You Must Have a Patient Coordinator
A call came in from a doctor, concerned that their hygiene department was not producing. The doctor had not established a daily production goal for the hygienists, so there was not a way to measure their performance, but it “felt” like they weren’t posting enough charges compared to the rest of the practice. This is not an uncommon complaint from many dentists, and the state of the economy is irrelevant. I have been hearing this for 30 years!
When performing the initial evaluation of our clients, many reports are generated and reviewed. One of the primary reports printed is the Past Due Recall Report. It is not uncommon to see 400-500 names on this report.
The Production Report for the number of Comprehensive Exams shows 350 patients. 350 / 12 months = 29 new patients/month. This illustrates a potential loss of 8.5 active patients/month.
Lost Days of Hygiene
There was a day when the attitude of the dental practice was that it is the patients’ responsibility to contact the practice or remember their appointments - no need to “baby-sit” the patient. If you still have this attitude, you either don’t need or want to increase your patient base!
Your Patient/Hygiene Coordinator
The role of the Patient/Hygiene Coordinator carries the responsibility of managing the growth of the practice through increasing the active patient base in hygiene. By increasing your active patient base through hygiene, you also increase your “passive income.” It is important to recognize that 50% of your treatment is generated from your hygiene exams. Therefore, the more patients you see on a regular basis, the more opportunities you have for detecting, diagnosing and recommending needed treatment and reiterating outstanding treatment already presented.
What exactly does a Patient/Hygiene Coordinator do?
The 5 Step Follow-Up Process is a systematic program to manage the patients that are due but not scheduled for their professional cleanings or periodontal maintenance appointments. The steps are as follows:
The point here is that a systematic protocol must be created to avoid continuous, repetitious and redundant attempts to contact patients. It is about a return on investment of time spent. At some point, it is time to stop the calls and your Patient Coordinator needs to understand when this time is.
When assigning job descriptions to your business team members, this position is the most important. There are no patients to schedule, no insurance claims to follow up on, no checks to post and no treatment to present IF there is a lack of patients in your practice. Think about the value of this position and the consequences if this position is not assigned. The 5 Step Follow-Up Process will never take place, as what typically happens in most dental offices is that the recall report gets “worked” only when there is nothing else to do. What is wrong with this picture?
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