Are You Running This Critical Report?
Dental Case Study #255
The doctor’s concerns: “The number of new patients coming into my practice has dropped from 37 down to 23 in one month. I’m also having trouble retaining existing patients. My hygiene production numbers are really suffering. I’m ready to find a solution and get my practice back on track.”
Here’s a look at where this practice’s hygiene statistics stood:
• The department averaged more than two 50-minute openings per day per hygienist.
When this doctor came to McKenzie Management, he had never seen his Past Due Recall Report, which was part of the problem. It’s important for dentists to realize they have access to many critical reports via their dental practice management software. The Past Due Recall Report is among them, and is the one report that can make or break your hygiene department. That’s why we suggested he start referring to this report on a regular basis.
Let’s take a deeper look at the issues holding our doctor back:
Pre-appointing six months out also gives the illusion the schedule is full, which leads to other issues. Let’s say a patient calls your practice and is ready to go forward with needed treatment, or wants to schedule a new patient appointment. That’s great, but there isn’t room in the schedule any time soon because it’s full of patients who made appointments six months out. That means either these patients wait a few months to see the doctor, or they find another practice that can fit them in sooner. Unfortunately, many decide to go with the second option, costing you both existing patients and potential new patients.
Statistically, about one-fourth to one-third of patients who pre-schedule will either cancel or not show up. That’s 2-4 patients per day per hygienist, which can be pretty financially damaging to a practice. Our advice to this doctor? Stop scheduling every patient that far in advance, especially if they tell you upfront they likely won’t be able to keep the appointment, or if they have a history of flaking out. Instead, call these patients a month or two before they’re due to get them on the schedule.
The 12-Month Past Due Recall Report
To get these patients back in the chair, we suggested the dentist task a team member with calling 10 overdue patients a day, and arming him or her with a well-thought out script. Those conversations went something like this:
“Mr. Brown, this is Megan from Hometown Dental. We noticed that we failed to make an appointment for your six-month professional cleaning and exam. The dentist was concerned about your tooth on the lower right side. Do you prefer a morning or an afternoon appointment time?”
It’s important to note Megan didn’t ask if the patient wanted to schedule. Instead, she asked when he wanted to schedule.
Every month, Past Due Recall Reports for one, two, six and 12 months are generated. Megan then contacts the patients on these reports with a phone call, text, email or snail mail, or a combination of these methods, to schedule their hygiene appointments. Since adding a dedicated Hygiene Coordinator, the practice’s patient retention rate has risen to 90%, which was the doctor’s goal.
If you’re not running your Past Due Recall Report every month, I suggest you make it a priority. When you reach out to patients on the report and get them on the schedule, you’ll notice a big boost to your Hygiene Department’s production numbers – and that will mean good things for your bottom line.
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