Larry Emmott, DDS
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Eaglesoft, Dentrix, and SoftDent are great products, but there are still small additional features or special functions dentists wish their practice-management software would do. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app for that?
Communication — Dr. Gina Dorfman, a dentist in Santa Clarita, Calif., was frustrated by the time and energy wasted in her office when she and her team members tried to communicate with one other and their patients. However, unlike other dentists, Gina has a resource the rest of us don’t have. She has a family of computer programmers and technicians. Together, they developed an app to fill all the gaps in communication and increase efficiency. They called their creation YAPI (Yet Another Practice Interface).
YAPI is a great example of a new breed of third-party applications, or apps, that are designed to work with the major practice-management systems (PMS) by adding a special feature or using data in a special way. Dental apps have little or no value as standalone programs, but when combined with Dentrix, PracticeWorks, or any leading PMS, they can add a lot of value.
In a nutshell, YAPI digitally follows patients through their office visit. It starts by checking them in at the front desk, and it follows them to the treatment room. Next, it’s back to the front to check out. Along the way, the office team is alerted as to where the patient is, how long he or she has been there, and when the room needs to be cleaned or is ready for another patient.
Sharing digital images — Another dentist, Glenn Godart from Ridgewood, N.J., was concerned about the sharing of digital images; that is, patient X-rays and photographs. He needed an app — a simple way to send an X-ray to a colleague that was consistent, secure, and HIPAA compliant. He started a Web-based service called Dental Sharing.
Text and email patient reminders — Tired of sending postcards and spending hours on the phone confirming patients? There’s an app for that. Smile Reminder uses the information in your PMS — i.e., who is scheduled for the next day — and sends the patient a reminder via text or email.
Online patient forms — Wouldn’t it be great if your patients could fill out and sign forms online or at a computer in your office? No more clipboards and paper forms! There’s an app for that. DentForms from MedicTalk allows you to create patient information, medical-dental history, and consent forms electronically and then integrate them with your PMS.
Patient surveys and reviews — Have you noticed how online user reviews have become so important? Patients are making decisions about their new dentist based on user reviews. There’s an app for that. Demandforce sends email satisfaction surveys to all your patients after an appointment, gathers user reviews, and then publishes them to Google and other online sites.
Getting unfinished dental work completed — The ADA estimates that a typical dentist has up to $1 million of unfinished dental work in the files that has been diagnosed but never completed. How do you get those patients to come back and get their dentistry done? There’s an app for that. Practice Activator uses an artificial intelligence program to search your data for needed, yet uncompleted, treatment and then contacts patients with personalized, problem-focused letters.
Referrals, medical history, and postop information — YAPI does more than just follow a patient through an appointment; it alerts you to get information from the patient, such as an email address or an updated history, and to provide information to the patient, such as a referral or postop information.
Daily huddle and tickler file — Two additional YAPI features are the creation of a virtual daily huddle and a “tickler” file called “seeds.” If a patient expresses an interest in some future elective treatment or service — such as whitening, Invisalign, or tooth-colored fillings — the interest is noted as a “seed.” You can search YAPI for patients who have a “seed” and follow up with them in multiple ways.
Are you in search of a special digital function that your PMS does not yet deliver? Look around. You may find that there’s an app for that. The future is coming and it will be amazing!
Dr. Larry Emmott is the leading authority on dental high tech and one of the most entertaining speakers in dentistry. He is also a writer and consultant. To find out about his high-tech training programs, technology guides, and other services, call (602) 791-7071 or visit www.drlarryemmott.com.
| Emmott on Technology