In October, U R DU’s very own founder, Joanne Williams, was invited to speak on the practice management podcast, Practice Management Nuggets, about how dental recall can help your practice. A huge thanks to Jean Eaton for having us on the show!
In this blog post, we’ve summarized some of points for the convenience of those who want a quick read. For a much more in-depth look into the topic and for more information on how a service like U R DU can help, listen to the podcast here on the Practice Management Nuggets website or on Youtube.
How to tell if you need a dental recall program
Have a lot of openings in your appointment schedule? Patients you haven’t seen in a long time? These are obvious signs that you should invest in a dental recall program. However, dental recall can also be important to helping your practice grow, such as if you want to add hygienists or administrative staff to accommodate your growing business.
Joanne brings 20 years of experience to her position as founder and CEO of U R DU Appointment Services. Specialising in patient management within the digital environment, U R DU’s strengths shine more than ever amidst a global pandemic. Since its founding, U R DU has become the heartbeat of many dental clinics.
How U R DU’s remote recall services benefit your clinic
Joanne started U R DU with the goal of helping any practice in Alberta to retain and gain a bigger client base. She had an idea to help clients “invisibly” with their recall. She realised that if crafting dental programs could be done remotely, so could dental recall. The digital nature of U R DU is particularly helpful not just to larger cities but to smaller communities, where getting experienced staff can be particularly hard.
In the current environment where dental practices cannot afford to have more people in their space, U R DU’s remote services are perfect for any clinic looking to grow. This is because we can provide quality remote services without needing to place an extra body in your already-limited space.
What health care providers need to know about recall appointments
Joanne’s #1 tip: be consistent with your patient recall program. Dental recall is a patient management tool that shouldn’t be done when you have time.
As a patient, it can be easy to put off going to the dentist. But for both the dentist and the patient, it’s something that ultimately has to be done. According to Joanne, it can take as many as 3–5 calls to a single patient to get them and their family members in to see the dentist. That’s why dental recall can feel like such a tedious task. However, in order to properly follow our patients’ health, dental recall is extremely necessary. Other ways that dental recall can help in your clinic is that it increases revenue, keeps your staff busy and connected, and helps to retain that patient for years to come.
Benefits to having a solid dental recall system
Joanne shares what she thinks are the main benefits of having a solid recall system. “The benefits are consistent flow between the dentists’ production and the hygienists’ production,” she says. “[This means that] generally you don’t have big gaps in your schedule. You know that people are being monitored, taken care of, and we’re not lapsing on our treatment.” Joanne also cites being able to build a strong relationship with the patient as a part of the recall benefits.
When working with clients on U R DU, we’ve found that within a short period of time, clients start to see smaller gaps within their schedules. A client will quickly find that they have less openings as they get more bookings, and a doctor will have more appointments in their schedule. Some clinics have even found that they can now add an additional hygienist for a few days in the week or extend their hours. Joanne has also found that a good dental recall system prevents short notice cancellations or no-shows.
Why digital recall systems may not be reliable
What often happens with dental clinics is they think that a digital recall system is enough. Owners and managers often assume that the software is tracking and sending out reminders to their patients. However, Joanne recommends going behind-the-scenes of the program and tracking exactly how many contacts are actually being sent out. This is so you can know exactly what booking rate percentage your clinic has.
“Keep your finger on the pulse and see how [you’re] doing,” Joanne says. It’s important to keep track of how many patients book when the software is contacts them. That means being well-versed in your recall system and knowing exactly what it’s doing. “Hopefully your management software and your digital communication software has a really good management platform. The good ones do; it’s not just a reminder. You need a really good patient platform to use to contact your patients.”
How personal contact can help maximize your dental recall success
When it comes to who is responsible for dental recall, some clinics have a dedicated staff member for hygiene and appointment coordination. However, some clinics delegate this responsibility to someone with the least amount of experience, expecting them to just sit there and make calls. According to Joanne, this can be a dangerous assumption.
When your staff are reaching out to patients, they are representatives and ambassadors of your practice. You want someone who will represent your clinic in a positive way and who will be able to answer whatever questions that might come their way with some knowledge. That’s why Joanne recommends giving this task to someone who has working knowledge and experience of the dental industry. “They’re a mini marketing tool,” Joanne says. “If they can’t answer the questions [the patients] are posing in the correct way, that’s a slippery slope.”
Historical data shows that a personal contact is 3 to 4 times more effective than an automated reminder or postcard in the mail. “Especially in this time, it’s really nice to make that personal connection,” says Joanne. “We know what’s going on and we care about them.”
At U R DU, we believe that dental recall isn’t just a chore that needs to be done. We believe it’s the lifeblood of any dental practice out there. That’s why we want to help turn dental recall from necessary evil to art form. Our thanks again to Jean Eaton for having us on the show! For more information on how U R DU can help or to learn more about our services, give us a call or send us a message.