For most dental practices, most of the effort and attention in the realm of business improvement are directed toward the quality of care provided. This can take the form of investment in new equipment, the hiring of dentists with particular skill sets, or the training of existing staff. However, these are not the only avenues that a dental practice can direct improvement initiatives toward.
As with any business offering any sort of product or service, providing good customer experiences is crucial to success. Thus, it is not only the quality and breadth of dental services that a practice offers that matters, but the convenience and accessibility with which these services are offered. In this realm, it is not the dental practitioners, but the front office, that is the star. Therefore, it is important that a practice ensures that its front office is supported and resourced so it can provide the best service possible.
Here is how technology can be leveraged to streamline your dental practice’s front-office processes.
1. Eliminate Paperwork
One of the biggest time-consumers when it comes to logistical processes is paperwork. There is no doubt that some of the functions performed by paperwork, such as record-keeping, billing, or the provisioning of statements and invoices, are essential and nonnegotiable. However, it is often the actions necessitated by physical paperwork, such as filing and document retrieval, that take up the most amount of time.
Transferring to a mostly electronic setup for document management can therefore pay dividends in terms of time saved and fidelity, even mitigating the loss or damage to which paper documents are liable. This can even have the side effect of freeing up physical space that would otherwise go toward document storage. Say “goodbye” to those large, bulky filing cabinets that are not only an eyesore, but take up quite a bit of your office space. The use of paper can be relegated only to situations where it is unavoidable, such as the provisioning of medical certificates to patients.
2. Schedule Appointments Online
Scheduling and managing appointments are extremely time-consuming, requiring the full attention of front-office staff. It can also be prone to error when done manually, resulting in booking clashes, disgruntled patients, and rescheduling issues.
With advanced appointment scheduling tools, patients can easily make bookings online by filling out web forms and specifying their preferred availability. Scheduling tools will then scour through the dental practice’s database to find the most qualified and available dental practitioner and automatically schedule the appointment. This frees up front-office staff from tedious administrative tasks and allows them to focus on patient interaction and accommodation.
3. Automate Benefits Verification
Along with a scheduling tool, a verification tool for estimating a patient’s monetary responsibility and assessing their eligibility for numerous benefits can be put in place to ease the burden on front-office staff. Doing so not only eliminates a great deal of workload from the staff in charge of processing patients upon arrival, but provides a quicker, easier, more transparent experience for patients.
4. Use an Online Portal
Parallel to the elimination of unnecessary paper is the minimization of direct patient interaction. While the human touch is no doubt essential for certain aspects of the non-procedure customer care process, much of it is centered around getting certain pieces of information quickly and conveniently to patients.
Thus, in lieu of protracted phone calls or attempts at such, an online portal through which patients can access their medical records, billing statements, and more, at their own convenience, promises to be a better solution. Again, this allows staff to provide the required attention and time to the interactions that do require a distinctive touch.
5. Facilitate Payments
The same ethos can be applied to payment processing by providing patients with the options of instant online payment or secure mobile payment platforms. This again reduces the front-office busywork and provides customers with greater flexibility and convenience, something that has increasingly become expected in the digital age.
By focusing on implementing technology to streamline the front-office processes, your dental practice will increase the quality of patient experience. Great patient experience is vital for your dental practice, and it is the front-office team that makes it possible. Set yours up for success with an experienced, dedicated dental technology partner by calling Pact-One Solutions now.