5 Ways Patient Communication is Enhanced in ABELDent CS and LS+

This blog post is an overview of the highlighted features that ABELDent users find most helpful when using our software. Watch our video to see these functionalities inaction and learn just how much simpler your office’s communication with patients can be. 

1. Simplified New Patient Intake 

New patients no longer need to fill out papers or use office equipment (such as tablets) to fill out intake forms. Once you set up a file for a new patient, your office can send an intake form to new patients electronically, where they can simply fill it out on their own devices. Want to see how this works? Go to 1:25 in the video above for details! 

2. Appointment Reminders 

With ABELDent CS and LS+, you can automatically or manually send emails, texts, or both to patients who have given consent to receiving alerts this way. Automatic messages are useful for sending bulk reminders, for example, giving one-week confirmations to various appointments. With manual messages, you have more specified control over who receives what at a given time. 

Instead of asking patients to call you back, which may yield poor results, or even result in no-shows for your practice, you can prompt patients to click the confirmation button in the email or indicate a confirmation via SMS. Not only does this method of communication help your front desk staff save time by minimizing outgoing phone calls, but your patients are also more likely to respond faster than traditional phone calls. To see this feature in action, go to 2:43 in the video above. 

3. Two-Way Texting 

As mentioned above, individuals have been proven to respond much faster to text messages than to emails or phone calls. You can quickly resolve appointment concerns (such as rescheduling or emergency cancellations) via text message in a matter of minutes, as opposed to waiting for a patient to call back, and possibly leave a voicemail. You can also quickly text a patient if you need to get an answer to an important question fast. To see how our two-way texting feature works in ABELDent CS and LS+, go to 3:36 in our video. 

4. Touchless Health History & COVID-19 Forms 

Not only are touchless forms physically safer than traditional paper forms, but they are also safer via online encryption that ABELDent provides to keep PHI (personal health information) secure. Patients receive an email with a button that leads them to a secure webpage where they fill out their information. Once the patient submits their form, the data is encrypted and is sent directly into the patient chart. No one can click the link provided in the email once the form is submitted. 

Touchless forms are physically safer, protecting both your staff as well as your patients from unnecessary touching and transferring of germs. Your office does not need to use equipment such as tablets, which dozens of people may touch in a day. 

In addition to the physical safety and data security that ABELDent online forms entail, our touchless forms are also more convenient for both your team and your patients. Your patients can fill out their COVID-19 or Health History forms on their own time prior to their appointments, or even right before their appointments from their own devices. Your team does not have to transcribe any of the information into their patient charts, eliminating typing errors on your end. To learn more about touchless forms, go to 4:42 in our video to watch how they work! 

5. Regular Updates 

We are always looking for ways to improve upon our products, and we are actively listening to the reviews and feedback from our customers when adding new features. More helpful and time-saving patient communication features will keep coming your way when you choose ABELDent CS or LS+ as your dental software. Navigate to 6:28 if you want to see the point-form summary of ABELDent patient communication. 

If you are interested in upgrading to ABELDent CS or LS+ or are looking into switching practice management software, we are always around to help you. Contact us today with any questions you have! 

3 Ways Using Video Tools Benefit Your Practice

Video is more than just a promotion tool.

Has your dental practice made any videos in the past? Do you currently record videos for patients, or does your office have a YouTube channel? Even posting videos on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok can be effective in building an online presence.  

Whether your practice posts videos or not, it is helpful to know the potential impact videos can have on both your dental office and your patients. Understanding the outcomes that may come from creating a few videos is the first step in deciding whether or not to produce some video content, and also deciding whether it is worth it for your office, or not. In this blog post, we are going to cover some of the ways you can use videos as a dental clinic, such as: 

  1. To promote your practice online 
  1. To strengthen patient-provider relationships, even with prospective patients 
  1. To make oral healthcare information such as aftercare instructions more accessible for patients (and the general public) 

Using video for online advertising 

Person opening Youtube on a smartphone

When comparing text-based promotions to video ads, the latter boasts better results. The facts and statistics speak for themselves: using video content is far more effective than text-based content. If your dental practice needs some website content or you are looking to establish an online presence, consider using video.

