Hygiene Recalls: An Essential Metric to Track and How to Improve Your System


Hygiene Recalls: An Essential Metric to Track and How to Improve Your System

Mar 23, 2021

Patient recall has been referred to as the heartbeat of a dental practice.

And that confirms why hygiene recall success is among the most important metrics or KPIs for your DSO.

Keith Miller of Partnerships for Dentists confirms that in this recent related post:

”Hygiene visits are what drive every practice. We see what’s trending month-to-month and year-over-year to ensure practices are retaining and growing their hygiene department. It’s about how many patients come in the door.”

Helping those same patients who “come in the door” to keep their appointments also enables you to build lifetime patient loyalty. Recalls are a significant driver of them becoming patients for life!

New patients vs. recall

You probably don’t think of new patient acquisition and patient recall as being in competition with each other. Sure, new patients enable practices and organizations to grow.

But increasing production (not just adding patients) relies heavily on a focused recall strategy.

One KPI might reveal the truth about your recall success. It has to do with tracking the tens of thousands of dollars in revenue potential available in overdue hygiene appointments.

That’s where recall outpaces new patients in front-line revenue generation for your practice(s) or DSO.

The core of a profitable hygiene recall strategy

1- Your “target audience”

Your data analytics available via an equipped dental dashboard will reveal that recall isn’t one-size-fits-all. The benefit of this technology is the ability to segment your patient data.

Segmentation will let you know how best to communicate with each age or social demographic.

For example, a 20-something will probably not give a second thought to mailed promotion or reminder. Likewise, a text message delivered to a senior-aged patient will perhaps be a burden and thus ineffective.

Awareness of your target audience will help you identify how best to communicate about hygiene recall to each segment of your patient base.

2- Your timing

Patients live in distraction-mode. That makes it a challenge to get (and keep) their attention.

Your recall strategy must take into consideration the best days, times, and modes of communication.

    • Phone calls (voice mails implied) are known to be best received midweek in the afternoon (e.g. Wednesday or Thursday)
    • Email messages are believed to be more effectively received midweek around 10 a.m.
    • Text messages are recommended during the day between regional rush-hours (e.g. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Your dental dashboard paired with your practice management platform can enable you to schedule and deliver well-timed recall related content.

3- Your message

Messaging is about quantity and quality. The “quantity” is defined by how often you send your recall themed message. “Quality” is defined by the content of your message – essentially one that doesn’t sound repetitive.

Seven to ten communication points is the recommended threshold for message frequency. A varied messaging strategy can also include different mediums.

    • Direct mail (e.g. newsletters, postcard reminders, brochures/flyers, etc) on an every three-month schedule for recall
    • Email (e.g. monthly e-newsletters, personalized offers, and appointment reminders) sent on a spaced schedule without overwhelming the recipient
    • Text (SMS) (e.g. appointment reminders, last-minute schedule openings, limited offers, etc) sent 24 hours in advance or sparingly depending on the theme
    • Social media and informative blog content (e.g. patient testimonials, hygiene value reminders, offers, curated articles, photos, targeted ads) scheduled routinely throughout a day/night
    • In-person (e.g. as a patient departs an appointment)

Practical steps for hygiene recall success


It’s an easy way to improve your recall rates but also the easiest to forget! Patients will sense and possibly respond to the value of the appointment when you make it a natural part of your post-departure conversation.

Implement a recall system

Be proactive to reach out to unscheduled patients. And keep message timing and consistency in mind as you do so.

Alternate your messages

Use a variety of messaging channels (see above examples). Refer to your patient data and segmentation when deciding between direct mail, email, text, or social media.

Keep it simple and easy to schedule

Be straightforward with your patients. Spell it out simply what you want them to do. And confirm that your message is to the point and easy to act on.

Automate the workflow

Available technology can make a follow-up, scheduling, and reminders more efficient.

For example, a dental dashboard’s capabilities can streamline and automate the workflows within each practice across your organization. Maintain consistency by automating your recall system as much as possible (without losing the personal touch).

A fully-functional, recall-friendly dental dashboard for your dental practice(s) and/or DSO

The Jarvis Analytics platform helps assure that you’re tracking patient behavior and staying on-track with your hygiene recall system.

Speaking of hygiene – a useful Hygiene Recall Module is part of the informative resources within Jarvis University. It’s the perfect place to get informed about recall steps and other practice management insights.

The Jarvis platform…

  • Integrates seamlessly with your chosen practice management software/platform
  • Presents the metrics you want and need in an easy-to-view dental dashboard that reduces data complexity for growing dental practices, dental groups, and DSOs

Experience Jarvis in action. Request a demo today!


Contact us for more information about data tracking that leads to profitability.


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