There is so much talk about technology today, from the metaverse to artificial intelligence and how it will change the way we work, play, and live every day. Technology, when used to help make lives easier, is a good thing. Within the dental practice, especially if the team is understaffed, technology can be used to automate some of the tasks that take time away from things that directly impact patient care and satisfaction, such as connecting with patients and building relationships. Unlike other small businesses, health-care practices are in the business of providing care. And care is not something that can be automated. So how can you leverage high tech so you can still deliver care that’s high touch?
Save time with high tech
When deciding where to leverage technology, a good place to start is with your patient experience. Using technology for technology’s sake is not the answer. The best place to start is by asking questions like: What technology will make my patient’s experience even better? Would patients appreciate online scheduling or appointment confirmations by text? Would they like the option of telehealth to assess a dental concern? Should new-patient paperwork be available online so they can complete and submit the forms at their convenience? All of these may be welcomed by patients and save your team time.
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Another question to ask might be: How can we leverage technology to save the team time and be more effective and efficient? One easy place to start is with your practice management software. Maybe it has functionality that you’ve not yet tapped into. There may be online training courses to access, or you could have a company representative come to the office to train your team. You may feel that a quick call will only interrupt your busy day, but it can be so rewarding in the long term.
For example, your software may have your financing partner integrated into the system that prepopulates applications, transactions that write back to the ledger, and links/QR codes for patients to access and see if they prequalify for credit with no impact to their credit score. This can be available to patients privately in the office or on your website. That’s just one way saving a little time in the day can free your team to focus on caring for patients.
Invest time with high touch
Technology in health care is not meant to replace human relationships; it’s meant to be leveraged to simplify, automate, and save the team time—time they can invest in developing deep patient connections. The good news is that happy patients who have connected with the team may be more likely to return for ongoing care and refer their friends and family.
Editor's note: CareCredit is a recent financial supporter of Dental Economics. View full disclosure at dentaleconomics.com/carecredit.
This article appeared in the June 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.