Dentist Counseling

Tuesday Tip from Pride Institute: Nip cancellations and no-shows in the bud

Sept. 23, 2014
There are some steps dentists can take in an effort to decrease the number of cancellations and no-shows.

So you're having trouble with cancellations and no shows. Join the club. There is an epidemic of this issue in practices around the country. We could hang our hats on any number of reasons, with the biggest one being "the economy," but that doesn't solve the problem. We can also look to our methods and technologies of how we’re reaching our patients with our confirmation systems – postcards, emails, texts, phone calls, chauffeur-driven limousines! But let's look inward at something we can do to build value for our appointments – the patient debrief.

A properly done debrief at the end of an appointment gives a patient a reason to return for the next appointment. A debrief is not just post-operative instructions, but rather answers to "who, what, when, where, why, and how."

What was done at today's visit? Why it is so important for them to return for periodontal maintenance (since this epidemic seems to be hitting the dental hygiene department most severely)? Who will they see? When should this appointment occur? All these questions should be addressed. Also, a simple, yet open-ended closing question, "What questions or concerns might I address for you?" will allow patients to share any concerns they might have about making the next appointment. Make sure you’re sitting "knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye" with the patient, and not multitasking by cleaning up your operatory while holding this important debrief!

Is this a silver bullet solution to the cancellations and no-shows? Nope. But it will lead patients to the information they need to understand why they should return to your practice.

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