IT solutions have greatly improved how dental practices operate. For example, creating patient histories is much easier thanks to electronic health records. Today’s technologies are even more advanced, allowing patients to become more involved in managing their health.
To increase patient engagement, consider implementing these five IT solutions in your dental practice.
Today’s technologies are even more advanced, allowing patients to become more involved in managing their health.
#1. Patient Portals
A patient portal is a secure website that gives patients 24/7 access to their personal dental records wherever they are, using any internet-enabled device. When they log in to the website with their unique username and password, they can view health information and other related records such as:
- Medical history (e.g., allergies, immunization, surgeries, health conditions, and other medication that may impact a patient’s dental treatment)
- Family health history
- Previous procedures and treatments
- X-rays and laboratory test results
- Previous billing statements
Some patient portals also allow people to do the following:
- Schedule appointments
- Request referrals or prescription refills
- Make payments
- Check benefits and coverage
- Download and complete forms
- Update their contact information
- Read informational materials
By having such a portal, you empower your patients to be in control of their dental health and care.
#2. Messaging Platforms
Secure messaging platforms allow patients to directly communicate with the staff of a dental practice via chat. They can submit and respond to questions at a time convenient for them.
With more advanced messaging platforms, patients can connect with multiple members of their dental care team, such as their general dentist, dental X-ray technician, and orthodontist, in one group chat. Here, they can share care plans and medication lists, among other crucial information. Such group chats are very helpful when discussing complicated dental procedures or the management of chronic conditions.
#3. Automated Attendants
Rather than relying on a human operator to take calls, answer patient queries, and handle bookings, you can leverage automated attendants.
An automated attendant (AA) is a telephone system that serves as a virtual receptionist. It typically offers callers a menu that they respond to by pressing specific keys on their phone’s keypads. For example, callers may be greeted with a message, such as “Welcome to Dental Smile. To schedule an appointment, press 1. To request your patient records, press 2. For other questions and concerns, press 3. To repeat this menu, press 4.”
Depending on what the caller pressed, the call can then be transferred to a submenu, a repetition of the current menu of options, the extension they specified, a human operator, or voicemail. If the caller fails to press any keys after a predetermined time period, then the call usually ends automatically.
You can even program more advanced AA systems to present different menus or follow different processes during business and nonbusiness hours.
An AA system can also play recorded on-hold messages, which you can customize to provide vital information such as:
- New dental services or packages
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Other communication channels you have (e.g., Facebook page, email, website contact page)
#4. Automated Reminders and Follow-up Notifications
A lot of patients only visit their dentist when they’re experiencing extreme toothaches and other severe dental problems. However, you can encourage them to make routine visits (e.g., biannual teeth cleaning) by sending them automated reminders. This automation is also perfect for patients who require follow-up appointments after certain dental procedures – such as reoccurring orthodontic appointments, or a surgery follow-up.
You can also schedule sending follow-up notifications to patients in order to ensure they are adhering to their care plans and prescriptions.
#5. Cloud Data Sharing
Another great way to improve patient engagement is by implementing secure cloud data sharing, which will optimize your dental services. Cloud storage services allow you to quickly access and share your files. For example, you can send your patient’s X-ray to their oral surgeon across town and forward your prescription to the nearby pharmacy with just a click of a button. This ease in file sharing also enables collaboration for when you’re getting a second opinion on a tricky surgery or you’re working closely with a laboratory.
Cloud data sharing lets you access relevant patient information through your mobile devices, even when you're outside your clinic. If a patient goes to another dentist because of an emergency, you can share files like dental records with that dentist.
Related reading: 5 Common cloud myths dental practices should know
Secure cloud data sharing also enables you to easily contribute data to research, improve dental treatments or expose gaps in oral care. For example, the a team from Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine will anonymize and aggregate data across dental practices and apply data analytics tools to compare how effective root canal therapies are versus tooth-colored fillings in the long term.
Ready to take advantage of technology for your dental practice? You can rely on Pact-One's dental IT specialists to provide industry-specific IT services and support. Get in touch with us today!