Social media plays a vital role in how you promote your dental practice online. Regular engagement helps your practice score higher in Google’s algorithm, which means more patients can find you when they search for local dentists.
Knowing which social media strategies to use is crucial for your community outreach.
Why Are So Many Dental Practices Active on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok?
Facebook and Instagram have over 2.5 billion users on their platforms. Your practice can tap into this massive user base of potential patients by creating a professional account and posting to it regularly. These channels allow you to respond directly to individual users or prospective patients who leave comments and questions about your content.
- Facebook lets you share detailed information about your office, post pictures of featured employees, and invite local people to community fundraisers and events. This social media platform also lets you share updates directly with a “timeline” feature that displays at the top of your followers’ feeds.
- Instagram uses “live sharing” to stream video in real-time to your audience — a practical tool if you want to walk users through your office or run an open Q&A session through your dental social media account.
- TikTok is another popular social media channel among Millennials and Generation Z. This platform encourages short-form content, such as skits, dances, or fast-fact informational videos, which attract a younger demographic.
If you want to shift your dental social media marketing efforts toward a younger target audience, TikTok and Instagram are the best choices. However, you will need to spend time researching the latest online trends to keep your content fresh and engaging.
How Should Your Dental Practice Engage with Users Online?
The quickest way to engage with potential patients online is through comment interaction. If users post feedback on your content, always respond professionally and respectfully.
Suppose you post a link on Facebook to a blog about dental veneers. Some users may have questions about information not included in the blog. You can reply to their comment publicly or send a private message discussing their options and encouraging them to schedule an appointment at your dental office.
You can also share positive patient reviews and testimonials to boost the credibility of your practice online. Some users may not submit reviews over Google, but they might leave short testimonials on your social media profiles, which you can share with others.
Running a contest on social media is a fun way to drive engagement on your profile. For example, you could give away free merchandise or rewards to the first 500 users to like and share your posts. You could also run a random prize lottery for anyone who writes a sentence or two about their oral health routine.
These methods can increase clicks on your profile and encourage more views.
What Are the Benefits of Posting to Your Account Regularly?
Active dental social media profiles receive more impressions and overall engagement than inactive accounts. You can keep your practice’s content toward the top of your followers’ feeds by posting once or twice a day, if not more.
Posting regularly also encourages users to start following your profile. The more followers you have, the better your pay-per-click ads may do on channels like Facebook.
Our Dental Marketing materials provide templates and ideas to help you optimize and target your posts.
What Are Social Media Analytics?
Social media analytics show you how well individual posts perform on your account. You can track the demographics of who views your content and determine if changes are necessary to drive traffic toward your practice.
These metrics also allow you to view the best time to post content during the day. For instance, your followers may be inactive during regular work hours or late at night, so post during lunch or around dinner for the highest views.
Digital Marketing Solutions That Elevate Your Dental Practice Online
Running your social media profile doesn’t need to distract you from providing outstanding patient care.
At Dental Intelligence, we make it easy to manage social media for dentists like you with modern marketing materials. Schedule a demo of our digital tools for dental practices and learn more about dental social media.
Communicating with your current and prospective patients via email is essential. However, deciding which type of email to send, when to send it, and how you should structure the content can be challenging without context.
Tracking email marketing metrics can help you optimize your approach and increase conversion rates among recipients.
What Are Email KPIs for Dental Practices, and Why Are They Important?
A key performance indicator (KPI) is data that helps you track how well your dental marketing strategy performs. With these metrics, your practice can expand its reach to potential patients and drive users toward other resources like your website.
Email campaign KPIs specifically monitor how recipients interact with your outbound emails. This data is important to consider because over 4.3 billion email users are active around the globe. You can use KPIs to determine what makes your particular target market respond positively and encourage them to subscribe for more content.
Our Dental Marketing tools give you access to a library of ready-to-use content that can help you acquire new patients and keep returning patients coming back. With this resource, you can eliminate time-consuming guesswork when drafting and testing new emails.
Which KPIs Are Worth Tracking for Dental Practices?
So what KPIs should you track to determine the effectiveness of your email campaigns?
Open rate: Getting patients to look at your emails is the first step. Open rate KPIs help determine how many people open your emails, corresponding to the total number sent. The best ways to maximize your open rates include:
- Creating enticing subject headers (relevant to the content)
- Adding recipient names to subjects
- Sending emails in the morning when most people check their computers
Generated leads: Once your recipients open your emails, you should look for generated leads. These are recipients who are ready to book an appointment or explore further resources. You can generate leads by creating concise, informative email content that encourages users to keep investigating your dental practice.
Cost per lead: Using a strong call-to-action and leveraging paid ads can also help you increase your leads. Cost per lead shows how much money you spend converting an email recipient into a patient. You can calculate this metric by dividing how much you spend on your email marketing campaign by the total leads you generate.
Bounce rate: If your campaigns aren’t generating leads, you should review your bounce rates. Sometimes, your emails go to recipients’ spam boxes if they contain typos or repetitive sentences. You may also have several addresses in your email list that are invalid or broken, blocking messages from getting to recipients.
Recipients will not see your bounced emails if they do not arrive in their primary inboxes. If you have low bounce rates but high unsubscribe rates, your emails may reach users, but the content may be ineffective. Change your text, call to action, or reduce the number of emails you send weekly to discourage recipients from unsubscribing.
How Long Does It Take To Gather Effective Data From Your KPI Metrics?
It can take time to collect sufficient data from your email campaign KPIs. For example, you might spend several days A/B testing emails with a small percentage of their patients before sending mass emails. This method allows you to test which subject lines, content, or images get the best response.
Depending on how many recipients you send your emails to, it could take weeks to determine how well your email campaigns perform.
Production and collection strategies help you track email data accurately if you use other forms of digital marketing — such as social media, pay-per-click advertisement, or a newsletter. Your front desk can ask new patients how they heard about your practice and recommend subscribing to receive email updates. This strategy helps you allocate resources toward the most effective channels to maximize reach.
What Happens After a Successful Email Campaign?
You can deploy tracking codes on your emails that let you monitor your subscribers’ activities through Google Analytics. Some of the most valuable information you utilize includes:
- The number of page views your website receives through email clicks
- How long users spend viewing your website
- Which links achieve the highest click-through rates
Email Campaign Solutions That Benefit Your Dental Practice Marketing Strategy
Interpreting email campaign KPIs correctly can help you understand your target audience and simplify marketing efforts in the future.
Check out more of our email marketing tips and schedule a demo of our all-in-one solution today!
Even with insurance, your patients may not be able to afford some of the dental procedures and examinations your practice offers. Instead of turning them away, consider offering payment plans to keep money flowing into your accounts.
Flexible payment options allow you to stay afloat in an ever-competitive healthcare market. Knowing which policies to implement will help you optimize service quality and profit.
How Flexible Should Your Dental Practice Be with Payments?
Many of your prospective patients may hesitate to make appointments because they worry about how much treatment will cost. Promoting flexible payment options can encourage them to schedule regular visits and invest in quality dental care. However, it’s important not to offer more than your practice can afford.
You should consider several factors before creating a payment policy. For example, determine a reasonable period of time you are willing to wait before you receive payment in full.
Some practices offer one or two-year repayment plans for patients. This method is ideal for expensive dental procedures that could take months to pay down.
In most cases, it’s better to offer short-term plans to ensure payments come in quickly. For example, small-percentage discounts on upfront fees or low-cost down payments could be practical solutions instead of long-term financing plans.
What Are the Benefits of Offering Flexible Payment Options?
First and foremost, flexible payment options increase your dental practice’s revenue. Patients who feel they aren’t spending a fortune on dental care will likely stick with your services. This strategy may not earn you the most money upfront, but it supplies you with a steady stream of income from dozens of patients over time.
Offering these financial solutions also helps with lead generation and attracting new patients. Flexible repayments will appeal to many of your patients because they give them more freedom to budget. Promoting a flexible payment policy could even increase your conversion rates by up to 30%, depending on your location and policies.
Flexible payment options also boost your practice’s reputation. Being receptive to your patients’ financial needs will earn you positive feedback. Your patients may even praise these policies in online testimonials and reviews, encouraging others to explore your services.
Which Financing Options Should Your Dental Practice Offer?
In-house financing is a popular choice among many dental practices. These policies allow patients to send payments directly to your accounts receivable department without insurance companies or third-party services getting in your way. However, in-house financing may only be feasible for balances under $1,500, depending on your practice’s budget.
In-house membership programs let you establish subscriptions where patients receive special benefits on basic services, like preventive care. You can include additional benefits for long-term loyalty members, encouraging other patients to sign up and stick with the program.
Set up electronic billing online and allow automatic charges to credit cards or any other preferred method of payment. Make sure you send reminders to patients so they know when bills are coming.
How Can Staff Make the Repayment Process Easier for Patients?
Your staff should ensure that patients fully understand your practice’s financial policies. List these options on your website and have patients sign them using Digital Forms. This method prevents accidental delinquencies or surprise charges that may cause your patients to lose trust in your practice.
Modern technology makes it easier for your staff to collect payments and monitor transactions. Using data-monitoring tools like Payments helps you track the progress of repayments and identify who is late with payments. These dental management programs also allow your staff to collect payment, communicate information to out-of-office patients, and more.
You can also offer our Patient Financing options that are simple for your patients to apply for and allow you to get paid quicker.
Don’t forget to train your staff on any new policies you adopt. This practice ensures that you receive payments on time and that your employees allocate money to the correct channels.
Optimizing Your Dental Practice with Proven Payment Solutions
Flexible payment options incentivize your patients to return for examinations and procedures. However, it can be challenging to keep up with collections without help.
At Dental Intelligence, we help your practice manage payments with flexible online payment options. Our resources will enable you to build and monitor your financing policies and reduce the risk of patients who refuse to pay their dental bills. Schedule a demo to learn more about how our flexible payment options can help your practice succeed.
Does your dental practice have a late arrival policy for patients? Every dentist has them — the patients who are always late for their appointments or sometimes even don’t show up at all. It’s a problem that costs your practice time and money and often cuts into appointment times of the patients who aren’t late.
Below, we discuss how dentists can tackle tardiness head-on and how to prevent late patients and no-shows.
No-Show and Late Patient Policies for Dentists: Best Practices and Tips
Developing a late arrival policy for patients at your dental practice can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Below are three ideas for late policies that are fairly common in the dental industry:
- Late Charge Policies: One of the most effective ways to prevent patients from showing up late to their scheduled appointments is with a fee-based policy. When patients come in after a 15-minute grace period or cancel less than 24 hours before their appointment, you charge them a late fee to their private insurance company, Medicare, or out-of-pocket.
- Fee Removal Policies: Another option is charging patients an initial scheduling fee, which you remove from their final balance if they are on time for their appointment. Or, you can charge every no-show patient a fee, then retract it if they reschedule and arrive on time.
- Patient Reward Policies: Another option is to reward patients who show up at their scheduled appointment time, like with loyalty points, a gift card drawing, discounts, or other incentives. You can even use our Patient Loyalty Program.
Dealing with Habitual Offenders
Most dental practices have a few patients who are habitual offenders and are either chronically late or don’t show up without canceling or rescheduling their appointment. You may want to implement a different late arrival policy for patients who are frequently late.
For example, will you ask them to show up ten minutes early? Or will you have a zero-tolerance policy that requires them to find another provider after three late appointments or a no-show? You may even want to tell those patients who are consistently late that their appointment time is 30 minutes before the actual time in your calendar.
In addition, you should avoid immediate rescheduling for no-show patients. If they believe they can get another appointment within a week, they’re more likely to cancel at the last minute or not show up at all. Instead, reschedule their appointments for four or six weeks in the future.
Regardless of what method you choose, determining your policies ahead of time can help you reduce stress and provide excellent customer service to every type of patient, even if they’re chronically late.
Preventing No-Shows and Late Patients
Although your dental practice should consistently enforce its late arrival policy, you can take certain steps to help prevent this issue from occurring in the first place.
