When your practice undergoes an unexpected closure or period of restricted service, it can be a confusing time for your patients. The appointments they had planned months in advance, might be in limbo. If an urgent need arises- they might not know how to proceed with booking a visit. If there’s one email people want to receive with an update during this time- it’s the one from their care providers. Guide them through what they should expect and how they can access care at your practice. Here are a few ways to be a good care partner through clear communication.
First, keep your patients up-to-date on your practice status with courteous emails that can be referred back to. Use bold email subject lines that will get attention, and differ from your usual outreach. For example: “An Important Update on Your Dental Appointments” or, “Urgent: A Notice from Your Dentist.” Access free email and text message templates from Intiveo, here.
You should aim to stand out from the rest of the inbox, and include critical information like:
1. Changes in days or hours of availability
2. What procedures you will be attending to at this time, and which you will be rescheduling
3. If applicable, when you will be sharing additional updates
4. How patients can connect with your staff to re-book or make changes to their appointments
As you have firm updates for re-opening and other changes, send new versions of this email to keep your patients apprised. Keep it concise, clear, and actionable. This simple outreach can both help you ensure safe, consistent patient care, and help them keep on track with their healthcare needs.
Next, make a plan for how you will reschedule missed appointments when you reopen. You may decide this needs to happen gradually, or you might delay new appointments until the lapsed ones are accommodated. You may have missed hundreds of appointments before resuming normal business- and it might not be reasonable to make follow up calls for each and every one. Intiveo software provides tools like mass patient texting, which you can use to segment out the list of patients you need to contact immediately, and notify them to reach out for rebooking. There’s no right way to manage this process, but going in with a plan is a good way to keep on top of the challenge.
Finally, acknowledge that the follow-up period might last a couple of months, as your patients’ schedule adjusts. While emergency care should take precedent, routine check-ups that were skipped, should not be delayed beyond necessity. It’s known that simple dental issues can grow more problematic over time, and you want to encourage patients to not put off their regular care. Intiveo’s dental appointment reminder software is an easy way to automate this patient communication at pre-set intervals, so follow-up is seamless.
You can access Intiveo’s suite of patient communication tools for free, by clicking here.