Whether you’re running your practice independently or as part of a group or DSO, changes to technology and processes will be par for the course. We all know the value of continuing education for staying up to date on breakthroughs and improvements in treatment, but there are also continuous improvements happening in the patient communication space to simplify office management and help you build stronger patient relationships.
Should you adopt a new patient engagement technology or platform, there will be a learning curve for you and your patients. Most patients are willing to adapt to new technologies or processes, but there will inevitably be some patients who dig in their heels any time there is change. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to ease the transition and get your patients on board.
Before we jump into that, though, let's talk about why some patients may resist new technologies or changes to the processes they are used to.
Jump to the 5 Ways
Challenges Facing Patient Engagement Software Adoption
Change always meets resistance. Existing patients might express hesitancy towards changes in what they’re used to, no matter their age or demographic profile. Just as they will balk at a new provider or change in practice ownership, any deviation from their previous patient experience may be met with reluctance. People love routines and knowing exactly what to expect.
Based on their experiences with other businesses, some people equate technology and modernization to a loss of quality care and personal attention. They might see text reminders replacing postcards as a sign that their doctors are less invested or aren’t paying as much attention to them as they used to. The right patient engagement system will actually have the opposite effect – increased personal attention and improved patient experience – but it's important to address changes directly and reassure your patients that their care won't fall through the cracks of modernization.
Getting Patients to Adopt New Systems
It doesn't take much on the part of the patient to adopt a new system. Successful adoption depends largely on your office taking the time to communicate any changes and simply let patients know what to expect. We recommend these 5 ways to get your patients excited about your new patient engagement platform.
1. Send An Email Announcement
Your first step should be sending out an email letting everyone know you’re making the switch to a new platform. The goal of this message is to set expectations and address any changes they might notice as a patient.
If switching platforms will change the way they receive any of their communications (such as appointment reminders), let them know in advance. If your new platform will introduce a new phone number or email address that they haven't been contacted by before, ask your patients to add those to their Contacts and safe senders lists.
If you are switching to Dental Intelligence and going paperless for forms and consents, talk them through what that looks like on their end. Make sure they know that they will receive a link to complete their digital forms before their appointment, and reassure them that they can fill those out from their phone or computer with complete security and full HIPAA compliance. Some patients distrust technology, so reassure them that the process is safe and secure.
2. Explain What's in It for Them
For the best transition, address any changes they'll see in their patient experience, but also highlight how the new platform will benefit them. Explain how digitally filling out forms before appointments will cut down on their time in the waiting room and keep your providers on schedule. Talk about how two-way texting makes your team more accessible for quick questions between visits. If they are excited about the benefits, you are exponentially less likely to get any of the "this isn't how they used to do things" pushback we all dread.
3. Make Signing Up as Easy as Possible
While Dental Intelligence can be fully utilized without the mobile app, our patient-facing app provides a next-level patient experience and keeps all their communication in one convenient place. If you want to encourage your patients to download the app for communication, appointment reminders, virtual check-in, paperwork updates, and easy bill pay, QR codes are a great way to simplify the process. Have QR codes printed and set up at your front desk or reception so that patients can easily scan them with their smart phone to download the app. Links to download the app can also be incorporated into emails, texts, and on your website.
4. Set Up Rewards and Loyalty Programs
Everyone likes to win things. People are used to earning rewards for their day-to-day transactions – airline miles, fuel points, stars towards their next coffee, even free stays from their favorite hotel. Nearly every industry is "gamifying" loyalty, so why not take advantage of it in your dental practice? DI's built-in loyalty program helps you incentivize the patient behaviors that keep your practice running smoothly. You can award points just for downloading the app, and once they're there, points encourage them to arrive on time, complete paperwork in advance, pay bills same-day, and refer friends to your practice. Patients will get excited about changes when those changes give them an opportunity to earn a free electric toothbrush or a gift card to a local restaurant.
5. Don’t Make It a Bigger Deal Than It Is
While it's always great to communicate any changes that will affect the experience your patients are used to, don't make it a bigger deal than it is – most people will get on board pretty effortlessly when the new system is user-friendly. If you feel worried about how your patients will take to new technology, it's easy to unintentionally transfer that anxiety and apprehension to your patients. Trust that your patients will adapt, and keep it simple:
- Outline what's changing
- Explain how those changes will improve their visit and allow you to better serve them
- Let them know you're available if they have any questions
That's it! Don't overcomplicate it. Remember, you're just changing the way they communicate with their dentist, not asking them to move cities or buy a new car.
Dental Intelligence is designed to make things easier, not just for you but also for your patients. Transitions don't have to be scary or difficult – just make sure changes are properly communicated and let people know what to expect. When better service and improved care are the end goal, patients will be happy to adjust.