Why Should You Use Patient-Facing Features in Your Practice?

What is ‘patient-facing’?  

Patient-facing systems are tools that provide patients with the opportunity to actively engage with their healthcare practitioners virtually. The dental industry has been evolving towards patient-facing solutions in recent years by implementing auto-scheduling, downloadable forms, and live chatting functionalities. The demand for these systems and methods have escalated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Practices are incorporating patient-facing solutions because patients can easily interact with dental providers or access resources online. Patient-facing systems are accessible, simple solutions that prove useful for a variety of reasons. For instance, the touchless aspect of online solutions reduces face-to-face interaction and the sharing of paper, pens, or devices, thereby minimizing COVID-19 related health concerns.  

Makes open communication between dentist and patient easier, faster, and more accessible 

Clear communication is a crucial aspect of dentistry. Ensuring patient understanding, as referenced by CDA, results in increased patient satisfaction, increased procedure efficiency, and fewer negative experiences and reviews.  

Patient-facing features provide patients with the opportunity to share information more easily via online resources to learn about their treatment. This also allows patients to actively participate in virtual care. Some examples include patients filling out consent forms prior to treatment, completing health history and COVID-19 screening forms, updating their standing patient form, and prefacing appointments with video consultations. These features ensure patients can gain a deeper understanding of their treatment prior to their physical appointment without having to be physically present in your office. Providing an online format for these tasks rather than in-person is convenient for patients, reduces COVID-19 concerns, and saves your practice a spare operatory. 

Provides a good opportunity for easing anxious patients 

Additional benefits of patient-facing features include the accommodation of safe (touchless), convenient, and fast communication between provider and patient to preface appointments. In addition to quick communication, virtual care allows the use of visuals the same way you would be able to show patients in your operatory how a procedure will go. Screen-sharing capabilities that are included in most video conferencing tools allow this, limiting the setbacks that an online consultation would have in comparison to a physical consultation. 

Pre-treatment appointments can be beneficial for patients who are apprehensive, as you can suggest patient calming techniques, discuss whether nitrous oxide is a viable solution for their needs, or discuss other options that may help to calm anxieties. Doing all this in an online setting benefits your practice and the patient, and helps strengthen the practice-patient relationship. 

Lightens the workload for your team and minimizes chances of manual errors 

Forms that are hard to read, faxed, or scanned to your office, or rushed can often result in team members interpreting information wrong and inserting incorrect information in a patient’s chart. Allowing patients to fill out their forms online eliminates these potential errors on your office’s end. Patients may still make a typo or fill in an area incorrectly, but these errors can easily be fixed in your office by editing the file. Removing the chances of your team members getting information wrong is a step in the right direction towards great recordkeeping. Additionally, allowing patients to submit their forms online allows your team members to be more productive with their time. 

Overall, patient-facing solutions are a great practical tool to have in your office, not just during health crises, but long-term. Many patients and practices, having been introduced to the benefit of these methods, will come to prefer and expect them.  

The various benefits mentioned throughout this blog post are reasons for investing in online solutions, which will prepare your practice for the upcoming decade when virtual care and patient-facing systems will be the norm. 

If you are interested in finding out more about ABELDent’s touchless patient-facing forms, we are available 24/7. Feel free to fill out our contact form below, or give us a call at the phone number mentioned below. 

Resources: 

Jensen, R. E., Gummerson, S. P., & Chung, A. E. (2016). Overview of Patient-Facing Systems in Patient-Reported Outcomes Collection: Focus and Design in Cancer Care. Journal of oncology practice, 12(10), 873–875. https://doi.org/10.1200/JOP.2016.015685 

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