By Roger P. Levin, DDS
If an ortho practice is not vigilant, the number of patients overdue for debonding can quickly get out of control. This creates scheduling bottlenecks, reduces the level of customer service for all patients and parents, and disrupts the practice’s revenue stream.
For all of these reasons, Levin Group sets an overdue debonds target of 2% or less for ortho clients. Following are a number of effective strategies the ortho practice can use to reach this target.
Educate New Patients And Parents About The Importance Of Compliance
Once treatment is accepted, emphasize the importance of staying on schedule from beginning to end. Use Value Creation Scripting™ to explain that compliance is beneficial to the patient and family in terms of comfort, convenience and reaching the ultimate goals of improved appearance and function in the scheduled timeframe.
Take Measures To Prevent Missed Appointments
Place calls—preferably personal rather than automated—to remind patients and parents about upcoming appointments and get confirmation that they will present. This call should be carefully scripted to build value for on-time checks.
Follow Up Immediately On Missed Appointments
Reinforce the importance of compliance by calling as soon as possible to reschedule a patient who failed to show. Express concern for the patient’s well-being. Point out that the treatment process cannot be accelerated, so any delays now will postpone the completion of treatment—and its benefits. Finally, elicit agreement that the patient will definitely keep the new appointment.
Overdue debonds are a chronic problem for most ortho practices, but these techniques can reduce it to a manageable, 2% level. Beyond the obvious benefits for patients and parents, there are also clear advantages for the ortho practice. By eliminating scheduling bottlenecks, the practice can regain productive time while reducing day-to-day stress. And by avoiding a schedule clogged up with overdue appointments, the practice can take on new revenue-producing patients.
About the Author
Dr. Roger Levin is a third-generation dentist and the Chairman and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., the largest dental practice management and marketing firm in the United States. As a leading authority on orthodontic practice management and marketing, he has developed the scientific systems-based consulting method that will increase ortho practice production and profitability, while lowering stress.
Dr. Levin has authored more than 60 books and over 3,000 articles. He presents 100 seminars worldwide each year.