5.11.07 - Issue # 270 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

One Simple Tool = More Patients for
Your Practice

by Sally McKenzie CEO
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Do you ever get just a little tired of hearing about all the things that you’re not doing that you should be doing? The consultants are out there on the lecture circuit telling you that you must educate your patients, sell to your patients, market to your patients, confirm your patients’ appointments, manage your patients, retain your patients.

But your focus is on treating your patients. It’s not that the other tasks aren’t important, but with limited staff and even less time, how can you possibly do it all, let alone afford it all? And this is where we get into that old management maxim about the paradigm shift.

In actuality the question isn’t how can you afford to do it all, rather, how can you afford NOT to? Now before you stop reading for fear I’m going to recommend that you hire more staff or spend more time in the office, rest assured, I’m not. No, in fact, I’m convinced you can accomplish at least a few of those practice “musts” with one simple tool. Let me explain.

Confirmation calls, for example, are often viewed as a time consuming chore that nobody wants relegated to their job description.  While offices that confirm appointments acknowledge that they make a significant difference in ensuring that patients are in the chair when they’re supposed to be, oftentimes the exercise is relegated to the list of things the staff will get to when they have time. Consequently, the calls are never made, sometimes made and sometimes it’s easy to say they were made but there’s no proof that happened until holes in the schedule pound the life out of what should be very attainable production goals.

Team members have no guidelines of when to make the calls, nor what to say. There’s no telephone record that an attempt was made and many times Betty Business Coordinator is lucky if she gets a chance to dial the number one time. She’s been told that she needs to keep calling till she reaches the patient but do you have any idea how long that can take?  Shouldn’t the patient be responsible anyway?  Well…..yes in an ideal world but people do forget and forgetting a trip to your office is a hardship on production for the day.

It’s a catch 22. For smaller practices in particular, it’s the immediate needs that are the focus of the day and the patients who are standing in front of them. The priority is not on communicating with those who are supposed to be coming in later in the week. But when you consider that practices are losing tens of thousands of dollars in production, even the smallest offices need some type of confirmation system.

That’s where Elexity comes in. This is one of the most effective and easy appointment confirmation solutions I’ve found. Elexity delivers appointment reminders through a telephone network system to patients notifying them by telephone and email of their appointment. The calls can be customized for each day so that they can go out from a day to a week in advance. The patients know who is calling because the calls are made with the caller-id of the office and the email is sent with the email address of the office. Best of all the technology enables the office to create a personalized message for the reminders. I like the fact that there is consistency in the message being delivered.  No worrying about staff turnover and what is or is not being said now.

One of the features I like the most about this appointment confirmation tool is that, in addition to its ease of use, the confirmation calls can be personalized. The voice is warm and friendly and the message is clear and effective and, best of all, it doesn’t place any more demands on an already overextended dental staff, and it doesn’t have to be managed by the doctor.

Moreover, the system is persistent. It doesn’t just make one phone call and stop. For every call Elexity delivers, it will attempt to connect to the recipient 6 times, once every 15 minutes to get that person live or by voicemail. If the call goes into voicemail, a message is left for the patient. If after the 6th attempt the system has been unable to reach the patient, your office is notified. Busy patients and busy practices both benefit significantly.

Next week, communicate with your patients year round, easily. 

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com.

Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here.

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