Dentrix Ascend Training
Emails / Text Reminders
How many apps do you have on your phone? It’s rumored that since 2008, there have been 75 billion apps downloaded onto iPhones. That’s a lot of icons.
Maybe you are a digital neat freak too and you find it necessary to group your apps into folders, just to try to keep things organized? You probably also have had the experience of downloading a new app just to discover that it doesn’t meet your needs. Do you immediately delete it? Or, just hang on to it – letting it clutter up your screen?
I think every dentist I know (well, there is one . . .) subscribes to a digital reminder system – DemandForce, Lighthouse, Smile Reminder, etc. I am a big fan of these programs since I love the ‘set it and forget it’ nature of confirmations and recall using email and text messaging. I also enjoyed making the most of my DemandForce program – sending out quarterly e-newsletters and creating custom surveys. However, most offices I know never use their digital reminder system for anything beyond the ‘set it and forget it’ communications.
If you’re not going to make the most of one of these programs (and you should, because they’re not cheap!) – then one of the features you’ll appreciate in Dentrix Ascend is the automated reminders included with the software itself. This gives you the opportunity to drop your separate digital reminder system – just like deleting extra apps on your phone you’re not using.
The confirmations piece of the Dentrix Ascend patient communication is easy to use – and they’ve set up several useful templates as well. For offices that pre-book prophies, you can use the appointment reminder to set a cascading schedule of reminders to start when you like, and then continue – and even discontinue – as you like.
Automated Reminders for Broken Appointments (Great Idea!)
Interestingly, they’ve also allowed you to set a patient communication based on a broken or no-show appointment. This makes it simple to let your patients know when they’ve missed a visit with your office – and to send out a standardized communication as well. I like this option because so many offices have a problem with broken appointments – and by automating the process, it allows you to ‘set it and forget it’ and improved communication on this touchy subject occurs automatically. The only downside I see to this automated approach is that it sends the same message to everyone who breaks an appointment – whether it was the first instance or the third. Wouldn’t it be cool if the system could count and you could customize the message based on how many broken appointments were tracked?
Anyway, I think this is a great feature that should definitely be turned on in the practice – just create a generic “we missed you” message that automatically goes out via text first, then email if the text doesn’t go through. The fastest you can set this automated message to send is 1 hour after the broken appointment. I wish it gave me minutes as an option – I’d set it to 1 minute and hope that the immediate communication might actually let me salvage some appointment time!
Another benefit of turning on this automated broken appointment message is that letting patients know they missed appointments right away increases patient communication with your administrative team. Patients who called to cancel their appointment who receive a text message informing them they missed an appointment will quickly call the office to set them straight! This is actually a good thing because we want our scheduling and documentation to be accurate. This keeps our front desk team on their toes because they know that they better feel confident before they change the status to broken!
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One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 18+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.