Maintaining friendships as an adult is hard. When you have so much going on in your lives, work and family can sometimes leave you very little time to devote to your friendships. These same challenges exist in your dental practice as well. You get so caught up in cancellations, insurance issues, and collections that you can forget to maintain your relationships with your patients. By applying the following three tips, you can maintain your patient relationships and keep your dental patients active.
Tip 1: Follow the golden rule
If you want to keep your dental patients active, you should work to ensure your patients feel important. One proven method to accomplish this is to apply the golden rule: treat your patients the way you would want to be treated. Start by doing the following:
- Acknowledge your patients by name (not by their appointment times)
- Remember their birthdays
- Help them understand their insurance coverage.
Since we don’t all have eidetic memory, maximize Dentrix to help you with this. Take and store your patients’ pictures so that they shows up in the Appointment Book Hover Window. Please note that doctors and team members should always first receive the patient’s consent before they take and store a patient picture*. Generating the Scheduled Patient List in the Daily Huddle Report allows you to keep track of your patient’s birthdays. You can also get a breakdown of each patient’s insurance coverage using Dentrix Insurance Manager.
Tip 2: Reach out
One of the best ways to reach out is establishing consistent communication with your patients. Too often, dentists or team members communicate with their patients on a reactive basis, or not at all. Then, when they do communicate, the patient thinks something is wrong. By creating proactive call routines, you can train your patients to expect to hear from you on a regular basis and encourage them to keep open communication with you. In Dentrix, generate the Continuing Care List and the Unscheduled Treatment Plan List and call the patients on a weekly basis. You can also maximize our Dentrix Patient Engage product to reach out to your patients on a regular basis.
Tip 3: Create value
The third tip to help keep your dental patients active is to create value in your relationship with them. Even though your patients have many options, they chose you. Don’t let them down. Too often, dentists make assumptions about the patient’s time, intelligence or ability to pay, and then create treatment plans based on those assumptions. Avoid falling into the assumption trap by doing the following to create more value for your patients:
- Be the leader in the relationship and always prescribe the optimal treatment plan for that specific patient.
- Take time to ensure that your patients understand the treatment and why it is needed.
- Take authority and give them a health timeline for completing the treatment.
- Present a treatment plan in which the insurance information and finances are as accurate as possible.
These genuine behaviors will help you build trust with your patients and show them that you value them as a person, not just as a mouth.
Keeping patients active is more important than production and collections, yet many teams spend the least amount of time on this task. You should remember that if you do not retain your patients and keep them active, the practice will not grow. Re-prioritize your time and you will definitely get a return on your investment.
* Practices should also consult with their own lawyers to see if there are laws or regulations governing the taking and storing of patient pictures in the states in which their offices are located.