Spring Clean Your Practice

Spring Cleaning

One thing is certain as spring arrives: flowers will be popping up and many of us will have a desire to do a little spring cleaning and freshen things up a bit. A certainty around our office is that calls will continue to come in to the Practice Support Team, many with a renewed focus on transferring that “freshening” to systems and productivity in their practice. If one of the areas of your practice you’d like to “clean up” is your volume of new patients and/or holes in the schedule, then you’re in good company—many of the practices calling into our hotline have the same concerns. In our September article, we
examined an approach to determine the impact that individual PPOs are having on your practice, to better plan your strategy. Your next task was to work through the steps we included to address openings in the schedule. These steps should definitely satisfy your need for spring cleaning!
The four areas we’d recommend you freshen are:
1. Reactivating patients
2. Examining your web presence (website/social media)
3. Developing or revisiting your marketing plan to include referral requests towards patients whose employers’ have better benefit plans, targeting specific employers (perhaps the local school district) with better benefit plans and local businesses where prospective patients go to spend discretionary income
4. Considering an in-house insurance offering for those without dental coverage

Let’s explore the first two of these in more detail.

Reactivating Patients
Not only will this help fill holes in the schedule and demonstrate your follow-up and care, it will give you truthful numbers regarding active patients in your practice to more accurately determine practice needs for planning purposes.

1. Request that your front office staff identify who is overdue and ensure the accounts they focus on are in good standing with the practice (work backwards from most recently overdue to 18 months overdue). Pull the reports to include:
a. Outstanding treatment plans
b. Overdue hygiene appointments
c. Unaccepted treatment plans
d. Patients not seen in over a year

Once the lists are ready:

2. Strategically call. The goal is to motivate 10% of those listed to schedule. Of those you speak to, aim to schedule 50%. To enhance your team’s success in “tidying up” these overdue patients:
a. Contact the patients the way they wish to be contacted (cell, work, etc.)
b. Try calling at a couple different times of day (and document)
c. Only leave a message on the last call
d. Call when patients can be scheduled within two weeks; if the schedule won’t allow this, don’t bother
e. Use a script! “Hello, Mr. Jones, how are you? Dr. Smith is very concerned that you’re overdue for your hygiene appointment and oral cancer-prevention screening. It’s been more than a year since we’ve seen you. We have an appointment available for you on the 26th at 10 a.m. or the 28th at 2 p.m. Which would work better for you?”

If the patient agrees, schedule the appointment. If the patient declines,PST To Do List
send them a letter or email as a followup. (Remember: the goal is to motivate the patient to schedule, so focus on the benefits of coming in—not treatment. Email or call Burkhart’s Practice Support Team for a sample letter.) If there is no response to the letter, follow-up with another call in two weeks. If the patient does not respond and has been inactive for a year or more, they’ve met the criteria to deactivate. Be sure to do this, or all your spring cleaning is for naught!

Ask your team to let you know about patients that left the practice and the reason they left. If a patient unhappily shares that they left for another local dentist, ask “May I let the dentist know why?” This is a great way to discover areas where the practice can grow or improve.

Examining Your Web Presence
It is no longer optional in dentistry’s competitive marketplace to not have a mobile-friendly website. Your next spring cleaning chore is to examine your web
presence. Work through the checklist on the right and grade your practice’s presence.

Click here to download a Website Review Checklist.

If you’ve given yourself a grade of less than an A, we’d encourage you to spruce up your web presence. Share the “unchecked” areas with your web developer, or reach out to our preferred marketing partner, WEO Media, for an assessment of your site. Bear in mind, if you’re a Platinum account with Burkhart, you’ll receive a discount on your website set-up fees through WEO Media.

With focus on these areas, you should have a renewed “fresh” approach for your current and prospective patients! If you’d like to consider an in-house offering for dental coverage, please ask your Account Manager to share our “In-House Dental Plans—Points to Consider” overview or give the Practice Support Team a call at 1.800.665.5323.

Click here to see the original article.

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