Set up a Recall System

How to set up a recall system

Would you like to have an organized, comprehensive approach to make sure that every patient returns for their prophy or perio maintenance appointments? Would you like to help your patients to stay on time with their recall visits so they can stay healthy and avoid expensive repair dentistry – all the while, keeping your hygiene schedule full?

You can do it.

All it takes is to establish a structure for Who will be contacted; How they will be contacted; What the communication will be; When we will contact them and finally, creating a way to measure our success.

Who: You can set up a recall system for any procedure for which you want patients to return

(This includes the standards like prophy, perio maintenance but also can include special follow ups for implants, dentures or sleep apnea appliances.)

How: How will you set up your automated emails/text messages? How will you run the lists for each recall type?

What: What will your emails say? What will your postcards say? If you decide to use perio maintenance letters to maintain the privacy and communicate the need for their return – what will the content of those letters be? If you call patients, what will you say?

When: When will you send out the emails/texts? When will you mail postcards or letters? When will you call patients?

Measurement: How will you track your success?

If you answer each one of these questions for each recall type, then you have your system.

Calculate your Recall Success %

Let’s start by looking at how you are doing with your recall success. How many patients are due and are coming in – vs. how many are due and are not coming in? Patients that do not return for their regular recall visit may drift away and end up leaving your practice. To find out how successful you are now, let’s run two reports and then use the results to calculate your recall success.

Patients Due and Scheduled for Prophy Next Month ______ (A)

Patients Due but not Scheduled for Prophy Next Month ______ (B)

Total Patients Due _________ (A+B= C)

Prophy Recall Success % _________ (A / C)

To find Patients due for a prophy next month with an appointment scheduled (A) and Patients due for a prophy next month but do not have an appointment scheduled (B) – here are the Dentrix instructions:

  1. Office manager, letters, continuing care – highlight any letter to create “Recall Prophy”
  2. Select Edit – and set the following defaults:
  1. Patient name: A-Z
  2. All providers
  3. Check status:  Patient, Uncheck gender, position
  4. Do not check the “Guarantors only” box
  5. Billing types – choose the ones used for active patients in your practice
  6. Under aging – no boxes should be checked
  7. In the field that says Continuing Care –  choose the continuing care you use for your prophy patients
  1. You also need to edit the Continuing Care field – click on the double arrow to bring up the window.
  1. Due date for next month (example 10/1/15 – 10/31/15)
  2. Prior tx field should be blank
  3. Check the box that says “with attached appointment”
  4. Click OK to close this window
  1. Click on Create Data File Only – click OK
  1. Now it counts – you can watch the numbers as it looks for the patients who have a continuing care appointment in that month. This takes a few minutes since it has to look at each patient in the system.
  2. Now you need to copy and paste this file into excel so you can see the total number of patients. You will enter this number into A above.

Repeat these instructions – but edit the Continuing Care field to checkmark “without attached appointment”. Run this report and copy into excel to find the total number – enter this number into B.

Now, add up A + B to find the total number of patient due next month. Enter this number into C above.

Lastly, divide A by C – this will compare the number of patients due with an appointment against the total patients due. This will show your percentage success rate.

Here’s an example:

Patients Due and Scheduled for Prophy Next Month = 400 (A)

Patients Due but not Scheduled for Prophy Next Month = 100 (B)

Total Patients Due = 500 (A+B= C)

Prophy Recall Success % = 400/ 500 = 80% (A / C)

In this example, we see that 100 patients are due for a prophy next month, but do not have a scheduled appointment. If we set up a system for following up with these patients, we can measure to see how many actually come in!

Done for you Recall System

If you would like to have a comprehensive recall system so that you retain patients and fill your schedules, I have written the instructions to run recall reports for the following procedures/visits:

  1. Adult prophys
  2. Teen prophys – Ages 11-17
  3. Child prophys – under 11
  4. Ortho
  5. Perio maintenance due to see Hygienists
  6. Perio maintenance due to see Dr. Hamal (Periodontal Specialist)
  7. Denture follow up
  8. Pediatric dentist ortho cases
  9. Sleep appliance check up
  10. Implants


You will receive instructions to print postcards or letters for each one of these procedures. For fun, I also include instructions to create a QR code from a free website so you can insert QR codes into your postcards or letters as well.

In addition to instructions for printing these cards and letters, I also include instructions to help you run call lists that your team can use to make phone calls to patients to fill the schedule. I include instructions for the following call lists:

  1. Monthly Recall
  2. Yearly Recall
  3. Unscheduled Treatment
  4. 5 Year Reviews
  5. Pediatric recall list

And, as a bonus, I include a link to a section of training on making the phone calls to patients – and handling their objections.

Click this button to check out this done-for-you system:

Set up a Recall System