In this article, we continue our focus on preparing your dental practice for the future, with some helpful advice and tips from the SOE experienced team as we begin to see COVID-19 lockdown restrictions ease and the vaccination programme continue to accelerate.  

Running a healthy business is about ensuring that your diary is full, not just now but in the future. At SOE we can see that many dental practices do not have their usual number of recall appointments booked in and we can help you resolve that issue. It is important to act now and not wait until the summer to run your recalls when you will be likely to be competing against people’s busy lives as they begin to meet up with family, dinner with friends, foreign and UK travel and return to sporting events.

We appreciate that there is still a degree of uncertainty but why not pick any month in the future and get those patients booked in? To ensure your practice is healthy for the future and can manage an increase in capacity effectively you need your patients to commit to those appointments even if there is a risk that you might have to reschedule but have confidence in running those recalls now and set your patient expectations with clear communication.  

Recall your patients

If a patient does not know when their next interaction with you is, they could be at risk - so don’t leave them guessing. You need to ensure that all patients have their next appointment in the diary to protect your patient’s health.

It is important that you get all patients booked in but remember do not send them a generic message - remember you need to adjust the message. For example;  “Due to COVID-19 restrictions we missed your regular check-up”. Manage any anxiety that the patient might have through clear communication that explains the new procedures including how their contactless journey will work.

Manage expectations

It is also important to set expectations, so if you are booking the recall appointments in six months, then make sure your patients know that they should call or book online to ensure they have a visit booked at the earliest point. You should keep patients informed and explain how the importance of booking their examination.

At SOE we have designed a pack of templates in our COVID-19 Hub that can help you with the wording for your recall communications. Find it online: softwareofexcellence.co.uk/covid19-hub

It is also recommended that you take a structured and consistent approach to your recall messages, aligned to each patient’s preferred contact method and staggered so that your reception team is then not overwhelmed by an increase in calls. The process can be automated and linked to online appointment booking.

A healthy practice

Gaining commitment from your patients is absolutely essential in terms of the actions you should be taken now to prepare for the months ahead and ensure you have a healthy practice.   

Talk to our team today for support and advice, and next week we will explore how you can mitigate fear and risk in our preparing for the future blog series.

 

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