Does your practice maximize nonsurgical periodontal treatment with all patients who need it? Does your team participate in daily organizational meetings to maximize the restorative care of patients? Does your practice take the doctor/hygiene evaluation to the most effective level to ensure the patient says “yes” to restorative and periodontal treatment?
Retaining patients is the key to profit and production expansion. Our consultants have found that the most effective system goes beyond the traditional hygiene retention system and incorporates studies and research. It centers on the power of a strong relationship with emotional ties. The department in your office that can make a vast difference in this retention percentage is hygiene.
We are going to look at retention in a different way. Yes, it is important to have the appointments pre-blocked. Yes, it is important to preappoint the patients for their hygiene appointments. Yes, it is important to send hygiene retention notifications and make confirmation calls. But the most important thing is that everything you do while you’re with the patient - before you find yourself in the throes of scheduling strategies - should help to create a sense of urgency in the patient’s mind. Focusing on patients each step of the way and communicating their dental needs with them clearly, while listening to their wants and needs, will - in itself - help solve concerns about scheduling nightmares. If you help your patients to really want the treatment - and understand that roadblocks can be removed - they will keep their appointments and proceed with treatment on schedule. Once your team has this philosophy embedded into each business system, there will be less focus on patient tracking because patients will complete treatment and stay involved in the practice.
Let’s look more closely at the three concepts we mentioned at the beginning of this article:
1. Does your practice maximize needed nonsurgical periodontal treatment with all patients?
The ADA says approximately 80 to 85 percent of adult patients have some form of periodontal disease. Look at the percentage of adult patients in your practice who are undergoing periodontal procedures. Now review the patients who are being treated with a prophylaxis (adult), Code D1110, vs. periodontal maintenance, Code D4910. Check the condition of the tissue in their mouths and make sure they are as healthy as possible. Make sure they are taken care of through your practice or referred to a specialist.
Do the best periodontal treatment possible for your patients to maximize their care and restore them to optimal health. The healthier the patients are periodontally, the healthier they will want to become by accepting the needed restorative care.
2. Does your team participate in daily organizational meetings to maximize the restorative care of the patient?
Daily organizational meetings allow your team to prepare for the day. Each day you must work hard to keep all the patients who come to see you as healthy as possible. You must review the treatment needed for that day, but more importantly, you must review the outstanding treatment for each patient. If there are areas to “watch” and/or areas that need to be treated and no treatment is scheduled, then today’s appointment is a great time to schedule them.
3. Does your practice take the doctor/hygiene evaluation to the most effective level to ensure that the patient says “yes” to restorative and periodontal treatment?
It is important for each patient to be released in an effective manner. Patients tend to remember the first and last parts of their appointments. Great first impressions and final impressions make sure that your commitment to their dental care stays on their minds.
When the doctor and hygiene evaluation is done at the D110 and D4910 appointments, we recommend that the hygienist or assistant bring the doctor into the conversation. This allows patients to build strong relationships with you so that they will accept treatment.
Practice this conversation as a team. Become comfortable sharing the patients’ goals for their mouths, teeth, and smiles. Tie those goals to the treatment that is needed to get patients to their desired level of health.
We know you want all of your patients to be as healthy as possible. You must find ways to build stronger relationships with them. The more tightly they are emotionally tied to you and your team, the more business they will do with your practice.
Cathy Jameson, PhD, is president and CEO of Jameson Management, Inc., an international dental practice-management consulting, lecturing, seminar, and product provider. Cathy’s books, “Great Communication = Great Production” and “Collect What You Produce,” are top sellers for PennWell Books. You may reach her toll-free at (877) 369-5558, e-mail her at email@example.com, or visit her Web site at www.jamesonmanagement.com.