Use Automated Appointment Reminders
You can reduce the number of late or no-show patients and increase dental production with Dental Intelligence. Our advanced practice management software includes features like Online Scheduling and Appointment Reminders, making it easy to confirm or reschedule patients when necessary. For example, our software updates each patient’s appointment status in real time and sends automated reminders via text or email, reducing the time your staff has to spend making phone call confirmations.
Have Every New Patient Review and Sign a Late Policy
Patients may try to claim ignorance regarding your late policy after being late or not showing up at all. To prevent this, have every new patient review and sign your late arrival policy. You can make this process fast and easy by using Digital Forms.
With our Patient Portal, your patients can access their paperwork and forms either online or through the app anytime they want. Furthermore, you should implement a “refresher” every six months by having current patients review and consent to your late arrival policy.
Decrease No-Shows with Dental Intelligence
Developing a fair and effective late arrival policy for patients can be challenging, but it’s critical for protecting your dental practice from this common issue. Of course, some patients will have legitimate reasons to cancel dentist appointments at the last minute, and sometimes you’ll have to make exceptions. However, with the various solutions available at Dental Intelligence, you can manage late arrivals and boost office efficiency. To learn more, schedule a demo of our product.
In today’s digital age, running a successful dental practice requires more than just getting a proper education and your DDS or DMD. Dentists must now also leverage tactics like search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing to drive growth for their practice. One of the most important aspects of your website’s SEO strategy comes from local backlinks.
While the process of acquiring quality backlinks can be difficult, the rewards are worth the effort. Below, we explain local backlinks and provide some expert advice on the best ways to utilize this effective SEO technique to boost visibility and drive growth.
What Are Local Backlinks?
A backlink is a hyperlink that leads from one website to another. For example, if a website posts a link that leads back to your practice’s website, you’ve received a backlink.
Google’s search engine algorithm uses over 200 factors to evaluate, categorize, and index websites. However, it’s the quality of the backlinks that is most important. Acquiring backlinks from reputable, trustworthy sites can establish credibility for your website and boost its place in the search rankings.
Specifically, local backlinks come from local sources in your geographical area or target market. You can gain backlinks in three ways: through outreach, self-creation, or naturally.
Six Local Link-Building Tactics for Dental Practices
1. Invest in SEO and Marketing Services
Many dental practice owners lack the free time and experience to develop, implement, and maintain an SEO strategy. Instead, consider investing in professional SEO and marketing services. It’s an excellent way to get your business out in the local market and reach more potential customers.
2. Use Local Business Citations
Another way to gain more local backlinks is by claiming local business citations on websites like Yelp, Google My Business, and more. These websites provide current information about your dental practice and other local businesses, like its name, address, hours, phone number, and patient reviews. In addition, they often include a link to your website.
However, claiming citations is not enough on its own; you’ll need more link-building tactics to start seeing noticeable results.
3. Reach Out to Your Professional Network
You can also utilize your professional and personal network as a way to gain more backlinks. For example, you could reach out to your college alums, attend local dental conferences, or speak with other local business owners in your area. Furthermore, if you’re a member of local organizations, you can ask them to include a link to your practice’s website.
4. Publish Press Releases
One tried-and-true method of building backlinks is publishing press releases, which provide local coverage and increase visibility. Consider writing a press release about your practice’s participation in local events or charity work. For example, you could provide pro bono dental work to a member of your local community.
Most experts recommend publishing one press release per quarter.
5. Ask Patients for Online Reviews
Asking patients for online reviews about their experience with your dental office is an effective way to build more local backlinks. Of course, not every patient will leave you a review. However, you can offer an incentive (like a discount or a gift card to a local business) that will improve the chances of receiving patient feedback.
In addition, our solution includes an Online Reviews feature, which automatically sends feedback requests to every patient after their appointment. It’s an excellent way to build credibility and brand awareness in your local community.
6. Thought Leadership
As a dental professional, you have valuable knowledge and experience that you can leverage to improve your SEO and backlink-building strategies. One way to do this is with thought leadership or writing online for dental magazines, digital publications, or blogs. Target websites with high domain authority to increase the value and quality of your backlinks.
Bolster Your SEO Techniques with Local Backlinks
One of the most common SEO mistakes for dental practices is failing to invest time and effort into building local backlinks. You can publish press releases, contact your professional business connections, ask patients to leave reviews, and submit your dental practice’s information to local business directories.
Do you want to learn more about the advanced software solutions we offer for dental professionals? Schedule a demo today of our product and see how we can help drive growth for your dental practice.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can help drive growth and success for your dental practice. However, building a successful SEO strategy involves leveraging several different factors. In this post, we answer the question "What is crawling in SEO?" and explain how it affects your dental practice's website and marketing strategy.
Crawling for SEO: What is it?
So what is crawling in SEO?
Google and other search engines use bots to evaluate and categorize the content of websites. Since these search engine crawlers are bots and don't have eyes to see and read like humans, they "crawl" pages to determine the type, value, and quality of content they contain.
These bots crawl pages, following new links for updated information, and then use that to index web pages and rank them in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Crawling falls under the category of technical SEO.
So, why is crawling important? By incorporating SEO techniques that make it easier for bots to crawl and index your website, you have a better chance of increasing visibility, boosting your ranking in the SERPs, and driving more traffic.
However, as a service-based business, dentists need to capture local leads that will convert into new patients and more profit. Nationwide traffic won't provide the same results as web traffic from your local community.
Using Local SEO Techniques to Improve Crawlability
Several techniques can help improve the crawlability of your website while complementing your local dental SEO strategy. At Dental Intelligence, our dental practice software features important tools like Online Reviews, which help you manage your reputation and establish credibility and authority.
Here are more SEO tips to help crawler bots categorize and index your dental practice's website faster and more accurately.
1. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
One crucial SEO tactic that can help your dental practice website with crawlers is mobile optimization. Google uses a mobile-first index when crawling web pages, which means it evaluates the mobile version. As such, optimizing your website for mobile devices, like making sure it's responsive and will adapt to smaller screen sizes, is paramount and supports easier crawling and indexing.
2. Utilize Local Backlinks
Internal links, external links, and backlinks are essentially votes of confidence for your dental website and establish trust, authority, and credibility. When you have multiple high-quality local backlinks for your website, it creates domain authority and shows the crawler bots that your website contains relevant, useful, and informative content.
However, be sure that your backlinks are from authority websites related to the dental industry. Otherwise, it could negatively affect your crawlability and index score.
3. Focus on Quality Content
Search engine crawlers evaluate the content of your website as a vital ranking factor. Focus on using content for your dental website that is high-quality, helpful, relevant, and provides value to your patient base and target market.
For example, you want to avoid red flags like duplicate content, stolen content, keyword stuffing, and spamming backlinks. Content is king in SEO, and if you use unethical SEO tactics like the ones we just listed, the crawlers will not rank your website very highly, reducing its performance and visibility.
4. Use Structured Data
Another way to improve the crawlability of your dental practice's website is with structured data. Structured data for SEO allows search engine crawlers to add rich snippets from your content to the SERPs, which gives your website a distinct edge over the competition.
Structured data can include schemas like a sitemap, logo, reviews, or a local business markup, the right-hand box on the SERPs containing your dental office's name, address, phone number, and other critical business details. It supports your local SEO strategy and provides easily accessible information to crawler bots when they need to evaluate your page.
Intelligently Shape the Future of Practice
So, what is crawling in SEO? Here's the main takeaway: search engines use crawler bots to "read," categorize, and index your website, affecting its visibility, local traffic, and page ranking in the SERPs.
At Dental Intelligence, we offer a range of cutting-edge software for dental professionals to streamline practice management, increase productivity, and drive growth among their target market. Schedule a demo of our product and learn more about how we can build success for your dental practice.
Even missing one employee can throw your entire schedule off, resulting in overworked staff, longer wait times, and a poor patient experience.
Currently, the dental field is having trouble filling various positions, including dental assistants, hygienists, and even receptionists. Below, we discuss the current labor shortage and tips for helping dentists with understaffed teams keep their practices running smoothly.
Why the Dental Industry Is Facing Unprecedented Labor Shortages
After the pandemic, healthcare professions were among the highest-risk occupations for American workers, and dentists were at the top of the list. Almost overnight, practices closed up shop.
As the shutdown continued, patients put off routine and elective care appointments for months. Once restrictions eased up, the rapid increase in patient volume created an inevitable bottleneck.
According to Marko Vujicic1, the vice president and chief economist of the Health Policy Institute at the American Dental Association, around 40% of dental practices in America were actively searching for knowledgeable employees to fill open positions in August of 2022.
Furthermore, 90% of those practices found it “extremely difficult” to find suitable candidates. Nationwide, dental practices are dealing with overworked staff, months-long scheduling backups, and loss of productivity.
Five Ways to Deal with Shortage of Staff at Your Dental Practice
1. Start Every Morning with a Daily Game Plan
If your dental practice is short on staff, getting through the workday without any bumps or obstacles can be a challenge. In addition, your team has to pick up the slack and handle the extra work until you hire a suitable candidate. With our Morning Huddle and other software solutions, you can increase dental production and start the day with clear communication between your staff for a more efficient workflow.
2. Streamline Scheduling and Patient Care Systems
When you’re down a staff member and facing a busy day and full appointment schedule, every minute counts. Investing in Online Scheduling and systems for patient care and practice management can help you streamline your workday, increase efficiency, and create a more convenient and positive experience for your patients.
However, using two or more systems can be cumbersome. Instead, look for a single, centralized system that makes it fast and easy to switch between tasks and facilitate all your essential workday tasks at once. Dentists with more than one practice location will particularly benefit from this time-saving solution.
3. Go Paperless with Cloud-Based Platforms
When learning how to deal with a shortage of staff, one of the best things to do is go paperless.
Dental practices generate a lot of paperwork, from patient treatment plans to consent forms, medical records, billing, and more. Dealing with all this paperwork makes it harder to manage proper care for your patients and can put extra stress on staff, not to mention the security risk it poses. However, you can eliminate that issue and save time by going paperless with a cloud-based platform that offers features like Digital Forms and Consents, flexible payment options, Virtual Check-In, and more.
4. Be Proactive Against Burnout
Dental professionals working in an understaffed practice are at a high risk of suffering from burnout. Being proactive in fighting against this issue is important, as employee morale significantly impacts the quality of care your practice provides.
For example, you can take steps to pinpoint the triggers that affect your staff the most through an anonymous survey. Some factors might include excess overtime hours, lack of support, and working through breaks. Then, you can determine which problems are the most pressing and how to solve them, ensuring your current staff remains happy, productive, and engaged.
5. Cast a Wide Net When Hiring
Dental staff recruitment can be a challenging and time-consuming process. When searching for suitable candidates, use every resource available to you. For example, you can look on LinkedIn, post jobs on your Facebook page or website, use online job boards, or post openings at nearby dental schools.
Put time and effort into creating job postings to entice qualified candidates to apply. Casting a wide net can help you fill job openings faster and reduce the time and money spent recruiting.
Advanced Software Solutions for Dental Professionals: Dental Intelligence
Knowing how to deal with a shortage of staff at your dental practice is critical to its continued success. With our cutting-edge solutions at Dental Intelligence, you can drive growth, streamline your workflow, and keep your practice thriving even when understaffed. Schedule a demo today!
Dealing with insurance sucks — for patients and as a practice.
From the patient standpoint, it’s difficult to figure out which procedures are or aren’t covered as well as at what rates and how often. It can be even more disappointing when they don’t get the amount of coverage they were expecting.
As a practice, insurance companies probably aren’t your best friend either. Working with insurance companies is becoming more complicated and time-consuming for practices.
First, it’s a challenge to verify a patient’s insurance benefits. You either have to call the insurance company or look up the patient’s information online — that is if the insurance company provides this information online. And when you call in, you probably wait on hold longer than you have time for. Some insurance companies even limit how many codes you can provide per phone call.
Then, to get reimbursed, you're required to provide nothing short of a book report with in-depth explanations and detailed images for each procedure for each patient.
Even worse, reimbursement rates aren’t going up. Insurance companies also like to play the “stall as long as you can” game when it comes to paying you. They also like to find even the smallest mistake they can to deny a claim.
