The dental industry is growing, and while that means new opportunities for your practice, it also means more competition. How can you make your practice more productive and successful? Automation can help. But what aspects of your practice should you automate, and which still require the old-fashioned approach? Here are four things you can automate in your practice, and one thing you shouldn't.
Do Automate: Patient recall, appointment reminders and treatment plan reminders
Remember the old days when your front desk staff seemed to spend half their time making reminder calls to patients? Wait — you mean you still do it that way? Automating reminders of appointments and upcoming treatments is one of the easiest steps you can take to make your dental practice more efficient. With a solution such as Lighthouse 360, reminders go out automatically via phone recording, text or email based on the patient's individual preferences. (According to Dental Practice Management, most patients prefer to get text and email reminders rather than phone calls.) Here are some more ideas for successfully using appointment reminders and improving case acceptance with treatment reminders.
Do Automate: Cancellation fill-ins
In the typical dental office, last-minute cancellations are an unfortunate fact of life. They can also send your front desk staff into a frenzy of calling the patients on your cancellation list to see who's available to fill the spot. Sometimes, you can't find anyone to take the appointment; other times, your efforts work too well and you end up with two patients eager to fill the slot. Automation can help you avoid this type of error. Lighthouse 360’s useful Patient Fill-In feature automatically detects last-minute cancellations and contacts people on your cancellation list one by one until a replacement is found.
Do Automate: Registration forms
Filling out registration forms is a time-consuming chore for new dental patients. Of course, you can remind them to fill out forms before their appointment and provide downloadable forms on your website for them to use — but many new patients still won’t remember to complete the forms (and some who do will forget to bring them to the appointment). You can speed up registration and make it more enjoyable for patients by using automation tools like Lighthouse 360. The software’s Patient FastTrack feature lets patients complete their registration quickly and easily on their smartphones in your waiting room or ahead of the appointment day. The real time savings, however, comes when the digital registration forms integrate into your records. No need for your staff to decipher messy handwriting and spend hours inputting data.
Do Automate: To-do lists
There's lots to do in your dental office on any given day—including making lists of all the things that need to be done. Cross that chore off your list by using a solution such as Lighthouse 360. It generates daily task lists using "smart recommendations" and sends them to you every morning for distribution to your team. This ensures that you start your day off right and your staff is always working on the most important priorities.
Never Automate: Patient interaction
No matter how much you automate your administrative and marketing tasks, patients should never feel as if you’re treating them like a number. From the front desk staff to the hygienists and dentist, everyone on your staff should take the time to interact with patients in a caring and professional way. Greet them with a smile, look them in the eye and ask them about their lives, not just their teeth.
When a patient has questions, be sure that you answer them thoroughly and do whatever it takes to ease their concerns. With more than 60% of adults already scared to visit the dentist, providing clear explanations of what to expect during and after treatment can make all the difference in whether or not a patient ever returns to your office.