If your office already uses Google Ads, using YouTube for video content may be a promising choice. YouTube, which is owned by Google, seamlessly integrates with other Google products (such as Google Ads), which can help make your promotion process easier; for example, you can promote videos as an ad if you want to reach more prospective patients and expand your practice.

Using video for strengthening patient-provider relationships 

Patient-provider relationships are one of the main pillars of dentistry, being the driving cause for fostering healthy relationships and keeping patients coming back for routine treatment. Videos offer a chance for you to personify your clinic’s online presence, making it easier to foster patient-provider relationships online by having a positive first impression. 

Videos are one of the more empathetic media forms, giving viewers a chance to emotionally connect with the person on-screen. Moreover, videos can build trust for the viewer, depending on the content. Even if your video does not show a person at all, (e.g. it may only contain text or pictures to explain a concept), video is far more engaging than text or images, allowing viewers to focus on your content for longer. 

Some examples of videos that practices post are: 

  • Virtual office tour – beneficial for prospective patients to learn what your clinic looks like beforehand, and gives you a chance to demonstrate any safety or hygiene precautions your practice may be taking 
  • Post-operative instructions – we will talk more about this in the next section (below) 
  • Announcements – for example, holiday hours or new team members 
  • Team introductions – shows that your office cares about prioritizing patient-provider relationships by offering a good first impression to any prospects 

There are hundreds of potential videos your office could make, depending on the needs you are trying to meet by using this format. 

Using video as a form of teledentistry – making oral health information accessible online 

Dentist on laptop screen

When utilized in certain ways, videos can qualify as telehealth, such as promoting good hygiene habits for patients when out of office, or providing relevant information to your patients. According to RCDSO, sharing a recorded video is a form of asynchronous teledentistry, as long as the material is being used to help evaluate a patient’s condition, or assist in treating a patient outside of a real-time interaction. In other words, sending a patient a video of aftercare instructions counts as teledentistry, which can be a useful tool in ensuring patients follow instructions correctly.  

For more information on teledentistry in Ontario, check out RCDSO’s informational page on the topic. 

Video creation is not as much work as you may think 

The great thing about using video as a medium in 2021 is that the process has become accessible for nearly anyone with a smartphone. Ultimately, video creation does not have to be high-effort or high-cost. Utilizing this medium can be as simple as recording a short video on your smartphone, and either uploading directly or using a cost-effective (or even free) editing tool.  

There are various platforms and tools that your office can use to create and enhance video content, some specifically geared towards people who do not have any video editing experience (e.g. CanvaVimeo, etc.) You can even utilize smartphone applications if you just need to do some simple enhancements to your videos, such as adding text or images to your projects. 

If your office is interested in producing video content for patients and prospective patients, setting up a process with an administrative associate may be required to produce quality videos. For example, few planning steps are always required before jumping into creating video content. As an oral healthcare provider, you may not have time to produce such content with your schedule full of patients. For this reason, we encourage having a pre-established process with team members, or maybe even a group outside of your regular dental team. Perhaps your clinic wants to opt for a few pre-recorded post-operative instructions to send to patients after their oral surgeries. There are various options for all types of practices, it’s just a matter of putting the time into crafting something that can be used time and again. 

Simplified Charting in ABELDent CS and LS+

A comprehensive charting system is a necessity for your dental office. While practice management systems offer the same range of charting mechanisms, ABELDent provides you with simplified systems for clinical charting such as templated clinical chart notes for quick and easy record-keeping with no compromises. ABELDent comes with clinical note presets that you can edit or change to fit your practice’s needs. These fast templated notes mean your team spends more time focusing on providing top-quality treatment without sacrificing detailed records. Other benefits much like templated clinical notes are what makes ABELDent such a useful tool for dental professionals. In this blog post, we are going to go in-depth about some of ABELDent CS and LS+’s charting features.

