Identifying Active Dental Patients is Important
Identifying active dental patients begins by looking at their last appointment in the office. And I go back 18 months. I believe anyone who has been seen in the last 18 months is an active dental patient.
Some consultants and dentists will debate the time period. And they want to count everyone seen in the last 24 months.
But keep in mind, that means an increase in the number of team members needed. Especially hygienists. So we want to be careful not to inflate this number. Or you may end up with open hygiene time that you just can’t seem to fill.
Are All Active Patients Hygiene Patients?
Not all active patients are hygiene patients. In a general practice, some of our patients see periodontists for all their hygiene needs.
And we might see these patients just for exams and restorative care. Maybe whitening procedures even or help with bite issues.
So, it’s not just our patients in our hygiene programs that we count here.
Stick with whatever guidelines you set. Whatever that looks like. If you decide you want to use 24 months or 12 months as your guide, stick with it. And let’s take a look at how to best calculate those numbers and when you want to look at them.
Weekly Hygiene Reactivation
Follow my Weekly Management Systems to help inactivate patients. If you consistently work unscheduled hygiene patients each week, this will be easy. Because you will identify all patients who have not scheduled in 18 months. So you can then inactivate their accounts.
Clear out their continuing care settings. Remove their insurance and employer info. And you want to track how many patients you do inactivate each month. Your dentist should see their names and just who has not scheduled.
Identifying Active Dental Hygiene Patients Separately
Try to calculate hygiene patients separately. If at all possible, it’s great to know just how many active hygiene patients you have.
Check with your software support if necessary. But to be able to determine how many hygiene hours you need each week, this is critical.
If it seems the hygiene schedule is over booked or you can’t fill time, you will need these patient numbers.
When It's Been Awhile
Identifying active dental patients is difficult if you don’t keep up! It’s a very time consuming project. And many dentists don’t like to put the time and effort into getting to it. But it’s so important. This practice keeps your database clean. And also allows you to make better business decisions. Rather than guessing at what you need. You can make decisions on what is really going on.
Identifying Active Dental Patients
One Patient at a Time
Print one report a week. If you are trying to catch up. Maybe run all active patients that have a last name beginning with the letter “A” one week. And just work through that. Cleaning out any old accounts and charts. Inactivating and clearing information as you go along. But all the while, continue to work through regular maintenance. Like my hygiene reactivation. And you will get there! Promise!
Document and Delegate This Process
Our hygiene reactivation systems help produce an accurate patient count. This matters on several levels. Because we want to know how to calculate the hygiene hours we truly need.
One day we may also want to bring in an associate dentist or additional auxiliary team members. Accurate numbers either support or deny this need.
Plus, we will need to sell the dental practice one day. I’ve worked with dentists who bought a practice with incorrect information. They were told there were hundreds more patients than the practice actually had. Because patients had never been inactivated!