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Have you heard the phrase “consumer is king”? 

The reality is that we live in a consumer economy. Experience is everything! Starbucks is a great example of this. People are willing to pay a premium on coffee when they could make it at home for a quarter of the cost. 

But guess what, in the US, there are 13 times more dental practices than there are Starbucks. --- AND I’M SORRY. You are now going to notice a cluster of dental practices around every Starbucks. 

You need to identify what differentiates your practices from those in the market. The first step is identifying what your vision is. A great place to start is with the patient journey otherwise known as your “new patient onboarding process”. The patient journey will iron out your vision and will hopefully become a set of best practices you can lean on when making business decisions, hiring new employees and growing your existing patient base. The vision informs the strategy, which feeds the execution.

Patient Journey with tab32

Your patient journey can be broken down into three core areas: Pre-visit, During and Post-visit. We call this the care continuum, because it acts like a circle every time the patient re-visits for their re-care appointment.  

Often times, when we are new to something, we might rush into making decisions based on our peers opinions or existing industry habits. However, due to rapid cultural shifts in dentistry and technology, best practices that made sense for paper practices may not apply in today’s current economic and cultural setting. 

In this video Dr. Morrison, a tab32 partner, discusses his experience with the consumer economy as a dentist. 

Consumer Economy
Pre-Visit Experience:

The pre-visit includes everything from your website, online booking, to collecting patient forms. 

What we know: Only 5% of patients engage with patient portals according to Kaiser… that’s medical, in our experience, it’s significantly less in dental. 

Barriers to entry, such as usernames and passwords, deter patients from engaging with your practice. Tab32’s online booking and forms allows for an uninterrupted patient experience. 

In this video, I talk about why online booking is a great “point of conversion,” from a marketing standpoint. 

Marketing Funnels for Dentists
Questions to ask yourself:

Online Booking- Are we using a patient portal that requires a username and password? Or are we allowing our patients to book directly on our website? Is this mobile friendly?

Forms - How do patients fill out their forms? Do they fill them out before the visit? Or while they are waiting for their appointment? Do they have to remember a username and password to complete this task? What could be preventing them from engaging?

During Visit Experience:

A good in-office patient experience (during visit), starts with strong processes and a vision of how you expect your patient to be treated. 

Have you evaluated what your top priority is once the patient comes through the door? How are they being treated? What are your core values as a business owner?

Establishing processes initially is hard, but they create clear expectations and set dentists up for success. How are you to lead and train if you don’t know the process. On a platform like tab32, you can store your employee manual in google drive right next to our knowledge base.

DON’T FALL INTO DATED, INEFFICIENT WORKFLOWS!

The market tells us dated technology has resulted in insidious inefficiencies within the office. It’s not only three or four monthly subscriptions that are impacting patient workflow; it’s the workflows themselves that need to be innovated.

What inefficiencies have you identified through your work experience that are impacting patient care and production time? 

The reality is that nothing is consistent 100% of the time. If you haven’t mapped out a “system down process,” it’s like driving without a spare tire.    

A great example of a “system down process” that could significantly impact your production is how do I handle X-rays when the internet goes out if I’m using a cloud product? If you can’t take X-rays, your day would be ruined.

In this video Janice Kaeley, a long time tab32 partner, talks about why you don’t want to be at the mercy of your employees. 

Knowing the ins and outs of your dental practice
If you can shave off 3-5 minutes, per appointment, you can book 1-2 more appointments a day! For a new dentist, this could be the difference in paying yourself or not!

Here’s a blog post about the most common inefficiencies within a practice. 

Post Visit Experience:

The last part of the care continuum is post visit.  How do you plan to manage patient retention?

40% of patients don’t come back after their first new patient exam. Yet the lifetime value of a patient is how you can provide the best care and increase your bottom line. Patient attrition is rampant, but how do we calculate that. 

In this video, I talk about the actual cost of patient attrition. 

Patient Attrition

Questions to ask yourself:

How are re-care appointments tracked when patients don’t book them in the chair? How do we remind patients to return and decrease no-show rates? Are we texting them or spending money on labor costs to call them? What would the patient prefer?

How are we tracking incomplete treatments? How do we manage referrals, surveys and clinic reputation?

Conclusion

The reason I bring up all these questions is because there is a lot of decision making that goes into starting or buying a practice. Even if you own an existing practice, technology can offer you the opportunity to re-frame some of your business strategies and adjust legacy processes. To learn more you can set-up a meeting with our Accounts team.

Book a demo now!

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