Charting Existing Conditions

Even new hires can easily adapt to working in your practice by utilizing ABELDent’s simplified workflows. 

All your team needs to do is use the buttons on the left side of the clinical chart to mark existing conditions and treatments quickly and efficiently.  

Quick Tip: 

To add an existing condition to your patient’s chart, click the tooth with the condition, then press  the button for the condition you want to apply. For example, below, the patient’s 18 is marked as ‘missing’.  

Tooth 18 is marked as ‘missing’ in the patient’s clinical chart.

To mark an existing condition on more than one tooth, hold down the button for that condition until it turns blue. Then click on all of the teeth that you want to post that condition to. This simple shortcut can save to time and effort each day. 

Watch the video below to see how simple and efficient charting conditions on multiple teeth is in ABELDent. 

Charting New Treatment 

When adding today’s treatment, or creating treatment plan(s) for a patient, ABELDent gives you the option to filter procedure codes so you can quickly select the most common treatments or codes. For example, when charting a restorative procedure, simply select the tooth surface(s) that need to be restored, and ABELDent will display the appropriate procedure code for you to choose from.

Another time-saver is the ability to record treatment provided to a patient by one or more providers. If two or more different providers see the same patient on a specific day, you can easily change the provider without closing out of the chart. This keeps provider production separate. Additionally, deleting codes is as simple as clicking the code you want deleted, then navigating to the trash-can button below the chart. 

Intuitive charting is just one of the various benefits ABELDent CS and LS+ provides its users. To learn more about how ABELDent can make practice management easier, contact us today!

Here’s why Dentists are opting for an all-in-one practice management solution

How many different software platforms does your dental practice use daily? 

Dental offices have a growing number of technologies available to meet practice specific practice needs. Some practices use more of these than others, trying to get the most benefit from each. This approach can sometimes get complicated.  For instance, if one or more of the solutions have difficulties, it can lead to having to spend time on the phone with multiple companies while at the same time trying to work through the issues created in the office. Most of all, having many different types of software can result in new problems when one of the solutions is updated without a corresponding change in other software.  

A more comprehensive dental software can help to minimize these issues, and often save you money at the same time. 

A computer screen with ABELDent open on the screen, showing a patient's clinical chart. There are 3 icons showing a tooth with a checkmark, a calendar, and a smartphone.

While there are cases where using different software solutions can be useful, the benefits a practice receives from smoothly integrated, consistent software can surpass the benefit of using various platforms in your practice. The more complexity in your overall software environment, the more likely that redundancy and inefficiency will creep in, result in each solution providing less than optimal benefit.   

ABELDent offers multiple capabilities for dental practitioners, including but not limited to easy patient messaging, simplified scheduling, templated clinical notes, detailed clinical charting, and extensive financial workflows. Let’s dig deeper to discuss why ABELDent is the all-in-one software your practice just might be looking for. 

Benefit from regular updates, and opt for auto-updates for simplicity 

Regular updates ensure your software runs as smoothly and as securely as it possibly can. As time goes on, cybercriminals adapt to new security measures and begin to pose as threats again,  which is why keeping any software up-to-date is essential. In addition to refined security, software updates ensure that your programs run smoother. ABELDent CS and LS+ users benefit from regular automatic updates, which means there is no work on the practice’s end to manually download recommended updates. 

Software that extends beyond charting and scheduling 

Using platforms from multiple vendors may result in weak integration, or declining levels of integration over time.  This can result in manual effort or data redundancy for your team, with each platform providing less than optimal benefits.  ABELDent benefits your practice with built in features such as patient messaging and patient-facing digital forms (see video below) that integrate seamlessly with existing patient charts. For instance, if a patient indicates a new medication or allergy on a health history form, all your team has to do is insert the new information into their patient file which then displays alerts on various screens throughout the program. That way, when your team and scheduling or preparing to treat the patient, the information to treat the patient effectively will be top of mind.  

