The top priority for all dental front desk team members is to fill the schedule. In this section, you will learn how to work the most popular approach in dentistry for filling hygiene schedules – monthly recall. Monthly recall means patients are due this month for their dental cleaning or perio maintenance visit. Our job is to make sure that everyone due, gets scheduled.
To know what your goal should be, work the monthly recall system for 2 months and then average your performance. Once you have the average, perhaps add 10% to create a stretch goal.
You may want to have two types of goals for your practice:
Goal #1: ____% required to complete this task and move toward finishing this level
Goal #2: ____% required to receive a bonus
To calculate your performance against these goals, you need to work your monthly recall for three months and then average your success.
Total on List: ___________
Messages left: ___________
Disconnected/No Answer: ____________
Talked to: ______________
Percentage scheduled (Scheduled/Total on list) : _____________
Remember – you are to call EVERYONE on the list – no matter whether they were sent to collections inactive, no ins, are a day of only patient, etc.
We want these folks to know that they are overdue & motivate them to get back in.
Record every conversation you have with a patient that does NOT schedule to find out WHY. Write the patient name, why they are not returning & how you handled their objection. Review with Jill at end of month for coaching to handle objections.
To print a tracking sheet for monthly recall: Monthly Recall List Tracking
Your team leader prints this list in Excel each month. Instructions to run the recall cards and to print each call list are in Secretary Level 4. Your job is to call each patient on this list to schedule their dental cleaning or periodontal maintenance visit and complete your calls within the month. You should be very successful with this list because these people are due right now. Patients on this list have received an email and a postcard inviting them to schedule their cleaning/exam, but they have not yet scheduled. Your responsibility is to call & get them scheduled. Your goal is to schedule patients from your list in order to achieve the goal set for your practice.
Your script for this call is: Hi, this is Jill with HealthPark Dentistry. You’re due for your cleaning, exam and oral cancer screening and I’m calling to get that scheduled for you. Would a morning or afternoon appointment be more convenient for you?
Your script for leaving a message is: Hi, this is Jill with HealthPark Dentistry. I’m showing you’re due for your cleaning, exam and oral cancer screening and I’m calling to get that scheduled for you. Please call me back at ____.
To work this list:
Check to see if this first patient has a scheduled appointment, if not, give them a call. Be sure to check if the patient scheduled and then call right away – don’t get caught just checking down the list for every patient because you will get interrupted and then have to turn around and recheck these same patients before you make your calls.
Expect to make up to 2 phone calls and send 1 letter or email per patient as you try to get in touch with them – you cannot schedule anyone you do not talk to. The guidelines are: Call each patient the first time, if you do not get to talk with them, then it is okay to leave a message. Next, check in one week to see if they called back in and scheduled an appointment – if not, send the patient a recall letter or email personalized from you.
One week later, check to see if they scheduled and then you can call the patient a second time. Again, if you do not talk to them, leave a message. That’s it. At the most we will call twice and send one more written letter or email.
When you receive your pages (the lists are divided among the team), note in your planner the days/times you plan to make your calls in order to finish your calls by end of month. For example, you might estimate 1 hour per page of calls so if you have 2 pages, estimate 2 hours to get through your call list. Select a day/time in your planner when you can work on this call list for 2 hours. The 2nd time you note in your planner, make sure it is at a different time of day (if you made your first calls in the evening, make your next calls in the afternoon, and your final attempt in the am). It’s best to complete all your calls within the first 2 weeks of the month, that way if any of your patients calls back, you can get them scheduled within the month.
Make the calls and note the response of the patient on the list.
If the patient moved out of state, died or was dismissed from our practice – go into the family file, double click on the name & address box, choose status non-patient and delete their last visit date. This will make sure they do not show up on any future recall lists. If the patient was only in for an emergency, was written off, or says they will call us – go into the family file, double click on the name and address box and choose inactive. Only choose non-patient for patients that moved out of state, passed away or were dismissed because we will not see this names again.
Mark on the sheet the number of patients for each category after you have finished going through the patient list.
If patient has moved locally or changed dentists – ask why and note reason on your list. Did we upset this person? Could we resolve the concern so they will come back to us? Find out!
As you make your calls, you need to make notes in the computer & on your list. To enter your notes, go to family file, choose your patient, Click on the Continuing Care button (3 blue triangles looks like a recycle button), this shows recall for the family, Click on Status & choose the one that fits (left message, will call us, etc.). Then close the window.
Next, go to ledger, click on Guarantor button & insert date line & type “Left msg for recall”. On your list, use a pencil & note the # of the call – 1, 2 or if 3 then you can write left message, scheduled, will call us, etc. At the end of the month, you should go back through your call list & look up any of your patients in the computer to see if they scheduled an appointment (they may have called back & someone else may have scheduled them). I have seen team members highlight the names of patients that schedule appointments – this makes it easy to see how successful you were.
Add up the total scheduled and the total patients on your list. Write these numbers at the bottom of your list & figure the percentage. (Percentage scheduled = Patients scheduled / Total patients) At the end of the month, you should go back through your patients and change their status in the family file either to inactive (for patients you do not talk to that might come back to us) or to non-patient (for patients that you talk to that say they have moved, switched to another dentist or give another reason that they are not returning). The reason for these 2 types of statuses is that we will send a letter each quarter to all active and inactive patients trying to motivate them to schedule an appointment. We do not send these letters to non patients.
Note in the patient’s clinical notes that you have tried to reach those 3 different times to schedule recall or procedures.
Return your list to your team leader after you have completed contacting all the patients.
” I’ve transferred to another dentist” – “I’m sorry to hear that, may I let the doctor know why?”
“I’ve switched to another dentist closer to home” – First, look to see where they live in the family file. Then say, “Okay, I have an address for you at ______________ – is that still correct?” If they confirm that yes, they still live in ________ or somewhere else within a 20-30 minute drive of our office, then say “You know, that doesn’t seem like that long of a drive – was there any other reason that you decided to change dentists?” – Write up any complaints and give to the team leader. Or, you may find out that they left for another reason that you can help them with – again, find out the details, write them down and ask if the office manager can contact them to try to resolve the concern.
“I’ve switched to another dentist for insurance reasons” – Check the family file to see what their insurance plan is – “I have ________________ dental insurance for you in our computer system, is that correct?” If they mention an insurance that we are out-of-network for, then you can say “You know, we have found that people are receiving similar reimbursement no matter whether they are in or out of network. Would you like for me to see what your out of network benefits would be if we provided your care? Is so, give to our insurance/billing person and tell the patient to expect an answer in 1 week. Is out of pocket cost your main reason for switching or do you have any other concerns ? If money is their issue just thank them for letting you know. If there are other problems, then write up a complaint form & give to the team leader.
“We moved.” – “Okay, may I get your new address to send you a copy of your records?”
“I am just too busy to schedule right now.” – “Boy I sure understand how crazy things get. I would love to help you to get this off your list of things to do – maybe I can schedule you on an evening or weekend if that will help?” If they still will not schedule, then check their ledger to see if they had any treatment done & if so say “You know, one more thing to consider is that you have a warranty on all the treatment you have done as long as you come in on time for your cleanings – are you sure you don’t want to go ahead & schedule your appointment?”
“I need to have an evening only.” – “Great, I can do that for you.” Now offer to put them on the prime time call list & let them know when to expect a call and offer your first available appt as well.
Signed off by ______________________ date _____________ – To complete this task, you must achieve the goal set by the practice.