Dental Intelligence

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November 5, 2022

How to Write a Dental Appointment Reminder Email

Here are some best practices for designing and sending reminder messages.

Appointment reminders, follow ups, appointment confirmations, 2-way communication

How to Write a Dental Appointment Reminder Email: Samples and Best Practices

We all know that the best way to ensure that your patients show up for their dental appointments is to remind them in advance. But what's the best way to do it, and what should you include in a dental appointment reminder email ? Here are some best practices for designing and sending reminder messages.

Use the Right Channels

When it comes to appointment reminders, you'll want to use the right channel for your audience. For example, older patients typically prefer a phone call or voicemail, while younger patients usually prefer the convenience of a text message. Understanding your client demographic will help you determine the best channel for reminding folks about their dental appointments.

Email reminders are a must, but they're not the only effective channel. At Dental Intelligence, we have the tools to simplify appointment reminders and help you see responses. Check out dental appointment reminder software from Dental Intelligence to learn more.

Include All the Essential Appointment Information

Your dental appointment reminder email sample should include important information about the upcoming appointment. Patients will need to know things like:

· Appointment date and time slot

· Dental practice location and how to get there

· Name of the dentist who will be seeing them (if applicable)

· Phone number(s) for the office or clinic

As you formulate automated reminders, make sure you follow all HIPAA guidelines. You must never include the patient's reason for the appointment and other confidential health information.

Keep It Professional but Personal

A great rule of thumb is to keep your dental appointment reminders professional but personal. Using a professional tone will help patients feel confident in your knowledge and technical skills. But don't make it robotic—a personal touch can build trust by showing that you're human, too.

As you work on making your friendly reminders professional and personal, here are some things to consider:

· Use emojis sparingly. You may decide to use emoticons in the email subject line, but going overboard with the emojis will make your message seem too informal.

· Double and triple-check grammar and spelling. Poor grammar and spelling errors deplete a reader's confidence, and can even make them suspect a scam.

· Be polite and respectful. For example, always identify yourself at the beginning of your message and conclude by thanking the recipient.

Consider the Date and Time

Sending out appointment reminders at the ideal time and date will make them much more effective. If you send a message too early, the patient might forget about it or ignore it because it's still a long way off. If you send reminders too late, a patient might have to reschedule or cancel their appointment because of other obligations.

It's a good idea to send your dental appointment reminder one week in advance. This will give patients enough time to plan ahead and ensure they can make it. You should also remind them 24 hours beforehand to bring the appointment to the front of their mind.

End with a Call to Action

Every dental appointment reminder email sample should end with a clear call to action. You'll want the recipient to engage with the message to ensure they've absorbed the information. For example, you can add a button or link that allows a patient to confirm their appointment.

Other excellent examples of appointment reminder CTAs include:

· "Learn more" links to your clinic's website

· A Google Maps link to help patients find directions to your office

· An option to reschedule or cancel their upcoming appointment

It's always good practice to have an opt-out option as well. Not everyone wants to keep getting text reminders or phone calls about their scheduled dentist visit. If someone would like to change how they receive reminders, you should give them an opportunity to opt out.

Stay Brief

With your appointment reminders, make sure you get your point across clearly and include all the necessary information. But don't clutter the email, phone call, or text

message — keep it brief so the recipient can look it over immediately and not put it off until they have more time.

Boost Your Dental Practice with Tools from Dental Intelligence

Crafting an effective dental appointment reminder email sample will help patients stay informed and engaged. Your dental practice depends on clear, timely communication to operate successfully. At Dental Intelligence, we offer essential resources to help you improve in areas like writing patient re-engagement emails. Schedule a demo to see how our analytics and engagement tools can help you improve patient care and grow your practice.

Dental Intelligence

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November 5, 2022

5 Dental Inventory Management Tips

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to your dental office is inventory management. Here are five tips to help manage your inventory in order to create a productive practice.

dental, inventory, practice management,

5 Tips for Effective Dental Inventory Management

You’re a busy dentist with many things on your mind. One of the most important things to remember when it comes to your dental office is inventory management. With these five dental inventory management tips, you can keep track of your office supplies and ensure you run an efficient, productive practice.

1. Identify the Inventory Issues

Before you can solve a problem, you need to know what the problem is. The first tip for effective inventory management involves identifying any issues you and your team may face. Dental professionals might struggle with various inventory problems, including:

· Inventory levels running out too quickly

· Supplies being disorganized and hard to find

· Products expiring before you can use them

· Orders arriving too late

Once you put your finger on specific dental inventory management issues, you’re ready to find solutions. If production is your primary concern, you’ve come to the right place. At Dental Intelligence, we know the best ways to increase dental production.

2. Make a List of Supplies

Making a list of your dental supplies will help you manage your inventory more effectively. You want everyone on staff to be able to access products quickly when they need them to provide quality patient care. If you can’t find the necessary supplies, you can’t treat your patients properly.

For every item on your inventory list, from floss to dental composite, write down:

· Brand name

· Size and quantity

· Expiration date

· Storage location

3. Compare Quotes from Vendors

Many dental practices prefer to stick with one vendor for as long as possible. This commitment helps develop valuable relationships and ensures that you know what to expect from your purchases. However, switching suppliers could save you a lot of money.

Your go-to inventory supplier might not be the best option. Sure, they may have provided your dentists and dental assistants with quality products for the past however-many years. Other suppliers may offer lower rates or higher quality products, though.

Comparing quotes from vendors is an excellent way to boost your overall inventory management. With estimates from various dental suppliers who work with organizations like yours, you can get a sense of fair pricing. You can then use that information to find the right balance between quality services and costs.

4. Manage Your Inventory Using Software

Up-to-date inventory management software simplifies the process of tracking and handling supplies and allows you to focus on other aspects of your business. Pen-and-paper lists are great, but you can easily update and browse online catalogs.

Automated inventory management can save you a ton of headaches and money by avoiding human errors and completing time-consuming tasks in just minutes. Here are some specific ways in which software can help you manage your inventory:

· Tracking supply quantities, purchases, etc.

· Requesting and ordering supplies

· Importing and exporting supply data

· Sending quote requests

· Paying invoices accurately

· Confirming you received supplies

5. Determine When to Order Supplies

Knowing when to order supplies is one of the most critical aspects of dental inventory management. You should always order new supplies before you run out and your team needs them. If you order when supplies are running low, your staff must wait for them to arrive and potentially deal with a backlog of work in the meantime.

On the other hand, you don’t want to order supplies too early. If you have an oversupply of products, you might not use them before they expire. To determine the ideal time to order new supplies, consider factors such as:

· Order lead time: This is the time between when you place an order and when it arrives at your facility. Typically, the lead time takes several days—so don’t wait until the last minute to order new supplies.

· Re-order point: When your inventory levels drop below a certain point, it’s time to re-order supplies. Inventory management software can help you accurately nail down this point.

· Re-order quantity: This refers to the supply quantity you’ll need to order when your inventory reaches the re-order point. Determining how much you use and how often will help you calculate re-order quantities.

· Safety stock: You may need to order slightly more products than you typically use for emergencies and sudden spikes in demand.

Success Starts with Effective Inventory Management

At Dental Intelligence, we offer the tools and insights you need to maintain effective dental inventory management. Our team has helped many dental practices like yours grow, increasing productivity by 125%. Get started today by scheduling a demo to explore our analytics and engagement tools!

