The Impact of Patient Re-Activation on Oral Health and Your Schedule
Ever since the start of 2020, it’s been more and more difficult for patients to see their dentist. For nearly three years, I was an inactive patient, canceling appointments because of financial strain mostly. In 2020, a lot of people lost their jobs and their insurance, which most likely resulted in a lot of canceled and missed appointments.
From experience, once one appointment is missed and/or canceled, it becomes a pattern. I didn’t think of my oral health as a priority, and I lost sight of how important it is to go for those regular dental checkups.
Patients like me can easily fall through the cracks. And with routine being disrupted, oral health can fall to the wayside for the patient. Unfortunately, the patients’ oral health and your schedule pay the price for these lost patients.
Unemployment is only one reason why patients become inactive, an article in “RDH” (link under Resources below) provides many more:
- The patient canceled but didn’t reschedule
- The patient was disappointed
- The patient lost dental benefits due to layoff, termination, or benefit reductions in the company where he/she was employed
- The patient was chronically ill
- The appointment was canceled due to the absence of the dentist or hygienist
- The patient switched dental offices without letting anyone know
As an inactive patient, my oral health suffered as a result. The next time I went to see my dentist, I had cavities to address in addition to the possibility of a major surgery caused by a situation I had left untended for almost three years.
This post will discuss the importance and impact of one of the 3Rs in dentistry — reactivation as it applies to patients’ oral health as well as your own schedule. This post will further discuss the best way to help make sure you and your team are keeping on top of these patients and ensuring your clinic is fully booked.
Patient Reactivation and Oral Health
The most important part of any dental clinic is its patients, however, in researching for this particular post, I noticed a pattern: Most of the posts that talked about reactivation did not mention the benefit to patients’ oral health.
Inactive patients aren’t getting the proper care they need, so reactivation for these patients is a must when it comes to their oral health.
The positive impact of reactivation on these patients’ oral health is addressing any issues immediately and resolving them before they get worse. Oral cancer screenings are incredibly important and should be performed regularly. Reactivation guarantees those regular screenings continue. Cleanings every 6-9 months ensure a healthy mouth and gums, also ensured by reactivating an inactive patient.
Reactivation is the solution for the potential issues that have been sitting too long and can now be addressed, the regular cancer screenings, and the regular cleanings and checkups, which amounts to a healthy and happy patient in the end.
Patient Reactivation on Your Schedule
Patient retention is important for a successful clinic. In addition to healthier patients, reactivating these patients will help fill your schedule if it seems that there are holes in it and therefore positively affect your bottom line.
Best way to reactivation: Open up more lines of communication
What it comes right down to is communication. You don’t want to miss a beat when it comes to former patients. The more communication tools at your disposal, the better.
Consider an email campaign
Consider putting together an email campaign for your inactive patients. Provide them with valuable reasons they should come see you and a bonus if they do.
Pick up the phone and call your inactive patients. The traditional phone call is still one of the best forms of communication because of your ability to express your concern and empathy through your voice. Having an informal conversation about a patient’s oral health could give you insight as to why they became inactive in the first place and could also provide you the solution to win these inactive patients back.
Send a text
The ability to two-way text just might open the door to reactivation, especially with patients mostly on the go that are not too willing to answer a phone call or reply to an email.
Reach out using social media
The world is changing, and communication technology is taking over. Facebook and Instagram are two of the biggest platforms in the world of social media. Use them and others to reach out and connect with a message specifically tailored to your inactive patients.
Don’t forget to follow up
Communication in no matter what form or medium requires follow-up, so even if you aren’t getting the responses you would like, a follow-up call, email, text, or message might be what’s needed to give those inactive patients a boost and let them know that you care enough to try again.
Take a good look at your software
In achieving the 3Rs (Recalls, Reminders, and Reactivation) for proper booking and a steady stream of patients, it is important to take a good hard look at the software you’re using. When it comes to reactivation, does your dental software allow you to find those inactive patients easily so that you can then connect with them?
Are you able to send recalls and reminders easily, with fewer of those patients falling through the cracks? It’s important that your software is up to date and works the way you need it to in order to achieve your practice goals much more effectively.