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.
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.
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.
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!