and also track treatment that is referred out from your practice, giving you another way to evaluate your growth and other services you may want to offer. If you need help setting up and using referrals, we’re here for you.


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