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Will Your Practice Management System Optimize Patient Engagement in 2020?


Evolve your Practice Management with Dentrix Ascend

Dentrix Ascend from Henry Schein One on desktop and ipadAs 2019 comes to a close and we enter a new decade, it’s clear that practice management software has evolved to where the core conversation is changing. As a society, we’ve reached a point where young people will never know a time without the Internet. Similarly, we are reaching the time where a new generation of dentists will not have known a paper workflow. Wireless, cloud-based technologies are the future, and it’s already arrived.

Embracing this new reality, the question is becoming less about how to transition from paper to digital workflow, and more about how to leverage digital workflow in a way that optimizes the patient experience. Dentrix Ascend, by Henry Schein One, is a practice management system that’s at the forefront of this conversation. The overriding message: don’t become too distracted by the technology itself. Your practice management system isn’t just a digital filing system. When leveraged optimally, practice management software can help practices manage their digital-clinical-business workflows and reach new stages of growth.

But how do you know if your practice management system is up for the challenge?

Dentrix Ascend has identified these 4 areas of practice success:

1. Clinical care

2. Revenue cycle management

3. Patient relationship management

4. Patient demand generation

BrennanDental in Arizona What do these pillars look like in a real practice? Dental Product Shopper reached out to Drs. Jonny and Elliott Brennan, brothers and co-founders of Brennan Dental in Chandler, AZ. Both are 21st-century dentists in the sense that they graduated dental school within the last 15 years and haven’t practiced without the use of technology. When establishing their new practice, they chose Dentrix Ascend for its cloud-based functionality.

“While as owners we have a strong technology background, we recognized the specialization of labor and time required in running servers, enterprise-grade security and backup solutions, and maintenance across systems to provide an optimized practice management solution, and felt that was best provided for by leveraging the modern cloud solutions,” said Dr. Jonny Brennan. The brothers were also drawn to the cloud-based convenience, namely that the platform is accessible at any time from any location or device.

Here’s how Dentrix Ascend helps Brennan Dental achieve the 4 areas of practice success:

Clinical Care

Dentrix Ascend provides several helpful features that utilize task automation and management intelligence (TAMI) to improve clinical workflows. One of the potential gaps in a practice is the transition of clinical treatment activity to the financial or administrative side at the front desk, Dr. Jonny explains. 

“With Dentrix Ascend we value the automatic posting and tracking of images taken so that we ensure accurate representation of what actually occurred clinically and have that deeply integrated into the insurance claims process, including the quick and easy attachment of those images,” he said. 

Dentrix Ascend’s exit workflow compliance feature ensures that every patient is leaving with their next recare visit scheduled, and that they’ve provided the correct text and email information and resolved any payment details. This leads to the next pillar of success.

Revenue Cycle Management

Dr. Jonny has found that Dentrix Ascend operates like a helpful magnifying glass for administrative inefficiencies. 

“As we embraced Dentrix Ascend more fully for billing and insurance procedures, we recognized our own lack of structure and a defined process for working through aged receivables or patient balances and billing statements,” he explained.

The reports and dashboards in Dentrix Ascend helped the practice to form what Dr. Jonny calls a “general gold standard” for managing revenue. “Instead of feeling like we had to reinvent the wheel, we leveraged the common workflows within Dentrix Ascend and patterned our own office workflows to more harmoniously sync with them,” he added.

The practice tends to hire from outside the dental industry, and the management team likes that Dentrix Ascend was built with a modern mindset. It embraces the user experience and user interface design concepts for a minimal learning curve.

Patient Relationship Management 

Inside BrennanDental Practice, software and chair Dr. Jonny said he commonly hears that patients trust the office in part because of how clean and technologically advanced everything is. “That is by design because we truly believe that harnessing the latest technology makes us better practitioners and provides a better patient experience,” he reflected.

Prior to the appointment, patients have the opportunity to fill out electronic forms from the comfort of their homes. These forms are also sent by text or email, and are mobile-friendly. The practice offers online scheduling, rather than just a link that goes to a form or that calls the office.

Patients are able to choose their provider and a time/appointment type, and their appointment is scheduled right into the software.

Upon entering Brennan Dental, patients are greeted by the patient coordinator who, within Dentrix Ascend, changes the patient's status to “here.” The patient’s progress is monitored and the quality of their visit is tracked by both the software and the patient care coordinator. “The result is an optimized, efficient workflow marrying the quantitative, regimented nature of technology with the softer, qualitative human touch,” Dr. Jonny explained.

After the appointment, Dentrix Ascend provides built-in text and email communication methods for recare reminders and appointment tracking.

Patient Demand Generation

Leveraging the same patient outreach technology, Brennan Dental sends patients a link for reviewing the practice after their appointment. These Google and Yelp reviews are critical for visibility in search engine results.

A patient who discovered Brennan Dental through a positive review felt called to pay it forward, and left their own positive remarks. The cycle of patient demand is made possible only by the other pillars of practice success, which support each other and the practice as a whole.

With Dentrix Ascend at the core of operations, Brennan Dental continues its upward trajectory, as evident by the hiring of two associate dentists in 2018. Before they broadened the structure, they made sure it was strong from within. 

With 2020 on the horizon, it might be time to look at whether your practice management system can help your practice grow and succeed. Dentrix Ascend can help.  Visit to learn more and request a demo.   

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