While I do have the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing teams in the world, I always see patients walking out of the office unescorted and/or with their chart in hand.
Just as when you are eating in a nice restaurant, how you are left feeling upon finishing your meal, is how a patient can feel at the end of their appointment without a proper dismissal. The food tastes good but what happens after desert when the check comes?
To create the best dental patient hand-off experience, read these tips for your patients to have the best experience while in your office.
If you have a seamless process for your patient dismissal your patients are left feeling happy about their dental experience, your office meets their production goals and you develop Raving Fans!
9 Suggested Steps To Create A Successful Dental Patient Hand-off:
The following are suggestions to have a successful patient experience. By following these steps your patients will feel well cared for and you will find you will have a schedule that is meeting your production goals much more easily. This type of handoff will leave patients feeling a higher level of trust and are very likely to be your raving fans because of the experience they have had in your office.
1. Before a patient leaves the operatory, review specific findings during their appointment.
• Ask the patient if they have any questions about their dental treatment
• Let the patient know you will get them scheduled for their treatment and if necessary, you will have them speak to the financial coordinator about their financial obligation, etc.
Always escort the patient to the front desk and when you arrive at the front desk now communicate the following:
2. In front of patient at the front desk, discreetly state the services the patient came to the office for today, to the front desk team member
3. What was accomplished during today’s dental appointment?
4. What treatment recommendations (aesthetic dentistry options, dental products, etc.) were made and how soon the patient should return for their treatment (follow up, post-op visit, etc.)
5. Verbally communicate next visits
• If the back office has scheduled any appointments verbally communicate this to the admin team member while the patient is standing with you at the front desk
6. Patient’s ability and desire to schedule their next dental appointment
• With the patient next to you at the front desk verbally communicate to the admin team member the patients desire to schedule
• When patients have scheduled their next dental appointment in the back office be sure to re-state the date of their next visit to the front office team member upon check-out
- For example: “Mr. Philamoth is ready to get scheduled for the two crowns on the upper left side. Tooth Numbers 14 and 15. He is able to come next week if we have time available in our schedule.”
- Another example may be: “Mr. Philamoth would like to discuss how much he needs to pay for the two crowns on the upper left. Numbers 14 and 15.”
- Or another example may be: “Mr. Philamoth wants to wait to do the two crowns on the upper left. Numbers 14 and 15.”
In this situation when a patient wants to wait it is very likely that they did not understand the value of completing their treatment. The benefit of completing their treatment did not sink in. It is possible that they have objections to treatment and these were not identified when the patient was seating in the operatory.
7. When patients do leave the office without a next appointment, it is very important to ask when a good time to follow up with them will be. Let the patient know a date within the next 14
days when you will call to follow up. Reinforce the benefit and value to the patient for completing treatment sooner than later.
8. When patients have not scheduled their next appointment, write down a tickler to call after you tell the patient you will do a “follow up call.” Call on the date you have communicated you
will call to follow up. Why are you following up? Because as a healthcare professional you want your patients to not experience pain and live a longer-healthier life.
9. Say your farewell and last few comments to the patient as you leave them at the front desk with the admin team.
The following are only suggestions and examples of what to say. Discuss what works best for your office and your patient situations. Think benefit to your patients and what creates value for your patients choosing to return to your office and not another office down the street.
Have fun with this and enjoy everyday doing what you love to do! We are all together in this, creating healthier and longer lives for our patients. That smile IS a curve that changes everything in the lives of your patients.
Keep them smiling!