Overdue Recall: Get Patients Back on Track
Posted September 6, 2018 by Jennifer G
Life gets really busy, and it’s easy to forget about taking care of ourselves. Patients don’t always schedule a next hygiene appointment, and in the daily whirlwind that drives our productivity for the day, we overlook this. Even more importantly than this huge lost revenue source is the fact that patient health and preventive care is declining. Establishing an effective recall system that includes current patients, as well as focusing on past due ones, is important. Specifically, reach out to patients who have been dormant for several years. You’ll be surprised at how many are eager to get their oral health back on track.
To get started, consider this when reviewing your current recall program:
What does your staff say when calling a past due patient? A personal call goes a long way, and of course, we don’t want to shame anyone for letting preventive visits lapse. It helps to use phrases like we’re concerned for your oral health and we look forward to seeing you soon. Allow team members at least an hour at a time to sit down, review patient accounts, and make phone calls.
Are your patients so busy with long work hours they can’t make it in before 6 pm? You could consider offering a special extended day (or two) when you keep the office open 1-2 hours longer for hygiene patients only. Teamwork allows for a rotation of office staff to alter their hours once per week to accommodate an evening. This option for busy patients is one more way to get the appointment set.
Is the staff feeling incentivized to bring in those lapsed patients? Think about an incentive or treat such as bringing in bagels and coffee at the end of the month if your recall visit numbers reach a new high.
Pre-appoint every hygiene patient who comes in, or at least ask. This is the first step toward improving your retention rate. Soon, patients will come to expect this at their hygiene visits and your recall rate will show it. Encourage them to get the best selection of date and time and schedule it now to get one more thing off the to-do list.
Have you considered making the switch to an automated recall system? Once set up, it can manage how you are reaching out to patients with texts, emails, or postcard reminders about unscheduled visits. This is a great way to save staff time, increase response rate, and connect with patients who have previously been difficult to reach. Automated systems like Lighthouse 360 are designed to manage your current recall and reminders, but also focus on reactivation outreach.
Taking a look at your own recall program and setting aside time each month to focus on overdue patient’s is sure to be successful!