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Why You Need a Patient-Centered Dental Practice

Eura Edmond
November 7, 2019


What’s Patient-Centered Care?

Patient-centered care in dentistry is based on establishing a partnership between the patient and the provider. It’s collaborative, coordinated, accessible, comprehensive, and cohesive. The right treatment is provided at the right time and in the right place throughout the entire care continuum.

Patients can access their dental health records at all times, manage their care in real-time, arrange visits and settle payments conveniently, and reach the provider on-demand using a communication channel of their choice.

In addition, patient care should extend beyond the four walls of your clinic to create a relationship that focuses on the patients’ long-term wellbeing following an acquire-engage-retain model.

The Benefits Of Patient-Centered Care

Delivering a patient-first experience is the key to staying relevant in today’s experience economy. It helps differentiate your practice in the competitive market. Patient-centered care benefits both your dental practice and patients with:

  • Improved health outcomes, which increases patient satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Streamlined experience, so patients spend less time on scheduling appointments, requesting health records, handling billing, and making payments.
  • Enhanced reputation, which helps you attract more patients through word-of-mouth.
  • Simplified workflows, which lead to more efficient resource allocation and higher productivity so you can lower operating costs and increase profits. 

How To Leverage Technology To Deliver Patient-Centered Dental Care

When your patients leave their appointments, they should feel that they’re being taken care of -- just like they would with any other services. The patient experience should also extend to pre- and post-visit to include ongoing management of the patients’ care and their relationships with your practice.

The use of technology can improve the patient experience and facilitate their interactions with your practice while streamlining workflow and lowering operating costs. 

It helps you extend the patient experience beyond the four walls of your clinic to:

  • Pre-visit: create an engaging first-touch experience through appointment setting, reminders, intake forms, and coordination of multiple groups or locations.
  • During-visit: deliver seamless patient-first experience by automating workflow and managing patient records efficiently so patients can get the care they need when they need it.
  • Post-visit: leverage automated communications to proactively engage patients by sending post-treatment follow-ups, re-care reminders, incomplete treatment follow-ups, and patient statements.

Here’s how you can leverage technologies to create a patient-centered experience:

Coordination and Integration of Care

Use an all-in-one dental management platform and a patient-first communication system to empower patients to become active participants in managing their dental health:

  • Offer 2 way-texting, email, and secure messaging to deliver on-demand care, improve communication, and increase transparency. 
  • Send the appropriate reminders at the right time so patients return for re-care and follow-up visits to improve treatment outcomes.
  • Coordinate patient care across various locations or with other specialists. By sharing patient records and treatment information digitally and in real-time, you can minimize errors while ensuring that patients are getting the most appropriate care. 
  • Enable patients to schedule appointments online, send appointment confirmation and reminders, and allow patients to fill out intake forms prior to their visits to streamline the patient experience, reduce employees’ workload, minimize no-shows, and reduce errors or delays.

If you offer options for patients to communicate with you on-demand (e.g., texting, live chat), it’s important that you deliver. Use technologies that allow you to see incoming messages right away and retrieve the patient records on the same window so you can provide fast and accurate responses.

Information and Education

Provide patients with the right information at the right time can help alleviate anxiety associated with getting dental treatment. You can improve patient communication and education by:

  • Training your staff to effectively communicate with patients about their treatment options, which include discussing the procedures and the associated costs. This will increase transparency and improve the patient experience. Also, when patients understand their financial responsibilities, they’re more likely to settle their bills in a timely manner.
  • Providing pre-treatment support to patients via text and email to ensure they are prepared for the procedure to alleviate anxiety while optimizing the results.
  • Automating personalized post-treatment emails to provide targeted resources that facilitate autonomy and self-care, which can improve recovery and patient outcomes.
  • Allowing patients to see the same information and dental imagery as you do in real-time while they’re on the chair to improve their understanding of the treatment, which can improve patient education, engagement, and experience.

Conclusion

Leveraging the right technologies can help you extend an outstanding patient experience beyond the office visit so you can attract and retain more patients while streamlining your workflows and lowering costs.

Implementing an all-in-one dental practice management platform designed to deliver a patient-first experience is the key to meeting today’s fast-evolving consumer expectations. See how it can help you scale up your practice and become more profitable here.

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