Dental Intelligence

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November 5, 2022

5 Ways To Improve Your Dental Waiting Room

Follow these five tips to improve your dental waiting room, optimize patient comfort, and transform how everyone experiences your healthcare practice.

dental waiting room, patient experience, renovation,

5 Ways To Improve Your Dental Waiting Room

Your waiting room is the first impression most patients get of your dental practice. If your waiting room has outdated furniture or a dull aesthetic, it won't reflect well on your staff and can negatively impact how patients perceive your clinic. If you're ready to make a change, consider these 5 tips to improve your dental waiting room, optimize patient comfort, and transform how everyone experiences your healthcare practice.

1. Update Your Waiting Room Décor

You want this space to feel clean and welcoming, helping patients feel comfortable and at ease while they wait for their appointment.  There are many practical ways to update your dental office furnishings and design. Here are some of the simplest, most popular ideas:

  • Add plants around the room
  • Replace worn, outdated furniture
  • Hang intriguing artwork on the walls
  • Ensure there's plenty of light
  • Don't be afraid to add a pop of color

2. Focus on the Waiting Room Layout

An easy way to significantly improve your dental waiting room involves focusing on the overall layout. Does the space have enough furniture and room to fit everyone comfortably? Does the floor plan strike an appropriate balance between openness and privacy?

Your waiting area plays a significant role in helping patients enjoy their dental visits. By focusing on the layout, you'll provide an inviting, comfortable atmosphere that accommodates everyone. Some excellent ways to instantly improve your waiting room's design include:

  • Using a variety of furniture: You don't only have to be stuck with the traditional box-arm guest chairs. Consider adding variety to your waiting room with couches, loveseats, and maybe even something less traditional like a beanbag chair. 
  • Ensuring adequate seating: Nobody likes standing around awkwardly while they wait for their appointment. Make sure your waiting area has plenty of seating for everyone.
  • Leaving room for personal space: Don't just arrange your furniture haphazardly—consider personal space. Parents will likely want to sit close to their children, but most patients won't want to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with total strangers.

3. Provide Beverages and Snacks

When patients arrive at your dental practice, they're often stressed out and restless. You can help anxious patients calm down by providing a selection of beverages and snacks. This idea can greatly improve your dental waiting room and encourage patients to enjoy the wait, especially long ones around lunchtime.

Adding a small table or countertop with food items doesn't take much time, effort, or expense. You can also install a mini-fridge to keep drinks cool and provide tea and coffee. As you think about offering snacks and beverages in your waiting room, consider the following:

  • Avoid sugary snacks. Having variety is great, but not if it affects your patient's oral health and goes against everything the dentist recommends. 
  • Be aware of allergies. Some patients may have severe allergies to peanuts or dairy products. Try not to provide snacks that may put your patients at risk.
  • Keep a trash can handy. You'll want a large trash can nearby so that patients can dispose of their waste and keep the waiting area clean.

4. Offer High-Speed Guest Wi-Fi

Offering high-speed Wi-Fi in your dental waiting room is a must if you want your practice to provide a modern experience. Most patients will probably whip out their smartphones as soon as they sit down to check social media, read through work-related emails, or play games. You can help them enjoy the wait by providing free guest Wi-Fi.

Is your dental office's waiting area working well, but do you still struggle with dental production? At Dental Intelligence, we offer insights to pinpoint the problem and devise solutions to fit more patients into your schedule or offer more dental services to each patient. Check out our tips on how to increase dental production.

5. Add Activities and Play Areas

Let's face it—sitting in a waiting room for an hour is no one's idea of a good time. You can provide fun ways for your patients to pass the time by adding activities for adults and play areas for the kids. Examples of waiting room activities include: 

  • Magazines with local travel articles
  • A TV tuned to the sports channel
  • Crossword puzzles and Sudokus
  • Games like Jenga or Connect Four

Improve Your Dental Practice Today

An enjoyable trip to the dentist's office starts with a well-designed dental waiting room. At Dental Intelligence, we provide the state-of-the-art tools and up-to-date resources you need to make that (and much more) happen. If you're looking at significant changes, learn more about how to simplify patient adoption of new technology to help the transition go smoothly.

Dental Intelligence

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November 4, 2022

Where Do You Fit in Average Dental Office Collections? Current Statistics and Trends

A growing proportion of Americans cannot pay for dental benefits and often forego procedures to avoid paying hefty bills. While the number of patients plays a role in the success of your office, it’s also vital to consider how your practice fares in collecting money owed.

dental collections, payments, benchmarks

Most dental offices experienced a devastating loss of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are only starting to recover now. However, you may find that while your patient list is ticking up and you’re performing more procedures daily, you’re still not making enough to buy new equipment and cover costs. That’s why it’s vital to discover where you fit in among your industry peers and what measures you can take to identify the disconnect between inbound patients and revenue.

Notable Dental Collection Statistics for 2022 and What They Mean for Your Business

Practices across the country face similar challenges, especially regarding average dental office collections. A growing proportion of Americans cannot pay for dental benefits and often forego procedures to avoid paying hefty bills. While the number of patients plays a role in the success of your office, it’s also vital to consider how your practice fares in collecting money owed.

• 88% of dentists1 are concerned about their patient’s ability to pay: Very few dentists discuss payment upfront with their patients, leading to situations where patients undergo a procedure but then don’t have the money to pay for it. Discussing fees upfront may help alleviate the issue, but dentists often find that patients will promise they can pay simply to get relief from their pain and are unable to actually do so.

• Many practices have 18% of their accounts receivable past due2: However, dental practices that offer dental financing have fewer accounts receivable past due than ones that do not. Patients who know what to expect and agree to monthly payments are more likely to pay their bills incrementally, leading to lower overall debt.

• Average practice collections are 91% of revenue owed3: Even with the best dental payments solutions from providers like Dental Intelligence, denied claims and late payments can eat into average dental office collections rates.

• SMS payment reminders have a 98% open rate4: Most patients do not view SMS messages (texts) as spam, and text messages represent an excellent avenue for practice collections. Office managers can easily automate these reminders, making them a cost-effective option for any office.

• Old accounts due lose their value by 7% each month: In general, debts older than 90 days will lose 7% of their value monthly and eventually become a liability. These debts are more expensive in terms of labor and staff time than they’re worth, and after a certain period of time, it becomes more cost-effective to write them off as a loss.

Tips for Increasing Your Dental Practice Collections

The disconnect between patients coming through the door and revenue can greatly impact your bottom line. Dental billing and collections require expertise to be effective, and it’s important to implement certain steps in your billing process to maximize your collection percentage.

Verify Patient Insurance

Make sure to verify patient insurance details by calling the company or using your in-network insurance portal. Not only does verification ensure that your patient really does have insurance, but it also provides a breakdown of their benefits and insurance plan.

This information contains annual maximums, frequency limitations, non-covered services, and deductibles, affecting how you discuss treatment and finances with the patient.

