Guide to Bringing Back Patients Overdue for Dental Hygiene Visits

The key to a thriving dental practice is not just attracting new patients but also retaining and recalling the existing ones. With life’s unpredictability and the pace at which days fly, it’s common for patients to forget or delay their dental hygiene appointments. Enter ‘Patient Recall,’ a vital process for bringing overdue patients back on track. Let’s dive into the strategies that ensure a successful patient recall and a thriving dental practice.

1. Understanding the Importance of Patient Recall

Before diving into strategies, we need to grasp why patient recall is crucial:

  • Regular Visits Mean Preventive Care: Consistent dental check-ups mean catching potential issues early. A cavity treated today might prevent a root canal tomorrow.
  • Steady Revenue Stream: Regular patients guarantee a consistent income for the practice.
  • Building Trust: Consistent care cultivates a relationship of trust between the dentist and the patient.

2. Invest in a Reliable Recall System

In today’s digital age, old-school appointment books aren’t going to cut it. Invest in a patient management system that:

  • Sends automatic appointment reminders.
  • Tracks overdue patients.
  • Schedules recall appointments efficiently.

3. Personalize Your Approach

Phone Calls:

Yes, it’s old school, but sometimes, a personal touch makes a difference. A direct call can also provide an opportunity to address any concerns the patient might have.

Text & Email Reminders:

Make sure your message is concise yet warm. Personalize it with the patient’s name and, if possible, details of their last visit.

4. Offer Flexible Timing

One common reason for missing appointments is scheduling conflicts. Consider offering:

  • Extended hours once a week.
  • Weekend appointments.
  • Last-minute appointments for immediate needs.

5. Educate Your Patients

A patient who understands the importance of regular dental care is more likely to prioritize their appointments.

  • Newsletters & Blog Posts: Share the benefits of regular dental check-ups, the risks of neglecting oral health, and more.
  • Post-Appointment Guidance: Before a patient leaves, ensure they understand what was done and why they should return.

6. Loyalty Programs & Incentives

Consider offering loyalty programs or discounts for patients who adhere to regular check-ups. Something as simple as a discounted cleaning or whitening session can be a motivating factor.

7. Feedback & Open Communication

Allow your patients to share their feedback. Open channels of communication make them feel valued and heard. If they’ve been skipping appointments due to something within your control, this gives you an opportunity to address it.

8. Stay Active on Social Media

Having an active presence on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can remind patients of their overdue visits. Share before-and-after photos, dental tips, and office updates to stay in their minds.

9. Regular Team Training

Ensure your front office team is trained to handle recalls effectively. They should have the scripts, the skills, and the patience to handle these calls.

10. Keep Improving

The process of patient recall is never static. Continue monitoring, tweaking, and improving your strategies based on results and feedback.

In Conclusion

The success of a dental practice isn’t solely based on acquiring new patients; it’s also about maintaining the ones you already have. A solid patient recall strategy ensures your practice thrives, patients receive consistent care, and that ever-important dentist-patient relationship continues to flourish. So, implement these strategies, and watch your dental chairs stay occupied!

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