Looking To Improve Your Quality of Service? Review Management Software Can Help

What price would you put on attaining a great reputation?

If you operate a dental clinic, your reputation in the industry is one of the most important aspects of your business. A good reputation will attract new patients and help you keep the patients you have – but it will also do a lot more than that. 

Earlier this summer I wrote about the value of reputation management software, and review management software in particular, as a way of increasing the growth and profitability of your practice. This week, I want to share some of the less obvious ways in which strong online reviews can make your dental clinic shine.

Yes, using review management software to curate your online reputation will help you build your patient base but, as you’ll see below, that’s not all it can do for you.

Good Reviews Attract Good Staff

Every dental clinic relies on a strong team of receptionists, assistants, managers, hygienists, and dentists in order to function well. Building a good team isn’t easy, and attracting talent can be a challenge, especially in competitive urban markets. Attaining as many positive online reviews for your clinic as possible will make it much easier for you to find passionate, dedicated staff. 

Most job seekers will read up on online to find out as much as they can about their potential future boss before they ever send in an application. If you don’t have much of an online presence, or if your online presence contains a lot of negative reviews, this can make attracting the right people even harder.

Conversely, if your clinic has received a lot of positive, public feedback online from genuine patients then potential employees are far more likely to consider working for you.

Reviews are a way for potential employees to discover a number of things about your practice. Here are some of the things patients may comment about in reviews:

  • Your Team – A strong team with the right work ethic will attract better candidates
  • Service – Potential hires want to know whether a practice is trying to improve people’s lives by providing great service and by making them feel welcomed and appreciated
  • Workspace – The physical space of a clinic is as important to employees as it is to patients and a comfortable, well-kept office with modern equipment will attract both
  • Office Culture – A positive office environment is an attractive quality for potential hires

Negative Reviews Give Opportunities To Show You Care

No one likes logging onto the review management component of their dental software and seeing that someone has left a negative comment criticizing their dental clinic.

But wouldn’t you prefer to know if your patients are having a bad experience, rather than remaining unaware of the impression your clinic is leaving in patients’ minds?

They say that ignorance is bliss but in the world of healthcare it is actually dangerous. Knowing how your patients feel about the service you offer is absolutely essential if you want to give them the best care possible.

For this reason, you should embrace negative reviews as an opportunity for growth. After all, you can’t get better if you don’t have reliable feedback about where you are missing the mark. 

One of the reasons why dental reputation management software is so helpful is because it alerts you to every review posted about your clinic, and gives you a variety of action options, putting you in the driver’s seat when it comes to dealing with disgruntled patients. 

According to some experts, when healthcare professionals respond to negative reviews, patient satisfaction can double, turning a bad visit into a good experience. So, make sure your review management software is set up so that you can respond to them as quickly as possible!

Tapping into Patient Reviews Helps You Fine-Tune Your Practice  

Earlier this year, I wrote about some of the ways you can improve the culture of your practice. Everyone working in dentistry should be striving to give patients a better experience and a better level of care. One of the best ways to find out where you can be doing better is by regularly reading what people have to say about you.

For example, if most of your patients’ reviews indicate their appreciation for your practice’s implementation of appointment management software, e.g. for convenient  patient confirmation or re-booking of appointments online, it indicates that your approach to booking is working. It also suggests that your patients are pretty plugged in which may lead you to adopt new digital tools to make your clinic even more accessible.

Remember, even when patients are happy with your service there are still ways that it can be improved!

Online reviews have rapidly become one of the most important factors in how patients decide on their health care options but this isn’t the only reason to take online reputation management seriously. Investing in review management software can also help you attract talented employees, respond to negative criticism in real time, and fine-tune the service that your dental practice offers. 

4 Ways to Increase Patient Satisfaction and Grow Your Dental Practice

Are your patients happy?

In our line of work, this question can’t be asked often enough. Patients are at the very heart of healthcare service provision, and if the patients are unhappy, we clearly aren’t doing our job.

Oddly, while dental practice owners and administrators frequently ask me how they can expand their services and attract new patients, I don’t often get questions from people who want to ensure that they are providing the best possible experience for their patient base.

