The current economic climate is affecting every area of business including dentistry.
With a shortage in appointments available, patients might start to look elsewhere if they can get an appointment sooner, rather than having to wait for an appointment with your practice. Also, the rising cost of living has inevitably led to a lack of disposable income. Under these circumstances it’s reasonable to ask, will patients continue to prioritise their oral healthcare?
A seamless patient experience will help you to maintain a good relationship with your patients as well as attaining and retaining their good opinion of your dental practice. So let’s look at the how the patient journey using Software 4 Dentists products and services can be made as painless and appealing as possible.
1. Maximizing Your Online Presence
Modern patients are used to managing their life online, and this is especially the case when it comes to booking appointments. Therefore it’s important to establish an online presence and appeal to a patients sense of professionalism and convenience by having a feature rich website that promotes your services and makes the booking and managing of appointments a simple and seamless process.
Software 4 Dentists provide a 24/7 Online Booking system which is incredibly easy to integrate into your existing website, providing real time updates on available slots in your practice diary. Unlike other software suppliers, there is no cumbersome redirection to another website to book an appointment, rather the whole process is fully integrated into your own booking web page, adding to the overall professionalism of your service. Not only does this help towards having a full diary, but also ensures you don’t lose patients to:
- A competitor offering a more convenient service
- The patient forgetting to call the practice or it being out-of-hours
- The patient calling the practice, but the lines are engaged or unanswered leading to frustration
The Online Booking System frees up your phone lines and staff for more general enquiries and gives your practice the accessibility it needs to attract new patients and to keep bringing back patients for the treatment they need.
2. Pre appointment
At this stage in the patient journey, your patient will be expecting confirmation of their booked appointment and payment if they have made one. This is instantly communicated via e-mail or a printed confirmation at end of the booking process.
Once the appointment is booked it is automatically entered into the Bridge-IT dental practice management system, where your reception staff can quickly review new patients who have signed up online and appointments booked. Using an automated system Bridge-IT will then:
Send a reminder – Bridge-IT will automatically send a reminder by SMS, e-mail or letter (electronic or printed) to minimise the number of patients who fail to attend their appointment.
Forms – Our Web Forms Portal empowers patients to remotely complete any forms the clinician feels are necessary in advance of their visit to the practice. This includes updating their medical history and contact details, completing the NHS PR Form if necessary, signing treatment plans, and getting consent for specific upcoming treatments. Using an advanced algorithm, Bridge-IT will analyse treatments being provided in the upcoming appointment and send consent forms that are appropriate to that treatment automatically. This avoids lengthy waiting times, minimises stress to the patient and means your staff will not need to spend excessive time scanning and manually entering data which could be prone to human error and become a compliance issue.
You will be setting your practice up for increased patient satisfaction, ensuring they will be receiving a seamless experience before they even step into the practice.
To make your patient’s experience a pleasant one from the moment they arrive, you’ll want to provide an easy check in and minimise waiting time.
Easy Check-In – This can be achieved using the Bridge-IT Check-In module running on a tablet attached to your wall or reception desk. At the click of a couple of buttons, a patient can be automatically checked into the virtual waiting room notifying the provider in surgery that the patient has arrived.
Fast Data Capture – If the patient has already filled in their medical forms, they need only take their seat in the waiting room. What though if they were unable to fill in their medical forms before arriving, or have forgotten to do so? For this reason we created the Sign-IT tablet app which runs on any Android tablet and which can be handed to the patient on their arrival at the reception desk. The same forms as requested online can quickly be filled in using this user friendly application. All data is automatically updated to the patient’s file upon completion without your staff having to lift a finger, giving them more time for what matters, patient care.
After having received treatment or on completion of a check-up, the Sign-tablet app IT can be used chair-side to sign treatment options or plans allowing you to gain patient commitment for future visits.
All the actions of the provider are recorded within the Bridge-IT software, so once they are finished with the patient in surgery, everything your reception staff need to know is communicated back to the front desk which sets everything up nicely for the next stage.
Although it’s one of the final stages of the patient’s journey, it’s important that this goes smoothly. To make it as simple and fluid a process as possible, Bridge-IT will display a smart tag at the side of the screen with the patient’s name. When clicked it will reveal all the steps the front desk needs to take in order to complete the visit successfully. These include:
- The future appointments that need to be booked, including appointment length, treatment type and enforced intervals between appointments for staged treatments.
- Charging for the current appointment and taking a payment either immediately at the desk (with our optional Dojo card terminal integration) or later via an online payment portal.
- Updating any contact details that may be missing so you can keep the patient apprised of next steps in their dental care.
A good experience as the patient is leaving is bound to increase the likelihood of the patient returning to your practice in the future.
6. Post appointment
Feedback – Effective practice improvement can only come about by gaining honest feedback from your patients. To accomplish this, Bridge-IT will automatically send out a feedback request after the patient has completed their appointment. The feedback questions can be completely configured by a staff member with security access, enabling you to highlight any possible areas of weakness in your practice. A report can be generated at any time and over any period which will effortlessly communicate how your patients feel about every aspect of their experience.
Automated Recalls – If your patients haven’t pre-booked, it’s vital that you keep recalling them. Once isn’t enough, therefore you can recall them using a different message format depending on how many recalls the patient has already ignored. Of course, you have complete oversight of when and how many recalls you want to send.
We hope this brief overview of the patient journey will help you appreciate how Software 4 Dentists can help you implement a winning strategy for your practice and help you achieve your business goals, as well as provide a superb patient experience from start to finish.
Please contact us on 0800 612 4675 or speak to us via our live chat for further information. We’re more than happy to help.