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Recall....your number one focus

Are patients not jumping at the chance to schedule their next hygiene visit? Whether  it is due to busy schedules, simple forgetfulness, or financial and insurance concerns, it's becoming more common for patients to stretch out the time between their dental hygiene visits. With this idea that their twice a year cleanings are 'free", getting those patients who need to come in more than every six a months, becomes an even bigger challenge. 

But recall in hygiene is really the heartbeat of the practice. Patients need to understand the importance of their oral health, and your team needs to be proactive in getting them scheduled. 

So how can you improve dental hygiene recall in your practice? These 5 tips will help.

1.     Educate your patients about the importance of dental hygiene. Explain that regular hygiene appointments are critical to maintaining dental health. Make sure patients understand all the elements involved in a dental hygiene appointment — it's not just "teeth cleaning." You and the hygienist  are experts in this category, do not be afraid to tell them what they need, and don't let insurance override you.

2.     Encourage patients to make their next hygiene appointment as soon the current appointment is over. If you let the patient walk out with a promise to call and set up an appointment "later," you increase the chances that this will never happen. Instead, your hygienist should be expected to schedule a minimum of 85% of their patients from their chair. Develop scripts with all of your staff, so that patients are routinely asked and encouraged to schedule. 

3.     Send appointment reminders and confirm appointments in advance. When patients make dental hygiene appointments months in advance, it's essential to give them plenty of notice as the appointment approaches. With practice management software today, and other technology,  your patients get automatic reminders about their upcoming appointments. You can remind patients via email, text message, or automated phone calls — whichever method they prefer. Confirmation replies go directly to your practice’s PMS, so your front desk staff doesn't have to manually update the schedule.

4.     Stay on top of confirmations. Sometimes, patients don't reply to hygiene appointment reminders, even when you've contacted them several times. Have a plan where your hygiene coordinator follows up continually until they get confirmation. 

5.     Use social media and email marketing to drive home the importance of regular dental hygiene appointments. Share statistics, articles or videos about the value of professional dental hygiene with your practice’s social media followers. (Create your own content, or link to useful content from other sources.) You can also include this type of information in email newsletters that you send to your patients.

Sina is a life-long Alaskan, who found a home as a leader in a dental office. Although she stepped away from an official role in the dental industry, to pursue her entrepreneur spirit, she also found that her love of dentistry and passion for coaching others was a match well made. Her philosophy is that dentistry is like all other business, and that to be successful you need to learn a few fundamental things. Her approach is to work side-by-side with dentists and their staff, to create a cohesive, fluid unit and offer an outstanding patient and team experience through exemplary customer service. Like to know more about Senaden and how we can be of service? Call 907-952-8101 today or email at sina@senaden.com.

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