Most dentists and hygiene teams will tell you that patients are scheduled for their next recall visit before they complete their hygiene appointment. However, when you actually measure how many patients are scheduled for recall, the results often present an unfortunate surprise. Instead of scheduling about 80 – 85% of patients for their next recall, hygiene teams commonly schedule significantly less than this.
Consider what happens when the hygiene team schedules just 10% less than the ideal range. If you average 30 hygiene patients per week or about 120 per month, scheduling just 10% less than ideal leaves you with 12 extra unscheduled hygiene patients per month. This total increases to over 70 extra unscheduled hygiene patients in a six month period, putting a lot of extra burden on the front team to track down and schedule those patients. The more unscheduled recall patients you have, the more who will fall out of your recall program entirely.
Therefore, if you want your hygiene team to schedule more patients for recall, they need to first understand that scheduling patients for recall is an integral part of preventive care. Scheduling recall is not just an added task; it’s an extension of providing great patient care.
When hygiene teams understand the value of scheduling the next recall visit, they find time to do it, whether it’s while waiting for an exam or even at the start of the visit while updating health history. The most successful hygienists guide patients into that next recall visit—instead of asking yes/no questions—just as they guide patients to accept needed treatment.
Since most dentists and hygiene teams overstate their recall scheduling percentage, the first step is to determine how well the hygiene team is scheduling patients. Then you can fine-tune the team’s approach, as needed, to strengthen your recall program and the service you provide to patients.