Within every dental practice over two years old there is an absolute FILE of GOLD commonly called past due preventive care patients. The older the practice, the deeper the veins of GOLD. For whatever reason, patients tend to fall out of the recare system and are not reactivated until a positive call to action takes place. There are several steps to take to assure the dentist that the reactivation calls are indeed positive.
1. The person(s) making the calls should be eager to strike gold with each call and not see this as a dreaded duty dumped upon them. The tone of voice of the person making each call and their commitment to the patient is important to the total success.
2. First, a purging of the charts (manually or digitally) must be done to determine how many patients are past due for preventive care. A list should be compiled but the chart must also be available to make notes/entries during the reactivation call.
3. The mission is threefold when the call is made...
A) To schedule the past due patient into hygiene;
B) To ask about other family members who also may be past due or not presently seeing a dentist; and
C) If a patient wishes to be placed in your inactive file for whatever reason... and chart that reason(s) and discuss these at every monthly team meeting. If you have no idea WHY patients are going elsewhere, you will continue losing patients for the same reason.
During any slow economic downturn, it is natural for patients to want to postpone preventive care appointments. If they say, "I know it has been over a year for our family dental visits but money is a real problem right now", don't forget to remind patients: "That is the reason Dr Smith asked me to make these calls, preventive dentistry is not expensive but emergency dentistry can be". Or, "our doctor likes to discover small dental problems before they develop into major dental emergencies". Giving them a benefit they relate to often brings the gold to the surface. They not only schedule an appointment, they keep it!
I hope you can all join me on my 2019 tour downunder in August with Dr David Moffet and Jayne Bandy in either Melbourne (August 3) or Sydney (August 10). Not one or two management pearls and growth strategies will be shared... but instead, the whole string of pearls!
About the author
Linda Miles is an internationally recognised consultant, speaker and author on dental practice management and team development. She is a successful businesswoman who not only founded LLM&A, a leading INC 500 dental management consulting firm in 1978; but also founded the Speaking Consulting Network in 1997. She sold those two businesses in 2007 and 2010 to devote more time to Oral Cancer Cause (OCC), a non-profit that saves lives by creating awareness of early staged head and neck cancer. Linda has spoken in all 50 states of the US and on four continents, authored four books and mentored many other dental consultants.