It’s a lot of work for a potentially small payout. And it doesn’t appear that the archaic ways of the dental insurance industry are changing anytime soon.
So how can you collect insurance payments more efficiently when it seems like the odds aren’t in your favor?
Enter: Dental Intelligence Insurance.
Dental Intelligence Insurance makes it less time consuming for you to collect insurance payment and easier to keep track of claims all in one place. This brand new module includes Eligibility Verification and Claims Processing and works hand in hand with Dental Intelligence Analytics and Engagement. So let’s break down each of these new features this module has to offer.
With real-time eligibility verification, you can quickly verify any patients’ insurance benefits. No need to have multiple windows or tabs open.
Reduce your office wait times by verifying patients’ insurance within moments — or better yet, before they even come into the office. If you’re using Dental Intelligence Digital Forms, you can gather insurance information from patients before the appointment and verify their insurance eligibility well in advance.
Spend more time with patients and focus on other important tasks instead of spending hours a day on the phone or online verifying insurance.
Submitting claims isn’t only time-consuming, but can also be costly. Most insurance companies charge per attachment and even limit the number of claims that can be submitted each month. With Dental Intelligence Insurance, you can submit an unlimited amount of claims as well as the attachments associated with them, all for the same low cost.
We also use standard X12 formatting for faster, more precise processing, greatly reducing the risk of human error. If something is entered incorrectly, Dental Intelligence Insurance will flag the claim and let you know what is missing or invalid before they’re processed to insurance.
Process, track and manage all your claims in one spot. Our real-time view allows you to see status updates, rejection reasons, and other smart notifications. Increase your approval rate and accelerate insurance reimbursements with Claims Processing.
In the rare case that an insurance company doesn’t accept electronic submissions, Dental Intelligence Insurance will automatically print claims and mail them for you at no extra cost. That way, you don’t have to remember which insurance companies accept electronic submissions and which don’t.
Easily sync bank deposits with ERA. Plus, get paid all in the same place with the combined power of Dental Intelligence Insurance and Payments.
If you’re part of a DSO, our centralized view allows you to see claims across all locations so you can stay on top of insurance reimbursements throughout your organization.
Save time and get paid faster with Dental Intelligence
Let Dental Intelligence help you manage insurance all in one place, so you can get back to focusing on patient care. Schedule a free demo today and begin collecting insurance payment more efficiently.
Some patient encounters can place you and your dental staff in awkward situations. Still, you must learn to resolve these issues calmly to avoid hurting your reputation with other patients. Effective communication can be challenging to master, but it is essential for the success of your business.
Understanding the types of concerns patients may have and how to read verbal and nonverbal communication is a good place to start to navigate difficult conversations with patients.
What Types of Patients Are Common in Dental Practices?
You should not expect all of your patients to be happy and enthusiastic during their visits. Dental problems can cause irritability, stress, and anxiety for many people who come through your door. In extreme cases, these issues could result in loud patient outbursts in your office.
Suppose you have a patient who has a fear of dental offices. They may cry or scream during treatment. Patients may also become angry with your staff after learning their insurance won’t cover a specific treatment.
Knowing how to handle these difficult situations will keep you from receiving poor reviews or upsetting other patients in the office.
How Can Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Help You Navigate Difficult Patient Interactions?
Reading body language is essential when communicating with your patients. Even if a patient does not cry or yell, you may be able to read their emotions by observing some key signals.
For example, an anxious patient may shake or display a “thousand-yard-stare” — two coping mechanisms some people use to manage fear. Unhappy patients may cross their arms, scowl, or clench their teeth. Monitor these cues to determine your next action.
Take a deep breath before you approach your patient. A cool-headed response will always de-escalate a problem over a rash, heated exchange. Allow the conversation to be a two-way discussion by politely asking your patient to explain the problem they are experiencing.
Do your best to understand their perspective and respond accordingly. If a patient is late to their appointment and upset about the cancellation, acknowledge that this problem happens occasionally and offer to reschedule them for the next opening. Politely educate the patient by explaining why the cancellation is necessary to ensure that other patients in line remain on schedule.
Dealing with difficult patients can be an ongoing process for your dental practice. It may be a good idea to accommodate regularly problematic patients with extra resources and follow-ups.
Tips and Communication Strategies to De-Escalate Conversations with Difficult Patients
By following these best practices, you can deal with difficult patients, acknowledge their concerns, and provide quality care:
- Use tools like 2-Way Communication to streamline patient communication online and over the phone to prevent confusion during visits. You may be able to prevent problems before they start by managing your patients’ expectations ahead of time.
- Explain Treatment Plans in detail so your patients can prepare for examinations or dental procedures without stress.
- Create a warm and welcoming dental office for your patients to help anxious patients relax. If they still show signs of anxiety or discomfort (remember to watch their body language), ask them if they would feel safer if you added extra layers of personal protection equipment.
- Always put the patient first when speaking and provide practical solutions: “What would you like from us to help resolve this issue?” or “I understand that X problem is causing you discomfort. Would Y solution help?”
If a difficult patient tries arguing with your front desk staff or back office healthcare professionals, lead them into a private, one-on-one conversation. Removing them from a group setting makes the situation feel less confrontational.
How to Prepare Your Dental Office for Difficult Patients
Train your staff on how to communicate with patients professionally. You can schedule regular team meetings to discuss policies and strategies. Make sure that your team can balance phone calls, emails, and appointments to prevent delays that may upset patients.
Keep an eye on the morale of your employees. A happy staff will provide better, level-headed communication during difficult situations.
Communication Skills That Help You Maintain a Positive Reputation
Effective communication is an important aspect of dental care. With the right information, you can nurture a positive patient experience.
At Dental Intelligence, we can help you avoid dental patient communication mistakes. Contact us to discuss our state-of-the-art solutions for dealing with difficult patients and schedule a demo to see it in action.
Answering every phone call your office receives can be challenging if your staff manages a busy schedule. Setting up a professional voicemail greeting is a convenient way to communicate your services to potential customers and provide quality service even when you can’t answer the phone.
Knowing what to include in your message is essential for keeping your patients happy and promoting customer retention.
How Can an Effective Dental Office Voicemail Improve Patient Relationships?
Prospective patients expect you to pick up the phone when they call. Busy or unanswered phone calls discourage them from reaching out a second time.
Your dental office voicemail greeting should assure your callers that you care about their concerns and will get back to them at your earliest convenience. It should also encourage them to leave a message with contact information and the reason for their call.
Offering these basic courtesies ensures that your patients don’t feel ignored and helps your practice retain a professional image. Sometimes, a friendly voicemail greeting could mean the difference between a good and bad review on your practice’s Google listing.
Outbound voicemail messages could also be useful for your patient outreach strategy. Voicemail Drops enable you to leave messages for patients with appointment reminders or follow-ups without their phones ringing. This convenient tool prevents disruptions during their day and lets them listen whenever they please.
What Should You Consider When Building a Voicemail Script?
Creating your own voicemail greeting provides a touch of authenticity, but there are some common mistakes to avoid. Write your greeting on paper and rehearse it several times out loud before recording. This method helps you avoid wordiness or awkward pauses that may confuse your caller.
Record your greeting in a room with minimal background noise. Interference from crowds, indoor appliances, or electronics can make it hard for patients to hear your message.
You can avoid the hassle of creating a DIY greeting by investing in professional recordings from a reliable third-party service. This strategy may be practical if you have a sizable multilingual clientele. Professional voice actors can record the same greeting in another language, promoting a more inclusive experience for your patients.
What Are Some Examples of Dental Office Voicemails Your Practice Could Use?
Explore some of the most common dental office voicemail greeting examples:
“Hello, thank you for calling the dental office of X. Due to a high call volume, we cannot answer the phone at this time. After the beep, please leave a message with your name, number, and email address. We will call you back at our earliest convenience. Thank you.”
The above message is straightforward, giving your patients clear instructions on what to do next.
“Hi, thanks for calling the dental office of X. We are assisting other patients at this time and cannot pick up the phone. Leave a message with your name and number. Our staff will return your call as soon as possible.”
A casual greeting may improve patient relationships if you own a small practice.
“You have reached the dental office of X. We operate between the hours of Y and Z. We value your call but are unable to respond at this time. Please leave a message after the tone or use the keypad for more options: If you have questions about your billing, press one. If you would like to schedule an appointment, press two. Para español oprima tres.”
Formal greetings with a phone tree feature and multiple language options are best if you manage a larger practice.
How Can a Dental Practice Optimize Its Voicemail Features?
Managed dental office communication technology — such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) — lets you set custom voicemails, redirect callers to relevant digital extensions, and store incoming messages.
Consider rewriting your script if you notice patients aren’t leaving messages. It may also be worth asking a non-employee to test your voicemail and give feedback. This method offers you an outside perspective.
Dental Office Phone Solutions That Benefit You
Communication is key to your dental practice’s success. A professional dental office voicemail greeting demonstrates to your patients that you care about their time and encourages them to stay in touch.
Check out our blog to learn more about why your practice should be using Voicemail Drops. Schedule a demo today to learn about our suite of digital tools that improve phone communication and patient care at your practice.
Marketing your dental practice to a wider audience can be challenging without positive patient reviews. Over three-quarters of potential patients use reviews to decide which practices are worth visiting, so positive reviews are a powerful tool to grow your practice.
Many of your patients may not leave reviews after their appointments, which means you miss the opportunity for their positive word-of-mouth marketing to entice other patients to your dental practice. Understanding when and how to ask for reviews from your patients can help your practice solve many of the reasons patients don't leave reviews.
1. You Are Not Driving Patients Toward Reviews
Patients who don’t know where or how to leave reviews for your dental practice will simply not post them. Optimizing your business operations and encouraging patients to post their experiences is the first step to getting more engagement.
For example, you could post links to your website, Google, Facebook, and Yelp on posters around your office. These could read, “We Care About Your Opinion. Rate Your Experience With Our Staff!”
2. You Are Waiting Too Long to Request a Review
Waiting too long after appointments to email your patients with links to reviews can be a mistake. It’s best to reach out within 24 hours while their experience remains fresh.
3. You Don’t Automate Your Reviews
Your staff may not have the time to solicit reviews from every patient who comes through the door. Automating the process frees up time and resources and means you never forget to ask for a review.
You can set up emails or an automated calling system to contact your patients shortly after their visits. Dental Intelligence Online Reviews allows you to easily request reviews from patients.
4. You Are Pressuring Patients to Leave Reviews
Avoid using direct confrontation that pressures your patients into leaving reviews. Being too forceful can land you in an ethical gray area. This mistake discourages patients from taking time out of their day to leave positive feedback and could even drive your patients to another dentist.
5. You Respond Inappropriately to Negative Reviews
As your practice grows, you may receive a few negative reviews from hot-tempered patients. However, responding professionally to negative feedback helps you maintain a trustworthy public image and shows that you are receptive to patient concerns. People may be more willing to leave reviews when they see your staff respond appropriately to online comments.
6. Your Office Has Long Wait Times
Keep your dental practice running smoothly to avoid disappointed patients who aren't motivated to leave reviews. Poor service could even result in negative reviews.
Reduce wait times in your office with effective schedule management strategies, initiate follow-up calls, and keep patient records organized and accessible when they request them.
7. You Don’t Call Patients Back
Establish and optimize an office-wide phone system that allows your front desk staff to keep up with calls. Answering your patients’ calls and questions will encourage them to leave positive reviews about your practice.
You can also use your phones to contact patients on a waitlist if another patient cancels their appointment. Fitting them into the schedule sooner than they expected is a good look for your practice and may earn you a review.
8. Your Staff Behaves Unprofessionally
Unprofessional behavior from your staff will prevent you from getting the positive reviews you need. Train your staff to manage stressful work situations productively to ensure 100% professionalism during every patient interaction.
9. You Rush Your Patients Out the Door
Your practice may treat over a hundred patients every week. Still, it’s important not to make them feel rushed in and out of the office during appointments. Allowing them to process the customer service experience and make informed decisions about your practice significantly increases their chance of leaving reviews.
Dental Solutions That Help You Earn Positive Reviews
Many dental practices ignore the importance of earning positive reviews, but yours shouldn’t. The benefits of investing time to accommodate patients and resolve their concerns will help you boost outreach and fill your appointment slots.
