Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Filling Last-Minute Cancellations

During this challenging time, it may be harder to keep your practice schedule full. Your patients may be home-schooling their children or returning to work themselves, and you may find that your office has more holes in the schedule and more last-minute cancellations.

Dentrix offers a feature that your office can use to offer available appointment times to patients. It’s called Fill Appointment*. You can use this feature to send a text message to a select group of patients letting them know you have an appointment time available. This is a great feature to fill an appointment time that became available today or tomorrow and that you would like to offer to other patients. Patients are notified about an opening, and they'll call YOU to schedule an appointment!

There are several filtering options available to help you find specific patients who are likely to respond to fill the opening, and send them a text message. You can filter by provider, date range, or by appointment type.  For example, if you are trying to fill an appointment on your hygiene schedule, you can filter by Continuing Care. You also have the option to fill the appointment by looking at patients with the status of ASAP or who have appointments on the Broken, Will Call, or Pinboard lists.

When you send the text message to the patient, I would suggest writing a text that explains that you have an appointment available today, without mentioning the specific time, and to call the office if they are interested. In my experience, if your text message says that there is an appointment available at 2:00 pm today, you may have several patients just show up for that appointment, without calling to let you know. This could result in your office not being able to see all the patients, which could cause a negative experience for the patient.

Using the Fill Appointment feature can give your office the ability to contact several patients all at once regarding an available appointment, and you may have multiple patients call to claim the opening. Schedule the first patient to call you back in the opening you advertised, and then you can work with the other responders to fill other holes in your schedule, since you’ve already got them on the phone.

Making full use of the Fill Appointment feature is beneficial for your office because your staff doesn’t have to spend their time calling patients individually to fill openings. It’s also beneficial for the patient as a quick text message may be easier for them to read and answer versus listening to a voicemail and returning a phone call while they are at work, or home-schooling children.

For additional information on using this feature, read the A Faster Way to Fill Appointments article in the Dentrix Magazine online archive.

*The Fill Appointment feature requires Patient Engage.  If you don’t currently have Patient Engage, your office can contact the eServices team at (833) 471-7253 for more information.

Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at

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