Streamline Patient Collections

Even patients with the best intentions may find themselves in a situation where they cannot pay for their treatment. Office managers can reduce this risk by:

• Having a checkout process where patients must pay before they leave the office

• Collecting deductibles and downgrades before the treatment

• Sending statements daily or weekly

• Treating collections as time-sensitive

• Outlining the consequences of non-payment before the treatment

Have a Dedicated Insurance Collections Process

Insurance denials can eat into average dental office collections, especially if administrators don’t understand all of the factors that can affect reimbursement. Best practices when sending insurance claims include:

• Send claims daily instead of in batches once per week

• Post insurance payments on the day they arrive, and balance/reconcile these payments after posting

• Check up on claims older than 30 days

• Verify that your clearinghouse is sending all your claims

• Avoid hitting the timely filing limit

• Note any information regarding denied claims in your payment system

Decreasing average AR days can significantly improve your average dental office collections percentage while stabilizing your cash flow. A high-quality dental payment solution can streamline your billing and collections process, giving your administrative staff more time to focus on other aspects of running the practice.

To learn more about Dental Intelligence solutions and how they can help your practice, visit our website and book a free demo today!

Dental Intelligence

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November 4, 2022

How You Can Provide Dental Financing for Patients

Offering dental patient financing from Dental Intelligence allows your patients to have options and allows you to get paid quicker!

Office Operations, Patient Experience

Most U.S. health insurance plans don’t offer dental benefits. Approximately one in four1 Americans say they’ve done without dental care due to a lack of health insurance coverage.

Practices that offer dental financing for patients are better able to offer higher-quality procedures and will often attract more new patients and keep existing patients for longer than practices that don’t offer financing plans. But while the benefits of financing are clear, many dental providers struggle to find the ideal balance between risk and ROI, especially when dealing with patients who have a low credit score. 

One solution is to consider dental patient financing from Dental Intelligence, which handles all the administration and risk of providing patient financing. But even when using a third-party solution, dental practices must understand how the process works and what they must do to prepare before implementing a financing solution. 

Common Financing Options for Dental Procedures

Patients with good credit scores can often secure alternative financing to pay for expensive procedures. Unfortunately, many of these options involve taking on another debt, which can make these options unappealing for individuals with low incomes or bad credit scores. 

Personal Loans

Personal loans are unsecured loans offered by banks, credit unions, and online lending platforms. Since they’re unsecured, these dental loans often have relatively high interest rates and, depending on the provider, may also have expensive administration fees and hefty late payment penalties. 

Credit Cards

Dental financing for patients can include using credit cards in several ways to pay for procedures. These include:

  • Add to an existing card: The most convenient way to pay for dental procedures for most patients is to increase the limit on an existing credit card and pay that off in monthly installments.
  • Medical credit cards: These cards can only pay for medical procedures for a specific network of providers. Many of these cards are interest-deferred, which means that patients don’t pay interest on their debt as long as they pay it off within the deferral period. 
  • 0% APR credit cards: Similar to a medical credit card but with more flexibility, 0% APR cards offer a relatively long interest-free period, as long as patients pay off their debt within that timeframe. 

In-House Financing Plans

In-house dental financing for patients allows practices to tailor repayment plans for their patients. Some practices will offer their own financing options, while others will rely on third-party providers to take on the risk and administration of these financing options.

Internal vs. External Financing

Practices have two distinct options when offering financing plans: internal, where the practice handles the payment plan, and external, where the practice outsources financing to a third party. Each option has drawbacks and benefits, so it’s vital to evaluate both when considering which is best for your practice. 

Internal Financing

Internal financing often seems like the simpler option — you just need to work out a monthly payment schedule with your patient and let them pay you back. However, this method comes with many risks, such as individuals being unable to meet their obligations. Also, some financing practices may turn your practice into a lender, and you’ll have to comply with federal and state regulations regarding consumer financing transactions. 

If you opt for internal financing, you’ll need to develop a financing plan that addresses every aspect of patient financing, including:

  • Complying with all regulatory statutes and federal and state laws regarding lenders
  • How you’ll charge interest rates and whether you’ll have any fees related to financing
  • Training staff on how to prepare disclosure and finance documents
  • Record-keeping processes that comply with the law

Becoming a lender requires a lot of planning and regulatory expertise. If you decide to follow this option, consult a knowledgeable attorney specializing in consumer finance law before implementing your plan.

External Financing

External financing relies on practices working with third-party credit providers that will issue funds to the patient for a particular dental procedure. These plans mitigate much of the risk associated with becoming a lender, as your practice will receive the money regardless of whether the patient makes their monthly payments. Instead, the third-party provider will be responsible for debt collection and other administrative concerns regarding financing.

Dental Intelligence: Your Solution to Dental Financing for Patients

At Dental Intelligence, we offer dental patient financing for practices. These plans have an easy application process for patients and will offer them multiple options, so patients can choose the one that best fits their budget. To learn more, visit the Dental Intelligence website and request a free demo today!

References

1 How does cost affect access to care?

Dental Intelligence

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November 3, 2022

A Short Guide to Dental Treatment Plan Phases

Create customized plans for each patient using templates for dental treatment plans from Dental Intelligence.

Office Operations,Patient Experience

A dental treatment plan is a detailed breakdown of the events your patients can expect throughout their treatment timeline. Dentists create these plans with specific treatment goals, ensuring that their clients get the most out of their investment. The dental treatment plan phases we've included below may vary from patient to patient, but they're all essential steps that this short guide can help you understand.

Factors That Contribute to a Dental Treatment Plan

Before we dive in, let's quickly go over what factors might contribute to dental treatment planning. Every person is different, so you must customize each plan to match your patient's needs and preferences. Here are some things to consider as you think through treatment options:

  • Patient goals and desires: What are your patients’ long-term and short-term objectives? For example, they may want to relieve pain or fix their misaligned teeth. Patient goals will narrow the treatment options significantly.
  • Dentist goals and desires: What are your desired outcomes? For example, you may want to remove a patient's decayed teeth or recommend getting braces. Hopefully, your treatment objectives will align with your patients. 
  • Patient abilities and willingness: A financially struggling dental patient won't have the same available treatment options as an affluent patient. A patient who doesn't take care of their teeth or has a phobia of dentists will also limit your treatment suggestions.
  • Dentist abilities and willingness: What are your technical skills and level of knowledge? If you aren't comfortable administering certain treatments, you probably shouldn't do them but instead refer the patient out.

Determining the best treatment plan for your patients can be challenging. However, our top-quality services at Dental Intelligence make the process so much easier. Check out the templates for dental treatment plans from Dental Intelligence to learn more.

Dental Treatment Plan Phases

Dental treatment plan phases help break down the overall process into easy-to-follow segments. Each stage of treatment has its own function, providing a well-rounded, effective solution to the patient's unique needs.

Assessment Phase

The assessment phase of treatment begins the entire process. During this phase, you'll examine the patient's mouth, teeth, and gums to determine what you need to do. A professional cleaning (which may involve an oral hygienist or dental assistant) will usually take place at this time, too.

With an initial assessment, you can identify major dental problems and start formulating ideas for the right type of treatment. You'll also learn about a patient's medical history and underlying health concerns.

Acute Phase

During the acute phase, the dentist addresses urgent oral issues. For example, a fractured incisor is a severe problem requiring immediate treatment. On the other hand, you could put off recapping an old molar crown until later in the treatment plan.