This strikes me as strange because if you aren’t keeping your current patients happy you’ll probably struggle to attract new patients. It’s no secret that few advertisements for your practice will be as effective as having a large number of satisfied patients.

For this reason, you’ll want to keep the foundation of your clientele strong and ensure that overall patient satisfaction is not compromised as you expand your practice. If you want to build your patient base without negatively affecting legacy patients, consider these four steps.

1. Survey Your Patients

In order to find out how you can create a better experience and increase patient satisfaction, first you have to find out what your current patients think could use improvement!

Every dental practice has a different mix of patient types so when it comes to offering better service there is no one-size-fits all solution: a practice that primarily serves seniors will want to focus on different aspects of care than a practice that caters to Millennial patients or young families will.

If you are trying to expand your service to include a specific patient demographic, you will have to find a way to balance the needs of your current patients with the needs of the new patients you are trying to attract.

Surveys are one of the most reliable ways to find out what your current patients like about your service and what they think could be made better. The first step toward increasing patient satisfaction should always be discovering the reasons why your current patients are unsatisfied.

You can also invest in reputation management software to quickly and easily survey your patients and encourage them to leave reviews. Positive reviews and testimonials are the single best tool to promote your brand. Did you know that Millennial consumers trust word-of-mouth advertising (including testimonials) over traditional advertising by more than 700%?

The right reputation management software will not only help you better understand what your patients think of your practice, but will also allow you to share positive experiences to help you grow your practice.

2. Enhance Your Online Services

In the twenty-first century, one of the easiest and best ways to make patients feel more plugged in is by meeting them where they are: online. Software for dentists is quickly becoming an essential tool for practices of all sizes, as they make it a lot easier to automate patient registration, track patient needs and keep treatment recommendations from falling through the cracks.

Moving to a more expansive dental practice management software that includes automated patient communication is a great way to reach out to new tech savvy patients and offer more convenience to your existing patients.

Effective use of dental practice management software also reduces no shows and short notice cancellations – a sure sign that it is keeping patients plugged in and engaged with your practice. Patients who regularly make and honour their appointments see the value in the service you offer – lower frequencies of no shows and cancellations are an indicator of improved overall patient satisfaction with the added benefit that it reduces costly downtime.  

3. Focus on Experience as Well as Service

In the dental industry, we spend a lot of time talking about the level of service we are offering. But until recently, it was fairly unusual to hear someone talk about patient experiences.

As the late health industry executive and bestselling author Fred Lee outlined in the following TEDx lecture, given in Maastricht back in 2017, patients don’t just look to healthcare providers for a service, they look for an experience of care that goes beyond the simple transaction of receiving medical help. 

It is not a question of trading one experience for another: it is about viewing patient experience as an additional dimension of the economy of your dental practice. If you want to improve patient satisfaction while attracting new patients, you’ll need to rethink the entire landscape of the patient experience and be willing to make adjustments.  

Start with why patients came to see you in the first place – to either be assured that they are on the right track with their dental hygiene and/or to receive treatment for whatever is required. In fact, your treatment plan acceptance rate is another good indicator of patient satisfaction and of whether your consultations are hitting their mark.

4. Update Your Waiting Room

If you are like most dentists or dental administrators, you put in a lot of hours at your office. Over time, this can mean that you become less sensitive to the impression it makes on new patients.

For established dental practices that have been around for a long time, this can be a major problem: a waiting room that seems familiar and comfortable may seem shabby or depressing to a new patient. 

But while updating your waiting room is important for making a good impression, it is also a great way to improve the experience for your current patients. Simple improvements like purchasing new furniture, adding access to multimedia or changing the layout can go a long way toward making your patients feel at home in your practice.

In summary, patients that are unsatisfied with the overall experience you offer will be reluctant to book appointments, follow through on scheduled appointments or recommend your practice to family, friends and colleagues.

This means that improving levels of satisfaction among your current patients needs to be job number one for any practice that is trying to expand its patient base. Remember, happy patients are the best advertisement a dental practice can get!