At Dental Intelligence, we know how to get more online reviews for practices like yours. Schedule a demo today and see how reviews can help your practice grow.
In order to grow, you have to be willing to adapt. The world around us is constantly changing, and dentistry is no exception — how we do dentistry is always changing through new technologies and processes.
Growth isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But with a constant, concerted effort, you can implement scalable changes to help your DSO thrive.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Brandi Williams of Catalyst Dental Allies, a DSO based out of Edmond, Oklahoma. She has almost thirty years of experience helping practices grow in various roles, from dental assistant to insurance coordinator to office manager, and now, VP of Growth.
“This is the perfect time to rewrite the rules of dentistry,” Brandi said. “It's time to think outside of the box and kind of pioneer the new frontier of dentistry. I think there are endless possibilities right now.”
When Brandi walks into one of her offices, she always finds an opportunity for growth. She uses data to find growth opportunities and then implements new processes to achieve the desired outcome.
Here are three key takeaways from Brandi that have helped her grow practices successfully.
1. Implement New Processes Effectively
It’s challenging to create a new process and then get an entire team to adopt it. Some might say if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. But if you can make it better, why not try?
To get new processes to stick, Brandi finds accountability is key.
“I've discovered the best way to get buy-in is setting the expectation and getting a commitment from each person on the team, and then holding them accountable by following up.”
Previously, Brandi would quickly check in with team members to see how they were doing with applying new systems. However, she found she wasn’t getting the traction she needed from her team. Recently, she’s started to refocus how she spends her time by scheduling time to meet and follow up with team members.
“Now I understand the importance of having these meetings and spending a little more time on the why behind the process,” Brandi said. “I don't always have to spend as much time retraining and explaining if I put the time in the front end.”
Brandi also started applying weekly scorecards with measurements every team is responsible for completing. That way, they have ownership of their practice.
Communication is key to implementing new processes effectively. Each team member must clearly understand your expectations of doing their part to improve the practice.
2. Discover Opportunities with Data
Data helps you see where you are and where you are projected to go, but without knowing the story or the “why” behind the numbers, you won’t be able to know how to improve.
With Dental Intelligence, we help you see the story your data is telling so you can intelligently shape the future of your practice.
“Dental Intelligence allows us to dive deeper,” Brandi said. “The metrics from Dental Intelligence give us a great landscape of how the practice is doing, but then we're able to take that to the next step.”
Brandi uses Dental Intelligence to make important decisions with her practices, so they know where they need to focus their efforts. Once Brandi and her team determine what needs to be changed, automation from DI helps implement those changes smoothly. For example, if she discovers a practice has room for improvement with their accounts receivable, her team will then use Dental Intelligence Payments to collect payment through the automated text-to-pay features.
Dental Intelligence not only allows Catalyst Dental Allies to automate their processes, but also saves valuable time.
“The last thing we want is for anyone to spend hours and hours on reporting, just for the sake of reporting,” Brandi said. “It's more beneficial for them to be able to know where to find the number and understand where the number is coming from and why.”
3. Fill Chairs with Online Scheduling
Keeping chairs filled is a problem practices often face. Calling patients to schedule is time-consuming and exhausting. You say the same thing repeatedly and get rejected…a lot.
In the past, Brandi’s practices had an appointment request option on their website, but that didn’t prove very effective either.
“Patients would get lost in a sea of emails and it just wasn't very patient interactive,” Brandi said.
A process that only allows for appointment requests and not fully booked appointments creates more work for the practice. Brandi discovered most appointment requests came in after hours when patients were available to schedule. Usually, by the time someone followed up the next day, they would be busy, and phone tag ensued.
When Brandi first heard about Dental Intelligence Online Scheduling, she was skeptical of the power it could provide for her practices. However, that all changed when Brandi had firsthand experience using it in her practices.
One day while filling in at one of their practices, Brandi faced a dilemma. She had a new provider starting soon and knew that meant many new openings in her schedule, but didn’t want to spend hours calling patients. That’s when she decided to experiment with Online Scheduling.
“I'm just clicking a button — it's the craziest thing,” Brandi said. “Nobody told me ‘no,’ and it took me 20 seconds.”
She started sending bulk scheduling messages from a premade list of patients due for hygiene. During that month, that practice had nearly 50 appointments booked online. When comparing that number to the number of phone calls she would have had to make, it was clearly a game changer.
“It's so rewarding to see that I did this and now look at how many patients are scheduled.”
Boost Your Practice’s Performance Today
Stay ahead of the dental industry by implementing automated tools into your practice. Find powerful insights with Metrics and Reporting and make impactful decisions. No matter how big or small your DSO is, DI will help you boost your practice’s performance and find opportunities for growth. Schedule a free demo today to see how Dental Intelligence can help you intelligently shape the future of your practice(s).
You run a top-notch dental practice but don’t get a lot of new patients and struggle to get existing patients to reschedule. Does that sound familiar? If so, you might not be using social media to market your dental practice effectively.
With dental marketing by Dental Intelligence, you can learn the importance of social media for dentists and tips for marketing on popular social platforms.
The Many Benefits of Social Media for Dentists
While social media marketing might seem outside the realm of providing excellent dental care, investing resources into it can benefit your practice and enhance the patient experience. Here are several ways social media marketing helps your dental clinic:
Reach More Patients
Most of your current and potential dental patients use social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. When you post on social media, you’re reaching a huge audience of people, including those looking for a local dental clinic. Therefore, improving your social media presence can lead to acquiring more new patients.
Compared to paid ads on local TV and radio stations, social media marketing is a more affordable way to spread the word about your dental clinic.
Creating a social media profile, making posts, and sharing pictures and videos are marketing strategies that don’t cost money. Even paid ads on social media are typically more cost-effective than ads on other channels.
Higher Patient Engagement
By going to where your patients spend time online, you have a lot more opportunities to engage with them outside of the dental clinic. Posting interesting content, such as dentistry-related memes or educational videos, leads to likes and comments from your target audience.
Engaged patients are more likely to schedule appointments or refer your practice to friends and family.
Increased Brand Awareness
Higher brand awareness leads to more referrals, more new patients, and increased patient loyalty. Social media marketing is one of the best ways to increase your dental clinic’s brand awareness. When you post unique, eye-catching content on your profile, you can begin to gather a more significant following online.
It’s essential to showcase how your practice stands out from the competition, influencing potential patients to choose your dental clinic over other practices in the area.
More Website Traffic
Increased website traffic helps your business in several ways. When you share links to your site on social media, users can easily find out more about your clinic and schedule an appointment. Higher traffic also leads to improved rankings on search engines like Google, helping you get more clicks and attract new patients.
Social Media Platforms Dentists Should Be Using
When choosing which social media platforms to use for your dental practice, you should consider the types of content and users that visit each channel. To help you make the best choice for your clinic, we’ll provide details on a few of the most popular social media for dentists.
In July 20221, Facebook had 2.9 billion active users worldwide, so it’s no surprise that the site is one of the most popular platforms for advertising local businesses.
Facebook works best for:
- Patient testimonials
- News and announcements
- Educational posts
- Product promotions
Instagram has higher engagement from younger audiences and is primarily a platform for pictures and videos. Dental practices often use Instagram to promote visual content, such as before and after photos.
As such, this social media site works best for:
- Funny or educational video content
- Posts about office culture
- Product promotions
- Highlights from webinars, podcasts, etc.
Many dental clinics have joined YouTube to share interesting, educational content related to dental care. With long-from videos, you have the opportunity to teach users about various dental procedures, which can ease the anxiety many people have about going to the dentist.
This works best for:
- Educational videos
- Office tours
- Patient testimonials
- Interviews with the dental team
TikTok has a massive young audience and showcases short videos that users can view in seconds. It’s important to create concise and eye-catching content to stop people from scrolling past.
TikTok works best for:
- Before and after videos
- Entertaining content
- Quick educational videos
- Office culture videos
Attract More Patients with Simple Dental Marketing Tools
At Dental Intelligence, we help dental practices create lasting relationships with patients, leading to enhanced business growth and overall better dental care. You can use our software to streamline your office’s procedures, including scheduling, reminders, and payments.
Find out how Dental Intelligence can take your practice to the next level. Schedule a demo today!
With so many dental practices reaching out to the same pool of clients, attracting and retaining loyal patients can be challenging. However, there is a simple, cost-effective solution: email marketing. Email marketing for dentistry can help your clinic stand out and boost your business — you just need to follow a few practical tips.
Benefits of an Effective Email Marketing Strategy
A well-thought-out email marketing strategy comes with many benefits. Some are intangible, while others have concrete numbers and data to back them up. You can boil down the numerous benefits to two general categories:
- Increased engagement
- Decreased cancelations
Email marketing campaigns enable you to engage with your clients like never before. You can maintain the conversation with current patients, keeping them in the loop and looking forward to their next appointment. You can also effectively reach out to prospective patients, providing information about your dental clinic and prompting them to book an appointment.
The other primary benefit of email marketing for dentistry is decreased cancelations. No one likes crossing names off the appointment list. With effective emailing, you can minimize no-shows and maximize revenue.
Five Tips for Your Practice's Email Marketing Campaign
If you are new to the world of dental marketing, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Learning about A/B testing, bounce rates, conversions, CTRs, and other technical terms might leave you confused and stressed out. Below, we lay out some straightforward tips to help you create a killer email marketing strategy.
1. Choose a Top-notch Email Marketing Platform
Developing an effective email marketing campaign starts with choosing the right platform. An unprofessional, poorly designed email will turn potential patients away in a heartbeat. On the flip side, software for world-class marketers might be more than what you need.
As you find the best email marketing platforms for your needs, consider asking the following questions:
- Does the platform offer a wide selection of beautiful templates or a start-from-scratch option?
- Does the platform offer automated email campaigns?
- Does the platform have mobile-friendly email designs?
- Does the platform allow you to import contacts easily?
2. Set Clear Goals for Email Campaigns
Clear goals are a must for any business-related endeavor, and that includes email marketing. You should identify specific goals before launching any campaign. Some of the most common marketing objectives for dentists include the following:
- Attracting more patients
- Increasing revenue
- Building relationships with current patients
- Preventing appointment cancelations
Keep in mind that different types of emails have different purposes. For example, welcome emails introduce the recipient to your clinic and start the conversation. Promotional emails, on the other hand, showcase a product or service. Determine your campaign goal, then choose the appropriate type of email.
3. Focus on Important Dates
When it comes to email marketing for dentistry, you must consider important dates at your clinic. For example, this could be the best time of year to get veneers or teeth cleaning. Important dates could also be timeframes when your clinic offers discounts.
You can start planning your email marketing campaigns around these points in the year. It will help keep your message relevant, increase open rates, and encourage engagement.
4. Expand Your Mailing List
Emailing is still one of the top communication methods, despite the latest technological advancements and countless social media platforms. In lieu of this, collecting email addresses should be a high priority. You want to do everything you can to expand your mailing list.
An easy way to add patients to your mailing list is with pop-up forms on your clinic's website. You can also have a physical sign-up sheet in the waiting room. Many practices include a link on their Twitter or Instagram bios, sending users to a landing page.
5. Keep Track of Analytics
Creating successful email marketing campaigns is an ongoing process. Pressing "send" deserves a celebration, but that is only the beginning. The analytics and insights you gain from previous campaigns will help you develop more effective strategies down the road.
Analytics are critical in knowing what works and what doesn't with regard to marketing. By keeping track of the numbers, you can:
- Know the ideal time to send emails based on when recipients typically check their inbox
- Determine what to include in the emails based on what people click on the most
Email Marketing Solutions for Your Dental Clinic
Email marketing for dentistry does not have to be complicated. At Dental Intelligence, we know the most effective digital marketing strategies for dentists to help you grow your practice. Schedule a demo today to get started!
Everyone likes healthy, beautiful-looking teeth, but not everyone enjoys paying the associated costs. If payments are a pain point for your dental practice, consider using an upfront payment policy. Dental Intelligence Payments can help your clinic avoid common issues like late payments and overdue dental bills.
