Before I ever worked in Dental Software, during my holidays while I was at university, I worked at the local opticians helping out doing any odd jobs that were needed whether it be IT related or just general labour work. One day when trying to fix a couple of issues on the software used in the practice, I found a report that you could use to show you all patients that hadn't been in the practice since a date that you set. If used correctly I realised that this could prove to be quite a useful report for the practice.

In the summer more gaps than normal can appear in the appointment book due to the summer holidays and what not. So I approached the practice owner with the idea of contacting all those on this report that hadn't been in for over 2 years (this is the recommend number of years you should have a check-up/what the NHS in Scotland will pay for) and asked them if they would like to book an appointment to help fill the gaps in the appointment book.

In the reports section in Dentally, there is a report called the "Lapsed Patients" report. This was based on the report I used in the above example. It shows you all the patients that have not been in the practice since a date of your choosing. To get the most out of this report set the date to today's date + twice your longest recall length, remember you are wanting patients that are no longer a regular patient. Then start working your way through the list contacting each patient by phone asking them if they would like to book a check-up.

  • This will let you fill gaps in your appointment book
  • You will bring patients back into the practice that you may not have seen again using existing recall methods
  • Update the existing practice records
    • Update and archive any patients that are deceased
    • Remove any numbers or addresses that are no longer correct for the patient, these will stop you wasting money sending SMS and letters to incorrect numbers and addresses
  • Archive aggressively
    • Unless the patient on the phone says that they don't wish to at that moment but will in the future archive their record. This will allow you to see a better overview of all your patients and making looking after and keeping in contact with your "actual" patients a lot easier.
    • With Dentally, you don't have to worry about them coming back sometime in the future and creating a duplicate patient since we now automatically check that the patient doesn't already exist as a current or archived patient when you are adding a new patient.

After repeating this multiple times you will slowly see the number of patients drop due to being archived or having booked in for a checkup.

This job that I created for myself at the practice ended up working out so well I was set the task of building a team that would do this full time for the practice which is still going today 4 years after its inception.