Damon Swenson, DDS
Technology is constantly advancing. Between running a practice and providing patients with the best care, staying up to speed with technological developments can be challenging, but it is absolutely vital. I keep up with the trends in dental software, including advancements in patient education, marketing programs, and practice management systems, by talking with my staff and peers about what they're using in their software, and the items that they deem "trend-worthy" and necessary for their businesses. Read on about some of the most trend-worthy developments in our industry.
Having complete control of your practice is a wonderful feeling. When I was able to personalize my practice management software to fit the needs of my staff, it made everyone's job much easier. For us, insurance estimating has always been important. While health-care management systems have been around for decades, it's important for them to be up-to-date with current trends.
In my practice, our old system seemed archaic and I knew we needed to upgrade to a software system that was ahead of the curve. That's when we made the switch to Eaglesoft by Patterson Dental. Since the switch, our insurance estimating has been much more accurate, which makes both my employees and patients happier.
Here are two important considerations regarding communication.
1) Texting-In the nearly two decades I've been in practice, communication has come a long way. Traditional methods such as snail mail and phone calls have gone by the wayside. One of the biggest technological trends that have helped my practice serve our patients better and save time is the two-way text messaging feature in RevenueWell, our practice marketing software. Many of our patients respond more quickly to our text messages than by traditional means. This reminds them of their appointments and even notifies them about any last-minute openings that might fit their schedule.
2) Social media-In addition to texting, we now have the ability to reach out to patients via social media to tell them when we have openings. While social media isn't a new trend, many businesses now have more interaction with consumers on various social media platforms. Since millennials grew up with social media, it's a great way to maintain a good relationship with these patients and improve your practice's reputation.
Making sure your clients are happy and satisfied is the crucial objective for any practice. Collecting and sharing patient feedback is another great option that allows patients to share their thoughts about their experience. If you don't have a positive reputation, it will ultimately hurt your business and your bottom line. With reputation monitoring, we can monitor major search engines for reviews of what people write. This way we can thank patients for good reviews, and immediately respond to those who write negative reviews.
While paper charts are still valuable tools that can contain key information, they're rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Since switching to Eaglesoft, we've transitioned almost exclusively to digital charting. This has made it much easier for us to find files, and it makes us more efficient in the office.
1) Treatment planning-One trend that has helped our overall organization run a lot smoother is the treatment-planning feature. This helps us explain to patients the potential financial impact of a treatment with insurance estimates and images attached. Our patients find this helpful to make better, smarter decisions on what's best for them health-wise, as well as financially.
2) Simplicity and efficiency-Since we made the switch to Eaglesoft, we've had a better handle on what's happening in our practice, such as scheduling, patient growth, and communication. This increases the number of patients we see in a day and contributes to an increase in our ROI. Our patients enjoy knowing we're always there for any of their needs.
Two types of technology that work well for patients are:
1) Mobile-One of the trends that has had the biggest impact is the use of mobile technology, such as tablets. Consent and health history forms have become a lot simpler, and they integrate seamlessly with modern technology. With Fast CheckIn, the use of tablets eliminates the time it takes to scan paper charts by allowing patients to fill out and even sign the electronic forms.
2) Video-We can send personalized videos to patients' e-mails, phones, and tablets through our practice marketing software. These videos allow patients to quickly understand their treatment options, they answer any questions patients may have, and they allow patients to make informed decisions. For us, videos have contributed to greater case acceptance. Our patients seem to be put at ease knowing what to expect during their visit.
While the advancements in technology have had a huge impact on society as a whole, the ability to improve our operatory by investing more time and energy into our patients has saved my employees precious time, and saved the practice more money.
Damon Swenson, DDS, graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1999 and started CrossPointe Dental in Orem, Utah. He has been in solo practice for the last 15 years. He has enjoyed much success as a family practitioner, with an emphasis on comprehensive esthetic dentistry and full-mouth reconstructive dentistry.