Payment policies are a subject few dental clinicians like to discuss. However, you will want to consider upfront payments for several essential reasons.
What Are the Benefits of Requiring Upfront Payment?
With upfront payments, your patients will pay the entire bill before receiving treatment. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but requiring clients to pay the cost upfront offers several short-term and long-term benefits for your dental practice.
1. Satisfying Clients
Customer satisfaction is one of the highest priorities in dentistry. The best clinics provide outstanding dental care that focuses on the patient's needs and preferences. Such preferences and needs extend to paying bills.
Routine cleanings might not be expensive, and a patient's insurance will likely cover them, but what about root canals or veneers? Potential clients do not want hefty bills hanging over their heads while in the dental chair.
Requiring upfront payments is an excellent way to keep your clients happy. It offers them peace of mind, reassuring them that they will not receive a bill after the appointment. It also helps build trust and establish long-standing relationships.
2. Reducing No-shows
Many dental practices struggle with no-shows and cancelations. Patients may schedule an appointment, forget about it or balk at the potential bill, and fail to show up. Some will cancel or postpone their appointments due to concerns about debt.
Upfront payments help minimize such problems by enforcing commitments. If a patient has to pay the entire payment upfront, you can bet they will arrive on appointment day. In addition, you will not need to worry about labor costs and compensation for your office staff.
3. Increasing Revenue
Good dental clinics maintain a client-first mentality. At the end of the day, though, your practice is a business. You cannot survive very long in the healthcare industry (or any industry, for that matter) if your total revenue does not exceed your expenses.
Another significant benefit of requiring upfront payment is increased revenue. Upfront payment policies lead to higher client satisfaction, which results in more clients coming to you for dental care. More clients equal more revenue.
Additionally, patients might not pay the entire bill for weeks if you send it in the mail after a procedure. Delayed payments can mean cash flow backups and financial uncertainty for your clinic. You can avoid these issues by implementing an upfront payment policy.
How Do You Avoid Problems with Upfront Payment?
Upfront payment is one of the best solutions to satisfying clients, reducing no-shows and cancelations, and increasing overall revenue. However, this does not mean conflicts will not arise. Here are three practical ways to prepare for these conflicts and avoid potential problems in the future:
- Provide accurate estimates: The trouble often comes when a clinic requires upfront payment but provides an inaccurate estimate. If the estimate is too low, the patient will pay more than expected and might never come back. You can preserve your reputation and prevent this fiasco by providing accurate cost estimates.
- Train your office staff: Discussing medical bills and required payments can be touchy. With adequate training, your dental staff can handle the subject sensitively and knowledgeably. You can have necessary conversations without annoying your patients or offering misguided financial advice.
- Offer various payment methods: Some dental patients prefer to write a check, while others exclusively use credit or debit cards. As such, you should offer multiple payment methods with your upfront payment policy. This ensures the payment process is convenient and easy, with as little hassle for the client as possible.
Get Dental Solutions for Your Clinic Today
While many dental practices use post-care billing methods, an upfront payment might be a better way to go. This method requires patients to cover treatment costs before sitting in the dental chair — no bills or payment reminders sent to them in the mail. It is an excellent way for your clinic to maintain long-standing relationships and steady income.
At Dental Intelligence, we have the tools and know-how to boost your dental practice. We can improve your collections with payments and help you achieve your clinic's goals. Schedule a free demo with us today to see what we can do for you!
Providing top-quality care for patients and staff should be your dental practice's highest priority. However, you cannot ignore the fact that your clinic is a business. By embracing payment technologies, you can better balance your healthcare priorities and business goals.
Why Should Your Practice Use Payment Technologies?
Upgrading payment processing technology like Dental Intelligence Payments might seem overwhelming and unnecessary at first, but it will help your business stand out from the crowd now and in the future. At Dental Intelligence, we have the resources to help you embrace these technologies.
Paying for dental care should be as fast and hassle-free as possible. However, filling out lengthy forms, waiting in line, and writing a check can be frustrating after getting a tooth pulled. The more hoops a patient has to jump through, the less likely they will be to even start.
Payment technologies make the payment process quick and painless. You can collect bills on time and let patients move on with their merry lives. A fast, convenient payment process means more money for you and more satisfaction for your clients.
Most people carry very little cash and hardly use their checkbooks, preferring to make payments online with credit or debit cards. However, many healthcare facilities still require paper payments. It creates a significant issue for some patients — younger generations, particularly.
One of the biggest reasons your dental practice should invest in payment technologies is the flexibility factor. Contactless payments come in various options to suit everyone's preferences and needs, so your patients can pay using the method that works best for them.
Recurring billing is another reason to upgrade your dental clinic's payment technology. This type of billing is essential for any industry where customers make regular, frequent purchases. It keeps you from requesting the same credit card information over and over again.
Patients may want to use recurring payments for regular treatments, such as teeth cleaning. Online and mobile payments make it possible. Clients can set the amount and frequency of each payment, ensuring that they pay the bills promptly and correctly.
Have you ever entered your personal and credit card information online and worried about security? Unfortunately, many patients feel the same way when paying medical or dental bills. Transaction security is a must to protect your clients and business reputation.
Modern payment technologies come with PCI-DSS and HIPAA-compliant features to keep every transaction safe and secure. No more nervous customers using digital currencies. No more checks getting lost in the mail.
Security is critical to building trust with your patients. It is the first step toward your dental practice establishing long-lasting, valuable relationships.
Some healthcare clinics hesitate to purchase new technology due to pricing concerns. It does not cost a penny to pass a check from hand to hand. However, online transactions might include a substantial processing fee.
If additional fees and costs are your primary concern, you can rest easy. Mobile payments typically cost no more than other payment methods. That said, you should speak with your bank or credit card provider to learn about potential charges.
Paper payments require paper statements and physical places to store these records. With payment technologies, you can integrate the process with other powerful tools that turn time-consuming manual tasks into efficient, automated ones. For example, your clients can access paperless statements anytime from anywhere in the world.
In addition to efficiency, integrated payment solutions help your clinic keep in step with advancing technology. The next big thing in payment technologies will inevitably build on what is available currently. Upgrading today will ensure you stay ready for tomorrow.
Dental Payment Solutions That Benefit Your Practice and Patients
If you are looking for ways to upgrade your dental practice, consider investing in payment technologies. Contactless payments offer flexibility and convenience, making the payment process go as smoothly as possible. They also keep transactions secure and your clinic on the road to success.
Want to learn more about HIPAA-compliant payment processes for dental practices? At Dental Intelligence, our team has you covered! Schedule a demo today and see how we can help.
The meta title and description of your web page play an essential role in your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). By using SEO best practices, your dental clinic can climb the search rankings to appear at the top of the results when someone searches for local dental practices.
Below, we give a rundown of the best practices for creating optimized meta titles and descriptions, also known as meta tags.
How Do the Meta Title and Description Help with SEO?
Your meta title and description describe the content of your web page, providing a short summary for individuals using Google or other search engines to find dental practices.
Meta tags have two important functions:
- Letting search engines know what your content is about
- Influencing users to click your link instead of the competition’s
Optimizing your meta title and description for each page is the key to increasing your website’s click-through rate, leading to more new patients for your dental clinic.
Why You Should Optimize Meta Title Tags for Dental SEO
The title tag represents the title of your web page, allowing users to quickly identify what the blog post or service page is about. It should be unique and eye-catching, leading to more clicks from potential dental patients.
Follow Title Tag Best Practices
SEO experts have determined the best practices for creating title tags for Google and other search engines. When deciding the right title tag for your dental web page, you should follow these guidelines for best results:
- Keep titles under 60 characters
- Use action words to answer what, how, why, and where
- Avoid using duplicate title tags
Use Target Keywords
Target keywords are a vital part of SEO, so you should include them in your title tags. The keywords you use depend on the page content, but they should be words or phrases that users commonly search for to find the dental service you’re offering.
Examples of these include:
- “Dentist near me”
- “Dental implants”
- “Teeth whitening cost”
Write with a Unique Voice
If you’re competing with other dental practices, it’s crucial to make your title tags stand out from the competition. Potential dental patients are more likely to click on a link with an interesting title that matches their search intent. Use descriptive words to highlight the unique selling points of your dental practice, such as “Affordable Dental Implants in New York.”
Optimizing Meta Descriptions for Dental SEO
While meta descriptions don’t directly influence search engines to improve your ranking, they can indirectly help your dental practices reach the top of search results by improving your click-through rate.
Use the Right Character Limit
You should keep your description under 155 characters. If the description is longer than 155 characters, Google will cut off the text, making it less likely for users to click on your web page.
Add a Strong CTA
One of the most important aspects of a meta description is the call-to-action (CTA), which prompts the user to take a specific action that leads to the solution they’re searching for.
For example, a CTA can be:
- Learn more
- Call us now
- Schedule an appointment today
Include Target Keywords
It’s crucial to include your target keyword and other related keywords in your meta description. It does two things to help optimize your web page’s performance. It influences Google to use your meta description in the results and attracts more users by matching their search query.
Use Actionable Language
A description with an active voice can draw more potential dental patients in by addressing their problem and describing the solution your web page provides. A clear, actionable description is much more attractive to users than one that gives a dull summary of the content.
Make it Unique but Relevant
Your description should be unique and compelling, but it should always relate to the content on the page. Search engines will know if you use a description that isn’t relevant to the content on your page, hurting your ranking in the search results.
Optimize Your Dental Practice with Dental Intelligence
With Dental Intelligence, you can discover the most important details about the state of your dental clinic using our innovative software that connects with your existing systems. With the information we give you access to, you can streamline your office operations and save hundreds of hours monthly.
Schedule a demo today and see how Dental Intelligence can help intelligently shape the future of your practice.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing practice that helps your website reach the first page of Google. When you use structured data for SEO purposes, you can significantly enhance the appearance and functionality of your dental practice’s web page links in the search results pages of Google and other search engines.
Read on to learn the purpose and benefits of structured data, including tips for how to get started adding structured data markups to your dental clinic’s website.
What Is Structured Data for SEO?
Structured data is a tool for helping search engines like Google understand how to interpret and display the content on your web page. While languages like the one you’re reading now are a great way for humans to communicate, they’re too ambiguous for search engines.
By using structured data for SEO, you’re speaking the language of the search engines, explicitly labeling specific content on your web pages with information that Google, Bing, or Yahoo can use to create a rich version of your page’s search result.
You can create structured data using supported markup vocabulary, such as Schema. Using Schema’s website1, you can find standardized markups for whatever data type you want to tag on your site.
Some Examples of Structured Data
You can find hundreds of schema markup types, which typically fall into the following categories:
Rich snippets are enhancements for your web page in search engine results pages (SERPs), displaying information like reviews, images, and location data. Rather than simply having the title and description, your web page result shows users helpful information to enrich the search experience and increase organic traffic to your site.
Rich cards are the mobile version of rich snippets. When someone types their search query into a mobile device, rich cards will be at the top of the page. Considering how many people use smartphones to find information, rich cards are highly beneficial to boost the visibility of your dental website.
In Google search results, a knowledge panel appears to the right of the results and includes key information from the web page’s content. The typical content in a knowledge panel about a local business includes:
- Opening hours
- Phone number
Breadcrumbs replace URLs above the title of search results pages, indicating the relationship of the web page to the rest of the website. Breadcrumbs help users understand the hierarchy of your site’s web pages and could lead them to click other links on your website.
You can add structured data to your blog post or news article to help Google understand the page’s content and display improved title text, images, and dates in search results. Using this strategy helps your articles become features at the top of search results for specific topics.
People looking for information about a business often turn to the questions and answers (Q&A) section of Google search results. With structured data for SEO, you can help potential or existing dental patients find answers to their questions about your dental practice.