Our video tutorial on using our completely secure, digital, touchless patient intake forms.

Practice management software that has multiple capabilities is a staple when you are searching for a new solution. (Read: Clinical Charting Features to Look For). Instead of worrying whether a scheduling software integrates with a separate clinical software, which also integrates with a patient communication platform, try a comprehensive solution with these basic necessities built in. Not only is doing this more cost effective, but also easier to manage. 

Avoid vulnerabilities with compliance 

As trusted healthcare providers, dentists have professional responsibilities to meet regulations related to patients and their secure data. ABELDent stays up-to-date with regulation changes that impact communication with patients, such as CASL, PHIPA, HIPAA, and PIPEDA. Incoming mandatory changes to governmental privacy regulations may affect ongoing routines and require new data be stored to ensure practice compliance. We provide the tools that allow your practice to easily comply with these regulations, regardless of your province or state. 

ABELDent makes practice management easier for you by offering benefits such as detailed periodontal and oral charting, seamlessly integrated touchless forms, and templated clinical notes that save your team’s valuable time. If you are interested in switching to software that is simple and easy to use, while continuing to expand the needs that can be met by a practice management software, contact us today. 

Checking in with your wellness and settling back into a routine

The fall season is around the corner. Kids and college students are preparing to focus on their education once again, and patients and dental providers are starting to settle into a routine again now that the Summer is nearly over. Settling back into regular routines is stressful enough. The uncertainties that accompany the current pandemic can make things harder than usual for dental professionals. Additionally, physicians and scientists are finding dramatically higher rates of depression and anxiety due to COVID-19’s impact on our social lives, work lives, and overall wellbeing. 

Taking your own personal wellness into account not only benefits your mental and physical health, but also enables you to be more effective in the office. Furthermore, you may find that you provide better quality care to your patients when you make your wellbeing a priority. In this blog post, we want to highlight some techniques you and your team can use to check-in with your wellness and make settling back into routines easier this season. 

1. Avoid procrastinating treatment with difficult patients and schedule more intensive treatments earlier in the day 

Positive young male dentist with tablet reporting good news to patient in doctors office

An article* in the British Dental Journal from 2018 asks whether education institutions are doing enough to prepare dental students for the stressors they will face as oral healthcare providers. The researchers (Colley, Harris, Hellyer, and Radford), propose a few solutions to help new dental providers with stress management early on. Some of these solutions include avoiding procrastination when it comes to difficult patients. More difficult clinical procedures can be scheduled  at the beginning of the day to reduce  end-of-day stress. The article also includes some more generic stress management techniques, such as separating work life from home life, as well as including positive affirmations in one’s morning routine.  

2. Make time for physical activity

A smart-watch showing statistics

Researchers continue to cite physical exercise as a major stress reliever due to the production of endorphins. Although you may be on your feet a lot during the day going between operatories, dentistry has been noted as being a fairly sedentary profession. Making sure you are taking breaks to get some movement during your day, or even making some time before or after your time at the office can help you feel a little bit better if you are stressed or overwhelmed. 

3. Your team is there for you – utilize their skills!

Two dental team members at a desk looking at a screen

In your dental practice, you very likely work with a group of skilled individuals who each bring something unique to the table. Passing a responsibility onto a qualified team member may be an effective temporary solution while you use a stress management technique to regroup.  

A lot of day-to-day protocols have changed  to accommodate COVID-19’s impact on the dental practice. With approximately 63% of Canadians fully vaccinated (as of August 21, 2021), the preventative measures most offices have integrated into their routines  are likely to become  long-term industry requirements, making daily tasks require more effort and time. While many of us have adjusted to the norms of living through a pandemic, it is important to give ourselves some compassion as we continue to work in difficult circumstances. 

