It’s Spring Break season and while some students and families are off vacationing at Disney others are busy making plans to do things they cannot normally fit into their busy schedules; such as taking that much needed overdue trip to the dentist. Having a plan in place to manage last minute cancellations and spur of the moment appointment requests will go a long way for your team to be ready to remain productive and keep your patients and staff happy during the holiday.
First, to be ready for cancellations you will need a list of patients with unscheduled treatment. To get started, run a report showing patient treatment identified but not yet completed. Then assign a staff member to look into each instance. Compose a letter (with empty spacing that can be filled in with personal information and needed treatment) and you as the dentist signs it personally. Follow up with a phone call asking that the patient set up an appointment.
Dear Mrs. June Smith,
I hope that you are well and looking forward to a healthy 2015. As your dentist, I am sending you this letter to let you know that you still need to have (a crown on your top left molar) completed. This was treatment that we identified for you last year, but did not accomplish. I don’t want to let a manageable problem become a large, difficult problem for you. In addition, your insurance coverage starts over at the beginning of a year. You and/or your employer are already paying for a good share of your needed treatment!
Call our office at your earliest convenience and we will be glad to set up a time so we can get started on what you need.
I appreciate being your dentist, and look forward to seeing you soon.
Dr. Mike Jones
It is best if the section where the personal treatment is listed does not look like a mass produced “fill-in-the-blank”. That can negate the effect of a “personal” letter! Also, if the patient needs quite a bit of care, don’t try to put it all in. Instead, choose the most pressing issue. These letters do not have to be a “clerical only” duty. Your hygienist or dental assistant can work on them as well.
Regardless of the method used, it is essential to be prepared to address and fill last minute cancellations especially during the holidays when more changes are expected to occur.
Wishing you a wonderful Spring Break and a productive month ahead!
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