4 Ways to Build a Better Website for Your Dental Practice

The importance of a strong web presence to the success of any dental practice cannot be overstated. This is why I’ve decided to write a follow-up article to one we published earlier this year on how to maximize your web presence with a strong site. This time, I’m putting a deeper focus on the technical side of things.

As I constantly tell my colleagues in the dental industry, it’s not enough to simply have a site anymore. In order to compete today, you must put in the work to have your online presence noticed and to ensure its relevance week after week and month after month.

Not every clinic has the money to allot big budgets toward paid advertising and so it becomes all the more vital to make organic efforts. But what many people don’t realize is that to achieve organic results, you need to understand what’s going on under the hood, so to speak.

To ensure your site’s success, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and/or use third-parties that specialize in improving the look and functionality of websites.

Luckily, there are many different ways to engage with users and to build your audience – read on to learn more about how to improve your dental practice website:

1. Update Your Site’s Look and Functionality

Internet content is evolving at an increasingly rapid pace and what looked good three years ago might not cut it today. A dated website won’t inspire prospective patients to take the next step and get in touch. The first step toward improving your site means conducting an overhaul.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure that everything on your site is working as it should be. You’ll want to conduct a thorough audit of your clinic’s website, going through each page looking for:

  • Out-of-date content
  • Missing or poor-quality images
  • Plugins or themes that require an update
  • Broken links
  • Style or formatting inconsistencies

While this may seem like a lot of work, updating your website will pay off in major ways, starting by maintaining your relevance in the dental services marketplace.

You can also improve your site’s performance by checking your analytics – these will help indicate where you may need to make changes. This may seem like a hundred-dollar word, but this simple tutorial will show you the basics:

Once you’ve learned how to access and use analytics, you can start to track:

  • Which pages are the most popular
  • Which pages are engaging users and keeping them browsing
  • Which pages your users find uninteresting or unnecessary

2. Invest in Search Engine Optimization

Some companies swear by what’s known as search engine marketing, paid advertising such as Google AdWords that boost your site’s visibility through a cost-per-click model. While effective, this can get very pricey.

Search engine optimization (SEO) on the other hand tries to increase rankings organically. This is done by identifying which words are most associated with your field, and then using those words – or keywords as they’e called – to buff up your site’s content.

By sprucing up your homepage with keywords, and by running a regular blog (see below) that also includes keywords, your brand will slowly become tethered to the most popular search terms in your industry. This will help your practice climb to the top ranks of a Google search – making it easier to entice new visitors. Although it might seem obvious, make sure your website includes applicable keywords such as:

Dental Exam, Dental Emergency, Dental Cleaning, Teeth Polishing, Perio Scaling, Dental Implants, Teeth Whitening, TMJ, Mouth Guard, Root Canal, Tooth Extraction, Dental Crowns, Family Dentistry, Periodontics, Orthodontics, Oral Surgery, and Child Dentistry.

3. Start a Blog

Speaking of blogs, creating one that’s accessible through your website and posting weekly content will help you to connect with your audience about topics or issues relevant to your business. It also gives you a reason to spark engagement on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Furthermore, it humanizes your brand, allowing an authentic voice to come out and build brand loyalty. Finally, by including keywords like those mentioned above into your content, you’ll increase search engine rankings at the same time.

If you don’t already have a blog, it can be easier than you think to generate some great content. Here are a few basic blog topic ideas to help you get started:

  • Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Smile
  • 5 Tips for Improving Your At-Home Dental Routine
  • A Simple-to-Follow Guide on Teeth Whitening
  • 3 Signs That It Might Be Time to See Your Dentist
  • Does it Matter Which Tooth Brush or Tooth Paste I Use?

4. Maintain Up Time

Whether you’re a multinational corporation, a simple blogger, a not-for-profit organization, a news outlet, or a dental practice, traffic must reach your website otherwise it is partially closed for business. 