RCDSO provides resources for dental providers looking for help with improving their overall wellness. ADA also provides resources for individuals who are looking for resources, as well as some information on statistics regarding dental providers and mental health during the pandemic. 

Resources

*Colley, J., Harris, M., Hellyer, P. et al. Teaching stress management in undergraduate dental education: are we doing enough?. Br Dent J 224, 405–407 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.220 

Strategies to get patients back in your office for routine appointments

The dental industry has undoubtedly been negatively impacted by the pandemic’s ripple effects worldwide. Oral healthcare was quickly identified as a risk due to the nature of the virus transmission, as well as the use of aerosols in many dental treatments. Dental providers have adapted and implemented many new processes to keep patients and dental teams optimally safe from the virus. 

Despite this, many dental patients have deterred their appointments and treatments (such as restorations, implants, endodontic treatments, etc.) While dentists (in Canada) have reopened for routine treatment a few times, many patients are still only going for emergencies. Articles from multiple sources have discussed whether it is safe to go to dental visits, making groups of people anxious about exposing themselves, even if their provider goes above and beyond in risk-prevention.  

On top of the existing health risks that we are facing, with a rise in misinformation due to various sources referencing different sets of regulations, it’s inevitable that patients are largely confused about visiting dental offices for routine appointments. In this blog post, we will be going over some strategies your office can use to take charge of communication to fill up your chairs once again. 

Ways you can put your patients at ease and generate interest in routine appointments 

1. Make an announcement on your webpage or social media profiles 

Announce on your social media banners, or even your website homepage, that your office is accepting patients for routine appointments. Consider leaving your announcement up for a while (e.g., a few months), or until your practice sees an upturn of patient interest. 

2. Reference reputable organizations 

Along with your webpage or social media update, as mentioned above, you can strengthen your message by referencing groups such as CDC or ODA’s affirmation that dental visits are currently encouraged. Ensuring patient knowledge is one of the starting points towards bringing them back to your office. 

3. Make things as touchless as possible, and let patients know this beforehand 

Look into having touchless payment options (such as credit card, or Interac), and have touchless forms available for your patients to fill out. Patient intake forms, COVID-19 screening forms, health history forms, x-ray forms, and other various treatment consent forms can be digitized to optimize patient and staff safety and comfort. Additionally, informing patients of these features beforehand may encourage them to come in since your office is taking pre-emptive measures to be as safe as possible. 

Features to look for that help keep your chairs full 

1. Automated recall booking systems 

Having a system like this allows your hygienists or reception team to fill your schedule months in advance without scrambling last-minute at the end of an appointment. Intelligent automated recall booking should recognize the interval that a patient is set up for and show availabilities for the given appointment type when they are due.  

2. A treatment manager 

Having a built-in treatment manager helps you know who to contact to fill your schedule. For instance, if people missed their appointments, haven’t come for a few years, or have unfinished dental treatment, treatment managing programs should be able to identify and recommend contacting these patients.  

Putting information online to ease patient concerns, as well as having tools in your office that help you fill your schedule more efficiently are two key methods you can fill up your chairs once again.  

Practice Protection: How to spot a phishing scam

Internet-based crime has been steadily rising in frequency each year. Ransomware is becoming more common, notably at the same time as the pandemic’s height in North America. We have addressed the rise of online criminal activity in recent blogs, such as our February blog post discussing why cybercrime has become more prevalent.   

With the digitization of much of our everyday tasks, ransomware poses as huge risk to companies, healthcare providers, and even governments. COVID-19 resulted in even more digitization, and therefore a higher occurrence of cyberattacks. In this post we are expanding on our blog post from April 2020 to provide you with some updated advice on protecting your practice from ransomware.  

