Being proactive with your appointment book means you have a system in place to contact unscheduled patients because you care about their oral health.

When you reach out to your patients because you believe to your core that oral health prevention helps them live a healthier life, you are creating a system of being proactive instead of reactive to openings in your schedule.

A Proactive Approach to Scheduling

Here are four lists to create within your practice management software to support both patients and a full schedule:

  • Patients who are willing to come in earlier if you get an opening in your schedule — The best way to create this priority list is to get in the habit of asking your patients, especially already overdue patients, if it is okay to call if you get a last-minute opening in your schedule.
  • Patients who are ready to schedule but maybe they missed their appointment or needed to check their schedule and call back — Your software should provide this list of unscheduled patients who need a follow-up call, text or email so that they don’t fall through the cracks. 
  • Patients who are overdue for their re-care appointment — At their last visit, these patients didn’t preschedule with the hygienist, and you might need to call them to check in. This is another list your practice management software should be able to generate.  
  • Patients who have unscheduled treatment — Statistics show that when you check in with patients within 30 days of the treatment plan being presented, your acceptance rate goes up by at least 30 percent. Find out what report in your practice software will give you a list of patients who had treatment presented within the past 30-90 days so you can reach out to get them scheduled.

Adding These Reports to Your Workflow

I get it, you are busy! By the end of the day, after checking patients in, checking patients out, answering phones and confirming patients, you feel like you don’t have time to fit anything else into your day.

I recommend looking at your daily schedule each morning to see when each admin team member could get “off-the-floor” time to work their reports. This might be 30-60 minutes a day when you can be off the phones and off the front line so you can get quality time to make calls to patients.

If you are a one-person show at the front desk, you might need to either use your answering service or delegate a dental assistant to help watch the phones.

Here are some guidelines you can use to help map out a schedule:

  • Weekly: Have a goal of calling 10-20 patients per week who are overdue for their re-care. These patients have already received an automated text or email reminding them they are due to visit their hygienist.
  • Weekly: Follow up with patients who had treatment diagnosed within the past 30 days and did not schedule. The conversation here is “I am just checking in to see if you have any questions about the treatment your dentist recommended at your last visit.” 
  • Daily: If you have a team at the front desk, have your own morning huddle where you can map out your off-the-floor time so each person gets quality time to make follow-up calls from their respective reports.

Has Covid-19 left your fall Schedule Empty? Join Dayna Johnson and Andrea Gallimore as they discuss ways you can quickly get your hygiene schedule full! To watch the full Facebook Live Event, watch here.

Written by Dayna Johnson
Speaker, Author and Certified Dentrix Trainer

Dayna Johnson loves her work. With more than 25 years of experience in the dental industry, Dayna’s passion for efficient, consistent, and secure systems is grounded in personal understanding and professional expertise. With a direct, pragmatic approach, Dayna helps clients develop standardized protocols for all practice management systems.

Seeing a need in the dental industry for more resources, she founded Novonee® – The Premier Dentrix Community in 2016 and helps cultivate Dentrix superusers all over the world. Dayna knows that your entire day revolves around your practice management software and the more you learn the more productive and stress-free your office will be.

When she is not training, speaking or writing an article, Dayna enjoys spending time in the garden, golfing and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Dayna is a total foodie and when on the road searches out local restaurants to support the local economy.