How You Can Use Structured Data for Your Dental Practice SEO
You can find many tools and plug-ins to help you add structured data to your site. Below, we give an example of how you can implement structured data using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper:
- Open Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
- Choose the type of content data you want to add (i.e., Articles, Local Businesses)
- Click “Start Tagging”
- Highlight components of your web page to assign data tags
- After adding tags, click “Create HTML”
- Download the structured data markup
- Add HTML markup to web page source code
- Test the markup with Google’s Rich Results Test and fix errors
Get More Clicks for Your Dental Clinic Website with SEO
Our Dental Intelligence software provides your dental practice with tools for analyzing your clinic’s performance, addressing office inefficiencies, and improving communication with patients and team members. We help you dig up the data needed to identify problems in your practice and offer solutions for the issues you find.
With our Analytics and Engagement modules, you can save your dental team tons of time, allowing you to focus on patient experience. We can also help improve your dental marketing strategies, so your business can continue to grow.
Ready to practice smarter? Try our demo today!
Professional business-to-client communication is essential when managing your dental practice. However, surprise scheduling conflicts can make it challenging to keep up with appointments, phone calls, and quality customer service. Your staff can avoid these problems with practical training and time management tools.
What Are Some Common Scheduling Conflicts Your Staff May Encounter?
Without a practical scheduling policy, your staff may regularly book overlapping appointments. Overbooking can reduce your staff’s quality of service and discourage clients from booking with your practice in the future. These common schedule conflicts create long waiting room times for patients and force your employees to work harder to keep up with demands.
Scheduling conflicts could also force you to make a difficult decision for your business when a patient needs emergency attention.
For instance, you could gain a loyal customer by accepting them as an emergency patient. However, doing so will delay everyone else’s appointments. On the other hand, denying an emergency patient can make your practice appear unreliable or unethical to other clients.
How Does Scheduling Software Keep Patients Happy During Scheduling Conflicts?
Not all scheduling conflicts are avoidable, but it is essential to contact your clients well in advance if you need to make changes to their appointments.
Dental Intelligence Online Scheduling helps your front-office assistants avoid time-consuming phone calls when they need to greet clients by allowing patients to book on their own time. 2-Way Communication is allows your assistants to answer patients’ questions via email and text.
How Can Automated Waitlists Prevent Lost Time in the Office?
If you schedule appointments with clients months in advance, they could forget about them as the date approaches. Set up automated reminders over the phone to alert patients at least one week before their appointment. Reminders keep patients on time and prevent wasteful gaps in your schedule that other patients could fill.
Creating a waitlist policy can also help your practice save time during last-minute cancellations. This convenience gives your patients the option to see their dentist sooner than expected, improving your customer-business relationship.
Will Allocating Resources Prevent Scheduling Conflicts?
You can avoid creating your own scheduling conflicts with adequate staff training and attention to resource allocation. Ensure all your dental assistants have access to the same scheduling software and calendars. This way, employees on opposite shifts don't accidentally double-book appointments.
Scanners, fax machines, phones, and computers also help your front office staff save time when printing documents and organizing patient information. Keep an eye on computer updates and schedule them for the end of the day to prevent surprise delays during peak hours.
Keeping a record of patient data can give your staff an idea of what to expect when scheduling individual clients. Some patients regularly need more attention from their dentists than others during their appointments. Reserving a longer block of time for these patients may help your staff avoid overbooking.
What Should New Staff Consider as They Start Booking?
Newer front office hires may not be aware that the back office staff needs several minutes to wash up, put away equipment, and sanitize their spaces before seeing another patient. Train your staff to allow 10 to 15 minutes between appointments to prevent double booking.
Your new hires should also have the information they need to identify emergency requests and prioritize them accordingly in the schedule. For example, an emergency appointment may be necessary if a patient calls complaining about pain or swelling. However, suppose a patient calls about a chipped tooth. In that case, it may be practical to prioritize their treatment within a few days — reserving unavailable time slots for those with serious health concerns.
Streamlining Your Dental Practice Operations for Patients and Staff
Managing your time more efficiently and communicating with patients during scheduling conflicts will help your practice maintain a positive reputation. Develop your scheduling policy as soon as possible to free up your workforce and accommodate more patients.
At Dental Intelligence, we offer modern software programs to simplify your communications. Our products include Online Scheduling, Virtual Check-In, and more.
Don’t let scheduling conflicts prevent you from delivering world-class patient care. Schedule a demo today!
Your dental front desk employees are the first line of communication between patients and your back office staff. Without the proper training and technology, communication breakdowns can result in scheduling errors and dissatisfied patients. You can avoid these problems by adhering to five simple practices to streamline communication between your dental front desk and back office.
1. Ensure That Your Employees Share a Common Purpose
Dental professionals work better as a team when they share a common purpose. For example, most practitioners dedicate themselves to serving their patients with outstanding care and ethical treatments. It’s important to ensure that all your employees know which values your dental practice promotes to avoid conflicts of interest.
Encourage a friendly and productive environment, giving staff a reason to come to work and stay engaged throughout the day. One way to accomplish this is by greeting your front and back office employees each morning as a group. Alternatively, you could host company events that give your staff time to socialize and connect outside regular office hours.
2. Establish Accessible Pathways for Communication
Depending on the size of your dental practice, communication between staff can be challenging without an internal phone system or a shared computer network. Team Chat allows your dental front desk team to send instant messages to the back office when patients arrive or have questions.
3. Coordinate Employee Responsibilities Clearly
Coordinating employee responsibilities is vital for your dental practice management. Each of your employees should understand their individual roles in the office and how they contribute to the team.
You should invest time in quality training for dental front desk new hires. This way, they are confident in their ability to greet patients and correctly communicate information to the back office.
Set clear expectations to prevent back office employees from demanding more from dental receptionists than their job requires, or vice versa. Adding extra responsibilities to their role can slow down daily operations and lead to miscommunication.
Hosting a weekly meeting is an excellent way to coordinate responsibilities between your employees, discuss expectations, and let your staff offer recommendations to improve workflow.
Alternatively, you could arrange short huddles in the morning between your front desk and back office employees. Our Morning Huddle feature makes it easy to run through your schedule and make plans for the day.
4. Designate a Space for Employee Concerns
Many dental offices do not offer a way for employees to communicate concerns to staff openly or anonymously. This problem can create resentment, hindering communication between the front and back offices. Create a safe space for your team to communicate problems, and provide non-judgemental solutions.
Try to discourage staff from airing their grievances during routine morning huddles. Instead, set aside time or an anonymous suggestion box for employees to discuss group cohesion and problems they may be experiencing.
5. Always Work Toward Better Solutions
One or two meetings will not be enough to establish strong communication in your dental practice. You and your staff must continue to work toward better solutions to improve the efficiency and performance of the front and back offices.
Your dental practice may need to readjust when inactive patients return or your team grows with new employees. In these scenarios, it’s always a good idea to regroup with your team and discuss effective ways to move forward.
You can determine what works by reviewing communication strategies that failed in the past. This way, you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Remind your dental teams that they have shared values, and continue to acknowledge their hard work to build trust.
Dental Practice Solutions That Improve Communication In Your Workplace
Facilitating productive communication between your dental front desk and back office is essential for your practice’s success. With these communication tips for improving dental team performance, you can explore new ways to manage your staff without stress and deliver incredible customer service to your patients.
At Dental Intelligence, we help you build your strategy from the ground up with convenient tools like Digital Forms, Payments, and more.
Schedule a demo today and learn more about we can help you improve communication.
Finding the time to complete all your daily tasks can be challenging when managing a dental practice. Still, you need to make time for routine dental staff meetings to address office concerns and keep the wheels of your business turning. Without proper planning, your next team meeting could result in a waste of productive work hours. Get the most out of your meetings by following these five helpful tips.
1. Set an Agenda with a Purpose
You should always create a meaningful agenda before meeting with your staff. Many dental practices only call meetings during emergencies or when disgruntled employees need to air their grievances. However, on-the-fly meetings rarely yield solutions and can distract the entire staff from their responsibilities.
Plan your meetings to address one or more goals you want your staff to accomplish within a specific time frame. Making an agenda beforehand lets you present action items quickly, so you aren’t wasting time trying to remember points during the meeting.
A good agenda may include updates on company policies, group training, or a briefing on what to expect during the upcoming week.
If you don’t have substantive information to share with the group, it may not be worth calling a meeting in the first place. The last thing your employees want to do before finishing their coffee is to sit through a tiring morning huddle with information that could have fit in an email.
2. Find an Appropriate Time to Call Your Meeting
Some employees can not afford to attend a dental staff meeting during the middle of the day.
For some practices, it's best to hold morning sessions before patients arrive. Others prefer to hold end-of-week meetings after the office closes.
It may also be practical to ask your employees what time works best for them. This method is not always the most efficient for you as a planner. However, it can optimize workflow efficiency during the week and gives your employees more flexibility.
3. Support Your Meetings with Technology
Always prepare for your meetings with reports, PowerPoint presentations, or other relevant documents. These resources keep employees engaged with the orders of business and provide helpful visuals.
For example, you can increase dental production with Dental Intelligence Morning Huddle. These analytic tools allow you to review practice goals and present patient data with easy-to-read charts.
You can also upload your meeting itinerary or presentation to your practice’s shared network before everyone gathers. This method allows employees to review action items ahead of time and come prepared with questions or comments.
4. Focus on the Items at Hand
It can be easy for individuals to derail staff meetings with complaints, gossip, or other disturbances. However, these gatherings are not the place for this kind of behavior. Dental staff meetings are only suitable for discussing concerns that impact the workflow and performance of the entire team.
Encourage your employees to focus on the items at hand and engage professionally and respectfully at all times.
Some of your employees may have valid concerns about behavior or actions taking place in the office. In this case, it’s best to plan a separate meeting with relevant parties or direct them to Human Resources.
5. Remember to Acknowledge Your Employees’ Time
Whether your meeting lasts ten minutes or two hours, you should acknowledge that your employees are taking time out of their day to attend. Remind them that they provide an important service to their community and that their hard work is evident in their accomplishments.
The end of your meeting may also be an appropriate time to recognize individual employees for the value they bring to your dental team. These small moments can give your office staff the motivation they need to get through the rest of the day.
Resource Management Tools That Improve Your Productivity
Many dental practices waste hours of their week on unproductive meetings that could be time spent with patients. When you plan your next meeting, remember to include material that will help your staff optimize their workflow or better understand their responsibilities as dental professionals.
If you need to come up with new dental staff meeting ideas, explore how our team at Dental Intelligence can help. We provide unmatched tools to help your practice stay up-to-date with Metrics & Reporting.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how your dental practice can accomplish its goals.
In the not-so-distant past, keeping clinical records often involved file cabinets full of folders containing patient paperwork, which made maintaining accurate, up-to-date information somewhat challenging. These days, most dental professionals have transitioned into the digital world, using electronic records instead of physical ones to streamline the process of documenting patient histories.
Electronic patient records have simplified the recordkeeping process by introducing an unprecedented level of convenience when filing and storing sensitive data. This technology allows dental professionals to organize files with ease while ensuring accuracy and confidentiality. You can keep patient intake forms, treatment overviews, and digital images in the same place.
With the Dental Intelligence Patient Portal and Digital Forms, you can easily collect patient information. These tools allow individuals to update their records anytime, securing the latest and most accurate information for your practice and empowering your patients to participate in their care.
Ensure a Higher Standard of Care
While accurate dental recordkeeping can benefit your practice in several ways, it can also ensure a higher standard of care for your patients. By including relevant and detailed information about a patient’s visits, past procedures, and current concerns, you, as a dentist, can make more informed decisions about their care.
Likewise, if a patient were to move and find a new dentist, you could easily send their electronic health record to a practice of their choosing. Sharing that updated information with the new provider ensures proper care and mitigates any possibility of confusion about past procedures.
For best practices, remember that the dental professional responsible for a patient’s treatment must be the one to document it and digitally sign or initial the record. Additionally, regardless of which team member provided care, you, as the dentist, are ultimately responsible for ensuring that all the entered information is accurate and current.
Generally, an electronic health record may include the following:
- The patient's name and date of birth
- Contact information, such as a mobile number and the patient’s address
- Place of employment
- Treatment records
- Discussions of care, including those held over the phone
- List of medications
- Referral letters
How Accurate Records Can Protect Your Practice
Integrity is essential for all healthcare professionals, and you must take accountability for mistakes. However, it’s also important for you to have a protocol in place in the event of a lawsuit or legal complication. Accurate dental recordkeeping can serve as security for your practice.
