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Keep your dental practice thriving with recall

Feb. 25, 2016
Most dental practices are aware of the value of recall visits. If not, now is the time to learn how recall visits can make a huge difference in the success of your practice.
Recall is the heartbeat of the practice. You’ve probably heard this, but do you believe it? I recently found myself in a room of young dental team members who were not so sure about recall. Their thinking was that the largest amount of production comes from the restorative operatories. In a way, they were right: a healthy general practice will find that two-thirds of all production is completed by the dentist.

However, they forgot to consider that any successful business, whether restaurant, pest control, or airline, rely and thrive on returning customers. While the emergency ant infestation will be welcomed by the bug exterminator, it's really not good business to hope for the phone to ring. The same can be said of a dental office. Knowing that you have a schedule full of productive appointments is the ideal way run an office, and then you can make time for those emergency appointments that may or may not happen.

Focusing on recall patients is valuable to the dental practice in many ways:

1. You ensure that you will have return patients, hence the full schedule.
2. Because the majority of treatment is diagnosed out of the hygiene chair, you are feeding the restorative side of the clinical house.
3. Patients who have delayed diagnosed treatment, when brought back through the hygiene operatory, have that important time with the doctor to discuss the reason for the necessary treatment.
4. You will maintain retention as you continue to bring patients in for their regular checkup because it's easy for them to fall through the cracks when they don't hear from you.

ALSO BY DENISE CIARDELLO:4 steps to scheduling your dental practice
The missing piece in your dental practice

When an established office finds itself needing new patients, I often recommend that they look through their database. Are there patients who they can reactivate by bringing them in for a regular hygiene visit? Most likely there are, and they would be willing to come back into the office since they are already familiar with the dentist and the team.

Start setting up a recall communication schedule to contact patients who haven’t been reappointed. Regular follow-up with your patients can bring them back. Your dental practice software may provide a recall report that can help you quickly find those patients and their contact information, as well as provide automated activities such as printing postcards or sending text messages.

Keep your practice humming by focusing on returning patients and hygiene appointments, not just operatory procedures. Paying attention to recall is a win-win—your schedule will stay full, and everyone in your office will be happy.

To learn more, read my new eBook, “5 Ways to Increase Your Practice Productivity.”

Denise Ciardello always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur, and today she is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions (GTS), a practice management consulting firm. Denise is also a professional speaker and published author who brings experience, insight, creativity, and a sense of humor into her consulting. Her industry distinctions include serving as president of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants, and membership in the National Speakers Association, the Hill Country Women in Business, Toastmasters International, and Directory of Dental Speakers. She has been a Certified Trainer since 2005, and is a past winner of the Trainer of the Year award.