Why Patients Cancel Their Dental Appointments (and how to stop them)

Posted on by Jen McGuire | Category Recare, Total Health

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As your afternoon schedule slowly falls to pieces, have you ever wondered “why”? Why are patients (who would never dream of skipping a pap smear or other health screening) perfectly comfortable delaying or cancelling their scheduled dental care? There are two reasons.

First, we let them. We reschedule them without complaint, or ask them to call us when they are ready to rebook. No questions, no concern expressed, no detectable frustration (most of the time).  We let patients off the hook and they know we will. Why aren’t we making cancellation a little less easy for them? It’s not easy for you to fill the hole created in your schedule; the least the patient can do is take the time to answer a few questions about their current oral health.

The second reason for cancellation is that patients simply don’t value the care they receive. Not that they don’t appreciate the dental team, and the work that you do. But they don’t understand how truly important it is. A hygiene visit is not “just a cleaning”, it’s one of the very few, if not the only, preventive health visits a patient will have all year.  We have to educate patients about the total health services they receive during a hygiene visit, and give them a personally motivating reason to return for their next appointment. At a minimum, make sure patients understand that the hygiene visit includes a caries screening, periodontal disease screening, oral cancer screening, and potentially screenings for sleep disorders, acid reflux, diabetes, and high blood pressure as well.

Implementing an effective recare program that communicates the value of a hygiene visit is the most important thing you can do to influence the health of your patients and the profitability of the practice. The next time a patient calls to cancel, you’ll be ready to stop them.

Request your free in-office Recare Workshop.

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