By Mike Smith
What role does your hygiene team play in implementing an effective recall system? This is a common question in dental practices. While the front team typically handles the recall program, the involvement of the hygiene team is critical for achieving the best results.
First, proactive hygiene teams build value for the next preventive visit at every appointment. Value is built by using non-clinical terminology that tells patients how they benefit from coming back at the recommended recall interval. For example: “John, coming in every six months is keeping your plaque buildup at a manageable level. It’s also helping to extend the life of your crowns and fillings. I recommend we keep your interval at six months.”
Next, have hygienists schedule patients for their next recall visit. Since hygiene teams carry the most sway in getting patients to reappoint, this will assure that almost everyone schedules. However, success depends on how the hygiene teams guides patients to reappoint. Avoid asking if patients want to schedule. Instead, guide patients to a specific day and time and ask how well that works for their next visit.
Finally, when efforts by the front team have failed to get past due patients to schedule, alert the hygiene team. Since hygienists know patients as well as anyone in the practice, hygienists are often successful when they reach out to those who are past due. When past due patients hear from their hygienist, patients are more likely to schedule for their next cleaning and exam.
Even though the hygiene team’s primary role is to deliver great patient care, they can also make important contributions to the recall system. Their involvement will ensure that more patients value and schedule their preventive care.
(This article first appeared in Fluence, an online blog)