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Consumer-Driven Dentistry: How To Leverage Technology To Succeed

Melissa LuVisi
November 14, 2019 | 4 min read


With the many changes in healthcare and dental insurance, patients are now paying more out-of-pocket and their expectations are evolving. The dental industry is shifting toward a consumer-driven model, in which patients are leading the experience and shaping their relationships with their dentists.

From booking their first appointments to paying their bills, consumers demand a high level of service and convenience. In order to succeed in today’s consumer-centric economy, your dental practice needs to adapt by leveraging the latest technologies to cater to patients’ needs and expectations.

Embracing Consumerism In Today’s Dental Economy

Implementing the right technologies is key to running a successful dental practice. Not only does it help you increase cost-efficiency and improve the patient experience but it also allows you to project a “high tech” image that’ll inspire trust. 

For example, not having an online booking system will make your practice look “low-tech,” which is a turnoff for many consumers. In fact, many would avoid providers that don’t use the right technologies to facilitate client relationships. 

What can you do to embrace consumerism in your dental practice?

Give Your Patients What They Want

Today’s dental practices can no longer assume that patients need what they offer. Instead, you have to give them what they want, which goes beyond cleaning their teeth or filling a cavity.

Your patients want convenience, a streamlined experience, short wait time, on-demand assistance, and the ability to manage their care at any time and from anywhere. 

By leveraging the right technologies, you can meet consumer expectations, improve patient experience, and make them more likely to return to your practice. For example:

  • Online scheduling tool: allow patients to book their visits on your website from anywhere and at any time. This also helps reduce the number of phone calls to your office, freeing up your staff to focus on patient care and revenue-generating activities.
  • Email and text reminders: send appointment confirmations and reminders to keep patients engaged and minimize no-shows. You can also include educational content (e.g., how to prepare for a specific procedure) to improve patient outcomes.
  • Online intake forms: reduce office wait time by sending a link for patients to fill out paperwork prior to their visits. By inputting the information directly into your EHR software, you can also eliminate the time-consuming and error-prone task of re-keying the information into your system.

Consumers vote with their wallets so if they’re not getting what they want, they won’t return to your practice.

Provide Information and Services At the Right Time

Besides giving your patients what the want, you also need to give it to them when they want it. For example, consumer-oriented hours aren’t necessarily Monday through Friday 8 to 5. Often times, the busiest times for dental practices are before work, after hours, and during weekends.

Consumers also expect the ability to access the information they need whenever they need it, as well as manage their relationships with service providers from anywhere and at any time. Using the right technologies will allow you to personalize the patient experience at scale:

  • Two-way texting: provide on-demand care to patients so they can get the assistance they need when they need it. When you use a patient communication tool that integrates with your EHR system (e.g., tab32’s HelloPatient), you can refer to the patient’s history within the same interface to increase efficiency and minimize errors.
  • Mobile-friendly payment site: make it easy for patients to pay their bills online [ link to blog 2 ] using their preferred payment methods. Include a link or a QR code in your statement to encourage patients to pay electronically. You can get paid faster and improve cash flow while streamlining the patient experience.
  • Post-op text or emails [ link to blog 4 ]: schedule automated email sequences with targeted content delivered at the right time to help patients better recover from their treatments. You can deliver relevant information to improve patient outcomes at scale while reducing the number of phone calls to your office.

How To Stand Out In Today’s Consumer-Driven Economy

The price transparency in the dental industry means you need to differentiate your practice beyond pricing and treatment by developing long-term patient relationships and delivering an outstanding patient experience that encompasses collaborative, comprehensive, cohesive care.

Empower your staff by giving them the tools to deliver the best service. For example, by allowing them to access their work schedule and patient information from anywhere and at any time via a cloud-based platform, they can prepare for upcoming patient visits at a time that’s convenient for them. This, in turn, will help you deliver a better patient experience.

You need to devise an overarching strategy to cater to patient expectations and implement the right technologies, such as tab32’s all-in-one, patient-first dental practice management platform with a robust patient communication management component, to deliver the convenience and responsive service that consumers expect from their service providers.


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