For a simple, effective method to reinforce hygiene visits and reduce no-shows and cancellations consider this program of rewarding your patients for the behavior you and your practice want.
The beauty of this is: it is simple, patients understand it, it can create a cross networking alliance with another local business and it works! The root of the program comes from the idea of rewarding patients for their oral health decisions. A similar program can be implemented to “warranty” your work, if a patient maintains their recall schedule they receive a warranty of X years for the dental procedure.
Here is what to do:
Ask your patients for a reasonable commitment to their oral health. The reasonable commitment you are asking for is to maintain their recommended cleaning schedule. Patients can receive a reward for as few as two cleaning appointments in a year. For patients who need theraputic treatment their reward level is based on the hygienists’ recommended interval. If / when dental treatment becomes necessary they have a choice of rewards:
1. 10% direct discount to their family bill for services rendered.
2. A gift card to a local area business valued at 10% of the services needed.
As an example, a patient requires $950 of treatment. The practice checks their account history or patient chart, learns they are a periodontal maintenance patient with an interval of 4 months or 3 hygiene visits per year and determines if they have had those 3 visits in the past year. If so, they are offered the reward of their choice and recognized for their good oral health decisions!
This is a wonderful story a patient can tell their friends. Creating moments that encourage patients to speak about your practice positively have an effect on the old school “word of mouth” referral numbers. An additional benefit is when a patient or family asks if you will participate in their insurance plan or their network, you have a ready answer. “We have our own insurance plan in the office and you can participate in it! No sign-up, or fees, are necessary, just maintain your recall schedule and you are in! Effectively, your insurance coverage is increased by 10% for your voluntary participation. This is a wonderful program the Doctor offers our patients!”
This is a simple effective method of encouraging patients to maintain their recall schedule and tell their friends about what a wonderful practice you have!
Be certain to determine if your state allows you to “reward” patients, this can also be seen as a “kickback” and some states expressly prohibit it.