I started reading a new book: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have heard everyone who reads this series loves it. The book is 600 pages, so when I am done with it IN NOVEMBER, I will let you know.
I want to talk to you about our recall system. Well, a better way to say this is I want to talk to you about our lack of a recall system.
I used to have 3 front desk people. I have let someone go and someone left after having a baby, so now I have one strong one and a person that we train and she leaves then another one we train and she leaves. (We just hired a third try and we have a good feeling about this one.) One thing that has been left in shambles with all the personnel transitions is our recall system. First and foremost, our recall sucks. It used to be postcards that read, "Time for your cleaning."
Now, no one is supposed to leave without a 6 month recall appointment. If they do, we are supposed to call them. This dialogue is suppose to go something like this:
"Mr. Jones how did your cleaning go today? Oh great, I am glad you liked Kelly. Your 6 month cleaning appointment is going to land us in November. Was this a good day and time? Good, then I will put you down on Wednesday, November 12 at 3pm. We'll send a reminder card and I will see you in November."
Sometimes, Mr. Jones might say, "I don't have my schedule. I will call you when I get to work." This should no problem.
We are supposed to say something like, "No sweat, I will talk to you later then. Oh, listen, if I don't hear from you by Friday, I will give you a call. Is work or your cell the best number to call?" This way, the ball is never left in their court.
Rarely, someone slips through the cracks. And that is still okay. We have the list of patients that are overdue for their cleanings; this is where we drop the ball.
We have a one month list, a two month list, three... you get what I mean. We haven't gotten to the one month list, so it continues to grow. In the past, the front desk has been responsible for calling people on the list. But now that our hygiene schedule looks like swiss cheese, we have started making this a practice-wide duty. All hands on deck.
This has been a real struggle. I walk around seeing people standing around, talking and I see a list that is 4000 people strong. Then other times, everyone is on it and two people call the same person. So, it is a very complicated. When you talk to someone, when you leave a message, when you get a bad number, you are always supposed to write a note in their chart. Which means that before you call the number on the list, you have to look up their chart to see the notes made from before; it becomes very time consuming.
Someone might sit down to make some calls and get about 10 calls an hour. If the list has 100 people on it, imagine how long that would take. You get to 50 people ,and next thing you know, the list has 150 people on it. So you call the one month people, or half of them, and you just stick to the one month people. After three months, the one month person is now three months, and next thing you know they are slipping through the cracks.
I don't know of a solution. I am a freaking dentist, for crying out loud - I don't know how to run a recall system. And really, part of what we do is try to eliminate people off the list. If they are not coming back, at least they are off the list. How many times do you call them? Are we stalking them? Emails, texts, calls.
Eventually we send them a letter saying that we like having them as a patient and we want them to come back ,but because we haven't heard from them we are going to inactivate their chart. This means we will not be calling them anymore, but it doesn't mean they can't come back here. "When you are ready, just call." Then, all of a freaking sudden, we get a call from them.
I don't know. Am I the only one that has lost all control? I am thinking about bringing back the postcards. What do you think?
Have a great Wednesday