CHART AUDITINGRonald F. Arndt, DDS, MBA, MAGD, MCCMary Beth Bajornas, CMT,VAHow much dentistry is sitting on your wall? What financial opportunities are you missing with your patients of record? What are you willing to do to “harvest the diamonds in your own back yard?”Chart auditing is the review of charts to determine the status of idle patients. Chart auditing is done by the front desk staff, and should be done minimally on an annual basis. Although this task can be time consuming it can also result in the reactivation of numerous, otherwise lost, patients.Chart auditing should consist of the following: Review of patient’s last appointment How long has it been since they have been in? What did their last appointment consist of? What was their next recommended appointment? Has any contact with the patient been initiated prior to audit?It’s easiest to work chart by chart. After review a personal phone contact should try to be made with the following sample script: “Hello Mrs. Smith, this is Suzie from Dr. Arndt’s office. I am so glad to have finally contacted you personally! How are you doing? We have noticed that you haven’t been to our office in over 18 months, and realize that you are past due for your cleaning. Is there a good day and time for you that we could schedule you with the hygienist?”If the patient for some reason states they are unhappy with treatment, dentistry, etc. you could say the following “ Mrs. Smith, I hope you can give us the opportunity to take care of this – I am sure Dr. Arndt would want me to schedule an appointment for you with him personally for a consultation. Is there a specific day and time that might work for you to come in and speak with Dr. Arndt?”If no personal contact can be made, a reactivation letter can be sent. A reactivation letter should be short and to the point. It should state the patient’s last appointment, what they had done, any treatment that has been recommended, and what they are now due for. At the bottom of the letter a request should be made of the patient to respond to the following: They have moved and wish their records to be forwarded to their new dentist They will not be returning and if they choose to tell why They didn’t realize they were so far behind and wish to schedule an appointment so please call They do wish to schedule but will call when convenient for themA return envelope should be included for the patient’s convenience, and they are more apt to return the request this way.As each request comes in, the patient’s chart should reflect their response. Forwarding records and contacting patient’s for appointments should be done the day the response is received.If after 14 days there is no response, a follow up phone call should be made with this sample script “Hello Mr. George, this is Suzie from Dr. Arndt’s office. How are you?! We haven’t seen you in a while and recently sent out a reactivation letter to you requesting you to advise us of your patient status. We haven’t heard back from you and are touching base to make sure all is ok! We really miss seeing you on your recall visits. Is there a good day and time for you to come in to see Dr. Arndt?”If after multiple attempts there has been no contact, the patient account can be inactivated, with complete and thorough chart notes being added of “no response from patient”. Copies of the reactivation letters should be kept, and any attempts at communication should be recorded as well.By doing chart audits annually, you an ensuring: The patient base you currently have is active. No patient has “slipped through the cracks”. An increase in production by actively working this system. The opportunity to “right” things that may be “wrong”.How long has it been since your charts have been audited? How much production is just lying around in your office, waiting for someone to act upon it? There has to be a consistent method of patient tracking in place and your practice cannot afford to overlook the obvious.To really make your system effective you will want to establish measurables to determine your progress. Below are some of those expectations that you and the team will want to observe every week.1. Establish a goal of 16 calls per day or two per hour.2. How many patients were called?3. How many patients were actually spoken too or contacted?4. How many patients scheduled and what was the value of the treatment scheduled?5. Establish a specific time to review each week.Are you utilizing external marketing but haven’t audited charts? Your practice has many, many internal resources for filling your schedule and your whole team needs to be on board to renew relationships the patients you already have!Remember, your practice is either growing or dying. There’s pretty much nothing in between.Dr. Ron Arndt, The Dental Coach™, works with dentists who want to be in control of their practice rather than the practice controlling them. What that means for them is that they think, act and behave like an ethical CEO because they want to lead more, manage less and be much more profitable in much less time. He is the first and only dentist in the world to hold the coveted designation Master Certified Coach (MCC) awarded by the ICF. He is the author of RIGHT HIRING for the Dental Team and several ThinBooks. He can be reached at or 440‐748‐6161.Mary Beth Bajornas is a Virtual Assistant to dental and business professionals with over 20 years of management, administrative and dental front office experience. Her technique of staff education for the front office to be in “The Perpetual State of Preparedness” is dead on for streamlining front office and patient service functions. She can be reached at or 330-324-3865
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