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Front Office Systems

Patient Identification System

Why?

Patient identification is established to determine how we manage each patient’s appointment scheduling and financial arrangements. Identification is based on the patient’s demonstrated behavior reflecting how they value dental care.

We train patients how to respond regarding their compliance with the scheduling and financial needs of the practice. Red patients will remain Red if they are allowed to:

  • Pick their treatment appointment time
  • Have treatment done while Gold and Silver patients wait
  • Determine if and how they will pay for treatment

 

When?

During the morning huddle, discuss patient identification with input from all team members. Re-evaluate the assigned identification if and when a patient’s demonstrated behavior changes.

(The front office team generally has the most information regarding each patient, as they are closer to scheduling and financial arrangements.)

Identifications should be noted on the computer and on the patient’s chart (if your practice is not chartless yet).

Track cancellations and no-shows in your patient record to help determine patient identification.

 

How?

Does the patient’s behavior demonstrate:

  • Acceptance of diagnosed treatment?
  • Scheduling appointments for diagnosed treatment?
  • Keeping scheduled appointments?
  • Compliance with financial arrangements as discussed?

 

 

Gold

The goal for 20% or more of the practice population.

Criteria

  • Accept treatment, regardless of benefit coverage.
  • Schedule and maintain their appointment time.
  • Pay their balance on time.

Because Gold patients demonstrate they value dental care, offer them more options. Allow them more flexibility in their payment plan, more choices for their appointment times, and schedule recare appointments 3/4/6 months in advance.

 

 

Silver

Generally, 70% of the practice population.

Criteria

  • Accept treatment only if it’s covered by insurance. Patients may want to do quadrants and phase treatment over more benefit periods.
  • Schedule and maintain their appointment time.
  • Pay their balance on time.

 

 

Red

The goal for 10% or less of the practice population.

Criteria

  • Accept treatment only when it’s broken or urgent.
  • Do not keep their appointment time or do not respect your time.
  • No follow-through with financial commitments.
  • Often recommend friends and family who are also Red patients.

 

Red patients are held to a higher standard of accountability. They demonstrate less value for dental care through no-shows, short notice cancels, payment challenges, and emergencies. Track these cancellations and no-shows to base identification on facts rather than impressions. We recommend you do not pre-book Red patients in the recare schedule. Let them know you will send them a card one month before they are due, and they can call to schedule their appointment.

Depending on their demonstrated reliability, you may choose to schedule a borderline Red-Silver patient one week ahead during a low-demand appointment time. You may choose to schedule a “true” Red patient one day before an appointment. Consider dismissing Red patients from the practice who consistently miss appointments (request the sample Patient Dismissal Letter from Practice Support Team).

We recommend seeing Red patient emergencies between 2-3 pm for an assessment only. The patient will come when you ask if it is a real emergency. Reappoint the Red emergency patient to complete their treatment once the treatment plan is determined. This will minimize the impact on your schedule and allow for more comprehensive financial arrangements.

 

 


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