Good management of your dental practice includes a scripting protocol for your Scheduling Coordinator (SC) to handle chronic broken appointment patients (at least three broken appointments or is not sorry after the second broken appointment). I suggest the following:
SC: “I’m sorry, but I just can’t schedule another appointment for you. When a patient misses an appointment it really throws a wrench in our schedule and the doctor/hygienist ends up doing nothing when they could have been seeing one of our other patients who may have been waiting two weeks or more. We have so many patients who really need these appointments. I can’t schedule another appointment for you but what I can do is call you when I have a last minute cancellation. I feel terrible about this because you’re at a point where you really need to get something done about your gums. They’re just going to get worse, and I don’t want to see you ignoring your dental care.”
“If someone cancels at the last minute, I’ll call you. If you can make it, great! Or you can stop by when you have an extra hour or two. If we can get you in, we will.”
The key to a high percentage of appointments kept is getting patients to understand what will happen If they do not move forward. They must understand that the condition will worsen not because you say so but it's just physics. They also need to understand the effect that will have not just on their dental health but their overall health. It is also key to make sure patients understand that they have made an agreement with you to be there at a certain time. They need to know that the doctor/hygienist is setting aside time just to see him and that it will adversely affect the office schedule if they not keep their agreement. You respect his/her time; you only ask that he respect yours in return. That is simply good dental practice management!