On the bottom of the charting screen, the ortho assistants have the ability to signify what the patients next appointment will be.
Unfortunately there is no running log of what has been put in this spot. (I am not referring to the chart notes) The new upgrade of Orthotrac will now keep notes on the deleted recalls but this only solves part of the problem. It is equally important to have proof of what the assistants state the next appointment should be. Since this area is a write over spot, the information that is delivered to the front desk personnel is not saved.
How is everyone working with this and is this something that can be changed in the future?
Good day Brenda (brenda),
That section of Charting was designed to be interactive with the appointment scheduling function. The idea is that while the patient is being seen and notes are being added in Charting, the Dr. will indicate to the assistant what kind of appointment the patient should be seen for next and in what time period. The assistant then enters that info into the "Next Appointment" section. When the patient is checked out and they make another appointment, the "Next Appointment" info is then automatically used when the option "Schedule Treatment Appointment" is selected on the scheduling screen.
To the best of my knowledge, we've not previously heard of any offices that have needed to record previously-entered "next appointment" information; it's expected that that info is only needed until the next appointment is scheduled. At present the best solution I can offer is to recommend that your practice set up specific Treatment Plans. The Treatment Plan feature is interactive with the "Next Appointment" section; once you set up treatment plan steps with specific appointment information for each step, that info will populate automatically when the treatment plan step is completed for the patient. The appointment information is saved in the treatment plan so you could look at the history there.
I'm sure you're also aware that you can view a patient's already-completed appointments in the Scheduling screen for that patient, but there is not currently anything that records previously-entered "Next Appointment" information.
I am tagging Jeff Urkevich (jeffrey.urkevich), the Orthotrac PLM. If there's sufficient interest in a feature like this, perhaps it can be added to a future version of Orthotrac.
Phil Carter / Orthotrac Escalation
Unfortunately I am looking for evidence of what was written there to hold coworkers accountable. Did the patient walk up to the front to schedule an appointment prior to the next appointment being noted and therefore the front desk personnel scheduled the next appointment incorrectly? Did the assistant not change the next appointment? Maybe the front desk personnel didn't follow what the assistant wrote as the next appointment. Without this information being saved, there is no way to answer these questions.
Good day Brenda (brenda),
Understood. I do foresee some issues implementing such a feature because many offices do not use the "Next Appointment" feature, or do not use it to its fullest (the Dr. will simply indicate a general time period, or very basic information, for the next appointment and only that gets filled in; it's then up to the treatment coordinator or scheduling coordinator to determine proper appointment details -- appointment type, procedures, etc. -- when the appointment is actually made). These offices might prefer not to have that info recorded. Perhaps when this is implemented it could be made an optional thing, to turn the tracking on or off. We will see what Development says.
Phil Carter / Orthotrac Escalation
Here's a suggestion....even if it was dated, that would be helpful. At least the front desk personnel would know that the information that they were looking at was current.
Brenda, I totally understand your point.
Our workaround for this situation is by using patient flow. When the patient is in the operatory, their color is set to green. The RDA must move that patient to check-out (our color is purple) this means the RDA is FINISHED making notes on the chart. Also in the chart notes they write the treatment they did today and the treatment they will be doing next time TX: (today NV: (next visit). In the buck slip area that's what we call it (a throwback to paper days) Next appointment, they put the weeks and codes and comments. The other thing they need to alway use the longer procedure code first so you can schedule correctly. My pet peeve.
I will not make their next appointment until they have closed the chart and moved them to GONE. Doing it this way has saved us from rescheduling the same appointment because the assistant was not done charting when I started to schedule. We don't want to schedule a retie when we need time for a bond.
Hope that helps.
I would also like a permanent documentation of when we ASKED to see them. (other software systems have this!) I have patients who ask why they are behind in treatment, and we see that they have been cominn in every 10 weeks. Did we ask for that? because typically we see them every 6 weeks, sometimes 4. The only way we can tell is because we came up with this temporary solution.
At the end of the charting section we write NV: 4 weeks, new upper and lower archwires.
But the assistants don't always remember to write the number of weeks, I would like this to be something that will not allow you to checkthe patient out unless filled out. Just duplicate what was requested for next visit, but make it a permanent addition to the chart. Then we can talk to the patient about how they are not getting in for appointments on time. (sometimes they don't schedule when they leave, and when they do, they insist on after-school, then wonder why their treatment is taking so long.) Thanks!
I too would like permanent documentation of "next visit". As it has been mentioned, other ortho software systems DO have this. I can't understand how this wouldn't be helpful with accountability for staff (including Dr.) as well as patients.