Landline Ho? A Dental Practice needs to keep track of their patients

What’s in your future, matey? Are you considering letting go of your longstanding, faithful landline in favour of mobile? Perhaps not your dental practice landline, but what about home line? And your patients?

Each person in my home has our own mobile device; the landline rarely rings any more. When it does, nobody jumps to answer it. We’re pretty blasé about election polls and free cruises. So I’ve been asking around and learning that it’s becoming a common dilemma: a $600-a-year question.

And then I read the CRTC 2015 Communication Monitoring Report released last week. The trend is definitely budding: between 2011 and 2013, landline usage has fallen by 380,000 households.

That may not seem too dramatic… at first glance. But with an average 2.5 persons per household (2011 census), that’s close to 1 million patients whose “home phone” field in their dentist’s database is now obsolete.

Taking this one step further, I’ve been hearing reports that companies are moving in this direction as well. With matrixed teams, mobile workforces and telecommuting staff, even the desk phone is working its way off the gangplank. So much for the backup “office number” in your database.

What significance does this have for us? Most importantly, dental practices not making a point of collecting their patients’ “mobile” and “email” data may soon encounter challenges in reaching them at all. A lot can change in 6 or 9 months!

Here are a few other facts from the CRTC report:
• Canadians who own a Smartphone: 67%
• Tablet ownership: 49%
• Wireless subscribers in Canada: 28.8 million
• Average data usage per month by Canadians with smartphone or tablet: 1 gigabyte
• Canadians with access to a fourth-generation wireless network: 93%
• Households subscribing to internet services: 11.6 million

It’s clear that Canadians are active participants in the evolving digital economy. So by Hook or by crook… get their numbers in your book!