If you are using an unreliable service provider and your site goes down, you’ve effectively disappeared off the internet radar. Essentially, dental practice seekers can’t find or reach you when they need to – causing your credibility to plummet and making it seem to search engines like Google that you’ve received zero clicks or visits during that period and are therefore losing relevance.

Host your site with a credible provider – one who can ensure 100% up time guarantees as part of their hosting package.

I’ve talked before about cyber scamming, and the best way to stay safe is to find a hosting provider that can also help you protect your site from hacking attempts. While you should stay educated and regularly test your site for functionality, also make sure that your provider guarantees automatic updates and maintenance to prevent data leaks.

Staying up and running is integral to maintaining a strong reputation – especially for those who are looking to boost their SEO.

When it comes to websites, remember that a little goes a long way.

Hopefully, these tips will help get your practice noticed and engaging with more of your present and future patients. Continue to visit the ABELDent blog for more on this and other topics.

How a Well-Designed Website Can Help Your Dental Practice Thrive

Someone has just moved to a new city and is suddenly experiencing tooth pain that won’t go away. They need to find a new dental clinic, but how do they go about finding one and what criteria do they use?

If they’re like me, the first thing they’ll do is a quick Google search to see what dentistry options are out there. After checking out the websites of a few nearby clinics, they’ll probably book an appointment with the one that looks the most promising.

Once they’ve had a check up and are in the dental practice system, they’ll probably keep going back to this dentist by default unless they are truly unhappy with their service. This means that the clinic they selected online won a new client simply by having an accessible web presence.

Therefore, if you run a dental practice, designing an attractive website needs to be one of your top priorities. Here are a few ways that proper web design can turn digital visitors into real-life patients:

Design: Why it Matters

Making things look good online takes a lot of work and for the practically-minded healthcare professional it can all seem like a lot of extra effort. As long as you have all the necessary information on your website, why should things like videos or search engine results matter?

The truth is that good web design has a profound impact on establishing the trustworthiness and legitimacy of your clinic. A website that is able to quickly establish the credibility of your business through solid organization and attractive visual cues will dramatically improve the chances that increased web traffic will translate into new patients.

Content: How Much is Too Much?

This leads us to another frequently asked question – What kind of content and information should you put up on your website?

While there is no one-size-fits all web design solution, it is important to remember what kinds of information potential patients will be seeking. This includes service hours and location, but also any special services your practice offers.

It’s also important to balance different kinds of content. First time visitors to your website may be put off by large blocks of dense text, so try to incorporate visuals, diagrams, embedded videos and bullet point lists to keep things visually interesting.

Statistics show that engagement tools like video dramatically increase the amount of time users will stay on your site – and increase the likelihood that they will become patients.

In my own experience interacting with patients and clients interested in dental practice management online, creating a website that allows viewers to connect immediately with what is distinct about your service will help win their attention while providing them with the information they need to make an informed decision. This includes portraying a practice personality.

For example, if your practice name is ABC Dental, it is important to let prospective patients know who is behind the name. Make sure to provide detailed profiles of your dentists and at least some background on the rest of the dental team. The way you describe your dental team may have some influence on whether potential patients ultimately decide to check your practice out so give them a good impression of your services!

SEO Ranking: How Do I Get People to Notice My Site?

Setting up a great website is only the first step to attracting traffic. If you want to increase your number of visitors, you need to ensure that your site comes up on the first page of Google search results (try to remember the last time you went to the second page of Google!).

This isn’t always easy, especially if you aren’t regularly updating content. Before hiring a company that specializes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can take some initial steps toward increasing your Google rankings yourself by including more external links on your web pages and starting a clinic blog that will help you increase the amount of content you are posting – each of which make your site more likely to appear higher in a Google search.

Savvy business owners will also rely on a user-friendly web platform such as WordPress that allows you to easily curate what’s known as meta-data (a secondary language that you post behind the scenes) to heighten the ranking potential of your webpages.

Hidden keywords as well as special titles and descriptions can help your site climb the search engine results page, bringing more users to your site. The science behind it all is easy to learn and articles like this one will help you become SEO-literate in no time.

