General dentists are the first point of contact for patients. When appropriate, referring a patient out to a specialist is a great way to make sure the patient gets the best possible treatment as part of his or her overall dental health care. The assumption is that the patient will continue to come to your practice for all their non-specialized procedures. We recommend you include referral records as part of a comprehensive history for your patients, and one of the ways to do this is to create a “referred out” treatment plan.

How to:

  1. As a best practice, first make sure all the conditions you observe, or the procedures you know this patient will need—the reasons why this patient needs to be referred out—are recorded.

  1. If you didn’t treatment plan a procedure in step 1, treatment plan something simple like a limited exam for this patient. This is just for tracking—you need a treatment-planned procedure in order to create a treatment case.
  2. Switch to the Progress Notes tab, and select the procedure to open the Edit Procedure window. Enter your referral notes here. You may wish to toggle Bill to Insurance to Off and set the procedure amount to 0.00. Select and copy your note text before saving.

  1. Go to the patient’s Treatment Planner tab. Make sure the Unassigned case is highlighted, and select the procedure you treatment-planned.

  1. Move the procedure to a new case. Edit the case name, and rename it to something everyone will agree to use, for example, “Referred Out mm/dd/yyyy”. This is important, because the report you generate for referred treatment plans will be searching for this name.

  1. Paste your referral notes from the procedure into the case Note field. Add an Expiration date to act as a future reminder to follow up with the patient on this referral.

  1. Create a report to find your referred treatment plans. Go to Home > Power Reporting > Clinical, and select the Interactive Treatment Plan Report Builder.
  2. Click Toggle Edit to start. Click the Filter icon (funnel). From the Available Fields panel, under Procedure drag Case Name to the filter area.

  1. In the Filter on Case Name window that pops up, set the fields to find the name pattern chosen for all referred-out treatment plans, and click OK.

  1. Click the Layout icon (building blocks), and drag any fields you would like to include in the report from the Available Fields panel to the report. For example:

  1. To save your customized report as a template for later use, click Save. In the Save Report dialog box that opens, type a name for the report, select whether you want to save the report as one of your reports (available only to you) or as an organization report (available to all users), and then click OK.

Additional Information

  • For more information about creating a treatment plan, read Creating treatment plans in the knowledgebase.
  • When you find out that the patient has completed treatment for the observed conditions, you can go into the patient’s Progress Notes, add remarks about the treatment in the condition Notes, and then mark the conditions as treated.
  • When the specialist returns a follow-up letter, make sure to add it to the patient’s Document Manager.
  • You can include more filters to the report, for example using the Transaction Date field (which references the date the treatment plan case was created) to limit how far back in time the report extends.