Dental Patient Retention & Marketing

Are more patients leaving through the back door than coming in through the front?
One of the most common misconceptions dentists have is that patient records in the computer or in the files constitute active patients. In reality, only those patients that have been in the practice for a hygiene recall appointment in the past 12 months should be counted as active patients. The dental recall system, or lack thereof, is a huge factor in patient attrition.

Educate and communicate with your patients.
Adequate communication between doctor, hygienist and the patient must reinforce the need for ongoing follow up care. It is unfortunately common for many dental office staff to refer to the hygiene appointment as a “routine” checkup, which trivializes the importance of the recall and confirming the patient’s perception that these appointments are not important.

If there are too many open appointment times, clearly the recall system needs to be improved.
An effective recall system ensures that your practice has no more than an occasional opening in the weekly schedule. Too many dental offices take for granted that their patients will continue to return as recall patients, but when they don’t, there is no system in place to get them back on the schedule. Or, some dental practices that pre-appoint six months in advance are assuming 100% retention, but that is not the reality. Pre-scheduling six month recalls is a good start, but it is essential that patients are educated about the value of the recall and the front office staff must systematically follow-up. Call those patients with unscheduled treatment plans, those that have missed appointments, recall patients. They need to know that you care about them and you are concerned about their oral health and well-being.

Speak Your Mind