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Article Teaser: On a daily basis, a dentist and staff probably spend more time discussing and dealing with the topic of appointment cancels, broken appointments, and no-shows than any other subject. It is a source of endless frustration. Downtime is also the biggest single source of lost revenue.

Keep reading below...

Fewer Broken Appointments Mean a More Profitable Dental Practice

Copyright (c) 2010-2017

On a daily basis, a dentist and staff probably spend more time discussing and dealing with the topic of appointment cancels, broken appointments, and no-shows than any other subject. It is a source of endless frustration. Downtime is also the biggest single source of lost revenue.

A full appointment book translates to revenues and production only if the patients come in. If a practice loses 1 to 2 appointments/day, either on the hygienist's schedule or on the dentist's schedule, the lost production from this could be anywhere from $150 (minimally) to $700 per day, depending upon the procedure. Assuming 200 working days during the year, the annual lost production works out to $30,000 at the low end to $140,000 at the high end.

Those figures are for a solo practitioner, with one full-time hygienist. The figures multiply for a multi-doctor office, with more than one hygienist. Improving practice performance in this one area alone could significantly improve the financial status of many dental practices.

It is not possible to eliminate appointment cancels completely, as patients do have legitimate reasons for canceling. However, with proper systems in place, and motivated, diligent staff, it is possible to reduce broken appointments up to 75%. Start with these three fundamental routines.

Three Surprisingly Effective Steps to Fewer Broken Dentist Appointments

1. Communicate the value and the need for treatment or preventive care.

  • Involve your staff in educating the patient. Your dental assistant and hygienist play a crucial role in educating the patient.

  • Develop verbal skills that convey to the patient the consequence of not completing the treatment. Patients are often under the impression that no treatment is necessary, unless there is pain. Most conditions in dentistry are dormant. Compare dental treatment to other insidious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, which patients may understand.

  • Your entire staff should role play and master verbal skills for all the procedures. Go over and learn to head off typical patient concerns and objections.

  • Convey the value of preventive care exams and cleanings. Emphasize that regular exams and check-ups preserve health, save suffering, and save money too. Compare preventive care to some thing they can relate to, for example, automobile oil changes. Patients take their cars in for routine oil changes even though the car does not make a noise; they do not wait for their engine to seize.

  • 2. Use technology to educate the patient and involve them in diagnosis.

  • Use as many visual tools as possible for diagnosis. Purchase an intra-oral camera if you don't have one. When the patient sees what you see, they are more likely to understand the need for work.

  • Play a patient education DVD on a TV monitor in your treatment room. This is an invaluable tool, allowing you to educate the patient without spending a lot of time.

  • Use tables, charts, and other data-recording tools. Patients like to see or hear scientific evidence. If you are perio-charting, tell them what a normal pocket depth is before you start measuring the pocket depth. Then, as your hygienist reads out the numbers for the assistant to record, the patient hears the data and can deduce for themselves the health of their periodontium.

  • Demonstrate the problem with three-dimensional models when applicable and possible.

  • 3. Discuss the cost for treatment before scheduling the patient.

  • If it is an insurance patient, be sure to tell them that what you are providing is an estimate for their out-of-pocket expense.

  • Schedule the appointment only after the cost is discussed. Also, discuss the number of visits necessary and what would be done at each visit.

  • If the patient has a financial issue, offer payment options.




  • About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Peter Gopal, PhD, together with his wife, Hema Gopal, M.B.A. and D.M.D., consults with dentists who are intent on building a more profitable practice. Whether you are leaving money on the table due to broken patient appointments, improper scheduling, poor case acceptance, low hygienist productivity, excessive overhead, or unnecessary reliance on PPOs, they can pinpoint your weaknesses and prescribe remedies. Receive a free, realistic assessment of the earning potential of your dental practice by going to: http://www.visionary-management.com/assessment.php

    Follow "The Phantom Writers" on Twitter (@phantomwriters)
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    Internal ID: #7278
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    Word Count: 608

    Total Views: 2581

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