Update Your Patients on Swine Flu: If You Feel Ill, Don’t Come In!

Swine Flu and Your Patients“Level 4 means that anyone with the hint of an illness will not be seen for routine appointments.”
– Dentist

“The current WHO phase of pandemic alert is 4.”
– World Health Organization, 4/27/09

The Wealthy Dentist just released a special survey asking dentists if they’re making any changes as a result of the swine flu threat. (Take the survey) Ten percent of dentists said yes, and another 30% are considering it.

I’m not worried. I only treat humans,” said one dentist. However, many are taking precautions. “At the extreme we close the office to avoid unnecessary contact with the general public,” said another dentist. “At level 5 we will be masked, gloved and eye shields at all times. Level 4 means that anyone with the hint of an illness will not be seen for routine appointments. A pandemic is nothing to sneeze at.”

Let your patients know not to come in if they’re not feeling well. All you have to do is send a newsletter like this:

Flu Update for Our Dental Patients

You’ve probably heard that the US has declared a national health emergency as a result of the swine flu scare. Though the US has not seen many cases yet – and those that we have seen have been relatively mild – the outbreak has already killed otherwise healthy young people in Mexico.

So everyone is a lot more aware of the flu right now. One of the nice things about our dental office is that the sterilization systems and techniques we use on a daily basis make it one of the safest places to work and treat patients. We’re doing our part to help protect the health of our patients. And we’d like your help!

If you have any flu-like symptoms, please do not come in to our office. Rest assured that you will not be charged a missed appointment fee if you’re not feeling well.

The last thing we want is for our dental office to become a place where infection spreads. To protect our patients, we’re doing everything we can to keep our team members healthy and not have sick patients in the waiting room.

Here are some general tips for dealing with swine flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
  • At the first sign of illness, isolate yourself to protect others. (Authorities recommend you stay at home for at least 7 days after getting sick, as you could still infect others.)
  • If your flu symptoms are mild, stay home; do not go the doctor’s office or clinic.
  • If your symptoms become severe, call your doctor and seek medical treatment.

We hope you’re feeling healthy! But if you’re not, just give us a call at at (555)555-555 if you need to cancel an appointment.

Internet Dental Alliance members can automatically send this newsletter to their patients through the IDA patient newsletter service. (Want to learn more about dental email patient newsletters?)

Your Dental Patients Need to Know You Exist

Melinda Spitek Are You Invisible to Your Existing Patients?
Special Marketing Feature
By Melinda Spitek, CEO, Hycomb Marketing

In J.K. Rowling’s popular Harry Potter fantasy novels, one of her most imaginative inventions is the Invisibility Cloak. Simply throw it on and you are invisible to everyone. You can observe them and hear what they’re saying—but they can’t see you!

Well, creative as it might be in fiction, that Invisibility Cloak is hardly endearing when it comes to managing your dental practice. If you don’t maintain contact with and continue to nurture your existing patient base, you’re effectively wrapping that Invisibility Cloak around your entire practice the moment your patients climb out of your chair!

What are some of the symptoms of invisibility? Here are a few:

  • Has your hygiene schedule had holes in it lately?
  • Has your new patient flow dropped off?
  • Are you struggling with low acceptance of treatment?
  • Are more and more patients past due?
  • Are you suffering from Empty Chair Syndrome?

You may be a victim of invisibility.

In an economic downturn, your existing patients are the lifeblood of your practice. Without their loyalty, things may only get worse. The most important marketing you do is not to focus on acquire new patients, but to keep the ones you have in your practice now. “Okay,” you say, “Maintaining contact with patients between appointments is a great idea, but it’s hard to find the time to write letters or create a newsletter on a regular basis.”

The antidote is actually quite simple. I recommend that you mail out a professional communication every 90 days, reminding your patients that YOU are their dentist. An informative letter on a single topic with a couple of colorful, inviting Smile Cards* is a great way to stay in touch and ask for referrals. Or it could be a newsletter filled with colorful graphics and intriguing health information, which arrives in every mailbox of your patient base each quarter.

All you need do is find a professional dental marketing agency (like my own, Hycomb Marketing Inc.) to do all the work. You can decide the content which will appear before your newsletter is sent out. Your office team doesn’t need to take time away from their regular tasks—except maybe to provide the mailing list.

Your own quarterly communication can be personalized exclusively for your practice, and is, by far, the simplest, most cost-effective means of visibly maintaining the connection between your practice and your existing patient base. And if you are looking for an inexpensive and powerful new-patient prospecting direct mailer, newsletters work great. You can even send email patient newsletters. Most importantly, it’s practice marketing made easy.

Doctor, if you suspect you are secretly becoming suffocated from that Invisibility Cloak, there is a simple, proven way to remove it. And get on track to your goal.

Smile Cards were created by Jim Du Molin. Smile Cards design and text are a copyrighted product of Hycomb Marketing Inc.

Melinda Spitek is CEO of Hycomb Marketing Inc. Hycomb is an authority in marketing for dentists. Melinda has had plenty of hands-on experience as well, having worked 23 years in dental offices. For help with marketing, just call Hycomb at (800) 523-6961 or visit www.hycomb.com.

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