I received a Facebook private message from a non-dental friend, who I’ll call “patient”… Patient woke up sick the morning of her dental appointment, wanted to cancel but she had already canceled this appointment once to an actual death, (not a fake one). Patient told me that she really needed to cancel since she felt like crap but knew that the office would charge her for the second miss as it is their policy. Patient said she felt pressured to go in spite of being ill because of the threat of this charge. Patient reached out to me to find out what most offices do, said that the pressure of feeling like she’d be punished with a charge if she didn’t go was enough to make her want to change dentists.
She told me it was really pissing her off so she canceled in the wee hours via voicemail and she said she’s never going back, she’s finding a new dentist. She wanted to know if I knew of a dentist who understands that “life gets messy” and doesn’t have rules like this “miss more than one per year get charged rule.”
I asked her if she has canceled prior to the last one and she replied no but that she is fairly new to this office, she stated she isn’t in the habit of missing appointments and may miss two this year and none next year. She said she left a voicemail to cancel because last time she canceled she felt scolded by the receptionist who said “is there any way you can make it?” Her Mother had suddenly passed away and she said she felt that the receptionist didn’t believe her.
Being in the dental industry for over 20 plus years, I am relate to the policy that this office felt they need to keep their schedule full but it got me thinking, what do other “average joes” think of dentist’s cancellation policies, so I took it to my non-dental Facebook Friends and this is what they had to say.
This focus group ranged in ages from 22 to 71 years of age, both male and female.