Over the past year, there has been a greater surge in the number of dental practices looking to create an easier, more streamlined patient engagement experience.
Keeping chairs filled in a dental practice is a constant challenge, and a lack of patients in your dental practice likely means there is work to do in your patient engagement strategy.
At a micro-level, there are a number of options that can keep seats filled and keep them that way. For one, your practice management software should be able to send individualized e-mail and text reminders as their appointment draws closer. Adding onto this, it is an expectation that your dental software should also be able to create a routine text or e-mail schedule for your patients, one week, one day, and a few hours before their appointment to confirm their arrival. With everyone owning a smartphone nowadays, it doesn’t take much for your patient to confirm their appointment in advance or allow you to send an advanced notice to fill a cancelled appointment.
While these individualized, micro-level engagements are effective in building one-on-one engagement, this isn’t all you can do. In fact, to stand out from the crowd of other dental practices doing the same, there are several emerging features and technology you can leverage to further streamline and add to the touchpoints that your patients receive. If you’re aiming to be a true, modern dental practice, keep reading.
At a macro-level, there are several large-scale solutions that can make a very big impact on all your patients.
Social media is nothing new to anyone – except for how it’s being used in dentistry. While platforms including Facebook and Twitter used to be for connecting with your friends and family, they are quickly becoming a source for local news including what’s going on in your community (including your dental practice). Having an active presence on these platforms can be as simple as an occasional post on what’s new at your practice, updated office policies, and monitoring your online reviews. And speaking of those, social media and other online platforms have completely replaced the Yellow Pages and other printed materials on the go-to resource for where those looking for a new dental practice (or those contemplating leaving their current dentist) will go. This is where your dental software should come in.
Reputation management is a big part of any business’ marketing and engagement strategy, and your dental practice is no different. Being able to retain or draw in new patients, and sometimes all it takes is a patient to glance at the number of 5-star ratings beside your name. That’s where another feature of an all-in-one dental software comes in. Driving satisfied patients to leave reviews online, for others to see, can highlight the quality of the patient experience for others to decide on for themselves. It can be as simple as setting up an automated patient feedback survey at the end of each treatment. For those that are positively reviewed, encourage them to post that same review online.
How has ClearDent been leveraging emerging technology over the past year for Canadian dental practices?
Beyond the examples listed above, there are additional ways to leverage emerging technology in dentistry and ClearDent has been quick to release a number of these features due to the changing expectations in patient engagement, and all are included in ClearConnect.
Though individualized e-mails have already been discussed, what about those that can reach all your patients at once? For that, look for a dental software that includes a bulk newsletter/communication tool. If there is news to be announced including a new promotion, updated office hours, COVID-19 protocols, these are all necessary pieces of information that would be useful to your entire patient base. Even better, pre-loaded templates can allow you to customize these e-mails depending on the topic (single message, newsletter, etc.) while including your company logo.
Another patient engagement solution is the advancement and introduction of a cloud-based patient portal. Your patient experience doesn’t begin and end with your initial communication and post-appointment follow-up, but also how you can manage everything in-between. Patient portal allows you to control digitally, including the signing of medical documents, filling out questionnaires, and ensuring there are fewer touchpoints for patients (and staff) that can alleviate safety concerns All of this should be accessible in the cloud, with secure and compliant data measures in place – and if you aren’t sure if it is, ask your dental software provider.
If the number of different platforms, solutions, and processes included in this article can seem a bit daunting, don’t let it discourage you. The many advancements in patient engagement over the past year, all due to changing market needs in dentistry, have all began from feedback we have heard from dentists across Canada. Just as you listen to your patient’s feedback, it is important for us to listen to and create solutions for the dental community.