Back to Blog Home

At the beginning of the year, we have the opportunity for a new start. Yet, we often get bogged down by what we didn’t accomplish in 2015. Why? Most often we don’t have a simple, actionable system or strategy. Rather than taking a year at a time, look at 90 days and add one simple, actionable step to your routine. For the next 90 days, document dental-medical necessity for every patient, Twitter-style.

Why Dental-Medical Necessity?

Many studies in recent years have investigated the relationship between oral and systemic conditions. An increasing number of dental carriers are recognizing the medical nature of certain dental procedures. Dental-medical necessity is the reason why a test, a procedure or an instruction is given. Dental-medical necessity is different from person to person and changes over time. There is benefit to all practices to document it routinely to help optimize dental benefit coverage and cross-coding opportunities.

Twitter-Style: Less is More

Many people tend to over-write, in a similar way to how they speak. Twitter taught users to send and read short 140-character messages. That isn’t 140 words or even 140 letters, its 140characters,including letters, numbers, symbols, punctuation and spaces. Writing Twitter-style squeezes out the excess, leaving only the nourishing juice.

A sample dental-medical necessity written Twitter-style might read:

High-risk pregnancy. High-risk caries. Plaque-induced gingival disease modified by systemic factors-pregnancy, #14-15 Chronic Periodontitis 2mm bone loss

This is a 153-character dental-medical necessity that gives medical information, risk assessment and a periodontal diagnosis.

“Tweeting” Medication Risk

Those long lists of medications our patients take every day often contribute to dry mouth. Lack of saliva is much more than just irritating; it can be a contributing factor in caries infection, oral cancer, and periodontal disease. This means that the medications themselves, as well as what they treat, are part of the dental-medical necessity. A sample Twitter-style write-up might read:

Diabetes & Coronary artery disease. Vasotec, Topamax, Albuterol, Lipitor, 81mg. aspirin. Extreme oral dryness.

This patient’s dental-medical necessity is evident with this concise, specific 111 character “tweet.”

One Simple Change

Often we read articles hoping for that one simple step. A simple change has been offered, yet as Steve Jobs said,

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Twitter-style documentation of dental-medical necessity isn’t difficult, but it requires team cooperation, new thinking, and practice. Take this simple approach for 90 days; you might be surprised at how it increases the efficiency and profitability of your practice.

To learn more, order and read DentalCodeology: Jump Start Diagnostic Coding by Patti DiGangi and Christine Taxin.

 

Featured Posts

These relationships are crucial for dental practice success

4 Important Relationships Dental Offices Need to Have

Posted October 09, 2019

No business is an island, and no dental practice can be successful without the right help. If you’re running a dental office, you need to make sure to cultivate certain relationships. Below are four professional relationships that every dental office needs to maintain. Marketing Professionals Marketing is the lifeblood of any business. Having connections in […]

Read more
Here's why you should celebrate customer service week

4 Reasons You Should Be Celebrating Customer Service Week

Posted October 07, 2019

Have you ever called a company’s support number only to find yourself stuck navigating dial pad responses and arguing with a robot?  These days, getting a real person on the phone at a business is nearly unheard of. Automated phone services, AI messaging, and other prerecorded voice systems have replaced traditional customer service portals. There’s […]

Read more

Why I Became a Dental Hygienist

Posted October 04, 2019

It’s that time of year again – yes, it’s Dental Hygiene Month! For me, it’s an opportunity to reflect on my journey in the dental industry that began 25 years ago, when I first practiced as a registered dental hygienist. My mission of providing the best possible patient care has intensified over the years, and […]

Read more