In summary, think about your clinic site as a way to make a good first digital impression on potential patients. With solid design, awesome content and a strategy to increase your Google rankings, your website can become a serious business booster!

Top 6 Ways Your Dental Clinic Can Cater to Millennials

Much has been written about the ways the Millennial generation is re-shaping the market for everything from taxicabs to diamond rings. But will this generation’s tastes and preferences really affect dental clinics? After all, everyone needs to have their teeth cleaned, right?

While dental clinics do offer a timeless service, I’ve heard a lot of concern from some clinics that are struggling to reach out to younger patients. Millennials approach healthcare in different ways than their parents did, so if you want your dental practice to continue to grow, it is important to find ways to connect with this segment of the market.

Millennials approach healthcare in different ways than their parents did, so if you want your dental practice to continue to grow, it is important to find ways to connect with this segment of the market.

Here are a few ways you can make your clinic more Millennial-friendly:

1. Invest in a Good Website

In order to attract Millennials as patients, you have to connect with them. Unlike their parents, Millennials much prefer being able to explore a dental clinic’s website before they get in touch to book an appointment, so make sure your clinic is searchable online and has an easy-to-navigate website.

And reaching Millennials isn’t just about creating a new public face for your clinic, it also requires a re-imagining of how to explain what services you offer and how you differentiate your practice from others.

2. Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Millennials are natural born web surfers. In fact, because they are so Internet savvy, the digitally-minded Millennial generation relies on very specific keyword searches to locate the products and services they want.

In layman’s terms, SEO is the practice of encouraging Google’s ranking system to place your business higher than your competition in a Google search based on industry terms.

When a Millennial searches for ‘Dentist Toronto’ for example, Google displays links to the web pages it thinks are relevant and authoritative – which is measured mostly by analysing the number and quality of links from other web pages back to yours. Simply put, a person searching for services within your industry is more likely to find your homepage the more frequently other reliable web pages (including other pages on your own site!) are linking back to it.

Once they find your site, remember that Millennials want a variety of engaging content that is informative and emotive. Research shows most Millennial purchasing decisions are based on an emotional connection rather than a logical one. Furthermore, your site’s content should not be preachy, overly long or boring – if it is you’ll lose their interest. So, try to offer vibrant, fun content rather than a lecture on dental hygiene!

3. Update Your Social Media Marketing

As the following video explains, successfully marketing to Millennials requires different strategies and a different emphasis compared to marketing to Baby Boomers.

If you want to reach this segment of the population, simply tweaking your current advertising strategy will not be enough: you need to target Millennials specifically, and the best way to do that is by increasing your social media presence and strategically using tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

When it comes to reaching the under-forty market, no marketing tool is going to be quite as effective as social media, and paid social media marketing campaigns can be a huge boon to dental clinics that are trying to reach new patients.

4. Expand Your Digital Services

It’s also a good idea to make the scheduling, appointment confirmation and billing experiences as seamless as possible. Millennials like to request visits and confirm appointments online rather than in-person and they will prefer that bills and statements be available from a patient portal. Using practice management software with these capabilities makes it easy for dental offices to meet these expectations.

5. Recognize the Challenges They Face

As the American Dental Association has noted, only thirty percent of Millennials report having gone to the dentist in the past year, which is seven points below the national average. There are several factors driving this trend, but one of the most significant is the fact that Millennials are often not insured at the same rate as previous generations.

In order to attract (and more importantly, keep) Millennials as patients, you need to understand that broader economic forces are making it harder for them to afford regular care, and be sympathetic to this fact.

As Gary Radz noted in a piece he wrote for Dental Economics, Millennials aren’t kids anymore: as they begin to enter middle age and raise families of their own, they are becoming a key demographic for all healthcare-related businesses. And, the reality is that if you want to reach this growing market you need to do so on Millennials’ terms.

6. Don’t Expect Them to Pick Up the Phone

One of the key challenges for healthcare businesses today is figuring out how to adjust service to varying customer expectations. Older patients tend to prefer phone calls and paper, whereas younger patients prefer text and email attachments.

