Director's Message: Whose fault is it anyway — no shows and cancellations?

A high number of no-shows and cancellations create a lot of stress for dental professionals. After all, they affect the schedule, efficiency, profitability, balance, service, case acceptance, and, oh yeah, often times a hygienist’s salary.

Jun 10th, 2014

A high number of no-shows and cancellations create a lot of stress for dental professionals. After all, they affect the schedule, efficiency, profitability, balance,service, case acceptance, and, oh yeah, often times a hygienist’s salary.

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If your practice is struggling with no-shows, consider looking at the practice systems vs. symptoms. Consider:

  1. Were the patient’s/parent’s objections handled during the last visit and did he/she value and commit to the next appointment?
  2. Did a full debrief occur to reinforce the patient’s understanding and commitment to the next appointment?
  3. Did the patient have unhandled financial concerns?
  4. Did a “live” confirmation call, email, or text occur? If yes, did we fail to address the patient’s concerns/obstacles? Should we be contacting our patients sooner or more often?
  5. Does this patient have a pattern of not showing or canceling with no accountability?
  6. Are you tying payment arrangements to the patient's visit? If yes, when the patient doesn’t have the money they will cancel. Can you create different arrangements to avoid this obstacle?
  7. Do you have strong internal guidelines to address a patient who no-shows or cancels? Do you present your guidelines with a benefit to the patient/parent?
  8. Are you comfortable with your verbal skills for treatment commitment and/or confirmation?
  9. When a patient does call to cancel, do you tie your concern back to their clinical needs and wants?
  10. Are you clear about the patient’s wants and desires and what’s standing in the way?

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What are two action steps you can do in over the next 30 days to decrease no shows and cancellations?

Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, MSEC
RDH eVillage, Director

Kristine’s disclosures: Take my super-quick quiz to determine the most profitable use of your time and where to focus with your case acceptance system. Sign up to receive your assessment at www.kristineahodsdon.com

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