Contributing Writer  Expert Dental Consulting  Dental Consulting Company  DrBicuspidLogo1 300x57Best Dental Consultants     

Dental Scheduling Handbook

Warning Letter to Uncooperative Orthodontic Patient

Dr. Name
Office address
City, State ZIP
(or preferrably print on letterhead)

DATE

Jane Doe
Address
City, State Zip

Dear ___,

Our office strives to provide high-quality orthodontic treatment to patients, so they will end up with a beautiful smile. To do this, however, requires commitment by both the dentist and the patient.

Unfortunately, we feel that you are not demonstrating the commitment necessary to attain satisfactory results. Specifically, we have noted:
- Wires, brackets, and elastics have been purposely removed by you;
- You have excessive bracket breakage;
- When you have a problem, you fail to make an appointment in a timely manner;
- You fail to come in for necessary periodic adjustments for months at a time;
- You show up late to scheduled appointments, compromising our ability to get your work done;
- You miss many scheduled appointments, delaying your entire treatment;
- You fail to respond to our attempts to reach you to schedule necessary appointments.

Your lack of commitment and cooperation in your own treatment can have many life-long consequences, including:
- White decalcifications on the front of the teeth;
- Crooked teeth;
- Upper and lower teeth not biting together correctly;
- Unexpected movement of teeth;
- Cavities;
- Abscessed teeth that would require root canal treatment or extraction;
- Gum disease;
- Infection;
- Loss of bone holding the teeth in;
- Loss of teeth.

We have tried very hard to accommodate you. In order for us to get satisfactory results at this point, we expect you to:
- Show up within __ minutes of your scheduled appointment time;
- Call us with __ hours notice if you cannot make an appointment;
- Go no more than 45 days between appointments for any reason;
- Call for an appointment within __ days if you find any new problems;
- Not remove any wires, brackets, or elastics on your own without our permission;
- Follow the teeth brushing and cleaning instructions that have been provided to you;
- Follow the eating guidelines that have been provided to you.

Our records show that your orthodontic treatment is not finished. With your full cooperation, we estimate that it would take from ___ to ___ months to finish treatment. Without your full cooperation, it is impossible to estimate how long it would take, and might never reach completion.

If you choose not to finish treatment, or do not think you will be able to do your part required for completion of treatment, you should make an appointment with us to have your brackets and wires removed, as they can do more harm than good if ignored.

If you do not demonstrate the necessary cooperation needed to complete treatment satisfactorily, then we will end your orthodontic treatment, and terminate your patient status at this office.

Please contact us within 30 days to continue treatment. If you are not seen for a scheduled appointment within the next 30 days, we will assume that you no longer want to be treated by us, are no longer our patient, and will seek all future dental treatment at another dental office.

Sincerely,

Dr. ____

 
Cambridge Dental Practice Management Logo

What Does A Dental Consultant Do? 

Many dentists will tell you dental consulting works. If dental practice management firms had no worth or benefit they could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. What a veteran dental consultant brings to the table are systems and protocols successfully implemented in other practices that have been improved and tweaked over many years. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what works and what doesn't work across all dental practices.

Marketing & New Patients

Practice management consultants generally have little marketing training or background. 

Note: Cambridge'a consultants are Certified SEO and Ad Words Specialists

Dental Office Systems

Key systems dental consultants implement:

  1. New Patient Phone Call
  2. Insurance Processing
  3. New Patient Experience and Patient Education
  4. Financial Arrangements
  5. Scheduling
  6. Confirmation
  7. Unscheduled Treatment Followup
  8. Reactivation
  9. Huddle
  10. Stat Monitoring
  11. Daily and Weekly Checklists
  12. General Policy Manual

Your Staff

You will not get much ROI from your dental consulting if your staff do not have your back. You do not beed a team of cheer leaders jumping up and down with enthusiasm, but you do need staff who are smart and take some pride and ownership in what they do. If there is more than the usual drama in your practice that needs to be sorted out before you will get any real results.

Staff Accountability 

What gets monitored gets done.

The "big" obvious numbers are important to monitor, but when you look at them they are typically already "in the books". You want your team to concentrate and be accountable daily on the "small" stats that bring about the "big" stats. How many practice owners know how many calls were made to unscheduled patients each day or overdue re-care or inactive patients? Many dentists vastly underestimate how much daily "outflow" is needed to keep a schedule full. How may dentists know what % of slots were open in their hygiene schedule each day? How many know how many NP calls there were yesterday, who scheduled and if they end up showing up? More importantly how many staff know considering it's their job to do?

The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee, but that employee accountable reports daily on a spreadsheet like this: 1. # of calls or personal texts sent 2. # of contact
3. # of appointments with name and date 4. # of arrivals

It is the employee who is either making themselves valuable to you or not. If they are doing so, dismissing them will never enter your mind. On the other hand, if they are not making themselves valuable, you will be doing them and yourself a favor by giving them the opportunity to find a practice or other employment that is a better fit for them.  

Leadership

What most practice owners are missing is not how to book an appointment but how to be effective leaders. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply. Agreement among all team members is key. Your written office policies should contain those agreements and should answer most questions staff come up with. Doing so will save you much time and simplify the management of your practice. Staff non compliance is a sure sign of poor leadership. The primary reason practices underperform is staff non compliance.  Key traits of leaders. All it takes is discipline: 

  1. Always keep a cool head especially when "under fire"
  2. Realize that all mistakes are an opportunity for you and your staff to learn.
  3. Set a good example.
  4. Always be learning.
  5. Take care of yourself.
  6. Fight the impulse to address multiple issue at the same time. Frantic activity creates spotty results.

Questions You Should Ask

  1. Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
  2. Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance? There are advantages to both.
  3. If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
  4. Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
  5. The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.

If you do a little homework it should be fairly easy to pick a reputable consultant that is a good fit for you and your practice.