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May 2020

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Misc, Practice Marketing, Tips, Website Design

Using Dental Practice Technology to Optimize Your Business

Using the latest dental practice technology has always been essential to delighting patients and supporting your staff, but the COVID-19 outbreak has also highlighted how technology can help protect our communities. With careful planning and implementation, technology can limit the exposure of both staff and patients while delivering excellent customer service. Here are our recommendations for implementing dental practice technology:

 

Automated Patient Communications

This has been a staple of the dental industry for years, as texting with patients is proven to increase patient satisfaction. According to Off the Cusp, 64% of people prefer a text message over a traditional call as a customer service channel. Being able to send appointment reminders and recall messages is essential to creating brand loyalty and keeping your patients happy.

However, the COVID-19 outbreak has created another necessary use for automated patient communications. Given the need to limit contact between people, the American Dental Association recommends that you ask patients to wait in their cars until you’re ready to treat them. Limiting the time spent in the waiting room protects both patients and staff, and an automated communication system makes it easy to send a text when you’re ready to welcome patients into the office.

It’s also important to clarify your new policies regarding COVID-19, which can be easily done with a patient communications software. You should inform patients to stay home if they are coughing, sneezing, or running a fever, and ask them to wear masks into your office if possible. Most patient communication software providers have already built custom campaigns into their dashboards so you can inform patients of your new policies before their appointments.

 

Online Forms

Over the past few years, most medical industries have been moving away from paper forms and implementing secure online assessments for patients to use. These have the benefit of being HIPAA-compliant, less wasteful, and more convenient for patients. Providers like ProSites can tailor the forms so they have the same color, branding, and design as your practice’s website, providing a seamless experience for your patients. These forms are also mobile-optimized so patients can conveniently complete their evaluations on personal phones and tablets. The COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted another benefit of this dental practice technology, as online forms allow you to avoid passing paper between patients and your staff, limiting contact touchpoints.

 

Social Media

Thanks to the stay-at-home orders, people have been spending more time on social media than ever before. Take the time to brush up your profile, confirm your contact information, and share helpful dental content to encourage engagement from your followers. As restrictions start to lift, you may want to use Facebook advertising to announce extra weekend hours, or any summer specials you want to offer. If you’ve never run a Facebook ad before and want to work with a team to perfect your messaging and audience, ProSites’ team of social media specialists can help!

If your office has temporarily closed or reduced hours, be sure to frequently check your Facebook messages. This is an easy alternative for patients to reach you, and you want to be quick to respond to any questions they have.

 

Virtual Dentistry and Telemedicine

Recent events have also created a rise in telemedicine and video conferencing with patients. Though the regulations vary by state, dentists may want to explore whether this dental practice technology is an option for initial consults. They can video chat with patients about any pain or complications they’re experiencing and determine if an in-person appointment is warranted. There are a few hoops to jump through to ensure compliance with both state and federal regulations, but this is a possibility to reduce face-to-face interactions while still helping patients in need.

 

Call Tracking and Recording

If you’re spending less time in the office, it’s essential to have a phone system that tracks all of your calls from the get-go. Your online dashboard through ProSites allows you to see missed calls from your computer, so you know when you have to return a patient’s call without physically going to your practice. If you’re adjusting your hours due to COVID-19, this is an easy way to maintain patient satisfaction without visiting your practice every day.

 

Cleaning Procedures and Air Filtration

As you return to your practice, it’s essential to implement thorough cleaning regimens to protect your patients and staff. It’s recommended that your practice purchase an automatic hand sanitizing machine to reduce contact on shared surfaces. In addition, your staff should thoroughly disinfect examination rooms between appointments, and sanitize flat surfaces and doorknobs.

For additional protection, you may want to invest in an air filtration system for your practice. There are dozens of different companies that provide surgical-grade air filtration systems, so do your research to find one that meets your budget and needs. Implementing a filtration system can reassure both staff and patients, and it also provides ongoing protection against the typical influenza virus, allergens, and dust particles.

 

Conclusion

Dental practice technology has always been essential for supporting your staff and patients, but the recent COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted how much technology can help us adjust to new problems. ProSites is here to support the dental community however we can during this unprecedented time, so please reach out to us with any questions!