As the dentist or leading physician, you have the legal responsibility to ensure accuracy and privacy regarding patient records. Still, it’s critical for the sake of your business that all team members receive adequate recordkeeping training. This process should involve learning your practice’s documentation structure and federal and state regulations regarding patient health files.
Should your practice face a lawsuit for malpractice or otherwise, the accuracy of your dental records may influence the course of the case. You and your team must ensure detailed, up-to-date information to protect your business. Poorly kept records containing inconsistencies, incomplete documentation, or notes irrelevant to treatment may not be useful in addressing claims.
Also, understand that if a patient files a lawsuit, you will be legally obligated to share any information in their files. With this in mind, remember to keep all notes relevant to the treatment and avoid including personal comments that may compromise your credibility in the future. Keep it strictly professional.
The Importance of Performing Regular Audits
Regularly auditing your patient files is a simple way to prevent miscommunication and confusion. While your dental recordkeeping practices should prioritize inputting accurate information in the first place, you can avoid complications by routinely checking patient records.
If you plan to make any changes to recordkeeping, arrange a meeting to address those changes with staff. Consider providing a write-up of your changes so each team member can reference the new format moving forward.
Keep Better Records With Dental Intelligence
Dental Intelligence strives to help dental professionals take the guesswork out of dental recordkeeping and ensure quality patient care. Check out our informative blog to learn about improving patient experience and how to avoid dental HIPAA violations. Dental Intelligence is here to help you intelligently shape the future of your practice. Schedule a demo today!
Many healthcare practices have adopted the use of electronic patient forms, but dental providers seem to be a bit behind when it comes to digital health record adoption rates. A lack of digital recordkeeping might’ve been acceptable a few years ago, but these days, paperless filing has become the new standard, and patients may expect or prefer this method of documentation.
If your practice hasn’t begun using dental electronic health records yet, now is the time to integrate them into your recordkeeping process. At Dental Intelligence, we designed our Patient Portal to help dental practitioners streamline the patient intake process by allowing patients to use our Digital Forms and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date information.
With such high-quality management software, you can improve the patient experience and increase efficiency for your team.
The Benefits of Dental Electronic Health Records
Using dental electronic health records can help you achieve a higher patient care standard and improve how your practice runs to ensure optimal care. At Dental Intelligence, we can help you make the transition to digital recordkeeping without the hassle and bring you one step closer to enjoying the following array of benefits.
Improved Organization and Efficiency
Physical paperwork slows the intake process considerably. Patients must fill the forms out by hand, and if any issues arise, such as missed questions or illegible handwriting, the patient will have to make corrections before your staff can file their answers.
Manually getting copies of IDs, insurance information, and other personal details may prolong this process, and keeping all of it organized can be a challenge. Digitizing such records provides easy access to all pertinent patient information, allowing you to avoid lengthy intake procedures.
Increased Patient Retention
Though this may have always been the case, in the modern age especially, patients expect convenience. Giving your patients access to their treatment plans, necessary forms, and relevant medical records can expedite appointments and allow individuals to participate in their care more actively.
Likewise, without piles of paperwork to organize, your staff can focus their energy on providing quality service, which will likely improve the overall patient experience. With quick, efficient recordkeeping and attentive care, you can increase your practice’s patient retention rate.
Reduced Supply Costs
Consider the supply costs for your practice, which probably include things like printer paper, ink cartridges, and writing utensils. Dental electronic health records eliminate the need for excessive printing supplies — costs that add up quite a bit over time!
Additionally, if you remove the need for filing cabinets and bulky printers, you can free up space in your building. The reduced clutter may improve workplace morale and your office’s overall appearance, contributing to a smoother workflow.
Beyond the clutter and troublesome organization, paper forms pose a threat to patient information security. Staff may more easily lose paper forms. Likewise, any damage to your storage solutions could result in lost data if the papers within get damaged, torn, or destroyed.
Dental electronic health records eliminate these possibilities. Every medical record you upload to your files is safely stored, and staff members have quick and easy access at all times. Digital documentation provides a solution to the potential risks of paper filing and allows for patient record security you simply can’t guarantee with paper forms.
More Effective Care
Oral health is a key indicator of what may be going on in the body, and it’s important that an individual’s dentist and primary care physician can easily share information and communicate to ensure comprehensive care.
The implementation of digital records allows you to share diagnoses, imaging results, and other pertinent information with providers outside your office. This will improve communication between you and other professionals treating your patients and allow those patients to receive the care they need sooner.
Modernize Your Practice With Dental Intelligence
Dental electronic health records allow oral health professionals to simplify the patient intake process and improve efficiency for staff. Schedule a demo today to see how our Digital Forms can save you time, money, and energy while ensuring the best possible patient experience.
Online Scheduling makes booking dental appointments simple. Despite this convenience, your front-desk staff should still allocate the time and resources to keep up with phone calls throughout the day. Missed phone calls can pose trouble for your dental practice and encourage potential clients to book with your competitors.
How Can Missing a Phone Call Hurt Your Dental Practice?
Missing calls from your patients is a sign of bad customer service. Your patients expect you to be available when needed. Failing to pick up the phone leaves them feeling ignored.
Some potential customers may not try to call your practice again if you don't pick up the first time. As a result, you can miss out on opportunities to grow your business.
Why Might Your Practice Struggle to Keep Up with Calls?
It can be challenging to keep up with these demands if your office experiences high-call volumes throughout the day. In this case, you should consider hiring more front-office workers to avoid keeping patients on hold for too long.
Your customers might abandon calls to your office if you do not have an answering machine or the inbox is full. If you set up voice mail for your front desk, ensure your message is less than 20 seconds long to avoid annoying your patient.
Many of your customers may not have time to call during regular office hours. Without an after-hours answering service, you could lose potential patients. If you can't afford to hire after-hours staff, you can establish a phone tree that directs callers to frequently asked questions or automated scheduling features.
Sometimes, your office staff might not have the conversational skills they need to navigate phone calls professionally. In this case, building dental office receptionist scripts help your team members avoid off-putting responses when callers ask questions.
How Can You Optimize Your Customer Service Over the Phone?
State-of-the-art communication software — such as Dental Intelligence 2-Way Communication — offers more ways to simplify your customer service. Screen Pops lets your team members know who is calling in and allows them to easily access their patient profile while on the call.
Call recording also helps you compile information on your patients' needs or concerns. For example, you may collect information from several patients that indicate your website does not provide clear office hours or service details. Call recording can help you plan your phone script according to your patients' commonly asked questions.
How Can You Train Your Office Staff for Over-the-Phone Service?
Missed phone calls could stack up if your front desk employees lack proper instruction or discipline. Fortunately, training can significantly improve their responsiveness to incoming calls, leading to a much more rewarding experience for your customers.
It's always best to pick up the phone as soon as it rings. However, sometimes your assistant may be too busy to answer the phone. In this case, they can redirect it to a second front office worker or kindly place the caller on a short hold.
Your dental assistants should practice a customer-first approach when answering the phone — asking questions to understand patients’ needs and responding with practical solutions.
For example, suppose a client calls your office asking to schedule an appointment. It’s important to ask questions like, “Are you a new or returning patient?” and “What date works best for you?” while providing alternative dates if the schedule is already full.
Enhancing Your Day-to-Day Operations with Practical Phone Services
Not every dental practice invests in the workforce and technology they need to provide productive over-the-phone service. At Dental Intelligence, we can help your business stay ahead of the competition.
We provide products like dashboard reporting features, customizable appointment reminders, and ringless voicemail drops for your patients to help boost dental office efficiency and patient satisfaction. Reach out to us and schedule a demo today to learn how we can help you improve your office operations.
Effective dental patient communication is one of the most important skills you can have as a dentist. While effective communication is important for reasons like patient experience and the success of your practice, it also impacts the level of care and treatment you offer your patients.
However, the obstacles in your path that can hinder dental patient communication aren’t always easy to see and avoid. Below, we’ll talk about the most common mistakes many dentists make when speaking with their patients and why it’s so important to keep those lines of communication open.
The Top 4 Patient Communication Mistakes Made by Dentists
Did you know that 30% of all medical malpractice claims1 result from communication breakdowns? For dental practices and the professionals who work there, knowing how to speak to their patients and their staff is integral to ensuring a safe environment and happy patients.
Below are the four most common dental patient communication errors.
1. Breakdowns in Scheduling
Miscommunications in patient scheduling are common in the dental industry. For example, if patients show up late or not at all, or if another procedure takes longer than you initially thought, it can impact your entire dental schedule. Not only does it make it harder to practice efficiently, but it can waste patients' time.
To avoid this issue, try using our Online Scheduling and Team Chat features we offer here at Dental Intelligence. With automated appointment reminders and virtual check-ins, scheduling breakdowns will become a thing of the past.
2. Failure to Explain Treatment Plans Thoroughly
Another breakdown in communication between the dentist and patient occurs during the discussion of the patient’s condition and treatment plan. If your patient can’t understand their condition or how to manage it at home, they’re not going to make much progress towards becoming healthy again.
To prevent this problem, ensure that you speak with patients in a slow voice and use easily understandable language. Avoid using too much dental industry jargon that can complicate the discussion. Stick to the main points and avoid going on tangents. Another option is using treatment plan templates so patients can easily review their recommended treatment.
3. Disagreeing or Interrupting Patients
We know that while most patients are pleasant and professional, some can become angry, frustrated, or hostile. However, it’s critical to avoid interrupting or disagreeing with patients during these situations. If a patient has a request and you refuse to comply, it’s sending the message that you don’t value or respect them.
Interrupting is also taboo. Nobody likes it when they’re speaking, and someone interrupts them, and it’s a trait that can make you seem unlikeable, arrogant, or unfocused. Instead, just wait for the patient to finish first before you speak. If you need to, take notes to help remind you of the point you want to discuss.
4. Treating Patients Like Numbers Instead of People
Your dental practice is, first and foremost, a business. Yes, you’re in the business of helping people, but not for free — you need to profit from your services so you can afford to live, just like everyone else.
While it’s always good to view your dental practice analytically to discover issues where you could improve efficiency to cut costs, remember that your patients are more than just numbers. They’re human beings, many of whom have anxiety about going to the dentist and can feel upset or overwhelmed once they’re in your chair. Your chairside manner should be professional and friendly yet firm, and don’t forget that a smile goes a long way!
Contact Dental Intelligence Today
Patient communication is one of the key factors in every successful dental practice. At Dental Intelligence, we know how easy it can be for small communication breakdowns to have a big impact on your dental practice and bottom line. We offer cutting-edge software solutions and resources for dental professionals. Schedule a free demo with us today to see our advanced solutions.
Many dentists find it challenging to establish short-term and long-term goals for their practice and then have further difficulty communicating those goals to their team and staff members.
Learn the best way to set goals for your dental team and how to get your team members to work together smoothly to accomplish those goals and give patients the best dental health care possible.
What Are SMART Goals?
For any dental practice, setting realistic goals is an important part of engaging employees, encouraging motivation, and increasing productivity. When each team member knows exactly what they’re working towards, it becomes easier to accomplish those goals.
SMART stands for:
- S – Specific: The goal you set should be specific and clearly definable, not a general statement.
- M – Measurable: Instead of saying, “I want to talk to more potential patients,” you should say, “I want to increase the number of new patients by three per week.”
- A – Attainable: Nobody wins when you set goals that you and your staff simply can’t achieve. For example, you’re not going to improve your collection rate by 80% in three days.
- R – Realistic: The “realistic” factor also goes hand-in-hand with “attainable.” The goals you set for your practice must be realistic and possible for people to accomplish.
- T – Timely: You need a precise timeline for goals. We recommend setting a few short-term and long-term goals, like for each week, month, and year.
Common Obstacles to Avoid When Goal-Setting in a Dental Office
When you’re finally sitting down and brainstorming the goals you want to achieve for your practice, there are a few common pitfalls to avoid. Here are some great tips on what not to do when working with your team to set and reach goals:
- Don’t focus so narrowly on goals that your staff misses “the forest for the trees.”
