Effective patient recalls
Practices often neglect looking at how they can improve revenue generation from within the practice. Although dealing with patient recalls may seem like a chore, having an effective process in place will lead to a far more efficiently run dental practice, increase your plan memberships and improve patient loyalty.
We have rounded up our top tips gleaned from our client practices over the years:
Have a process in place
Utilise your practice management software to its full potential – get adequate training from your supplier and ensure all team members are fully versed.
Make a member of the team responsible for patient recalls. Measuring, monitoring and reporting on patient recalls regularly together with ensuring that the recall process is adhered to will pay dividends.
Pre-schedule hygiene appointments
Many practices find that pre-scheduling hygiene appointments with eligible patients to be highly effective. Most patients will have access to their calendar on their phone so booking their next appointment before they leave the practice works well for all involved.
Check patients’ preferred method of communication
Always check with patients how they preferred to be contacted – some people prefer text others email – they will be far more receptive to their chosen method of communication.
Regularly communicate with patients
Don’t only ever contact your patients for a recall. In order to build long-term relationships with your patients, you must communicate with them regularly. Send out regular newsletters (email and/or print based) keeping patients informed on what’s going on at the practice and educating them about good oral health care – this will have such a positive impact on your patient attendance and therefore bottom line.
Get your recall message right
If you are sending your recalls via post, always address letters to patients by their name – a blanket ‘dear patient’ will no doubt be ignored.
Watch the overall tone of the recall and use ‘you’ – ‘you are due a check-up’, ‘your oral health’ and so forth. Explain to patients why the need regular check-ups – educate them about their oral health and the importance of regular attendance.
Also reassure those patients who are long over-due that they won’t be judged.
Promote your dental plan
Just because a patient doesn’t join the plan straight-away, doesn’t mean they never will. Regularly and consistently remind your patients about the benefits of being a plan member – your email/paper based newsletter is an ideal opportunity to do this but also consider having posters up in the waiting room.
Check out our previous blogs on recruiting plan patients.
Be benefit focused
Be informative rather than scare-mongering. To connect with your patients and improve your chances of a response, clearly communicate the benefits of regular attendance such as:
• Full dental health examination including cancer screening
• Better to nip any issues in the bud so problems do not escalate
• Save time and money in the long-run
Always include a call-to-action
Be clear about what the patient should do next. Make it obvious what it is that they should do, for example - call us now on 01234 56789 to book your appointment – sounds obvious but by adding the phone number you are making it really easy for the patient and therefore increasing the likelihood of them responding.
On a regular basis, ensure the patient database is kept ‘clean’ and up-to-date, Frequent house-keeping keeps everything manageable leading to greater efficiency.