How can you add value?
Too often all eyes turn to the front office team when the schedule is not full. As a result, the entire front office focuses on connecting with patients (text/email/phone) on the short call list, the overdue re-care list, and the outstanding treatment list. Some even call patients scheduled a few days ahead to see if they can come in earlier, which provides more time to fill the subsequent openings but doesn’t address the root cause of this challenge.
There can be several reasons the schedule is challenging to keep filled. Incorporating a few best practices will keep the schedule full and free up time for the front office team to get back to other tasks.
- Be selective when you preschedule hygiene patients. Don’t preschedule those who have a history of not showing up.
- Actively build a short call list.
- Implement a robust confirmation system with reminders 2-weeks, 3-days, and 2-hours out.
- Require an initial payment to reserve large blocks of doctor time (if permitted in your area).
What if it’s not a front office issue though? What if the patient simply didn’t find the suggested treatment to be worth the investment? What if they had unanswered questions, such as “Is this going to hurt?”, “Do I need to take time off of work?” or “Is this treatment really necessary?” The clinical team is on point to build value in the next visit and treatment. The front office team facilitates financial arrangements and scheduling, affirming value even further. Building value is an art mastered with practice.
Building Value for the Next Hygiene Visit
The hygienist identifies specific reasons for the next hygiene visit that go beyond “see you in 6 months!” The greatest value builds with specific, patient-focused reasons to return. “I’m looking forward to seeing you in 4 months. I will check the area on the lower right that is showing signs of inflammation today. If it is still present, we will talk about next steps at that time.” Feel the difference? Express these reasons for return to the patient, repeat at the front desk handoff, and note it on the patient chart. The Practice Support Team can provide additional language tips to build value in the next hygiene visit.
Building Value for the Next Restorative Visit
Building value for a restorative treatment needs a different approach. The patient has to be able to visualize the outcome as beneficial. Patients weigh the financial and time impact against the outcome, which requires processing time. When the doctor’s exam occurs at the midway mark of the hygiene visit, you provide processing time for the patient to make a decision. In addition, the patient has the hygienist available for all those questions listed earlier. By the time they reach the front office team, they get to do what they do best — make financial and scheduling arrangements. For a more in-depth look at simple ways to increase your case acceptance, reach out to the Practice Support Team for:
- 1-hour staff meeting agenda focused on skills to improve case acceptance
- Consultative Case Presentation Skills article for the doctor and team
- Consultative Case Presentation Skills Evaluation forms
Burkhart’s Practice Support Team offers complimentary coaching and resources to our valued Burkhart clients.
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