Disease Control Phase

The disease control phase of dental treatment typically comes into play with more complex cases. For various reasons, a dentist may question the effectiveness of a treatment plan and decide to hold for now. These reasons may include:

  • Eradicating an oral disease is necessary before treatment
  • A dental disease may prevent a planned treatment from being effective
  • The planned dental treatment may worsen the condition

Essentially, you'll treat more acute dental diseases and stabilize a patient's oral health before continuing with planned treatment during the control phase.

Re-evaluation Phase

Once you complete the disease control phase, you'll need to re-evaluate the patient's situation. Is the crisis resolved, and should you proceed? If so, move on to the next dental treatment plan phase.

Definitive Phase

The definitive phase is the heart and soul of every dental treatment plan. During this phase, the patient will receive the necessary dental work to fix their smile and achieve healthy, beautiful teeth. Definitive phase treatments often include the following:

  • Periodontal therapy
  • Surgery
  • Tooth restoration
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Tooth extractions
  • Missing tooth replacement

Monitoring Phase

Just because a patient has finished therapy or surgery doesn't mean the treatment plan is complete. You must monitor the treatment to ensure that it's doing what you envisioned, and no other dental problems have arisen. For complicated procedures, the monitoring phase could extend over weeks and even months.

During this phase, you'll check in regularly with your patients to ask them how they're doing and if they've noticed any issues like oral discomfort, pain, swelling, or aching. You'll also review the treatment progress to see concrete before-and-after results.

Dental Intelligence: The Number One Resource for Your Dental Practice

At Dental Intelligence, we provide the tools and know-how you need to boost your dental practice. Do you want to know more about dental treatment plan phases or a dental morning huddle? We have the answers — get started today!

Dental Intelligence

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November 3, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Finding the Perfect Dental SEO Keywords for Your SEO Campaign

SEO keywords on your website are an important factor in driving potential patients to your website. Learn how to choose the ideal keyword mix by learning different keyword themes you can use.

Dental Marketing,New Patient Acquisition

While returning clients play a role in a successful dental practice, getting new patients through the door will take your business to the next level. Search engine optimization (SEO) uses a deep understanding of search engine algorithms to ensure that your website appears on the first page of a search engine results page, which means tailoring your site to particular queries or dental SEO keywords.

Are Keywords Still Important in Dental SEO?

Keywords still form the foundation of any SEO campaign, as they provide the main way in which your site communicates with search engines about its content and purpose. While Google's algorithm doesn't weigh keywords as heavily as it once did — a practice that led to keyword stuffing which led to a poorer user experience — keywords are still an essential component that will inform the rest of your content creation and website development strategy.

Keyword Themes

An important part of SEO for dentists is choosing the ideal keyword mix for your site. Keyword themes are groups of similar keywords that let you cover multiple bases at once, and you can pick and choose several themes while developing your SEO campaign. 

Location-Based Keywords

As a dentist, you operate out of a specific location, which means that you will want to follow the best practices to local dental SEO that our team at Dental Intelligence recommends to increase traffic from people in your local area rather than from the entire world — a potential patient in Minnesota won't get any benefit from finding a dental website in Miami.

While Google may have started defaulting to local areas, location-based keywords can still give you a leg up on your competition. An important note on location-based keywords is that you still need to consider grammar and readability. Some keyword tools will suggest the "dentist services New York" format, but this tends to sound stiff and fake. Rather keep the preposition "in New York" to make your content more natural to prospective patients. 

Service-Related Keywords

Using service-related dental SEO keywords makes sense for a service-based profession such as dentistry. Consider using at least one keyword per service you offer, but be careful of potentially competitive keywords, such as "checkups" or "dental cleanings." Instead, focus on services that make your practice unique in your location. 

Dental Problem Keywords

Potential patients usually look for a dentist when they have a particular problem. Including these problem-based keywords in your strategy will establish your practice as a thought leader for that particular problem, especially if you use these keywords in blogs and other informative content.

Be very careful when choosing dental problem keywords — some people may be looking for a self-help solution or getting more information about their condition rather than explicitly looking for a dentist, making them a low-quality lead. Consider combining dental problem keywords with service or location-based keywords for higher-quality traffic results. 

Choosing the Right Dental SEO Keywords for Your Site

Keyword research can be intimidating, especially in a competitive industry such as dentistry. The most important thing to remember is the buyer journey and what people type when looking for a dentist. However, you can use several free and paid tools to narrow your search for the optimal dental SEO keywords.

A great place to start is through Google Analytics. This tool lets you see what keywords and phrases people used to get to your site, and you can use these as a baseline for further keyword research. 

Also, consider using Google's free Keyword Finder. This tool provides a more nuanced breakdown of keywords by providing information on the search volume of particular terms and the competitiveness of certain options. All you need to do to take advantage of this tool is enter your website's URL, industry, and location, and Google will do the rest of the hard work for you. 

Using Keywords Optimally

Most websites focus on including keywords in content such as blogs or on the website itself. However, small tweaks can have a huge impact on how well keywords perform, such as:

  • Using your top keywords in main headings and throughout your website's text while avoiding keyword stuffing.
  • Using keywords in meta-descriptions, URLs, and image names and captions
  • Keeping keywords grammatically consistent for more natural integration with your content

Choosing the right dental SEO keywords requires effort and care, but choosing the wrong ones can derail your entire SEO strategy. Whether you want more information about keyword research or monitoring leads and digital marketing strategies, don't hesitate to schedule a free demo with our team at Digital Intelligence today!

Dental Intelligence

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November 3, 2022

The Best Practices for Dental Scheduling Training: Give Your Staff the Tools They Need

Keeping your schedule full and efficient isn't always easy. With tools like online scheduling as well as these tips on how to train your team on scheduling dental appointments will help your practice run smoother.

Patient Experience

Bringing on new administrative staff is an excellent and exciting way to grow your practice, improve daily operations, and boost patient care. Making sure they receive proper training is crucial to achieving daily production goals.

One of the most important things office staff should know how to do is scheduling. Unfortunately, dental scheduling training comes with unique challenges. 

Before the technology era, dental scheduling required office staff to take phone calls or schedule appointments in person. Now, a dental practice can use online dental scheduling to make everyone's job easier. While online scheduling requires less effort from the staff, it is still crucial for them to understand the best scheduling practices. 

Below are some tips for training new and existing team members on scheduling dental appointments to maximize efficiency and productivity.   

Review the Significance of Block Scheduling 

Block scheduling is an excellent way to achieve quota goals and create a more organized schedule. Block scheduling reserves certain times of the day for complex or longer procedures. 

Many dental offices do this by scheduling primary care appointments in the morning and secondary care after lunch. Primary care refers to dental treatments requiring lab work or tooth prep, which need longer appointment times. Secondary care is routine procedures like cleanings or fillings.

One way to maximize dental scheduling training for blocks is by color coding the schedule. Color coding blocks for different services make scheduling appointments easier for administrative staff. Not only does this improve office efficiency, but it also helps your team achieve production goals.

Have Production and Revenue Goals

No dental scheduling training is complete without discussing objectives. Remind staff how block scheduling helps your office achieve revenue and production goals.

Every dental office should outline specific production and revenue objectives. Although your dental practice's primary focus is providing exceptional dental care, it is still a business. You need revenue to grow and provide better oral health care to more patients.

Establish a realistic objective and put a date on it. Start by devising a goal for the end of the year. Then, determine daily, weekly, or monthly objectives to help you attain it.