Attracting Millennials while keeping your older patients happy means tailoring service to individual customer preferences, which is why we’ve designed the ABELDent platform to make customization easy, so you can keep detailed notes on how each patient prefers to be contacted.

Millennials are the first generation of digital natives, so earning their trust and meeting them on their turf will require investing in new marketing strategies and new software. If you want to make your clinic more appealing to this audience, check out ABELDent’s dental management software to learn how it can help you achieve that goal.

Why You Should Work Harder to Manage Your Dental Clinic Reviews

When it comes to choosing a dental clinic, patients have a lot of options. Even people who don’t live in a large city probably have at least a few clinics within easy travelling distance, and this means that patients are in a good position to weigh the pros and cons of different dental service providers before making their choice. Increasingly, they are relying on reviews written by other patients to help them make an informed decision.

Reviews have always been important, but websites like Yelp have made it easier than ever before for ordinary people to critique the services they use, which in turn has made consumer reviews an essential part of all kinds of industries.

According to recent data, ninety percent of consumers consult reviews before trying a new product or service, and a recent survey conducted by Search Engine Land suggests that a whopping 72% of consumers place as much value on online reviews as they do on recommendations from friends and family.

Many of the dental clinic operators I talk to have expressed concern about this aspect of business marketing – you can roll out a new advertising campaign, and invest money in digital and social media advertising, but how do you make sure that your clinic is getting positive patient reviews?

While there is no way to guarantee that you only get good reviews, as I have discussed before on this blog, there are a few things you can do to improve your odds. Here are three strategies that can help your clinic cultivate and manage online reviews most effectively.

Make it Easy

While most people consult online reviews before they visit a service provider, the number who actually post a comment themselves is significantly lower – and unfortunately, people are more likely to leave a review if they have had a negative experience compared to if they have had a positive one.

This means that you need to make it as easy as possible for people to leave reviews (especially positive ones), as this will increase the likelihood that people who had a pleasant experience will be moved to comment.

Reviews not only build your clinic’s credibility, but they also pave the way for new customers to find you online, which is why it pays to invest in software that can help you manage and encourage patient engagement.

The right review management platform will provide your practice with a simple, straightforward, and unobtrusive way to ask and remind your customers to leave a review on the sites that matter most to you.

This type of software allows you to not only amplify the voice of the patients who love what you do, but also offers you a way to reach unhappy patients in an effort to improve their overall brand experience.

Best of all, review management software will allow you to monitor your reviews and share the best ones on your site and on social media.

Ensure the Best Possible Service Experience

Naturally, if you want positive reviews from your patients, you’ll need to give them something to be positive about! This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the important role a good receptionist can play in making patients feel welcome and valued, but they are also ideally positioned to encourage your patients to share their experience online.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to make sure your receptionists are encouraging patients to write reviews and provide public feedback about their experience with your clinic.

Good service isn’t only about reception, of course, and another good way to make sure your patients leave your clinic with a smile on their face is by using cutting edge dental management software to facilitate a smooth experience booking appointments and receiving notifications. A dental management platform designed to meet these needs can also help you remind patients that they have the option to review once they’ve gotten home.

Don’t Be Afraid of Negative Reviews

In a blog post for Entrepreneur.com, Toby Nwazor distinguishes between bad reviews and negative reviews. If a patient leaves a positive but vague comment like “the service was good,” this doesn’t really provide potential patients with any helpful information about your dental clinic.

A negative review that criticizes specific aspects of your service, on the other hand, can be extremely helpful insofar as it tells you where you need to improve.

Even the best clinics will get negative feedback from time to time, but the important thing is to not run away from the criticism. Instead, use it to improve your service, and take the opportunity to engage constructively with your patients.

In terms of spreading the word about the superior service your clinic provides, good reviews have become the new coin of the realm. But if you really want to increase the number of positive reviews you are getting, you need to increase the number of reviews you’re getting, period.

Making it easy for people to review your clinic and responding constructively to negative feedback are practical strategies you can implement today to help increase patient engagement.