While over half of the cyberattacks occurred via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) servers, hackers gained access to servers via phishing (29%). Since dentistry is largely an in-person profession (aside from teledentistry), phishing is the most common way for hackers to access a practice’s data. These attacks can grant hackers access to your practice’s network, which makes your office extremely vulnerable to ransomware.  

Key point: be wary of links and strange voice messages  

Phishing and vishing are common attempts hackers make to gain access to your practice’s network. Both methods can be seen in a variety of ways – for example, hackers may impersonate someone you know to gain a password, account, or request you send them money directly. Cybercriminals also may appear to be from a government or financial institution, accusing you of being in trouble, or that you owe money. Any unrecognizable message from an unverified source should raise suspicions.   

If you suspect you or your office may have received a phishing email, there are multiple tells that you can look for:  

  • An urgent email from an unknown source – for example, someone you know contacting you claiming to be from a “different email or phone”)  
  • Emails requesting instant action, such as sending your password or confidential information immediately, or sending money right away. 
  • Links that don’t match what they are displayed as: if you are considering clicking a link in an email, always hover over the link before opening it. If the destination does not match the displayed link, do not click. 

There are more signs to look for, which are detailed in this PDF. If you want more information on ransomware in relation to dentistry, ADA has an informative post on ransomware and cyberattacks, and provides details on how you can avoid losing your practice’s data.  

We are always looking for ways to help your practice grow and succeed. Securing your office’s data is the foundation of a flourishing dental office. If your office requires backup services, consider ABEL RBS for your office’s security. 

3 Ways you can maintain and improve your practice’s positive environment

Whether your dental assistants or reception team are leaving a first impression, or you are treating a long-time patient, patient acquisition and retention comes down to the quality of care provided. Providing quality care to patients involves multiple factors, one of which is having a positive team. Your patients are more likely to be comfortable with someone who has a happy presence in the operatory.  

Dental professionals are trained to work under a variety of conditions, and many are used to performing a wide range of tasks. Keeping up morale is essential in maintaining a strong and positive team. Working in a setting that is perpetually stressful is draining on any individual, no matter how motivated they are. COVID-19 and all the risks and precautions associated with the virus have certainly presented a new stressor for your team. How do you improve morale when hard times hit?  

1. Genuine Positive Feedback

While your office may have employee incentive programs for team members, such as insurance benefits, work parties, and other perks, providing personal praise to your team members is a simple and valuable motivation technique. Not only does this positively reinforce good work in your team, but personal praise also increases work satisfaction for the member on the receiving end. Additionally, and leading into our next point, providing feedback this way nurtures a transparent environment, encouraging your team to share their own voices. 

2. Be open to feedback on your end

Provide your team members with a safe space to share their concerns and suggestions. It’s been shown that bottling up issues can quickly cause burnout, which results in high turnover rates, and ultimately is detrimental to teamwork. Creating an open space where team members can work on conflict management, problem solving, and make their concerns known to you. To go a step further, if you can address your team members’ concerns, the individual will be satisfied with the outcome, and your team will most likely be encouraged. If your practice is not having regular team meetings already, implementing weekly or daily team meetings are a good place to start. Allowing your team members to check in and feel confident for the day or week ahead if it works with your practice’s culture. 

3. Reduce stress by optimizing your available resources

Using your practice management software to its full potential can help your team members save time and reduce stress levels by automating manual tasks. ABELDent, for example, provides communication options for your reception team, such as ABELDent Patient Portal. In the operatory, your dental assistants can quickly check for patient medical conditions or allergies via the clinical sidebar without having to navigate away from their chart. No matter what practice management software you are using, ensuring it is set up to make the most out of all the available features is your best bet for reducing stress, and improving workplace morale.  

Our brains tend to get stuck in a repetitive cycle when we lean into our negative thoughts. Additionally, negative attitudes that take over workspaces have been cited time and time again as being detrimental to any workplace’s overall goal and financial wellbeing. We have touched on the power of positivity in the past, and the ways in which your practice becomes more successful from a happier team. A healthy and happy environment is highly influential in fostering a productive practice that benefits not only your team, but also your patients.  

