For many practices, investing in recall just isn’t a priority. They send generic postcards via snail mail to patients who are overdue and think that’s enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and your lackluster recall efforts could be part of the reason practice overhead costs are soaring.
Your recall system represents the highest potential for bringing money into your practice and reducing overhead costs. That’s why you should invest in it rather than ignore it. Not sure how? Follow these three tips to revamp recall and reduce out-of-control overhead:
1. Hire a Patient Coordinator. Revamping recall isn’t something you should ask your hygienist to do when she has some down time. That won’t be very effective. I suggest hiring a Patient Coordinator and tasking this team member with calling and scheduling a specific number of past due patients a day. And don’t expect this employee to magically know what to do. Provide the proper training as well.
2. Focus on patient education. Educated patients are more likely to schedule treatment and to keep their appointments—and they’re also more likely to stay loyal. Spend time educating patients during every visit with informative videos, images from intraoral cameras and x-rays. Talk to them about the services you provide and how you can help them meet their oral health goals. When you take the time to provide education, patient retention and productivity numbers will go up while overhead goes down.
3. Communicate with the hygienist. Don’t tell patients everything looks OK before checking in with your hygienist. This will make them think everything is fine even if it isn’t, and will negate any education the hygienist just completed. Touch base with the hygienist before talking to patients chairside. Spend time discussing the trouble spots identified and why it’s so important to monitor those spots. This will show patients you care and help them see just how important regular visits are to maintaining their oral health—making them more likely to schedule and keep appointments with your practice.
If you’re ignoring recall, it’s damaging your practice. Investing in this system is critical to your success, and will lead to higher production numbers and a reduction in overhead.