Automating Patient Communication for your Dental Practice: A Smart Business Decision

In recent years, my experience has been that the dental industry has shifted to a more value-based and patient-centered care model. This transition has made improving the patient experience a major focus for many dental practices. Implementing automated communication by way of automated email, texts and patient portals is a great way to achieve this objective since it provides convenience and time savings for patients that ultimately lead to increased patient satisfaction. The added benefit for dental practices is streamlined patient communications and more efficient practice administration.

But Will Patients Embrace Automated Communication from You?

For many (including your patients), checking their mobile device is the last thing they do at night and the first thing they do in the morning. In fact, smartphone owners report using their device more frequently today for mobile email and texting than to actually make phone calls. Furthermore, 97% of mobile users will read a text within 15 minutes of receipt and 84% will respond within one hour (Neilsen Mobile survey). 

Although open rates for emails are reported to be much lower than texts, they are on average, still a respectable 22% https://www.textanywhere.net/faq/what-is-the-average-sms-marketing-open-rate. However, you could expect your own email open rates to be significantly higher since your patients can identify you as the source of their messages.  

So automation of messaging that caters to convenience has become the communication standard for today’s marketing and consumer-focused organizations. It helps build one-on-one relationships with existing and new clients (or in this case patients), providing personalized options and direct connections. Since it offers quick, easy solutions to day-to-day routines and tasks, it’s the perfect “A click-and-it’s-done” tool for a busy dental practice (or one looking to get busier with more patients!)

Appointment Reminders/Confirmation

The most common message type sent by dental practices is appointment notifications, confirmation requests and outstanding treatment notices. As an example, with a keystroke, the software application sends individual “request for confirmation” messages for a selected group of patients using the preferred communication method/s of each individual (text or email).  Message recipients can respond using their smart phone, notebook or computer and in many cases, automatically update their e-calendars. With fully integrated systems, patient responses automatically update the affected data fields within the practice management software such as scheduled appointments now showing as confirmed. In short, there is a tremendous time and cost savings opportunity when managing appointments.

Validation

A User Study recently conducted by ABELDent confirmed similar time/cost savings as suggested above. One Office Manager reported that by changing telephone appointment confirmation and patient information requests to a methodical, automated SMS approach, she saved at least 25 hours per month (approx. 300 hours/year). That’s over $7,500 in annualized savings based on average dental practice labour costs. This real life example does not even factor reduced no shows or consider the more revenue-producing initiatives that she was able to undertake using those recovered hours. https://www.abelsoft.com/dental-software/Products/online-dental-appointment-scheduling-software

Patient Portals – Electronic Communication Facilitator

Patient portals are the preferred conduit to send potentially sensitive automated messages as they provide encryption protection and data does not need to be stored anywhere during transmission. Patient portals also provide a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to specific information (as determined by the dental practice). Put another way, patient portals enable individuals to carry out an array of tasks that previously had to be completed either via telephone or during an in person visit.  It’s a smart next step in giving your practice the platform and the power to move towards increased patient engagement

Josh Gray, vice president, Athena Research, says online access translates into patient retention and financial rewards: “If you can get a patient on a portal, they’re 13 percent more likely to return. The value of the patient who returns is eight to 20 percent higher.”

https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/patient-portals-saving-medical-practices-overhead-improving-collections-managers-say

Patient Portal screen allowing secure patient access to personal information

Conclusion 

Automated patient communication portals are a way to give your dental practice a more dynamic, modern edge while also enabling you to realize administrative efficiencies, cost savings, reduced no-shows and increased patient growth. Since portals cater to patient comfort and convenience by utilizing familiar mobile technology, they are rapidly becoming the preferred method for both patients and healthcare providers to exchange select information. User interfaces and data security measures also ensure that unauthorized data changes, patient confidentiality and data breaches are not a concern.

In most cases, the preferred patient portal solution is one included as a component of dental practices management software due to tighter integration between the two applications and in many cases, lower cost. In a business model where client communication can extend to six or nine-month intervals, it only makes sense to take advantage of a quick, convenient and welcome opportunity to build better relationships with your patients.