Pediatric dental offices face unique challenges beyond the everyday activities in a general dentistry practice. Not only do you need to create a safe, enjoyable environment inside the office, but the patient experience also depends on all the interactions before and after the appointment – which hinge largely on the office management systems you have in place.
Parents want the best for their kids, which is why their experience with your office will determine whether the family comes again for future care. If you want to maintain patient loyalty, it’s critical to invest in systems that help provide an exceptional user experience and improve patient satisfaction.
Unique Challenges Faced by Pediatric Dental Offices
What challenges are you facing in your day-to-day office responsibilities? Most pediatric dental offices summarize their most significant challenges in two categories:
Two-way conversation is essential to coordinate appointment times and manage the schedule. When parents are bringing their kids to the office, they often want to schedule everyone in the family on the same day. You need software that streamlines this process for booking appointments, sending reminders, and organizing patient information when dealing with multiple patients or large families. Dental Intelligence logs information in a way that ensures everyone receives the proper communication – even in blended families.
High Volume of Patients
Pediatric offices often have a higher volume of patients compared to general dentistry offices. The more people you have moving through the office, the more administrative work your staff is juggling. Automation is key to helping your team keep up with the volume of patients you are seeing. DI eases many burdens by shifting daily tasks from manual to automatic so your team can spend less time on menial tasks and more time on creating a great patient experience.
Many pediatric dental offices agree that effective systems are essential to support business growth. The right software solutions keep you on track right now and set the foundation to continue expanding and growing your practice in the future.
Dental Intelligence's Solutions for Tackling These Pediatric Challenges
As you learn about Dental Intelligence, you’ll find that many of our features and automation capabilities are unique and immensely valuable for pediatric offices. We've leaned heavily on our team's collective dental experience to create solutions that specifically address some of the frustrations and roadblocks that pediatric practices face every day. Here are 7 ways we've optimized DI for pediatric dentistry:
1. Family Grouping
It’s common for parents to book back-to-back appointments for their family members, and most patient management programs view each of these appointments as standalone services. When a parent has multiple children and receives multiple appointment reminders for each child, those texts and emails can quickly add up and become overwhelming, creating a less-than-ideal patient experience.
DI offers smart parameters that group communications together when family members are scheduled back-to-back. The guardian receives a single message with a reminder for all the appointments. As a result, the family receives clear communication about the starting time for the entire group, and we avoid the overwhelm of too much communication.
2. Remote Paperwork Capabilities
When parents arrive at the office, they are often busy with their children and simultaneously juggling seven other things. With a diaper bag in one hand and a toddler in tow, most parents don’t have time to sit down in the office to fill out paperwork.
DI is a perfect solution for pediatric dentistry because you can automatically send digital paperwork to the parent or guardian prior to the appointment. Receiving digital paperwork in advance gives them the option to fill their forms when it's most convenient for them. It's often much easier for parents to find 10 minutes to complete paperwork from their phone after the kids are in bed than it is to juggle a clipboard in one hand and an anxious toddler in the other while sitting in the dentist's waiting room.
Plus, remote paperwork improves patient engagement by ensuring the proper guardian receives the forms. For example, it’s common for a parent to drop a teenager off for an appointment without thinking about paperwork or consents. If any paperwork is necessary, the dental office can simply text a link to the guardian for a remote signature.
3. Forms Consolidation
A straightforward way to improve patient experience is by consolidating patient forms. DI groups families' forms into one location. When the guardian clicks the link, they can complete everything at once – no need to click a separate link for every child.
Smart parameters detect the ages of each child to send the minor versions of each form automatically. Parents can log into the patient portal or our mobile app and complete the paperwork at their convenience.
This consolidation also centralizes information, so parents aren’t thumbing through 17 text messages to figure out what needs to be done for each child's appointment. Patients can receive text or email reminders for forms that have yet to be completed, or they can simply log into the mobile app to check on outstanding forms and make updates at any time.
4. Bulk Capabilities
As patient volume increases, it can put an unnecessary burden on office staff to keep up with phone calls and appointment reminders. DI reduces this busy work by automating communication whenever possible.
DI keeps up with routine appointment reminders and hygiene recalls automatically, but also gives you the ability to send mass text or email campaigns to stay in touch with your patients and provide important information. Bulk email campaigns are handy for practice updates, end-of-year benefits reminders, monthly newsletters, holiday greetings, and other announcements, while bulk texts are best for quickly communicating essential information. For example, if you have inclement weather or a burst pipe in the office, you can simultaneously text everyone on the schedule that day to keep them informed.
Voicemail drops allow you to save tons of time on high-volume communication while still maintaining that personal touch that we know means so much to patients. When you see a high volume of patients, it’s easy to lose personalization and risk making patients feel like they are just a number. Voicemail drops give you a solution to offer a personal welcome call or post-appointment follow-up message without the time consumption of making manual phone calls. Simply pre-record a voicemail message and bulk send it to the relevant patients – the voicemail will land directly in their inbox without you ever having to pick up the phone, and they will be glad to have received that extra care and attention from their dentist.
5. Accommodate Multiple Guardians
It’s essential to have fast solutions for accommodating multiple guardians. You need to manage where you are sending patient forms and treatment plans, with the option to adjust communications on the fly.
Pediatric dental offices using DI can quickly view the guardian on file, with simple solutions to make individual changes when necessary. For example, if Parent A brings the child to the appointment, but the invoice or paperwork needs to go to Parent B, then one click of a button will send the information to the right person.
6. Payment Requests
Make sure your office is getting paid for these services in a timely manner. These payment requests are helpful when parents are dropping off their teenagers without coming into the office.
DI allows you to text a payment link to the parent or guardian for them to pay right from their phone (and even supports virtual payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay). This solution is much more reliable than giving the teenager a paper bill and hoping they deliver it to the parent - or taking the time to print, stamp, and send individual statements via snail mail.
Immediate payment requests increase the likelihood of collecting payments immediately. As a result, your collection rates go up, and your office doesn’t need to spend as much time and energy following up on unpaid accounts.
7. Screen Pops
Integrating DI with your phone systems gives you immediate information when a call comes through. When a patient calls the office, DI recognizes their phone number and automatically pulls up their patient information. Then, with one click of a button, the whole family view is accessible – showing every patient within that family grouping in a single pop-up.
This feature is valuable to save time and also improve the patient experience. In pediatric dentistry, parents are typically calling on behalf of their children. The system recognizes the grouping and brings up the relevant family information instantaneously. You can quickly see who within that family has appointments scheduled, when upcoming hygiene appointments are necessary, and any balances due – all without having to scramble to click into multiple files.
These screen pops are available before you even pick up the phone. Having the patient information on the screen during the conversation makes the interaction more personal and impactful.
Technology to Improve Your Pediatric Dental Office
Seemingly small changes can have a profound impact to optimize your office operations and increase patient satisfaction. They help boost productivity and enhance communication with your patients while saving your staff valuable time each day. Whether you need to implement new processes or you are looking for ways to upgrade your current system, Dental Intelligence is here to help.