Achieving these goals does not mean filling your schedule with lengthy, complex procedures. Your patients need a wide array of treatments, from routine cleanings to oral sedation. A balance of services allows you to deliver adequate patient care while attaining fiscal objectives and revenue growth. 

Clarify Roles 

Everyone in the dental practice has a role. For example, the administrative staff is responsible for scheduling and customer service, while dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists directly treat patients.

Knowing who does what in the office can help staff create better schedules and track appointments. For example, administrative staff should know which dentists and hygienists perform certain procedures and approximately how long they take.

Understanding these roles can help staff members schedule better by knowing who is available each day and what treatment times will look like.

Aim to Reduce No-Shows

No-shows and last-minute cancellations are the most significant reasons for scheduling problems. Although these issues are no fault of the staff, you can train team members on how to address them to maintain office efficiency.

For example, appointment reminders are an excellent way to reduce broken appointments and protect daily revenue. Team members can send reminders via email, phone call, or text message, depending on your office's system.

In addition to appointment reminders, office staff should be familiar with the no-show and cancellation policies. They should also be able to relay this information to patients to ensure a clear understanding of what happens when they miss their appointments.

Remember the Value of Customer Service and Communication

Whether scheduling online, over the phone, or in person, customer service is vital. Your front office staff are the first people patients meet when they walk through your doors. As such, they should have excellent communication and customer service skills.

Customer service requires more than a friendly attitude and a welcoming smile. Your office staff should also know how to handle difficult customers, especially when scheduling.  

Take Your Dental Practice to New Heights with Dental Intelligence

Effective dental scheduling training is key to boosting office efficiency and improving patient care. However, it is not the only thing your dental practice needs to thrive. 

Growing a dental practice requires increasing revenue, improving reputation, and achieving maximum efficiency. At Dental Intelligence, we have the tools to help you succeed. 

Contact us at Dental Intelligence today to learn more about our online scheduling as well as other innovative products.

Dental Intelligence

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November 3, 2022

Are Dental Referral Forms Really That Important?

Deliver a better patient experience with informative and clear dental referral forms. Learn how to create forms that benefit the patient, receiving practice, and your own team.

Forms,Office Operations

Dentists dedicate their careers to providing exceptional dental care. Although dentists can offer a wide range of treatments, there are some cases where a patient benefits from seeing a specialist. 

Whether the patient needs oral surgery or orthodontic treatment, dentists can refer them to specialists to receive the care they need. To do this effectively, dental offices rely on dental referral forms. 

Referral forms act as a guide for the patient and the receiving practice. Traditionally, dental offices filled out paper forms and gave them to patients or mailed them to the receiving practice. These days, online dental forms make the process significantly easier and faster.

Dental referral forms are integral to a practice's operations. Here's why.  

Why Does Your Dental Office Use Referrals?

Your dental office likely uses referral forms to refer patients to other medical specialists. These forms contain basic information about the patient, their dental issue, and a potential treatment option that requires specialized care.

Similarly, other medical professionals can refer their patients to your office. Receiving referral patients typically requires the same documents, as they help you better understand the patient's condition or concerns.

What Information Should Referral Forms Include?

Referrals act as a communication medium for a patient and two different providers. As such, these forms should contain information that pertains to each party. 

Regardless of the reason for the referral, all forms should contain the name of your practice, the type of referral (oral surgery, orthodontics, etc.), the patient's name, and their information.

Depending on the reason for the referral, you can also include additional documents that give the receiving practice a better idea of the patient's case. For example, if your dental office is referring a patient to an oral surgeon, the dental referral forms could include X-ray or digital images of the patient's mouth. Doing so saves the oral surgeon and patient time by delivering updated images rather than requiring the receiving office to capture their own.

Before creating and delivering a referral, it is vital to review everything with the patient during an initial appointment. 

Although many offices now use digital forms that go directly to the specialist's office, it is still vital for the patient to understand everything. Taking the time to explain who you are referring them to, why, and what they can expect can improve the experience for everyone involved.

Are There Referral Guidelines?

Dentists and every other medical professional have an obligation to provide ethical treatment for patients. Part of this responsibility is completing documents correctly, including dental referral forms. 

When completing a referral form, it is vital to follow the American Dental Association's (ADA) General Guidelines for Referring Patients and Code of Ethics1.

In short, ADA guidelines state that dentists should make referrals based on the receiving practice's education, training, and experience rather than personal preferences. Meanwhile, the Code of Ethics states that all dentists should follow ethical practices to provide adequate, professional care.

How Are Digital Forms Better Than Paper Referrals?

Although paper forms were once an effective way to deliver referrals, they are becoming increasingly outdated. 

For instance, sending paper referrals requires significantly more time to reach the other practice than digital ones. This extended time frame impacts patient care and office efficiency. 

Additionally, receiving practices often struggled to decipher illegible handwriting. Communicating clear, understandable information is crucial for referrals, making this a frustrating problem. 

However, digital forms eliminate this issue and send referrals directly to specialists. As a result, all parties enjoy clear communication, and patients can book appointments sooner.

Spend More Time with Your Patients and Ease Your Team's Workload

Patient referrals help you extend care by sending your patient to a specialist that can provide the particular care they need. To benefit the patient, receiving practice, and your own team, you need informative and clear referral forms. 

Instead of taking a step back in innovation using paper forms, embrace technology and use online referrals to your advantage. A digital referral for treatment is more clear, can contain more detailed information, and reaches the receiving practice sooner. As a result, you can deliver better patient care and assist with office team's workload.

At Dental Intelligence, we can help you spend more time with your patients and less time navigating paperwork. From digital forms for your patients to Call Insight for your front desk team, we have everything you need to streamline operations and provide exceptional dental care. 

Curious to see how digital dental referral forms can transform patient care? Contact us at Dental Intelligence today to schedule a demo.

References

1 The ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Conduct

Dental Intelligence

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November 3, 2022

How Updating Dental Medical History Forms Improves Patient Care

A patient's medical history plays an important role in their oral health and treatment, which is why it's important to have medical history forms updated regularly. Online dental forms from Dental Intelligence save your patients and your team time by allowing them to update them from anywhere, anytime.

Forms,Patient Experience

Your patients are the lifeblood of your practice. To deliver the best care, you need a stellar team, a welcoming dental office, and an efficient system. One of the most useful tools for a dental practice is dental medical history forms. 

Understanding your patient's medical and dental history is crucial to providing the best service possible. These forms contain critical information like allergies, past operations, dental treatments, medical issues, and other factors that can alter treatment options.

As people age, medical needs change. To continue providing exceptional dental care, it is vital to have updated medical history forms for each patient. 

One of the best ways to do this while saving paper is by using online dental forms from Dental Intelligence. Our digital forms can save everyone time by allowing patients to update their medical history at home, on their phones, or with an in-office kiosk.

Below, we discuss the importance of updating dental medical forms to protect patient care and office efficiency.  

Oral Health and Certain Medical Conditions Have an Important Relationship

Although many patients don't think about it, various medical conditions directly affect oral health. For example, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes can lead to dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease. 

Dental professionals know that oral health problems like these can have multiple causes. Determining why the patient has a particular issue is crucial to treating it. Updated medical history forms can give dentists a better idea of the root cause of the problem, allowing them to provide better treatment and more accurate diagnoses.

