Understanding the Most Important Practice System
It’s always interesting when I go into an office and ask the hygienists to explain their recall system, or ask if they know how their recall system works. The answer depends on whether or not the office actually has a recall person who is responsible for working the system. Many give me a blank stare and say, “Well, when we have open time the recall person tries to call patients who are overdue for their cleaning appointment.”
After hearing this response, I am not surprised to find that the office has a high number of cancelations, open time and no-shows in their schedule. After all, how can a practice expect patients to be compliant to something they have never been educated about, if the entire team (including the doctor) doesn’t even know how the recall system works?
If there have been recent changes to your recall system, or if existing patients have not been completely educated, the hygienist should be going over these details with every patient in the chair. It does not take long. This can be done at any time during the hygiene appointment, and will be briefly repeated when the patient places their address on the recall card.
There are many different options for patient communication available. Some offices are not only utilizing an individual recall person in their office, but are also using an outside source to help reduce the amount of time spent confirming patients for their appointments. What you have set up for your individual practice will make a difference in how the recall system works. This is a very unique system in every office.
I will briefly review one recall scenario – of course this verbiage will need to be customized based on your individual system.
“For your next appointment reminder, we have many options you may choose from. First we will be sending out a reminder notice. This will either remind you to come in for a specific appointment time and date, or it will be a reminder that you are due for your hygiene appointment. If you are confident of your future schedule and you need a specific time or day, you may want to go ahead and set up your next appointment to secure your preferred date. However, if you do not know what your schedule will look like in several months, you may not want to set up your next appointment just yet. We do ask for at least 48 hours advance notice to change an already scheduled appointment.
If you set up your appointment today, you will receive a postcard, email, text, and/or phone call to remind you of your appointment. We will also make contact with you approximately two weeks prior to your appointment. If you prefer that we use just one way of contacting you, we can always set up your account to reflect that. Some people like to have every form of communication, and some prefer just a text or email reminder.
There may be additional information provided during this educational time with the patient, but this gives you an idea. There are many things implied and not actually said by the hygienist during this synopsis:
1. The patient is educated about your recall system.
If you and your team are not taking the time to inform patients about your recall system, you may be missing a very important part of patient education that many offices do not consider. This can cost your office a high price in the form of open time in the hygiene schedule.
Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email email@example.com and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151
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