The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on dental practices that they still haven’t quite recovered from. More than six in 10 dental practices remain below normal patient volume, according to the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute.
The holidays are often a slow season for dentists, but as North America prepares for a potentially “locked-down” winter, you may see more empty appointment spots than usual in your calendar. How can you keep your chairs filled and your revenues coming in despite the unique challenges of this holiday season? Here are seven tips that will help.
Be proactive about recall.
Don’t wait until a patient has missed their six-month appointment. Getting proactive can help fill your chairs. Lighthouse 360’s recall feature starts recall four weeks before the patient is due, giving them plenty of time to respond and schedule. If they don’t respond, Lighthouse 360 keeps reaching out until the patient is considered dormant.
Use appointment reminders.
Even though the usual round of holiday events is on hold this year, working and schooling from home have contributed to crazy schedules. With so much on their minds, it’s easy for patients to forget their appointments. Don’t lose out on revenues because of patient no-shows. Sending appointment reminders helps ensure your practice’s production stays steady. Lighthouse 360 can send patients automatic appointment reminders, by text, email or phone, and send the confirmation directly to your PMS.
Be ready to handle last-minute cancellations.
Last-minute cancellations are to be expected this year if patients feel ill or get cold feet about visiting the dentist. Enforcing your practice policies regarding fines for late cancellations could bring contagious patients into the office, so you’ll want to waive those fees for now. But you can still recapture lost revenue with Lighthouse 360’s Fill-In feature. Fill-In automatically detects cancellations and contacts the patients who are most likely to want the slot. Some 90% of Lighthouse 360 clients say Fill-In helps to reduce no-shows.
Capitalize on FSA year-end spending deadlines.
Did you know Americans lose more than $400 million in tax-free dollars annually by failing to use money in their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)? To lure patients in for treatment or hygiene appointments they may have put off, send emails, text or call informing them of FSA deadlines. Remind them that any unspent funds in their accounts at the end of the plan year will be lost.
Stay on top of receivables.
Submit insurance claims and send out bills the same day an exam or procedure is completed. The faster you invoice or submit your claim or bill, the faster you can get paid. Follow up on late payments—whether from insurance companies or individuals—right away to boost your revenues.
Promote cosmetic dentistry procedures.
With so many work and social interactions taking place via Zoom, your smile takes on new importance. Encourage patients to give themselves the gift of a whiter smile by promoting at-home whitening treatments. Some 70% of U.S. adults say a smile can make or break a first impression, and 53% say their smile affects their overall success.
Reactivate dormant patients.
You probably have more patients than usual who haven’t visited in 18 to 36 months. Use Lighthouse 360 to send dormant patients customized recall emails or letters. Sweeten the pot by offering them a discount or free “extra.” When dormant patients do come in for appointments, ensure you treat them like VIPs and thank them for visiting. Update their records and contact information so you can stay in touch going forward.
These are challenging times for dentistry, but Lighthouse 360 can help you boost practice revenues no matter what hurdles life throws in your way.