Prescription Updates Need Attention

Dental medical history forms contain lists of medications your patients take. Unfortunately, several common prescriptions cause side effects like dry mouth or blood thinning, which can impact dental treatment plans. 

Knowing what medications your patients are taking is crucial to avoid worsening the side effects. For instance, if your patient takes blood thinners, you may reconsider certain dental operations.

Pregnancy Can Increase the Chances of Gum Disease

Pregnant women require specialized medical care to protect themselves and their growing babies. For example, if a pregnant woman needs an X-ray, doctors must protect the fetus by covering the patient's abdomen with radiation protection. 

In addition, pregnancy hormones can increase a woman's chance of gum disease. Dentists may alter dental treatment plans during pregnancy to protect the mother from severe oral health issues.

In many cases, pregnant women also cannot undergo oral surgery. As such, dentists may need to alter treatment and plan for an operation following the pregnancy.

Being Aware of Allergies Is Crucial

Knowing what your patients are allergic to is crucial, especially when administering medications. Understanding what medications patients are allergic to prevents dentists from making dangerous prescriptions or administering in-office drugs that could harm the patient.

However, medications are not the only potential causes of allergic reactions. For example, individuals can also be allergic to latex, nickel, or metal. Administering dental treatments with these materials can compromise a patient's health. 

Additionally, some patients are allergic to chlorohexidine. While you won't find this substance in any dental treatment, it is a popular cleaning agent. If you notice that a patient form has this listed as an allergy, you can prepare the office by using a different cleaning agent.

High Blood Pressure Can Increase the Risk of Stroke During an Appointment

A patient with systolic blood pressure over 180 or diastolic blood pressure over 109 cannot undergo dental procedures. High blood pressure increases the chances of a patient suffering from a stroke or heart attack during treatment. 

This risk is why dental professionals often take a patient's blood pressure before proceeding with the dental visit. This is an especially important practice when the patient has high blood pressure listed on their dental medical history forms.

Ready to Give Your Dental Practice an Efficiency Boost?

Generally, dental patients should update their medical forms annually. You can help them do this by providing new medical history forms at annual appointments. 

Instead of having patients take up appointment time by completing forms in-office, use Dental Intelligence's innovative digital forms. 

By partnering with Dental Intelligence, your patients can easily update their dental medical history forms before their dental appointments. As a result, your team can spend more time providing care and less time sorting through piles of paperwork.

We understand the importance of running an efficient, patient-centered dental office. That's why we offer a wide range of innovative solutions like virtual check-in and online dental forms.

Ready to boost efficiency and improve patient care? Contact us at Dental Intelligence to request your demo today!

Dental Intelligence

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November 2, 2022

What Is a Dental Treatment Plan? Everything You Need to Know

Designing effective, easy-to-understand treatment plans for patients may be difficult. At Dental Intelligence, we've created templates for digital treatment plans to make presenting and accepting treatment easier.

Patient Experience,Treatment Acceptance

When a patient visits your dental office, you’ll design a treatment plan that meets their unique needs and provides quality solutions. But what is a dental treatment plan, and what does it include? In this brief guide, we cover the basics of well-rounded treatment plans and what your patients can expect from them.

What Is a Dental Treatment Plan?

A dental treatment plan is essentially a roadmap for a client’s dental health. It outlines the recommended treatment for a patient’s teeth, how you plan to implement it, and the desired treatment outcome. You’ll need to lay out your plan in writing to make it available to others and store it for important medical records.

Dental professionals with new patients usually start creating a plan during the initial appointment. Dentists with regular, long-standing clients have an easier task regarding treatment planning—they already know the individuals and can recall their medical files. Dental treatment options can be long-term (such as with general oral healthcare) or short-term (such as with an isolated procedure like tooth reconstruction).

It may be difficult to design effective, easy-to-understand treatment plans. At Dental Intelligence, we can provide a template for dental treatment plans. 

What Are the Phases of a Dental Treatment Plan?

At this point, you may wonder, “What is a dental treatment plan’s process?” Treatment plans include several critical phases, each with a unique purpose. Together, they address dental issues and help patients achieve optimal oral health.

Dental treatment plans consist of the following phases:

  • Evaluation Phase: During this phase, you’ll inspect your client’s teeth and look for signs of oral health problems. You’ll also talk to them about their medical history and any concerns they may have regarding treatment.
  • Acute Phase: If the patient has urgent dental issues, you’ll address them in the acute phase. Some treatments can wait until later, but you must focus on things like infected or cracked teeth immediately.
  • Control Phase: Does your patient have an oral disease that may affect treatment or worsen because of it? The control phase is when you’ll take care of this. You won’t be able to effectively treat teeth if there’s an underlying condition like periodontitis.
  • Re-evaluation Phase: Once you complete the control phase of the treatment plan and stabilize the patient’s dental health, you’ll need to re-evaluate. Double-check to ensure that the treatment has worked so far and prevented further issues.
  • Definitive Phase: The definitive phase (sometimes called the restorative phase) is when you’ll apply fixes to the patient’s teeth such as realigning crooked teeth or treating gaps with implants.
  • Maintenance Phase: Last but not least is the maintenance phase. During this final phase, you’ll monitor the patient’s dental health with regular checkups and tests. This helps track your progress and prevent other dental problems down the road.

What Types of Treatment Do Dental Treatment Plans Include?

Every dental patient walks through your doors with different needs and concerns. You can’t design a one-size-fits-all dental treatment plan because everyone is unique and requires a customized solution to their problem. However, plans typically include the following treatment options:

  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Dentures
  • Braces
  • Extractions
  • Restorations
  • Replacements
  • Periodontal therapy
  • Occlusal therapy
  • Orthognathic surgery

Keep in mind that dental treatments can be scary for many patients. A treatment plan should be a collaborative effort between the patient and the dental practitioner. Always ask your patient if they have questions or concerns about a procedure before proceeding.

Tips for At-Home Dental Health Care

What is a dental treatment plan? It’s a clearly defined method to help your patients achieve and maintain healthy, beautiful teeth. You can only do so much during a six-month checkup, so a lot of dental health care must take place at home.

As you devise dental treatment plans, be sure to emphasize at-home care. Patients can prevent many oral health issues by following simple, practical steps, such as:

  • Brushing teeth twice a day (especially after meals)
  • Using fluoride toothpaste
  • Replacing your old toothbrush every few months
  • Flossing with string floss or picks at least once daily
  • Using an antiseptic mouthwash
  • Avoiding sugary snacks and beverages
  • Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables

Improve Your Dental Practice with the Right Tools 

At Dental Intelligence, we provide the insights and tools you need to intelligently shape the future of your practice. We help you get where you want your organization to go. Check out our state-of-the-art features like dental follow ups today!

Dental Intelligence

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November 2, 2022

Can Your Patients Get Dental Financing with Their Current Credit Scores? What Credit Score Is Needed for Dental Financing?

Offering dental financing gives patients the flexibility to choose an option that works best for their financial situation. Dental Intelligence offers dental patient financing that's easy for you and your patients.

Patient Experience,Office Operations

According to a recent NHIS survey, approximately 1 in 4 adults1 will forgo dental care due to a lack of dental coverage and concern about the costs of visiting the dentist. Even individuals with health insurance may run up against annual limits or deductibles, making routine procedures unaffordable. Many practices have tried to alleviate the issue by providing dental patient financing through a service such as Dental Intelligence. 

