Handling Legitimate Cancellations

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Sandy Pardue

Sometimes patients will have legitimate reasons why they canʹt keep an appointment. These include a sudden emergency, a sudden illness, a death in the family or an accident. When patients call to cancel their appointments under these types of circumstances, do the following steps:

1. In a questioning voice with proper inflection and an appropriate degree of care and concern, ask them if there is a problem. Find out what it is (refer to the policy, ʺPreventing Changes and Broken Appointmentsʺ). If it is truly legitimate, re‐schedule them.

2. If they do not want to reschedule, always remind them of the dental problem they were coming in to handle and tell them not to let it go too long or it could get much worse and be more uncomfortable and expensive to handle in the future. Find out if they plan to call back within a specified amount of time to reschedule. If so, note that information in the computer, give them a ʺrecall dateʺ and tell them that you are going to put them on the Call List. (Put them on the ʺAppointment Call List for Broken Appointments,ʺ under either ʺDoctorʹs Timeʺ or ʺHygiene Time,ʺ in this section of this manual.)

3. Thank them for calling to let us know that they canʹt keep the appointment and that we really appreciate it. Tell them sincerely, ʺThank you very much Mr(s). for letting us know because we might have a chance to get someone else in on short notice. I hope things go smoothly for you today. Good‐bye.ʺ

4. If you discover later that they have some upset with the office, their treatment or with someone in particular that works there, this will need to be handled immediately.