Re-care Reminder System
We believe in having a practice with a healthy re-care (hygiene) schedule.
Why is a healthy re-care schedule important? Patients who know and trust you, the return re-care patients, are likely to refer their friends and family to your practice. Also, as new services are added to the practice, you have built in patients to market to-people who already know and trust you!
In order to maintain the re-care schedule, it is crucial to have a systematic re-care reminder system.
There are many ways an office can remind patients about their dental appointments. Your reminder system may differ from this–and that’s OK! The point is to have a systematic approach to reaching your patients.
Let’s look at a re-care reminder system in chronological order–the way it would actually happen in a practice.
Schedule Directly with Hygienist
When a patient is in for a re-care visit today, have the hygienist who is seeing the patient schedule the next appointment. By having that clinician schedule the appointment, it is creating a DIRECT connection between the patient and his/her next appointment with your office. The patient should feel a sense of responsibility for making the next appointment because they are reserving time DIRECTLY with that clinician for the next visit. In other words, the visit has a higher value worth than if it was “just made by the front desk.”
It’s also helpful if the hygienist scheduling says something like, “Let’s reserve time for you and me to do this again in six months.” Using words like, “reserve,” “reservation,” and “book” elevate the appointment value as well. A reservation sounds more important than an appointment, doesn’t it? Use that word OFTEN and you will see an increase in your patient attendance.
The patient should be handed a card with the date and time of the next visit. If the practice uses patient communication software, perhaps consider having a setting that will also send the patient an email or text appointment reminder at the time of scheduling as well.
EVERY HYGIENE PATIENT SHOULD LEAVE THE OFFICE WITH THEIR NEXT HYGIENE APPOINTMENT SCHEDULED.
Re-Care Post Cards
Send out re-care postcards two weeks prior to the appointment. We like sending out postcards because patients need reminders in multiple ways. It is easy to run a report for two weeks out to send those post cards to patients who are scheduled. Not all of your patients are tech savvy and appreciate digital reminders. Some really like the “old fashioned” postcards.
Reach out to patients a week before their appointment and this time ask them to confirm their upcoming dental reservation. This is most easily done with a patient communication software.
For example, SolutionReach can reach out to patients via email and/or text with an upcoming dental reservation reminder that asks them to confirm that they will be attending. Most likely the patient communication software will mark these patients as confirmed in the practice management software.
The beauty of patient communication software is that once the parameters are set, then you don’t have to worry about it. It just runs in the background. As you receive these confirmations, the practice can rest easy that that patient will be there at the scheduled date and time.
Remind Patient of Appointment
Two days before the appointment, have the patient communication software send out another reminder about the upcoming appointment.
Confirm the Unconfirmed
Patients who have not responded to the weekly confirmation automatic email/text must be called two days before the appointment.
The likelihood of a patient being a no show is EXTREMELY high when they have not responded to the text or email. Do not be satisfied with just leaving that patient a message. Attempt to reach them. When you do speak with them, say, “We are calling to remind you that we have 2:00 this Saturday reserved JUST for you, Dr. Smith, and the hygienist Tammy.”
Remember–to increase our chances of the patient showing up for the appointment, we have to place a high value on it. By using the word “reserved” and letting the patient know that his/her time is specifically reserved for the patient, doctor, and hygienist, we are setting the expectation that the patient is to show up. We must SPEAK to the patient, though. We must be able to say these words to the patient for them to have meaning.
This is one of the reasons that obtaining current patient contact info is so important. We must be able to reach our patients
Study the Schedule
Study the schedule often. As smart front desk employees, we can often predict who will no show, or who will cancel at the last minute. Work that schedule. We must take it upon ourselves to call those patients and to speak with them using the correct verbiage. We must take control of the schedule to improve patient attendance.