However, doing so isn’t without risk — lower-income individuals may struggle to meet their monthly payments and put additional pressure on the practice. A useful indicator of risk is the credit score, which is why it’s vital that practices know what credit score is needed for dental financing. This way, you can inform their patients about their options and mitigate the risks associated with in-house financing. 

Types of Dental Financing

Dental financing spans several options, giving patients the flexibility to choose an option that works best for their financial situation. Each option will have some drawbacks and benefits, and dental practices may assist patients with identifying the right one for them.

Personal Loan

The most common method of dental financing is an unsecured personal loan. Online lenders, banks, and credit unions offer these loans. Patients should shop around before committing to a single lender. Online lending is a competitive space, and many platforms will attempt to get more customers by offering flexible loan terms, good interest rates, and waiving administrative or early payment fees. 

Credit Card

Most Americans have at least one credit card, which can be useful in dental emergencies as a dental financing option. However, some may need to get a new credit card to pay for larger dental procedures. 

Medical credit cards often offer deferred interest — if the patient pays off the debt within the deferred period, they don’t incur interest on the debt. However, if they can’t pay off the balance within that period, they’ll have to pay all of the interest accrued from the card’s start date.

0% APR cards work similarly, but instead of deferred interest, these cards have a 0% interest period for purchases and balance transfers, often for 12 or 24 months. Patients who pay off the debt according to the card’s terms can get their dental care interest-free.

In-House Financing

An increasingly popular option for dental practices is to offer in-house financing through third-party lenders. Doing so can make your practice more appealing while also allowing you to offer more expensive procedures to a larger portion of your client base.

What Credit Score Is Needed for Dental Financing?

Most personal loan lenders evaluate the borrower’s ability to pay off the loan before approving it. The two most important metrics to do so are the person’s credit score and their annual income. Credit scores provide a history of the individual’s credit record and any missed payments and other risk factors. Some lenders also require a certain debt-to-income ratio to ensure that the individual isn’t taking on an unpayable burden.

Patients with good or excellent credit scores (670+) will often have no problem securing a personal loan or financing. However, individuals with credit scores of 580 or less usually need financial assistance and will struggle securing personal loans or additional credit cards.

While most lenders will happily take on high-credit-score debt, a market has also emerged for bad-credit loans, which have more lenient restrictions on credit score and annual income. However, these lenders must still have a way of reducing their risk, as approximately 60% of poor credit individuals2 will fail to meet their monthly payments and end up delinquent on their loans. 

The most popular way of mitigating risk is using high interest rates to get as much money out of the person before they default on their loan. Many personal lenders may even charge up to 35% APR (significantly higher than credit card interest rates), dramatically increasing monthly payments and the loan’s total repayment value over its lifetime.

Offering Financial Assistance

Financing options are an attractive way for dental practices to encourage routine and specialized procedures, but your practice must know what credit score is needed for dental financing to ensure that your patients make the right financial decision. 

The main drawback of dental practice patient financing is that it requires extensive administration and time to implement. That’s why working with our team at Dental Intelligence when offering financing options makes sense — we can handle the administration, allowing you to offer pay-as-you-go and tailored financing options for all your patients. For more information, visit our website and schedule a demo today!

References

1 How does cost affect access to care?

2Analysis of Differences between Consumer- and Creditor-Purchased Credit Scores

Dental Intelligence

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November 2, 2022

Factors Affecting Your Dental Billing Statement

Simplify your billing process and generate clear billing statements for your patients, regardless of how many payment options or insurers you have to work with, with Dental Intelligence Payments.

Payments,Office Operations

In theory, dental billing should be simple: A patient comes in, gets a procedure, pays for the procedure, and goes home. However, most practices find that keeping up with payment options, health insurance codes, and late payments can feel overwhelming.

Ultimately, the health of your billing and collections system will play a large part in the overall success of your practice, so it’s worthwhile spending some time developing a streamlined system to generate a clear and understandable dental billing statement. 

The Dental Billing Process

As billing becomes increasingly complex, having an established process is essential to keeping track of various accounts and their unique quirks.  One way to streamline the process is to have a clear system of steps whenever a new patient steps through your door.

These steps will remain broadly the same regardless of whether you have a manual process or are using a dental payments solution from Dental Intelligence. They include:

  • Collecting patient information, including their name, contact details, date of birth, insurance carrier, insurance plan, and insurance ID number.
  • Verifying the patient’s insurance coverage by contacting their provider. This verification will usually also give you a full breakdown of the patient’s dental benefits.
  • Recording the patient’s treatment as it occurs and including the necessary dental code for each procedure. Dental practices can become incredibly busy, so using a daily sign-off sheet is the best practice to verify what happened to each patient during the day.
  • Submitting claims to the patient’s insurance carrier often involves providing the procedure code, patient information, and supporting documentation.
  • Following up on claims denied by insurance or ignored for more than 30 days.
  • Billing patients for the outstanding balance. Practices may choose between a fee-for-service or reimbursement billing type, depending on which one best meets your practice and patient needs. While the fee-for-service model will get you more money upfront, you may find that fewer patients have the available funds to pay for the entire procedure upfront. Similarly, a reimbursement model may get more patients through the door, but you’ll need to spend more time dealing with health insurance providers to get your payment.
  • Recording payments to properly document and complete the life cycle of a particular claim. 

Understanding Dental Coding on Your Dental Billing Statement

Dental codes are often the most confusing part of a dental billing statement for patients. To comply with HIPAA guidelines, practices must use official procedure codes to report conditions and treatments. Failing to assign the proper code to a procedure may result in fraud charges and fines, so it’s worth the time to learn and keep up with changes in the various dental coding standards. 

The two most common dental billing codes are the Current Dental Terminology (CDT) and Internal Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM). Both code sets will have a specific code for a procedure, which you will need to document correctly. Both codes change annually to keep up with developments in dentistry, and you must use the latest codes to remain compliant with HIPAA guidelines.

Components of an Explanation of Benefits Statement

Insurance companies will send out an EOB statement with every claim they pay out. To ensure that you receive the correct payment and that your patients receive clear communication about their benefits, the EOB statement must contain:

  • The plan allowance for a specific dental procedure
  • The percentage of the maximum plan benefit that the insurer will pay
  • The patient’s deductible
  • The dollar amount paid by the provider
  • The outstanding balance that the patient must pay, either outright or through a payment plan

Working with an Expert

Many dental practices rely on front-desk staff to take care of their dental billing needs, but the truth is that accurate billing requires expert knowledge and a dedicated individual or team. Even if you have a streamlined system, your billing administrator must know:

  • Medicare rules
  • Coordination of benefits rules
  • The procedure for accurately calculating a patient’s payment responsibility
  • The practice’s various payment options
  • The appeals process for denied claims
  • Documentation requirements for various claims
  • How to run reports
  • The latest coding updates
  • How to calculate write-offs
  • How to post payments promptly and accurately to meet accounting regulations

The expense and time required to train a billing expert for handling each dental billing statement have led to many dental practices opting for a third-party solution. These solutions will help you implement a payment system that will generate clear billing statements for your patients, regardless of how many payment options or insurers you have to work with. For more information about Dental Intelligence payments and billing solutions, request a free demo on our website today!

