Every year around this time, as the air turns crisp and pumpkin spice everything is everywhere, we know you’re starting to contact patients with unscheduled treatment and insurance benefits about to expire. In this post, we’ll discuss using the Treatment Finder Report for End-of-Year Letters. But we’d also like to remind you that you can run this report any time of year to get a list of patients with unscheduled treatment.
We will cover:
- Create the year-end letter (sheet)
- Run the Treatment Finder Report
- Create and mail personalized year-end letters
- Mass email year-end letters
Create and Mail Personalized Year-End Letters
Customizing a Sheet and mailing year-end letters is a great option if you want to include patient-specific information in the letter, like the amount of insurance remaining, and a list of treatment planned procedures so patients see exactly what they need, and the money they’d be giving up if they don’t use their insurance benefit.
1. Create Your Year-End Letter (Sheet)
To create your year-end letter in Open Dental, go to Setup, then Sheets. Check to see if the Patient Letter Tx Finder is under Custom on the right (if it’s already been edited, it’ll be on this side). If not, select it from under Internal, then click the ‘Copy’ button to move it to the Custom side.
The standard year-end letter in Open Dental includes patient-specific fields for insurance remaining and a list of treatment planned procedures. To customize the letter, double-click it from the Custom side to open it, and make your changes.
2. Run the Treatment Finder Report
Go to Reports, then Standard. Under Lists, select Treatment Finder.
By default, patients with existing appointments and those without insurance are excluded from this report. In the View section, use the filters to refine the results for patients who had treatment charted after a certain date, limit them to a specific clinic or provider, only show specific procedure codes, or patients with remaining benefits over a specific dollar amount. Once you’ve entered the criteria, click Refresh List to update the results in the Treatment Finder grid. Want to learn more about the filters? See our post, A Deep Dive Into the Treatment Finder Report.
3. Create Personalized Year-End Letters
Option 1: Create the letters inside Open Dental and print.
Once you have a list of the patients that meet the criteria (from Step 2), it’s time to choose who you want to create letters for.
TECH TIP: Click & drag to select multiple patients on the list. If selecting patients that are not adjacent, hold down the Ctrl key while you click to select. Once you’ve chosen the patients you’re sending letters to, click the Letters Preview button in the lower-left (in the blue outlined section shown above). Then, select the year-end letter you have prepared.
Option 2: Use another program, like Microsoft Word, to do a mail merge
Export the list from Step 2 as a .txt or .xls file, and use that as the source for the mail merge.
Option 3: Print mailing labels for letters or other mailings created outside of Open Dental.
Select the patients you want to create labels for, then click the Labels Preview button to view the labels before printing.
4. Print and Mail the Year-End Letters to Your Patients
You’ve selected your recipients and clicked Letters Preview or Label Preview. Once the preview comes up, just hit print! For letters, a PDF will be created that includes letters for all selected patients (similar to billing statements). Review the PDF, then print. After printing the letters, you’ll get a pop-up asking if you’d like to save the letter. Click yes to save a copy in your patient’s chart.
Mass Email Year-End Letters
If you want to mass email the letters, you’ll need to use a third-party email provider. There are many email service providers out there, and some are quite affordable. We use MailChimp for our user newsletters, and here are some other options to consider. If you have questions about the third-party email software (creating the letter, inserting merge fields, uploading lists, etc.), please contact the software vendor directly.
To send a mass email of year-end letters using a third-party email service, you’ll take the following basic steps. For questions about the third-party email software (creating the letter, inserting merge fields, uploading lists, etc.), please contact the software vendor directly.
- Create your letter inside the third-party email provider’s software, including any preferred merge fields for the insurance amount remaining, etc.
- The Treatment Finder Report does not include email information, so you will need to copy & run Query number 1221 from our Query Examples page and export it.
3. Use the list you exported from Open Dental as the data source for your email campaign.
Reminder: If you have questions about the third-party email software (creating the email campaign, inserting merge fields, uploading lists, etc.), please contact the software vendor.
If you have questions about sending year-end letters or anything else in Open Dental, we’re here for you! A quick question can be answered right away using chat, and if you need help troubleshooting or need us to remote-connect with you, give us a call.