Where Are My Patients Today?
Have you experienced this scenario? You had a good night’s sleep, a short run in the morning and you are all keyed up to start your Monday off with a bang. You gather your team together for the morning meeting, and only then do you see that you have no patients until 11am, and only one in the afternoon. “What happened to my schedule?” you ask. Your Schedule Coordinator has the “deer in the headlights” look on her face. Suddenly, you feel depressed and started thinking this is the beginning of the end.
Now you and I both know that the phones will keep ringing and your patients will keep coming - but just not on this day! What needed to happen after the morning meeting adjourned?
First Plan of Attack
Second Plan of Attack
Please don’t call it the ASAP List and definitely not the Cancellation List. A “Priority List” sounds much more friendly and important. I want to be on someone’s Priority List. Start contacting patients on this list that would be a good fit for the openings that have been created. “Mrs. Jones, you asked that I contact you if we had a change in our schedule. I am happy to inform you that Dr. Smith can see you this morning at 11:00. “
Third Plan of Attack
Fourth Plan of Attack
Note: If patients are not scheduled off of these lists, the lists may not be current. Always double-check to make sure that the treatment has not already been either scheduled or completed before calling.
Fifth Plan of Attack
It is vital to always enter your contact notes in the computer regarding any attempts to contact a patient about an appointment. It is also important to view the notes prior to placing the call to be sure that someone else hasn’t placed the same call recently. This step saves time and embarrassment. Have you ever had a patient say: “Someone just called me yesterday about this. I told them I was going to wait until the summer.”
No doctor or hygienist enjoys seeing their schedule fall apart, but it is reassuring to know that your Schedule and Hygiene Coordinator are doing everything in their power to replace those missing patients. It is also very helpful to have a clinical person who has finished stocking the rooms, taken inventory, tidied up sterilization and completed other clinical tasks to assist in the “attack.”
Train all of your employees on how to make these phone calls and use proper scripts. When necessary, everyone can man their battleships and win the war on last minute cancellations!Forward this article to a friend.
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