Scheduling New Dental Patients



It is very common in dental offices to be frustrated with the effort to get ideal new patients coming through their doors. What is ideal for you? Patients who come in on time, accept recommended treatment, refer their friends and family to your practice, and pay for their services? These are typical ideals for most dentists. Most practices work so hard for their new patients, yet typically over 60% of new patients are no longer active with the practice one year after their first visit. In fact, the biggest drop-off is between their first visit and the 6-month hygiene appointment. They may still be a patient of record, but they are not in an active relationship with the team, the practice or their ideal oral health.

What are you doing in your office during the new patient visit to get the patient excited about returning to your practice as their preferred provider? How is your practice different from the practice down the street?

Morning huddles are the best time of the day to talk about the new patients coming in today. How did they hear about your practice? Why are they coming in? Did an existing patient invite them? These are all valuable questions to ask and understand at your morning huddle to help ensure everyone on your team is prepared when that patient walks through the door. Welcoming your patients with a smile, completing a tour of your office and truly being excited that they chose your practice are key in new patient retention. Everyone wants to feel valued, welcome, and wanted … not just viewed as a commodity.

Existing patients are the foundation of your practice and new patients can help you grow your active patient base. It is necessary to have good systems in place for scheduling ahead in hygiene and tracking how successful you are towards your retention goals.

Look back at the new patients you saw in your practice nine months ago. Are they still scheduled in hygiene? If they are not scheduled, what follow-up system is in place to get them scheduled? It is important to understand your new patient retention and if it isn’t at least 80%, review the patients’ files and understand why they are not returning to your practice.

OnTrack offers resources that will help implement this strategy and track your results. Please visit www.myontrack.com for more information or speak to your Patterson representative about how to sign up to use OnTrack in your practice.

One comment on “80% of New Patients Should Be Scheduled Ahead

  1. Thanks Kathy, our office uses OnTrack and it is a great tool to have. I am a firm believer in recare and new patient retention. I mean what good is it to have 50 new patients a month if they are not coming back. Everything in your short article is right on point and the way I manage the practices I have worked in. The Ontrack system helps us keep our eyes open on office trends that are key indicators of the practice. Kudos to you, I will forward your article to my Florida Dental Managers Study Group. This is listed as one of our topics for this year.

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