Handling Dental Patients Rescheduling with Tracking
When we focus our time and energy on something like this, we tend to improve the numbers. Just by paying close attention to what’s going on we get better. We notice things we didn’t notice before. We look for ways to make improvements. Track the numbers every month for a year. Then track year by year for comparison.
Keep your tracking system simple. Maybe using a simple excel spread sheet with columns for each provider and day. Or if you have just one or two providers you would like to track, you could even print a daily schedule for each provider. Then, make notes right on the printed schedule.
You can calculate your percentage of revenue lost at the end of the month.
Track the amount of lost revenue by noting the procedure amount rescheduled. Only do this if you do not fill the appointment time with another procedure of equal or greater value. Only track the dollar amount you lost with each rescheduled appointment.
Try this for both hygiene and restorative schedules. You can even track by provider to give you the best possible information.
Handling Dental Patients Rescheduling Download
Dental appointments rescheduled short notice are costly. I define short notice as less than 2 business days. When a patient gives us 2 days’ notice, that’s an appointment time we can fill. The challenge for us is when we don’t have much time, and a million other things pulling on our sleeve.
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Handling dental patients rescheduling short notice begins long before your patient calls to reschedule. It actually starts with the very first conversation. When a patient is scheduling an appointment, the “handling” begins. It’s the same for both new patients and existing patients. Whether you’ve seen a patient 100 times or it’s the very first time. There should be a conversation about rescheduling.
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Communication is Key!
Power of the Pause!
Every time a patient schedules an appointment, we must communicate our expectation. “Mr. Jones, you are scheduled for Monday, June 3rd at 11 a.m. If you find that you need to reschedule that appointment, please let us know at least 2 business days before. Would you be able to give us two business days should you need to reschedule?” Pause. Wait for a commitment. “Thank you so much”.
Keep it short and sweet. There’s really no reason to make anyone uncomfortable during this conversation. But do wait for a commitment for two business days’ notice! You will say this same thing over and over during the day. Because you are going to say this with every appointment you make. If hygienists are making their own hygiene appointments, they will need to do the same.
Post this request on all patient materials. Be sure appointment cards have your reschedule request printed on them. You will also want a section of your financial policy or even a separate page for your Reschedule Policy in your new patient paperwork. Have your patient sign that they understand and agree to the policy. Not that you want to use this as a weapon. It’s really just one more way to communicate this.
Handling Dental Patients Reschedule Today
Open appointment times take priority. If an appointment opens today, we want to work on filling that time immediately. Everything else can wait. If an appointment time opens tomorrow, that certainly needs to be taken care of too. However, it is not quite as urgent as today. And 2 days out, gives us lots of time to make some magic happen.
The higher the appointment value is, the greater the priority. A rescheduled procedure with high value also takes priority of a lower value procedure. For example, if you have 2 appointments that rescheduled for tomorrow, which one do you work on first? The appointment that was of higher value gets filled first. Work to move like value appointments forward into that spot.
Schedules are Production & Priority
If you have to step away to take care of something else, return as soon as you can. Work to stay focused on filling any open appointment times before taking on any other projects. Sometimes, it is necessary to redirect your attention when the schedule just isn’t coming together. Confirmations might even be helpful in filling open appointments.