patient recall system

Creating a Patient Recall System That Works

An efficient patient recall system is one of the best ways to maintain a steady flow of patients. (And revenue!) It’s roughly three times more expensive to find a new patient than retain a current one, which means you need a manageable recall system. There are four pieces to this system, and when used well your practice can see an increase in returning patients.

3 Reasons Your Dental Practice Needs a Patient Recall System

  1. Returning patients means your schedule is filled and your team is productive.
  2. Most treatment is diagnosed during routine visits, which means you’re offering restorative services as well.
  3. It’s harder for patients to get lost in the paperwork shuffle with a system that ensures they are contacted regarding follow-up visits.

For these three reasons, it’s critical to build out a recall system. As your team adjusts to these changes, it will become easier and easier to maintain.

Use Patient Management Software to Track Patient Visits

Patient management software is one of the best investments you can make into your dental practice. Instead of physical lists that are easily lost, ensure your team is keeping your software up to date. These systems have all the data you need on patient visits, including how long since their last cleaning and if and when they were contacted regarding their next visit.

In order to maximize this system, though, it’s important that your team makes all necessary notes. You don’t want to call a patient 3 times in a week because notes weren’t left!

Onboard New Patients Correctly

If a new patient visits your office for an emergency, it’s an opportune time to discuss the importance of a follow-up hygiene appointment. This doesn’t need to be overbearing; instead encourage them to come back in to ensure proper healing, as well as the benefits of regular visits.

Doctors often overlook this step, but it can help turn an emergency appointment into a long-time patient. Your patient management software can help simplify this once they leave the office, too. Give them a call to check on them, and inquire about setting a hygiene appointment.

Encourage Patients to Pre-Book Appointments

Not only does pre-appointing help keep a balanced schedule, but it also helps anticipate workload and schedule accordingly. The appointment is made six months in advance, instead of receiving a frantic call with a booked schedule.

It’s important to set automatic reminders, though! Most won’t remember an appointment six months into the future, so this helps minimize no-shows.

Follow-Ups Are Critical to Your Recall Rate

Encourage your office manager to set aside time each day so the front desk team can make follow-up calls. This means taking the reports from your patient management system, calling those on the list, and repeating as necessary.

We began by sharing how it’s three times more expensive to invest in a new patient than keep an existing one. The time it takes to run these reports and make these calls will pay off! Even having one team member take an hour a day for follow-ups can help maximize your current patient roster.


There are a variety of ways to increase your dental practice’s patient recall rate. A mix of these four techniques create a system that can influence your retention rate. From a patient management system and patient education to setting aside time daily to make follow-up calls, a patient recall system helps maintain your practice’s schedule and revenue stream.

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