Dental Intelligence

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November 2, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Patient Loyalty Program Ethics

A patient loyalty program can help your practice grow its customer base and increase patient retention. Learn what to consider when creating a program and best practices of what to offer.

Patient Experience,New Patient Acquisition,Patient Loyalty

Patient care comes first, but your dental practice is still a business. You cannot provide adequate care to your patients or employees without sufficient revenue. Patient loyalty programs are an excellent way to boost customer retention, as long as you do so ethically. 

Patient loyalty program ethics is not a topic that dental practice owners tend to dwell on. However, understanding the potential ethical issues of customer loyalty programs is vital to ensuring your practice benefits patients.  

How Does a Customer Loyalty Program Work for a Dental Office?

Dental loyalty programs are similar to any other customer loyalty program. They encourage patients to continue using your service by providing various incentives.

For example, many dental practices give loyalty plan members a discount on services. Other incentives include free toothbrushes with every appointment and rewards cards. Dental practices love patient loyalty programs because they increase patient retention rates. They also improve the overall customer experience, making patients more likely to recommend your practice to their friends.

Dental Intelligence's patient loyalty program helps dental practices grow their customer base and patient retention.

What Are the Ethics to Consider Before Initiating a Loyalty Program?

Before gathering the team to discuss loyalty program ideas, it is vital to understand patient loyalty program ethics. You should consider three main ethical issues: deception, conflict of interest, and fairness. 

Suppose your practice initiates a loyalty program that offers patients credit toward treatments for every referral. In this situation, a patient named Jill brings in several new patients to take advantage of the offered credits. Although she is not receiving cash for her referral efforts, she still gets a monetary incentive. 

To earn another credit for her next dental appointment, Jill convinces her friend to schedule a visit with your dental practice. Her friend is unaware that Jill receives a credit for everyone she brings into the office, hence the question of deception. Does it matter if her friend knows about the financial incentive? 

The financial incentive issue also poses the ethical question of a conflict of interest. To convince her friend to go, Jill will praise the dentist at your practice and say you are the best in town. Since your practice is providing a financial incentive to a current patient, it creates an ethical dilemma when Jill starts praising you. However, there would be no question of ethical practices if she were praising you without a financial incentive at stake.

Fairness is another consideration. For instance, if Jill comes in for an appointment while the dentist is still with another patient, it would be ethically wrong for him to stop what he was doing and attend to Jill simply because she brings in multiple referrals. Additionally, loyalty programs should be equally available to all patients.

What Types of Loyalty Programs Can Your Dental Office Use?

The situation above focuses primarily on referral programs, but dental offices can employ various types of loyalty programs. 

For example, establishing a loyalty points system is a great way to encourage patients to come back. Using this model, patients accumulate points after each visit. They can collect these points and use them for promotional items at the front desk, like t-shirts or dental hygiene products.

Another option is employing a tiered loyalty program. Here, patients enroll in the loyalty program and work their way up through different tiers. Each tier offers unique benefits for members, like birthday gifts, gift cards, and other perks.

What Are Ethical Reward Programs?

The above reward and referral programs are great ways to encourage customer retention and reach new patients. However, some loyalty programs completely resolve the question of ethics by eliminating direct customer incentives. 

Ethical reward programs focus on charitable causes. For instance, your dental office could promise to donate a certain amount to a local charity if the office schedules a certain number of cleanings in a month. This method encourages patients to return for routine cleanings knowing that they are indirectly contributing to a good cause.  

Dental Solutions That Benefit Your Patients and Staff

While many practices overlook patient loyalty program ethics, it is something worth considering. The benefits of customer loyalty extend beyond consistent revenue. When patients come back, it means they trust your practice to help them care for their oral health, which is the primary goal of any dental professional. 

At Dental Intelligence, we understand the value of patient relationship management, and we offer digital solutions to help your practice achieve its goals. Contact us today to schedule a demo and see what we can do for your dental team.

Dental Intelligence

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November 2, 2022

Top Tips on How to Measure SEO ROI for Your Dental Practice

SEO is an important factor in increasing conversions to your website. With these tips, learn how to calculate your ROI from your SEO campaign.

Dental Marketing

Implementing a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy requires time, effort, and money, so it makes sense that you want to know how effective your SEO plan is. If you’re working with us at Dental Intelligence, we can help you with your local dental SEO return on investment. If you’re still planning your marketing strategy yourself, you’ll have to learn how to measure SEO ROI for your dental practice to avoid spending money on strategies that don’t work.

The Three Major Key Performance Indicators

A dental SEO campaign will have three areas of performance. Each of these plays an important role in getting new patients through the door, so you must consider all three while calculating your ROI. 

Rankings

The main purpose of SEO is to give your site more visibility by ensuring that it places somewhere on the first page of a search result. The simplest way to measure the effectiveness of your SEO plan is to keep an eye on how well your site does in search engine rankings. 

However, while a rise in rankings is an excellent sign, it may not always immediately result in potential patients coming through the door. If you’re seeing your site climb the rankings without a corresponding increase in new conversions, you may need to look more deeply into why you’re not getting high-quality traffic.

Traffic

The quality of traffic to your site plays a massive role in your SEO or social media marketing strategy’s effectiveness. If you’re getting increased traffic, but it’s not the right type, you may be focusing on the wrong aspects of SEO. The main way to measure the quality of your traffic is to look at:

  • Pages per visit: How many pages does a person look at before they leave the site
  • Average visit duration: The time a visitor spends looking at the site
  • Bounce rate: How many people leave your site after only looking at one page

These metrics reflect the quality of your website and the traffic arriving at your site. If people don’t spend a lot of time browsing, it may be that your site could be more engaging or persuasive in order to turn a potential patient into a lead. However, a high bounce rate may also indicate that your traffic quality is low — the person may not need a dentist, and they arrive at your site by mistake.

Conversions

The ultimate goal of any marketing strategy is to get more people through the door. Metrics for tracking conversions can include contact forms, phone calls, or simply the number of views your site received compared to the number of new patients at your practice.

Using Google Analytics Conversion Tracking to Measure Your ROI

While you can manually track conversions, you can also use SEO tools such as Google Analytics to calculate the financial impact of your marketing investment. 

Determining the Value of On-Site Conversions

Google Analytics is an excellent tool for measuring your website's overall performance and can also help you determine how well your dental SEO campaign is doing. You can set your goals for on-site conversions by going to Admin > View > Goals. Good goals for on-site conversions include contact form submissions and phone calls via call tracking. 

The second step of using conversion tracking to measure your ROI is to assign a value to each conversion goal. This value assignment may not be accurate, as you’ll need to base the value of a contact form submission on prior data, but by identifying the value of each lead and using that value consistently, you can get a good estimate of your ROI.

Narrowing Down Leads to SEO Traffic

Since Google Analytics will assign a value to every lead, regardless of its source, you’ll need to set up a conversions report by going to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions and only looking at the “organic search channel” to get an idea of how many leads came from your SEO campaign. 

Calculating ROI

The standard ROI calculation is (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment x 100, giving you a percentage of your return. Anything over 100% means you’ve made more money than you invested in your SEO strategy.

Leave Marketing to Our Pros at Dental Intelligence

Knowing how to measure SEO ROI for your dental practice requires understanding how SEO works. However, if you’re too busy to learn about the best practices for dental marketing and prefer getting results, reach out to our team at Dental Intelligence and book a demo today!