Do's and don'ts for reducing cancellations: Schedule based on patient needs

2016 11 18 14 42 01 206 Practice Success2 400

Preappointing works for many patients, but not for everyone. Segment your patients based on their behavior. If a portion of your patients consistently cancel after they've been preappointed, contact them a month before their next hygiene appointment and then follow up with one-week and 48-hour reminders.


Customize your confirmation method. You want to standardize processes as much as possible, but realize your patient base is comprised of different generations -- boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, etc. While texting and emailing confirmations may work for a large percentage of your patients, some may respond better to a phone call. Remember, the ultimate goal is to motivate patients to show up. Use a variety of confirmation methods, if needed, to get the best results.


Don't lose track of patients who don't preappoint. Set up a reminder in your practice management software to contact these patients a month before they are due for their half-year hygiene appointment. Actively managing the patient base keeps patients from falling through the cracks.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Levin Group, the leading dental practice consulting firm in North America. For the complete list of dates and locations where you can attend his latest seminar, visit

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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