Maximising dental recalls
An effective dental recall procedure is the best way to keep patients attending regularly. This obviously needs to run alongside educating your patients on the importance of visiting regularly. Recall is one of the most important systems that you can organise in your dental practice.
Successful recall systems require your practice to employ the right systems and communication channels with patients, and it will require your whole team to be on board with the same message.
The key to a successful continuing care program is to make sure that it is a routine task, just like putting in payments or making a deposit. It is too easy for patients to fall through the cracks. Most patients do not keep up with their continuing care due dates. However, most treatment is scheduled following a recall appointment. This is why it is crucial to make sure that your recall system is solid.
1.Recall best practice
An effective dental recall system is critical to running any successful practice. Surprisingly few dental practices have any type of effective process in place and many allow patients to fall down the ‘recall hole’. The more effectively you remind your patients, the less they will put off their care.
The best way is to use multiple forms of communication, e.g. SMS, post, and phone call. Studies show that, historically, a recall system based on one communication with patients would be likely to result in 50% effectiveness whereas sending three recall messages each using different media can result in recall effectiveness as high as 85%.31
Paper-based recalls is the commonly used method, yet text messaging is an incredibly effective way to communicate with your patients concerning recalls. Think about it – most people who receive a text read it pretty much instantly.
2.Dental practice management software and recalls
There are some great dental practice management software packages that can fully automate your recall and reminder systems. By using software automation, you can achieve high success rates as the automation removes the reliance on your team, leaving them to spend more time communicating personally with your patients.
It is important for your practice management software to include a recall system that your staff can understand and use. If your software is too complicated, look into getting a new software system or offer training to your staff.
Contact your practice management software supplier and see if you can arrange some time with a consultant to learn and set up your software to maximise its recall functionality.
3.Monitor your recalls
Examining your recall rate and hygiene recall rates are really important measures for your dental business.
4.Use recalls marketing your dental practice
Recalls are another opportunity for you to market to your patients. Don’t just send the recall – add in a marketing message. Include some collateral in the envelope with your recall reminder, or on the card, or in the text message.
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Named as ‘Australian Dental Industry Professional Of The Year 2018’, Carolyn S Dean is the author of ‘Fully booked – Dental marketing secrets for a full appointment book’ and is the Managing Director at My Dental Marketing. Carolyn is a widely-known seminar speaker and dental marketing consultant working extensively with dental professionals.