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Misc, Practice Marketing, Tips

Jumpstarting Your Dental Practice After COVID-19

The American Dental Association is releasing guidelines on how to reopen your dental practice safely, so take the time to evaluate how your business will change in the coming weeks. Though you will have to take extra precautions to keep your staff and patients healthy, handling the COVID-19 situation well presents the opportunity to strengthen your patient relationships and expand your practice. Here are some tips to help jumpstart your dental practice.

 

Communicate Your Hours and New Procedures

After the stay-at-home order is lifted, you should enact new procedures to protect both patients and staff. The American Dental Association will release recommendations based on conditions in your area, including safety measures like having patients wait in the car until their appointment time, reducing contact at all touchpoints, and even temperature checks for everyone entering your practice.

To help your practice plan your reopening, we’ve outlined some recommended communications that you can send:

  1. Email on plans for rescheduling appointments

Reach out to every patient who had their appointments postponed or cancelled. Update them on your expected reopening date and ask when they’d be available for an appointment. If you don’t hear back within a week, you should follow up with a phone call. If it’s feasible, you may want to consider adding after-hours and weekend appointments to make up for lost time and provide additional patient support.

  1. Email about updated office hours

Once your reopening date is confirmed, send all clients an email about your opening date and updated office hours.

  1. Reminder of your safety protocol and visit requirements

A few days before each patients’ appointment, email them about your updated health and safety protocol. The American Dental Association recommends that you conduct contactless temperature screenings before allowing patients into your office, so advise patients of this new measure. You may also want to implement a system where patients wait in their cars, instead of the waiting room. If you use an automated texting service, it’s extremely easy to send out a text when you’re ready to meet with your next patient. This limits contact between patients and minimizes the amount of time that patients spend in your office. To boost patient confidence, also share your updated cleaning regimens and any additional safety protocols your practice has implemented.

 

Update Hours and Procedures Your Website

Before you reopen, you should also incorporate your revised hours and procedures into your website. A pop-up or banner across the top of your homepage is a simple solution to update your patient base, and it allows you to quickly make changes based on the situation in your area. If you have a website through ProSites, our Member Services team can help you implement this page on your site, or you can set it up within your website editor.

 

Update Your Hours Across All Online Listings

As you reopen, eliminate confusion for your patients by ensuring that your new hours are correct across Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and your website. While you’re there, check to ensure that your contact information is correct as well.

 

Provide Valuable Info on Social Media

Posting on social media is an easy way to communicate with your patients, so once you have a confirmed plan for reopening, launch a series of posts with these updates. Be sure to cover your new hours, updated safety procedures, and how to reschedule appointments that were cancelled due to COVID-19. And as always, encourage engagement by responding to comments quickly!

 

Consider Stepping Up Your Marketing Efforts

As you ramp up your business, consider whether it’s the right time to step up your marketing efforts to get your practice revenue back. Due to the COVID-19 situation, many of your competitors may have reduced their marketing efforts, allowing you to jump in and fill the gaps.

One of the best avenues for marketing right now will be Pay-Per-Click advertising. How much you spend on each click is largely determined by the competition going after the same keywords, so you may see a decrease in cost in your area. The keywords you target will largely depend on your location, but some key phrases to explore will be “open now” and “emergency dental.” To maximize the impact of your campaigns, consider partnering with ProSites over the next few months. Our team of marketing experts specializes in Pay-Per-Click for dental practices, and we provide constant testing of new keyword groups to help you stay on top of the competition.

For a long-term marketing strategy, nothing beats Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The goal of SEO is to rank on the first page of Google for dental terms in your area, bringing in a constant stream of new leads. To achieve perfectly executed SEO across your website you may want to hire an SEO Team like the one at ProSites. Since it can take a while to start seeing huge impacts, starting now will bring in new leads and position your practice for success!

 

Conclusion

As you reopen your practice, you have the opportunity to delight your existing patients and attract new ones. To learn more about how a comprehensive marketing strategy can position your practice for success, call us at (888) 932-3644 or request a free consultation

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