2021 is poised to be a complicated year for dental practices across the United States. Most experienced a huge drop in revenue in 2020, and patients are still nervous to return to their dentist due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, new technology can help you reassure patients and operate safely throughout this unprecedented year.
Use Online Forms to Screen for COVID-19
While it’s essential to fill your appointment book, you still need to minimize the risk of COVID-19 to your patients and staff. ProSites has created a COVID-19 screening form that you can send out before each appointment. This form asks about any potential symptoms or exposure to the virus, ensuring that you can postpone risky appointments before patients even walk through the door. Sending out this form also increases patient confidence, as they know that you’re taking the pandemic seriously and looking out for their safety.
Email Patients About Your Updated Safety Protocols
Automated emails are essential to reassure patients that you are operating safely. You should mention the increased safety measures that you’ve implemented since the pandemic began. Contactless temperature screenings ensure the safety of your staff and patients, so be sure you are checking the temperature of everyone who enters your practice. You should also implement a virtual waiting room where patients wait in their cars instead of spending more time in your office. Email your patients about these new policies, and also mention your updated cleaning regimens to maximize patient confidence.
Catch Up On Canceled 2020 Appointments
Given the stay-at-home orders and nerves surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients likely cancelled their appointments in 2020. You should begin communicating with these patients and trying to schedule a make-up appointment in early 2021. Use your automated texting service to encourage patients to schedule their next visit. If you don’t hear back within two weeks, follow up with a phone call. If your staff has availability, consider adding after-hours and weekend appointments to make up for lost time and provide additional flexibility.
Update Your Website
In addition to updating your patients before upcoming appointments, you should incorporate your revised hours and procedures into your website. A pop-up across the top of your homepage is an easy way to communicate your safety protocols, and it can be changed quickly if situations change in your area. The ProSites Member Services team can help you update your website, or you can make the changes within your website editor.
Provide Valuable Info on Social Media
Your Facebook page is an easy way to communicate with your patients, so post your updated safety procedures and ongoing updates. Be sure to cover your new temperature checks, COVID-19 screening protocols, and your availability over the coming months. Don’t forget to respond to comments and engage with your followers!
Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising to Bring in New Patients
One of the quickest ways to attract new patients is Pay-Per-Click advertising. To make the most of the changing marketplace due to COVID-19, target terms like “emergency dental” and “dentist open now.” This will help you attract patients who put off essential work in the past year, and it helps you quickly fill up your appointment book. To maximize the return on your investment, consider partnering with ProSites to handle your marketing. We specialize in Pay-Per-Click for dental practices and conduct constant testing to help you stay on top of the competition.
Use Virtual Consult Tools to Triage Emergency Dental Cases
With limited capacity and social distancing, it can be difficult to triage patients and ensure emergency cases take priority. ProSites provides a Virtual Consult tool which can be added right to your website. Patients can upload pictures of their teeth so your team can make an informed decision about what cases to prioritize for emergency appointments. You can also use this tool to create ongoing treatment plans for complicated cosmetic work, and both situations can be billable to insurance. This tool is essential for 2021, when you need to support your patients while limiting contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Though you’ll need to adjust your operations to support your patients in 2021, it’s still possible to operate your dental practice safely. If you need any help launching online forms or filling your appointment book, reach out to ProSites today!