Unscheduled Dental Treatment Plans & Follow-Up
Unscheduled dental treatment plans are tough to manage. It’s also important that we maintain this piece of our patients’ charts well. And keep this clean and accurate. It’s also critical that the dental team is well-trained in their software system. Otherwise, the treatment plans are messy. And can be impossible to understand in a follow-up conversation with a patient. As confusion is often the result.
But, let’s assume that your treatment plans are perfect! Your team has a handle on treatment planning and everything is right. But, if it’s not, you can also use the follow-up time to really clean this up. The dental front office can enlist the help of the dental assistants. Review patient charts, notes and get things in order. And then let’s begin.
Why Follow-Up On Unscheduled Treatment?
The most obvious reason is to fill your schedule! And if we were playing Family Feud right now, I bet that would be the number one answer! Yes, it’s true. And most offices wait until there is a lull in their schedule before even doing anything with this. So if there is never a lull in their schedule, the unscheduled treatment plans go untouched. Don’t do that! Don’t wait until there is an opening in the restorative schedule that you can’t fill. And don’t leave these treatment plans to blow up on you!
Unscheduled dental treatment will blow up. This could happen in a couple of ways. A toothache might develop, or a broken tooth. And you might need to fit a dental emergency into your schedule at the worst possible time. Or worse, your patient could just disappear. And they might even see another dentist and nobody wants that. So, when do we make the time to follow-up?
When Do We Follow-Up On Unscheduled Dental Treatment?
First, let me warn you, that I have a strong opinion on this! And the second warning is, I’m going to share it with you right now! So, here goes! I’m going to give you another “Don’t”! Don’t call patients when you have an open appointment you can’t fill. Because when you do this you just sound desperate. And you are! Don’t call patients with a focus on their remaining insurance benefits!!! Just don’t do it!
Our focus must always be on our patient’s needed dentistry. And we do this without apology. We say we don’t want to be insurance driven dental providers. So, let’s be very clear with our patients. We care about their dental treatment most. Not about our schedule and certainly not about their insurance benefits. We can understand their remaining insurance benefits matter to them. But not make this our focus!
Print your unscheduled treatment report now. And start to work it. I don’t know how big or how small your report is. But regardless, you can work on at least 1 unscheduled patient’s treatment plan each day. You will have to decide for yourself once you see the report. So let’s just print the report and set the mark. Decide to reach out to at least one patient per day. And if you can reach out to more every day, do so. The idea is to be consistent and realistic.
How Do We Follow-Up?
Phone calls may not be the best way to manage this. And there are a couple of reasons I say that. First, it puts a whole lot of pressure on the person making the call. Should our patient answer the phone, this call could go south pretty quickly. And that’s not where we want to go. But the other reason is, most people don’t answer their phones today. And leaving a message probably isn’t going to bring results.
Letters are costly, time-consuming, and impersonal. And they too might not even get opened. It’s possible they could just go into a pile of junk mail on our patient’s “never to do” pile. So, we’ve wasted time, money, resources, and gone nowhere again. So, what’s the answer!?
E-mail is my favorite method of follow-up for unscheduled treatment plans! So, if you are not yet collecting email addresses… let’s do that! Begin gathering email addresses for all of your patients as they check-in, check-out, and even when they call into the office. It only takes a second to ask someone their email address.
Emails Are The Best Way To Follow-Up
Let’s face it! This is one of the hardest things to do in the dental office. Following up on unscheduled dental treatment is hard! Which is one of the reasons it often doesn’t get done. If it was fun and easy, everyone would want to do it. But it’s a job nobody really wants to tackle.
The system can be tedious. We need to run the report. Then review the report. Check patient’s chart notes and scheduled appointments. And hope we really understand everything that’s going on with this particular patient. Because we are about to open a conversation that puts us in a situation to possibly answer tough questions. Or to find out we didn’t understand what we thought we did.
Unscheduled dental treatment plans are easier to follow-up with an email system. And they are likely to be more effective too. Your patient may be more likely to open and respond to an email about their needed treatment. And when they ask a question, there is no pressure. The email can even be forwarded to the dentist to answer. Especially if the question is clinical in nature. Or if the patient is asking for special financial considerations. And your patient will be thrilled that the dentist took the time to reply themselves.
Your FREE Email Template for Unscheduled Dental Treatment Plans
Go ahead and download this free template now. And of course, you can customize this to sound more like you! Or keep it just as it is. Either way, I don’t mind! And my recommendation for the subject line of your email is just the name of your dentist. Don’t put “unscheduled treatment” in your subject line. Just something like: “Dr. Brown’s Dental Office”.
Be sure to note your patient’s response to the email in their chart. Make a note in your patient’s chart that an email was sent to follow up on whatever their unscheduled treatment is. And then note their response, if there is one. This way, you can continue to address accordingly.
Unscheduled Dental Treatment Plans System
In a nut-shell, here’s the system!
- print unscheduled treatment plan report
- review at least 1 unscheduled treatment plan every day
- send an email to that patient each day
- continue daily working through this same report
- note patient’s chart that email was sent
- forward patient’s emails with clinical questions to the dentist
- note patient’s chart of their response to your email
- print a new report once the first is completed
- consistently be working on an unscheduled dental treatment plan report
Automated Follow-Up On Unscheduled Dental Treatment
Maybe you would prefer a total automated system to take care of these follow-ups for you. I can understand that! And I’ve got just the system for you if this is your favorite idea yet! It’s a system I’ve used myself and love! Yes, you can totally automate your follow-up on unscheduled dental treatment. And even customize so you can choose to not have a patient receive automated notifications. Schedule your FREE demo today! You’ll be so glad you did!