Follow these steps at the end of each appointment with all patients to make sure you "wrap up" the patient's visit with positive communication while preparing them for their next appointment.
STEP 1: Raise the chair so that the patient is in an upright position. You should remain seated facing the patient. Leave the patient’s bib on. Once you take the bib off they think the appointment is over and their attention is now on leaving the office.
STEP 2: Give the patient a verbal summary of the treatment that was done that day. This is very important and is an opportunity to reinforce future treatment needs, benefits of returning to complete what was started, back up what the doctor said to them, go over the positive aspects of the treatment completed and give the patient any post op instructions, referrals etc.
Always ask the patient if they have any questions about today's visit or their next appointment. Once you are positive you have communicated all you need to communicate and you have answered all of their questions, you can remove the bib and escort the patient to the front.
STEP 3: This is known as the “hand-off” and it is a very important step. Never send the patient to the front desk unescorted. The hand off should include face to face contact with the designated front desk staff along with communication that will reinforce what the patient heard in the back. The patient needs to hear it again.
Here is an example of a good hand off from the back to the front: “Mrs. Smith just completed her routine recare appointment. I've already set her up to come back in six months, so we can keep her gums healthy. Doctor found some cavities. He wants to see her back here before they get larger and start to give her problems."
It’s important to communicate the urgency for the next appointment and not just simply process people
The technical staff person tells the patient good-bye and goes back to her treatment room to prepare for the next patient. The designated front desk person takes over to get the money collected for that day, arrange finances for the future visit and get the needed appointment scheduled.