I believe that practices have a lot more control over broken appointments than they ever realized. Many practices are running on automatic and not taking time to educate patients and look at the patient's indicators before scheduling and during confirmations.
1) Educate the patients when the needed treatment is being diagnosed.
Tell them what will happen if they put off the procedure. Let them know
it will cost more if they wait. Let them know their condition will not
go away on its own. It will get worse and it will cost more if they put it off. You have to drive this home. Listen to them, don't schedule without their agreement. If they are apprehensive, they may not come in.
2) Have a firm financial agreement with the patient before you make the appointment.
3) Ask the patient how you can reach them
during the day and get that number, so you can give them a courtesy call
the day before the appointment. Many times patients provide numbers,
none of which they can be reached.
4) Don’t continue
scheduling patients that are compulsive appointment breakers. Be
familiar with their broken appointment history before appointing them.
They will continue doing the same thing over and over again. These folks
do better when placed on a “short notice call list” and called when
there is a change in the schedule. Find a time that works for them and the doctor/hygienist.
5) Listen closely to the patients when you call to confirm. Only call the patients you want to come in. You can usually tell if they are trying to back out by the tone of their voice or the questions they ask during confirmations. Handle it then, don't let it become lost time on the schedule.You want to make sure you get a true confirmation.
Good control is the only thing that will guarantee a productive and predictable schedule.
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