Guiding Your Patients: How To Minimize Disinformation From Online Sources

One of the crucial roles of a healthcare provider is to ensure patient understanding, whether by dissipating false information for patients, or educating and explaining topics to patients. As of 2021, we are growing increasingly reliant on social media platforms and various websites for our social interactions, news consumption, and other major facets of our lives. While our growing connectedness via the Internet fosters an age of understanding, there are also more opportunities for spreading disinformation. Some statistics, tricks, tips, or other forms of media that may initially be harmless can be altered, or flat-out harmful practices can be shared. Some examples of this include skewed statistics, or “dental DIY” tricks that can cause repercussions.  

A concerning number of patients get their health-related news from scrolling through social media. Based on findings from Referral MD, 90% of surveyed individuals between the ages of 18 – 24 indicated they trust health information shared on social media platforms.  

COVID-19 has resulted in a lot of misinformation and confused masses. Different municipalities, locations, and sources have varying regulations and protocols, and many people are unsure of what is safe and unsafe anymore. Fortunately, your dental practice’s team can work to minimize confusion in your patients by utilizing emails, social media platforms, and in-person appointments. Keep reading to find out how to utilize these three methods to benefit your patients. 

Opportunities to educate your patient-base: 

1. Emails  

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com
  • Use emails to your office’s advantage by reminding patients of what they can expect when they come to their appointments. For example, if your waiting area is closed, remind your patients to wait in their car, or be prepared to wait outside. Remind patients of necessary pre-appointment duties, such as filling out a pre-screening form, and wearing a mask. 
  • If your office participates in patient newsletters, consider adding a portion dedicated to sharing accurate information and facts for relevant topics.  
  • Using a messaging software that lets you send automated emails with areas for personalization is a great way to connect to patients on a large scale, while also remaining time efficient. 

2. Social media 

Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com
  • We have touched on the ways you can use social media in previous blogs, such as encouraging healthy habits, and keeping up patient relations during lockdowns. 
  • Using social media prevents can help prevent harmful trends from occurring in your patients, depending on your practice’s following. Keeping on top of “dental DIY” trends and similar patterns can help your practice make relevant social media posts, as well as guide followers, and your patient base, in the right direction. 
  • Ensure that any information you post is appropriate and truthful. This may go without saying, but sometimes, unclear information can be misinterpreted, which can result in further confusion. 
  • Try to keep any posts simple, clear, and most importantly, trustworthy. Getting your information from reputable sources (such as collegiate institutes, trusted healthcare providers, government websites, etc.), or using your own knowledge as a dental professional, are good practices for ensuring you are doing your best to mitigate disinformation. 
  • Share useful information from trusted sources (examples above) as resource hubs for your patients.  

3. Appointments 

  • Encourage your patients to be aware of ongoing dental trends that tend to pop up every few years – for example, at-home whitening, at-home “braces”, etc. In addition to just being aware, patients should also know the dangers associated with participating in these trends, and the damage they could cause to their mouth and overall health. 
  • Be aware that younger patients may feel inclined to try these trends more than older patients, generally. Younger patients may not know these trends are as harmful as they seem. 
  • Answer any questions your patient may have, and if they indicate that they are interested in specific cosmetics (I.e., bleaching treatments), be sure to educate your patients on the dangers of at-home treatments. Any way you can educate your patients about the best practices for continuing their oral hygiene at home is valuable and will help mitigate disinformation. 

3 Tips for Dental Receptionists in 2021

The role of the dental receptionist is a complicated one, and it differs from office-to-office. There are varied job descriptions, tasks, and duties established by each practice. Something consistent, however, is that dental receptionists are always on the “front lines” in a practice. Fielding patient and team inquiries, managing patient issues, and keeping all records organized are just some of the tasks receptionist’s handle. For many prospective patients, receptionists and front-desk workers are the face of the practice.  

