“People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This quote has been attributed to Teddy Roosevelt and John C. Maxwell, and while it’s not clear who said it first, one thing is certain – it still rings true today, especially in healthcare. Your patients might admire you for your great clinical skills, but they will remember and appreciate you for how much you cared for them.
Checking up on patients after dental treatment is the best way to let them know that you care. It will go a long way in building lasting relationships and keeping happy patients in your practice. And, as we know, happy patients are a lot more likely to refer new patients and write great online reviews.
A quick phone call to all patients who had treatment is a small thing to do that gives tremendous results. If you can find the time to call each patient you have treated, do it. A few minutes of your time will make your patients feel connected and cared for. They’ll trust that you are there to help them and will readily accept more of your recommendations. Of course, calling every single patient you work on, might not be realistic for everyone.
If you don’t have the time to reach every patient yourself or worry that a personal call from you may come insincere, assign this task to the most solicitous member of your team. A phone call from the assistant who helped with the procedure, the hygienist who saw the patient for scaling and root planing, or your cheerful scheduling coordinator will still be the most effective free marketing your practice can do. In fact, sometimes, patients are more open with the team members and are more likely to share something they don’t feel comfortable to bring up to the doctor.
You might be concerned whether some patients would feel alarmed by the call and wonder whether they are expected to issues that require a follow-up. You might worry that some patients would view it as an interruption. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most patients would endure great pain before they pick up the phone and bother the doctor after hours. If they have a concern or experience unusual discomfort, they will genuinely appreciate the opportunity to ask the doc a question. And if they don’t have a problem, they’ll still be pleased to hear from you. In my practice, it’s not unusual for a newer patient to exclaim: “Wow, I have never had a dentist do this before! Thank you!” The delight and surprise in their voice alone make it worth it.
Typically, we’ll try to call patients 3-4 hours after their appointment as this is when the anesthesia is wearing off, and some discomfort might be noted. Patients that were seen towards the end of the day get a call the following morning. We ask how well they are doing after treatment and whether they have any questions. Most of the time, there are no problems, and they are thankful for the call. Dentistry is very unpredictable, however, and issues can flare up after the most routine procedure. By following up with every single patient who had anesthesia or a treatment that could cause discomfort, like whitening, we can catch problems early. If a tooth is sore after a routine filling, a patient might complain about it to 20 other people or air his grievances online instead of calling the office. When we reach out, we can get this patient back into the office for a simple bite adjustment and avoid a costly and heart-wrenching 1-Star online review.
YAPI makes follow-up easy. With YAPI, you can quickly add patients to the Care Call List in the CheckOut Notes to ensure that your patients don’t slip through the cracks. The best time to do this is when the patient is still in the chair and before you take the bib off. You can schedule follow-ups for the next day or any day in the future if following up in a few days or weeks makes more sense. YAPI will keep track of the appointment reasons so that you can have all of the information at your fingertips when you call. You can even add additional notes if there is something specific you want to remember to address.
As you make the calls, you might encounter an occasional patient who is still experiencing some post-operative discomfort. It might be a good idea to set another reminder for yourself to follow up in a few days or weeks to ensure that the patient is recovering well. Patient Finder allows you to add a patient to the Care Call List at any time with just a few clicks. Just select a day when you want to be reminded to call, make a quick note and let YAPI alert you when it’s time to connect.
Your Care Call List can be viewed from your YAPI Dashboard or delivered to you daily via email so that you could make your calls from anywhere whenever the time allows.
Letting the patients know you still care once they have left the office will help foster loyalty and keep patients coming back and recommending your practice. If you haven’t started using Care Call List yet, start today and set your practice apart from the rest.
Authored by Dr. Gina Dorfman
Dr. Gina Dorfman completed her dental training at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry in 2000 and shortly after she started her own practice near Los Angeles. Her passion for creating systems and leveraging technology to streamline practice operations is what eventually led her to co-found YAPI. Today, among practicing dentistry, she is a published author, a motivational speaker, and a frequent contributor to the many articles found on our blog!