Managing Revenue

Don’t Let Revenue Fall in the Fall: Scheduling Tools in Open Dental

Your practice may be experiencing a great rebound after reopening after the COVID shutdown, and that is a wonderful thing. However, as we move into the traditionally slow fall season, there is an additional factor in play as a result of the several months of shutdown. The recall patients you typically would have scheduled fall appointments for weren’t seen in the Spring, so they weren’t pre-appointed for the fall months. This post provides some tools in Open Dental that you can start using today to ensure that your revenue doesn’t fall in the fall.


Managing Recall, no matter what time of year, is critically important to the success of your practice, not to mention your patients’ oral health. Take a deep dive into your recall list and consider using Web Sched Recall to send patients a link to schedule their own appointments online. This will ease the burden of time-intensive phone calls and allow your staff to focus on other essential duties. You can send a recall reminder out manually to get the ball rolling, future recall reminders will go out automatically based on your setup. For patients who have been reminded but haven’t yet scheduled, consider shortening up the timing between reminders.

Tech Tip: Want to automate your Recall List, but don’t want patients to schedule online? You can do that! See Send Automatic Text or Email Recall Reminders on our Manual Page.

Planned Appointments

As you see patients during these busy months, create Planned Appointments for the care they will need to get scheduled. Create them in priority order to make sure more urgent care is scheduled first. Planned Appointments make it quick and easy for your front desk to set up the patient’s next appointment. Use the Planned Tracker as part of your ongoing process to plan ahead and fill your chairs.

Patients with Canceled/Missed Appointments

You probably have weeks or even months of appointments that had to be canceled due to COVID-19. Now that you’re open again, it’s time to reschedule those appointments.

If you left patients on the schedule, go into the days you had the appointments on the schedule. As you contact each patient, use the Pinboard to move the appointment to the new date/time. 
If you had moved the appointments to the Unscheduled List, you can filter the list and re-schedule based on priority, procedure, or provider. Be sure to check the box to include broken appointments, then refresh the list to get a comprehensive view of patients who need to be re-scheduled. Right-click on any patient in the list and send them straight to the pinboard for scheduling.

Patients with Pending Treatment

Insurance Benefits and FSA accounts won’t take COVID into account, they will still expire at the end of the benefit year, and FSA benefits will still be use-it-or-lose-it by year-end. Help your patients get the care they need now and help them afford it too.

Run the Treatment Finder Report to see a list of patients with treatment planned procedures who have insurance benefits remaining, and contact them to get treatment scheduled, and check for Planned Appointments quickly schedule treatment in order of priority.

Patients on Your ASAP List

This list should have patients that are already scheduled for an appointment that want to be seen sooner. As you fill your fall schedule, use this list to move patients up in your schedule in the event of a missed or canceled appointment. Use the Web Sched ASAP eService along with Integrated Texting to text your patients right from the opening in your schedule. They get a link to claim the opening on their mobile device, and you fill the opening – easy peasy.

Once the Appointment is Made

    • Take the hassle out of staying on top of upcoming appointments by using automated eReminders so patients get a heads up – ideally, to their mobile devices using Integrated Texting – think “Anytime, anywhere!”
    • Use eConfirmations so patients can quickly confirm their appointment, and their appointment status is updated in your schedule.
    • Use the new Arrivals feature to control how many people are in your waiting room at one time.
    • Make sure you have their cell phone number in their Account and ask if they would prefer to receive Recall and Appointment Reminders this way.
    • Imprint their next appointment by repeating it on their way out: “Have a great rest of your summer – we’ll look forward to seeing you on October 14th!”

If you’d like help with any of these features, we’re only a call or chat away!

Categories: Managing Revenue, Tips & Tricks

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