The 3 “Re’s” of Recare: Re-Group, Re-Up, Re-Vive!

The least worked system in most general dental practices. The “black hole” that patients fall into never to be heard from again. Many times listed as one of the most “frustrating” responsibilities for team members.

Yes, the Recare system. And yet, it’s the heart of your practice. It provides the opportunity to help assure patients’ good health and the ability to be proactive in their care. And when managed well, it also provides a base line of production and collection.

If you’re not experiencing a robust recare system that provides the best for your patients and your practice, then it’s time for the 3 “Re’s” of Recare:

  • Re-Group
  • Re-Up
  • Re-Vive

 

Re-Group

Take an inventory of how effectively your system operates:

  • are 85% of your patients active in the recare system?
  • are 95% of patients scheduled for their next appointment before leaving today’s appointment?
  • Is it someone’s specific responsibility to maintain the recare system or does it fall to “whoever has time”?
  • Is your hygiene department dedicated to periodontal and diagnosis-based or simply a “cleaning-based” approached?
  • does complete periodontal probing and charting take place including a 6-pt probe and notations of bleeding, furcation and mobility?
  • are you coding appropriately and billing for the services performed. If you are performing a scaling and root planning, bill a D4341, not a D0110.

By first establishing that you have a strong foundation for a recare system that provides “remarkable” service to your patients, you can then provide a plan for the benefit of you and your patients.

 

Re-Up

Are your patients engaged, really engaged, in the recare process? How are you communicating with them? When their appointment is over is your closing comment, “you’re all done!”.  Or do you hear yourself saying, “You just need a cleaning.”

If so, no wonder your patients aren’t highly motivated to be engaged in their oral health…it doesn’t sound like it’s a priority!

It’s time to get patients to “Re-Up” with their recare appointments.

You can improve the “Re-Up” rate of patients through the words you use in discussing the patient’s recare appointments.

Never say, “You’re all done.” A patient (even a fully edentulous patient) is never “all done”. There is always the need for a next appointment in the hygiene department and/or exam with the Doctor.

Recommendation: “To help you keep your remaining teeth, we’ll see you in 3 months. That will be right after the holidays and I’ll look forward to hearing what your plans are for the new year.”

In that response you give the patient a benefit for returning (keep your remaining teeth) and also “connect” their next appointment with a time of year that helps reinforce their next appointment.

Never say, “Do you want to schedule?” Right away you run at least a 50% chance of the patient saying, “no”. After that it’s an uphill battle.

Recommendation: “Chelsea, let’s get your next appointment scheduled, because I know you prefer early morning. This way I can reserve time especially for you and lock in your favorite time.”

Let the patient know you remember their preferences and reinforce that this is reserved for them. A simple word change to “reserved” adds extra importance to the appointment.

Help motivate patients by giving them a “Reason For Return” (RFR). This elevates “just your next cleaning” to something very specific to that person.

Recommendation: “Alex, you’ve mentioned to me that there is a family history of diabetes and you are doing everything you can to stay healthy. Your next appointment is going to be an important part of your plan to stay as healthy as possible.”

Break out of the rut of the common phrases used with patients. Make the focus on how the patient will benefit from the next appointment and watch the “Re-Up” factor increase.

 

Re-Vive

One of the great benefits your patients gain is having an exam during their recare visit. This is an opportunity to be proactive in their care and help them to achieve the best health.

Yet, how many of your patients have treatment plans with diagnosed treatment that has not yet been treated? Now’s the time to “Re-Vive” the importance and value to the patient of having that treatment completed.

Here are some fool-proof methods to “Re-Vive” a patients interest and attention in previously diagnosed treatment:

  • use the intra-oral camera and compare the current image with that taken at time of diagnosis. This can definitely be “a picture is worth a thousand words” when the progression of disease is visible.
  • discuss treatment in terms of the benefit(s) the patient wants to achieve. Are they interested in great health, better esthetics, improved function or avoiding further pain and/or expense?
    • “To save the additional time and cost of a root canal, we can treat that tooth now and get a more predictable outcome.”
    • “Chris, at this time we can treat your periodontal disease non-surgically. If the treatment is delayed, you may end up needing surgery.”
  • invite patient’s to ask questions, and even object to the recommended treatment! This gives you the opportunity to really learn what is at the heart of their delay. If it’s financial, offer payments through a 3rd-party finance company. If it’s anxiety, you can prescribe the appropriate solutions. Once you know the core concern, you can solve it and help a patient to better oral health.
  • be positively assumptive in scheduling the patient: “Looking at the schedule I’ve got great news. We have time available to be able to complete this treatment before your daughter’s wedding! Let’s get that scheduled now so that you’ll enjoy your smile in all the wedding pictures.”

Turn your Recare system into a robust, results-oriented approach that provides your patients with the most timely and appropriate care.

The rewards of “Re-Grouping”, “Re-Upping”, and “Re-Viving” will be plentiful for your patients and your practice.

Take the first step to improving your practice

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