You As a dentist with a thriving practice in the year 2021, you know that it takes more than top-notch treatments and outstanding service to provide patients with a great overall experience. And the great experience is what increases your revenue. Patient engagement begins before a person ever steps a foot inside your building and follows them after their dental visit. The keys to improving your bottom line are optimizing your communication, developing relationships with your patients by using patient engagement tools, being involved in the community, and utilizing technology techniques to connect with them personally.
Patient Engagement Tools
There are a few key tools to have in your patient engagement toolbelt when trying to improve patient engagement strategies. Some of these you may have started utilizing over the last year’s pandemic to try to connect more with your patients and make their experience in your office easier. The first tool is an online patient portal. Utilizing a patient portal can give patients access to manage appointments, ask questions to providers, pay bills and follow their dental health plans all from their own electronic device. Patient portals can also be accessed in your office by way of a locally connected kiosk.
Another tool is automatic appointment reminders. Many times, patients will make appointments six months or more ahead of time for dental treatments, and this makes them easier to forget. Consider investing in software that works with your electronic dental care records to trigger text or call reminders to patients.
After a patient dental appointment, follow-up communication is important to see what went well at the appointment and what can be better. Use patient surveys as an engagement tool to improve your dental practice processes and patient satisfaction. These can be given out at appointments on paper brochures or sent automatically and electronically via their email address or patient portal.
Finding ways to serve your community outside of your dental practice is beneficial to everyone and can let the community know about what services your practice offers. Talk to your team about what values are important to them. Reach out to local school boards, shelters, and charities and ask how you can help them help the community.
An example of how you could help is by providing toothbrushes to local elementary-age students and local homeless shelters. Many homeless shelters and similar organizations would welcome free dental clinics to provide advice, dental care tools, and instruction for their clients. By being involved in the community, you are not only helping those in need, but you are also showing current and potential patients that you value people and relationships.
In this age, technology often connects people. Use these technological advancements to your benefit by engaging with your patients via telehealth. The use of telemedicine increased during the recent pandemic and is still a viable way to keep patients safe while offering quality dental health services. Encourage patients to call the office and notify staff of their reason for an appointment request prior to requesting a telehealth appointment, as an in-person visit may still be necessary for some patients.
Social media is another way that you can use technology to engage with your patients. You can also use platforms like Facebook or Twitter to showcase your services and educate your patients. Use common FAQs and personally written applicable blogs to catch interest and link them to your website. You can also showcase your positive reviews via social media to peak public interest in your practice.
Technology does not have to be as complicated as telehealth and social media marketing, although those are excellent tools. Taking it back to the basics with personal calls, texts and emails also add a personal connection with your patients. Use these combined methods to prompt patients to make routine check-up appointments. Or remind them of upcoming appointments and important updates. There are other ways to connect with patients by way of technology inside of your building, as well. Use kiosks and televisions that display educational information pertinent to every age level of your dental patients.
Monitor Your Results
Once you have implemented your patient engagement strategies, follow up on your changes and measure the improvements. Schedule weekly and monthly meetings with your team to go over the data and discuss the results. Healthy, personalized communication leads to better patient care and, eventually, improved revenue.
Having access to patient education at one’s fingertips can make patients feel safe. Also, more in control over their dental health as well as develop trust in you as their dental provider. You will create a better overall patient experience if you involve and use these patient engagement tools. What other ways are you engaging with your patients to improve your bottom line? If you need more suggestions or assistance, Strategic Practice Solutions can help. Contact our team today for a consultation.