Albert Einstein once said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Persistence certainly aided Einstein’s remarkable accomplishments. And staying with problems longer by applying the appropriate amount of persistence can also help with unscheduled dental treatment.
When patients fail to schedule, you may think the door of opportunity has been closed. For patients who are unable to afford the financial options you offered, you will have another chance to revisit treatment at their next recall. More on that soon. Where you can immediately apply appropriate persistence is to the group of patients who say they will call you back about treatment or who need to think about it.
Your window of follow up with these patients is one to two weeks from their visit, the period of time where your treatment recommendations are still fresh. Proactive dental teams call patients during this window to increase the likelihood of scheduling. Consider designating one specific day each week where you review the prior week’s unscheduled treatment and contact patients who failed to schedule (for reasons other than financial).
When patients with unscheduled treatment return for their recall visit, you have another opportunity to “stay with the problem,” as Einstein suggested. Use your morning huddle to consider a better approach to use with the patient. Maybe the patient did not fully understand the value of treatment or the consequences of non-action, maybe the patient has a dental phobia that needs addressing, or maybe you need to offer different options. Each person on the team will potentially have a unique perspective that can help the patient.
When patients do not schedule for treatment, please remember you still have opportunities for scheduling. With an appropriate amount of persistence, you will reduce the number of patients on your unscheduled treatment list.