The recare (recall) system in dentistry is the bread and butter of the practice, and it’s imperative that it be created properly and maintained to help the practice grow and thrive. Most offices today use dental software in all aspects of management from procedures and record keeping to billing and insurance. Furthermore, dental software includes components with regards to recare making it so much easier to handle than in days gone by where tracking appointments were managed on handwritten ledgers.
It should be office policy that each patient who comes in for an appointment has their next made whether it’s prophylaxis or restorative care. Recare is usually assigned to prophylaxis, but it should also be included in making restorative appointments. Reasons for making the following visit include:
- Filling the appointment book in the future allows you to know what openings remain for emergencies and last minute needs.
- Scheduling the next appointment at the end of each visit reiterates to the patient that their dental health is a priority.
- Making the next appointment ensures the patient that they have reserved time on the schedule, and thus, makes it a commitment.
What happens if a patient doesn’t make a recare appointment? Running reports of overdue and unscheduled patients provide the information you need to reactivate them easily. Once you have the list of patients who are due, communicate with them in multiple ways because people prefer to receive information differently.
Phone calls, texts, and emails should be made to the patient once a month until they schedule or they ask you not to contact them anymore. There are many automated services for emails and texts which makes the process simple. Also, emails and texts allow for the patient to contact the office after hours and in a non-threatening manner. The only reasons to cease correspondence with the patient are: they request you stop, they have moved out of the area or switched dentists, or they have passed away. Having a healthy recall system keeps the practice moving forward and active and should be an integral part of the day to day operations.