Front Office Systems

Hygiene Recare – Creating a Sustainable System

Set a practice goal to pre-appoint 90% of your hygiene recare patients at their hygiene visit. This will leave approximately 10% of your patient base who need active recare management. Manage the 10% who did not pre-appoint with the system outlined below.

The Scheduling Coordinator is responsible for:

  • Organizing the recare system
  • Updating the reports monthly
  • Identifying collection accounts
  • Transferring chronic no-show and late cancellation history patients to the short call list
  • Identifying areas of concern bringing value to an appointment
  • Contacting everyone on the reports each month
  • Enlisting help when the system gets behind

Many practices benefit from printing and keeping these reports accessible in a binder, but an electronic version is also an option, as your practice management software permits.

The hygienists are responsible for:

  • Identifying and clearly noting in the patient’s record the areas of concern bringing value to an appointment
  • Updating the recommended hygiene interval based on the patient’s needs
  • Pre-appointing 90% of patients at the time of hygiene service
  • Soliciting help from the scheduling coordinator when needed

 

 

Recare System

0-6 Months

Contact patient every 3-4 weeks via their preferred contact method.

 

7 Months

Send written correspondence.

 

8-12 Months

Continue to contact patients via their preferred contact method every 3-4 weeks, use progressive scripting for verbiage and written communication.

 

13 Months

Send written correspondence with an expectation for a response as well as a notification of an associated timeline for inactivation.

 

14-18 Months

Continue to contact patients via their preferred contact method until month 18. At month 19, send a written notification of inactivation and inactivate the patient from your practice management software.

 

Before contacting patients, the scheduling coordinator will need to identify patients on the list who are:

  • Habitual no-show or late cancellation – call for same-day openings only
  • Overdue balances – check with the financial coordinator before offering hygiene recare
  • Periodontal maintenance patients or patients with areas of concern noted in their chart

 

Contact Guidelines

  • Begin contacting patients by their preferred contact method – phone, text, email, or other written correspondence
  • When calling, the goal is not to leave a message but to keep trying to reach the patient for direct contact
  • It is best to contact the patient every 3-4 weeks
  • When contacting patients who are 1-18 months overdue, use progressive scripting and contact guidelines for retaining or inactivating patients
  • Once a patient has exceeded 18 months with no response, inactivate the patient in your practice management system; moving forward, initiate a “reactivation” process if that is the practice preference

 

Scripting for Hygiene Recare Communication

0-6 Months

Contact the patient using their preferred contact method with the following message:

“Hello. This is ___________ calling from Dr. Smith’s office. I am calling because your next hygiene appointment has not been made, and you are due. We are starting to fill our schedule, and I did not want you to wait to get in. I know you usually like to come in on/at ____________- let’s reserve that time for you now since that’s a popular time. We can see you on _____________ at ____am/pm. Will that work for your schedule?”

“Hello, ___________, this is ___________ from Dr. Smith’s office. Dr. Smith, or (name of hygienist), asked I call you to schedule your hygiene recare appointment. We last saw you on ____________ for treatment and you are due. I have a few appointments left this month, Tuesday at 3pm and Friday at 8am, will either of those work for you?”

“Hello, ___________, this is ____________, from Dr. Smith’s office. (Provider name) asked I call to schedule your (recare/maintenance) appointment. We recommend you come in (twice/3 times/4 times) per year for your (recare/maintenance) care. I see on your last appointment notes from (month of patient’s last appointment) we were monitoring _____________. To maintain your health and monitor the area of concern, we’d like to schedule your appointment today. We have an opening next ___________, or __________; will either of these work for your schedule?”

 

 

7 Months

For all patients who have had no direct contact or have been unresponsive for six months, calls may continue, but a written correspondence (letter) is also recommended. See the example letter below.

“Hello, _________, this is ____________, calling from Dr. Smith’s office. I’m calling because we are in the process of updating our patient records. Your last appointment with us was on ____________. We have been unable to reach you. If you wish to remain an active patient in our office, please contact us to schedule your continuous-care appointment.”

 

8-12 Months

For all patients who have had no direct contact or have been unresponsive for twelve months, calls may continue, but a written correspondence (letter) is also recommended. We suggest all contact methods express an expectation for a response. See the example letter below.

“Hello, _________, this is ____________, calling from Dr. Smith’s office. I’m calling because we are in the process of updating our patient records. Your last appointment with us was on ____________. We have been unable to reach you. If you wish to remain an active patient in our office, please contact us to schedule your continuous-care appointment.”

 

13 Months

Send written correspondence with an expectation for a response and a notification of an associated timeline for inactivation. See the example letter below.

“Hello, _________, this is ____________, calling from Dr. Smith’s office. I’m calling because we are in the process of updating our patient records. Your last appointment was on ____________. We have been unable to reach you. If you wish to remain an active patient in our office, please contact us to schedule your continuous-care appointment. If we do not hear from you by (X amount of time), we will assume you are seeking dental care elsewhere and will in-activate your information in our system. Please know you are always welcome to return to the practice in the future, and we would love to see you again!”

 

14-18 Months

Continue to try to contact the patient until month 18. If there is no direct contact or response by month 18, send written correspondence. Notify the patient of inactivation and inactivate the patient in your practice management software system. Moving forward, depending upon the practice philosophy, you may choose to institute a “reactivation” process.

“Hello, _________, this is ____________, calling from Dr. Smith’s office. I’m calling because we are in the process of updating our patient records. Your last appointment was on ____________. We have been unable to reach you. We are inactivating your records at this time. You are always welcome to return to our practice in the future and we would love to see you again!”

 

Written Hygiene Recare Correspondence/Letters to Patients

7-Month Letter

Dear _______________,

Here at (Name of Doctor or Practice), we genuinely care about our patients. We want to help you maintain your oral health and lessen the chance of a dental emergency. We know that time has a way of slipping by. With this in mind, we are sending a reminder to let you know your last visit was (Date). (Name of Doctor or Practice) has recommended you see us (twice/three/four times) a year for your preventative or maintenance appointments.

We have been unable to reach you for the past (X amount of time). Please contact us to schedule your continuous-care appointment. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Warmest regards,

(Signature)

The Doctor or Office Manager

 

13-Month Letter

Dear _______________,

We are in the process of updating our patient records, and we see you haven’t been in since ___________.

If you wish to remain an active patient in our office, please call us to schedule a continuing-care appointment. Remember, maintaining good dental health is a team effort. We feel honored to be a part of your team. Our goal is to help you keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime.

We have been unable to reach you for the past (X amount of time). If you wish to remain an active patient in our office, please contact us to schedule your continuous-care appointment. If you found another office to meet your dental needs, please let us know, and we’ll update our files.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

(Signature)

The Doctor or Office Manager

 

18-Month Letter

Dear _______________,

We are in the process of updating our patient records, and we see you have not been in since ______________. We have been unable to contact you to schedule your continuing-care appointment.

Currently, we have inactivated your information in our system. Please know you are always welcome to return in the future!

Warmest Regards,

(Signature)

The Doctor or Office Manager

 


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