If your practice closed or was open on a limited basis during the COVID-19 crisis, without a doubt, all your recare patients are out of sync with their typical visit pattern.
Are you ready to invite them back?
Dentrix Ascend’s automated recare reminders can help.
To send out text and email invitations to patients with missed appointments—going back to a specific date—you will need to complete three tasks: 1) create a broken appointment message, 2) change your appointment colors to highlight the appointment types that should get an invitation, and then 3) break those missed appointments in your schedule.
Note this method of sending invitations is not mass communication. Invitations are individual. The value of this approach is that you do not have to call each patient. You have complete control over which patients you send an invitation to and how many patients to invite as you ramp up your operations.
Step One: Create the Message
Before you make changes to your Patient Communications, realize that when your office returns to a pattern of normalcy, you will want to restore your messages to their former configuration. So before you edit anything, print or create a screen capture of the existing messages to have as a reference. When the time comes to put things back to normal, you’ll appreciate having that information to guide you!
- Open the Patient Communications page (from the Settings menu), and select the Appointment Scroll down, and click the existing Appt broken reminder.
- If it is not turned on, toggle the Active switcher to On. Review the Automated Text Reminders notification, and click Close to continue. (You will not see this if the reminder is active.)
- Click Edit to begin configuring the reminder. In the Notification Schedule step, set the time frame to “0 hours after appointment broken.” Toggle the Exclude automated message switch to On so that you only send your custom messages. (Warning icons will appear in the email and text steps to remind you that you must configure these messages.) Setting a follow-up frequency is optional. For all steps, click Next to continue.
- In the Preferred Sending Method step, select your preferred communication method. For either choice, Dentrix Ascend sends a message using the other method if the preferred method is unavailable.
- In the Email Message step, edit the Subject line, and add a custom message inviting your patients to reschedule the appointments they missed while you were closed for routine procedures.
- Do the same in the Text Message You may or may not choose to copy and paste the entire email message; creating a lengthy text message may cause the patient to receive the invitation in multiple individual text messages.
- In the Practice Info step, double-check the practice information (logo, social media links, phone number, and so on). When finished, click Done.
You now have custom email and text messages created for broken appointments. You can preview those messages at any time by simply clicking on the Appt broken card.
Step Two: Change Your Appointment Colors
Your next task is to highlight the appointment types that should get an invitation. The easy way to do this is to implement appointment colors by procedure code. For example, if you are targeting recare appointments, assign recare procedures (D1110 and so on) a distinctive color, so they stand out in the Calendar.
If you need help changing your appointment colors, contact Support for assistance.
Step Three: Break the Missed Appointments
You are ready to start sending text and email invitations to patients with missed appointments. For each patient to whom you want to send an invitation, you are going to trigger the condition that tells Dentrix Ascend to send a patient communication.
- Use the Calendar date picker to navigate to your closure date or to where you last left off using this workflow.
- Click any recare appointment not yet broken to open the patient appointment panel. (Broken appointments show as half-width and translucent.)
- In the patient appointment panel, click the Status dropdown menu, and select Broken. Adding a Reason for Missing Appointment note is optional. Click Save.
- Answer Yes to the prompt that asks you to verify that you want to edit an appointment that is in the past.
That’s it! Each patient whose appointment you break should receive a text or email inviting them to reschedule.
If Your Appointments were Already Broken
The method just described for sending an email or text inviting your patients to reschedule will not work if you previously broke all those appointments. Patient communications are not retroactive; after setting the parameters (in this case, breaking an appointment), you must then break an appointment to trigger a message.
An alternative way to reach out to recare patients is to activate and edit one of the overdue Prophy Recare messages, for example, the one configured to send a reminder 26 weeks after the due date. Activate the card and edit the Notification Schedule to be the number of weeks it’s been since you shut down. Note that Dentrix Ascend will send reminders to all the patients with recare due, rather than letting you pick and choose. There is no way to set a date range for reminders. You will want to customize the email and text messages just as described above.
If Patients Don’t Use Text or Email
Some patients don’t use text or email. To reach out to these patients, you will need to go old school—print and mail letters. To identify these patients (or rather, their primary contacts), generate a variation of the Primary Contacts without Phone Numbers report that will show you patients missing email and phone information.
Again, contact Support if you need assistance.
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