In 2019, we wrote about things every dental receptionist needs to know for maximum patient satisfaction, efficiency, and organization. With COVID-19’s implications on the dental industry, we thought it was time to update our list to address current social issues that you may encounter in your practice. In this blog post, we discuss the top three things to know as a dental receptionist in 2021.  

1. Remain adaptable  

Adaptability, even in ordinary circumstances, is a valuable skill in reception. As mentioned in our previous blog on this topic, receptionists are the first to greet patients and the last to see them out. Being such an integral part of the team, front office team members must be able to adapt to new technologies, organization systems, and communication approaches. For instance, many dental practices have adopted digital communications, especially since lockdowns minimized dental appointments. Using texting software to send automated or ad-hoc messages may require an adjustment period but adapting to new (and often more efficient) systems ensures that your office remains ahead of the technological curve.  

Patients can keep you on your toes, especially if they are particularly apprehensive about receiving dental treatment or care, or if they are very thorough and inquisitive. Some patients may require more in-depth responses, or even an approach that you do not normally use. The ability to adjust your approach to different situations is highly valued in this position, as unique individuals can raise issues in your office that can’t always be solved with a generic solution or a solution developed during more normal times.  

2. Look ahead to fill your schedule  

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Under the best of circumstances some patients will look for excuses to avoid proceeding with dental treatment, whether it is for financial concerns, dental anxiety, or other reasons. COVID-19 added another reason for patients to delay their treatments. With all the mixed messages from official and unofficial sources, and changes in guidelines over time, cuments released , many patients are legitimately confused about whether it is safe to visit their dentist for regular appointments, and when they can see their dentists.   

With vaccinations being rolled out worldwide, receptionists are looking ahead. While still taking the necessary precautions such as spreading out the waiting area (or making patients wait outside/in their cars), leaving gaps between appointments, and using paperless forms, receptionists should continue reaching out to patients who need recare appointments. Call lists, email lists, and contact sheets can result in a lot of manual work, especially if the lists are long, and perhaps growing longer. Having a system or tool to help you quickly send many messages at once helps your front-desk team when working to fill the schedule months in advance. For example, ABELDent’s Treatment Manager is built-in to our LS, CS and LS+ software. Whether you use a system is as simple as a customizable email template and manual sent emails, , a more efficient, built-in recall manager, or a third-party application that helps with recall management, such a solution can help to keep you organized and on track during these especially challenging times.    

Looking months ahead helps you in the long-run by having a structured schedule month-by-month, as well as keeping patients’ recare appointments on track for their own health. Scheduling appointments early will help you to uncover patient concerns that can then be addressed in advance to establish patient commitment. Getting patients back on track will be a big job, but booking appointments and dealing with patient concerns early will reduce the likelihood that you will be scrambling at the last minute to fill a providers’ column or day.  

3. Practice professional empathy  

In 2020 and 2021, thes impact of COVID-19 on organizations resulted in large number of layoffs and heightened Canada’s unemployment rate. Financial troubles will undoubtedly reduce the priority of dental treatment for some patients. While there may not be anything your office can do in some of these cases, providing a professional, empathetic tone may make an enormous difference when communicating with upset patients. Professional empathy can be conveyed through word choice, tone of voice, and body language. If you are communicating virtually, using keywords and phrases such as “we understand” can help to diffuse anxiety caused by financial concerns.  

The importance of empathy extends past financial concerns. Ashton College highlights the difference that using empathy has in a difficult situation with a patient or even a team member. Additionally, being able to understand another perspective will aid you when problem-solving, strengthening the quality of patient care.  

These three tips are just a few of many things dental receptionists should know to maximize their office’s potential in 2021. With tools and technologies evolving, the dental industry is getting more efficient while simultaneously becoming more complicated for new hires. Going forward, we look forward to speaking more on this topic and providing content that helps your entire dental team.