Linda and I have noticed that the majority of our clients are concerned about the lack of patients in hygiene and related hygiene production loss and restorative production loss. Generally we find that it is important for a practice to ensure there is a system for how and when recall is worked, and a person accountable for the results. Additionally, and equally importantly, the hygienists role in working with the patient to understand why a hygiene appointment is important and will save the patient money. We often find practices emphasizing health when all patients are concerned about is money (or insurance). How are you creating value for patients as it relates to money not their health?
A recent survey by TeleVox of over 9,000 dentists in the US uncovered some very interesting patient recall data. Findings showed that Mondays are the worst days for appointment no-shows. 75% of appointment no-shows are Mondays and Fridays. 50% of no-shows are in the age-group between 15-24. And, three quarters of all respondents said that men are the worst no-show offenders. The cost to a practice of an empty seat doesn’t only involve revenue loss from the missed appointment; there is also the cost of re-scheduling. How do these statistics compare to your own practice? Would it make sense to schedule fewer appointments for men on Mondays and Fridays? Would this make an immediate impact on no-shows? Do your hygienists appoint patients for their next hygiene visit? Do they use a verbal skill that incorporates an individual reason for that patient to come back at the interval recommended and not the quick and easy “you are due in 6 months, let’s get you scheduled, oh and we’ll take xrays then too”? Are patients leaving your practice with an appointment? Do you track this, even for the short term, to make sure it is happening?
Most of you know we have been recommending using an automated stand alone system to enhance your recall process. These systems also generate patient testimonials for use in practice promotion. Recall is an important system in all practices, are you ensuring it is “worked”so that both your hygiene schedule and the restorative schedule remain full?