- Be reasonable when setting goals for employees so as not to overwhelm them.
- Don’t create situations where ethics, morals, or safety could be in jeopardy to achieve goals.
- Don’t focus too intensely on goals that you forget to build a strong relationship with patients.
How to Measure and Evaluate Your Goals
Brainstorming and setting goals are only half the equation. Once you’ve got goals set and assigned to each staff member and the office as a whole, it’s time to consider how you’ll measure and evaluate progress. Here are a few tips and suggestions to streamline the process.
Consider Upgrading to More Efficient Communication
How strong is your dental office communication? By upgrading to technology like our Team Chat, you can improve internal communication between you and your staff, making it easier for them to collaborate and connect throughout the workday.
It’s just like texting, except you can choose between individual and group chats. Plus, there’s a mobile app so you can continue communicating using a mobile device for even greater convenience.
Use Analytics and Reporting
Do you remember how we said that a SMART goal must be measurable? One effective way to evaluate and benchmark progress is by using advanced analytics and data reporting. With our cutting-edge software for Metrics & Reporting, we take the unique goals of your dental practice and use that to provide you with data-driven results. We use practice management data and transform that into clinical opportunities, helping your dental office boost productivity and streamline your workday.
Reward Initiative and Achievements
Once your staff begins accomplishing their goals, it’s important for you to reward their contributions. Keep your eye out for members who show extra initiative or productivity. While it’s vital to encourage your staff along the way, once they finally achieve their goals, it’s time to celebrate their accomplishments and hard work.
Showing your staff appreciation and how much their contributions provide value toward the practice is an excellent way to foster stronger team bonding, improve team building skills, and increase employee engagement levels. When they feel their hard work is recognized, they’re more likely to put in extra effort and become more productive.
Let Dental Intelligence Help You Reach Your Goals
Don’t forget setting dental office goals requires you to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. If you’d like to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Dental Intelligence team. Schedule a demo today to see how our software can help you achieve your goals and intelligently shape the future of your practice.
Dealing with patient dissatisfaction is an unfortunate but inevitable part of running a dental office. As you know, happy patients are the key to running a successful and thriving practice. However, in today's day and age, patient retention is more difficult than ever before.
Patients want high-quality care for minimal cost and expect to have an excellent patient experience where they feel valued and respected. Below, we'll dive into the most common reasons for dental patient dissatisfaction and discuss what issues can cause patients to leave your practice for another.
Avoid Making These Common Mistakes That Lead to Unhappy and Dissatisfied Dental Patients
As a dental professional, you offer a service-based business. If you can't provide quality service to your patients, they're unlikely to return. In today's ultra-competitive landscape, patients have more options than ever before and zero qualms about switching to a new dental practice.
Therefore, it's essential to provide a top-notch experience and avoid making the following mistakes, which are the most common contributors to unhappy and dissatisfied dental patients.
1. Cold or Unfriendly Staff
One of the biggest mistakes you and your staff can make when dealing with patients is coming off as cold, unfriendly, indifferent, or uninterested. Even if you're dealing with characteristics of patients that are negative or rude, it's absolutely essential to remain calm, polite, and professional.
When a patient walks into your office, they should receive a smile and a warm greeting from the front desk staff and clear instructions about where they should sit, if they need to fill out paperwork, etc. Encourage your staff to smile and be kind, even when they have bad days.
2. Long Wait Before Appointment
One of the biggest grievances among patients — especially a new patient — is showing up on time to an appointment and then waiting an excessive amount of time to be seen.
One study showed that long wait times in healthcare settings resulted in low patient satisfaction scores1 and negatively impacted the patient's perceived quality of care and overall confidence in their provider. Simply put, the longer the wait time, the higher the degree of dissatisfaction of the patient.
If you're having trouble fitting in all your patients during the day, consider upgrading your technology and using software solutions for scheduling and communicating with your staff throughout the day. Modern technology can make it faster, easier, and more convenient for you, your team, and your patients and prevent ineffective communication from leading to longer wait times and patient frustration.
3. No Sense of Appreciation or Value
When patients come to your dental practice, they want to feel as though they're receiving quality service for the money and that you value their business. So instead of treating patients as a means to an end (more profit and a bigger bottom line), show them how much you appreciate their loyalty by implementing a reward program.
For example, you can start with the Dental Intelligence Patient Loyalty Program. It's easy: patients earn loyalty points for completing actions like making on-time payments, referring friends, and more.
Once they collect enough points, they can redeem them for rewards that you choose ahead of time. Loyalty programs foster a fun office environment and show your patients that they're an essential part of your practice — and, after all, they are!
4. Inefficient Office Operation
Providing your dental patients with excellent service and treatment is only half the equation. Another common reason why people have bad experiences at their dentist is because of sloppy, inefficient office operations, such as staff losing paperwork, inconvenient payment methods, excess charges, unexpected scheduling changes, etc.
Instead of using physical paperwork (which takes up a lot of storage space and can get lost easily), consider upgrading to Digital Forms and Patient Portal. These solutions make it easier and more convenient for patients and improve the efficiency of your office.
You may also want to invest in 2-Way Communication, which can help keep the day moving and reduce wait times and patient dissatisfaction.
Shape the Future of Your Dental Practice with Dental Intelligence
Would you like to learn more about the best ways to handle dental complaints and unhappy patients? First, check out the Dental Intelligence blog for more information. Then, schedule a demo with our team of our advanced software solutions for dental professionals.
Customer reviews, both positive and negative, can be powerful tools to manage your online reputation and build trust. Customer review responses show that your practice takes an active interest in what patients think and is willing to take their feedback seriously.
However, keeping track of all the review sites can be challenging. Having a tool for managing these reviews like online reviews by Dental Intelligence can be a great asset to ensure you stay in control of how people view your practice.
Reasons to Respond to Reviews
If you have a busy practice, the idea of responding to each and every review can feel overwhelming, and many practices simply give up. Some will still try to respond to negative reviews, but this uneven approach may seem disingenuous to potential customers who only see you trying to downplay bad comments.
The key reasons to respond to reviews include the following:
- Staying in control of the narrative: Customer review responses are an opportunity to give context to a bad situation. Your response can shape how other customers see the review, which is especially important when dealing with negative comments.
- Build loyalty: Customers want to see that you care, and if they’ve taken a couple of minutes to review your practice, you should be able to do the same. Unique and genuine responses to comments show that you value your patients. They are also a great way to foster loyalty and create life-long customers.
- Reviews get the ball rolling: A business with plenty of reviews will automatically seem more reputable than one with one or two. Responding to reviews will encourage other patients to leave a review, making it much easier to gather reviews, especially in the early stages of the strategy.
Responding to Positive Reviews
The key to responding to positive reviews is to keep your responses sincere and personal. Spamming “thanks!” to every positive review seems disingenuous and fake and will likely cause patients to distrust your practice.
Personalized responses show that you value the customer leaving the review, but remember to stick to HIPAA guidelines about giving out private treatment information. So instead of saying, “Thanks for the amazing review, Bob, we look forward to seeing you to finalize your crowns,” stick to something like, “We appreciate the detailed review, Bob, and can’t wait to see you again next time!”
One great aspect of responding to positive feedback is that you can share it with the team. Many patients will compliment specific team members in their comments, providing a great opportunity to share the compliment and motivate the practice. You can even include the team member’s response in your review comment.
Responding to Negative Reviews
Very few dental practices have exclusively positive reviews, and in fact, negative reviews make your business seem more genuine. The most important aspect is handling them appropriately without being defensive or dismissive.
When responding to negative reviews, keep these best practices in mind:
- Give yourself time to cool down: Even warranted comments can be hurtful, and it’s often tempting to try and defend yourself. However, this knee-jerk reaction will often do more harm than good for your practice reputation. Instead, take a few hours to cool down, see the situation from the customer’s perspective, and formulate a sincere and appropriate response.
- Keep your customer review responses simple: Avoid getting into long discussions, as they will make you sound defensive and won’t resolve anything. Rather, stick to short, appreciative responses that acknowledge the problem and outline what you plan to do to prevent a similar situation from happening again.
- Resolve complex issues privately: If you see a negative review, reach out to the customer by phone and see if you can come to an agreement. In most cases, patients just want their comments acknowledged, and if you are willing to admit your mistake and attempt to make up for it, most customers will either edit their review or remove it completely.
Use Management Tools to Stay Ahead
Customer review responses can be rewarding and provide valuable insight into what your customers think of your practice. At Dental Intelligence, we believe that customer review management is one of the most important and successful patient retention strategies for your dental practice, and we’re ready to help you implement your own. Schedule a free demo today and find out how our tools can keep your business thriving.
What adjectives would best describe your dental office environment? You may not think much about the overall mood and atmosphere at your dental practice, but it has a significant impact on the happiness and productivity of your staff and the satisfaction of your patients.
However, building a positive company culture isn’t something that can happen overnight. Read on for expert tips to help dental practices foster an uplifting environment and ensure that every patient leaves happy and satisfied.
The Importance of Creating a Positive Environment and Company Culture
Your dental office environment impacts not only the patients but also your staff. Consider these statistics that demonstrate the importance of creating a healthy and positive workplace culture:
- Happy employees are 12% more productive1
- Approximately 56% of workers2 agree that a strong workplace culture is more important than a big salary
- Happy employees take 10x fewer sick days3 than their unhappy counterparts
- Voluntary turnover increases by 50%4 in high-stress work environments
Ultimately, the general atmosphere of your dental office has a considerable impact on productivity and profitability. Patients may also be able to sense when staff are unhappy, impacting their experiences as well.
5 Steps to Help You Build a Happy and Healthy Work Environment for Dental Staff and Patients
1. Start a Patient Loyalty Program
Creating a positive dental office environment involves more than just focusing on the happiness of your staff. Instead, put your patients in the spotlight by starting a patient loyalty or reward program.
If you don’t know where to begin, that’s okay. We’ve already done all the hard work for you with the Patient Loyalty Program from Dental Intelligence. Patients can earn points for completing tasks, like showing up on time or referring friends and family. Then, they can redeem those loyalty points for rewards. It’s an effective way to enhance the experience of dental visits for your patients, boost satisfaction, and create a fun and positive work environment.
2. Foster Strong Communication Among Staff
The breakdown of effective communication is one of the biggest contributors to an unhappy and toxic work environment. To improve the lines of communication, start by implementing an “open door” policy. Create a safe space where employees can speak their minds without feeling any judgment or ridicule.
Another effective way to improve communication between your staff is by utilizing technology. For example, at Dental Intelligence, we offer Team Chat, a centralized dashboard where your staff can communicate individually or in groups. Our Morning Huddle is also an excellent way to start each workday with efficiency and open communication.
3. Create a Comfortable and Inviting Office and Waiting Room
Many people experience symptoms of anxiety at the dentist. If your office and waiting room are drab, uncomfortable, dirty, or too “sterile,” their dental anxiety will inevitably increase.
Of course, the exam rooms need to be clean and sanitary. But, the waiting room should feel warm and inviting and have comfortable seating for patients. Offer free Wi-Fi, purchase quality furniture, and use artwork or décor that promotes feelings of relaxation.
4. Recognize Your Staff’s Achievements and Successes
When employees feel their hard work is valued and recognized, they become happier, more engaged, and more productive. You can show your staff how much you appreciate their hard work and value their contributions by celebrating every time an employee achieves a goal or succeeds at a difficult task.
You could throw potluck dinner parties, splurge on a catered lunch, or hold out-of-office get-togethers. Celebrating successes fosters team bonding and keeps motivation levels high.
5. Build Genuine Relationships with Your Patients and Employees
One critical key to creating a positive company culture within your dental office is by establishing relationships with your team that count. Take that same genuine approach with your patients. Be kind, patient, and caring. Show empathy and respect. If a patient or team member is talking to you, don’t just nod. Stop and really listen to what they’re saying.
Build a Happy and Productive Dental Office Environment with Dental Intelligence
At Dental Intelligence, we offer advanced solutions for dental professionals to help them streamline their practice, boost productivity, and increase patient satisfaction and retention. With the advice we just discussed, you can build a positive dental office environment with friendly staff, happy patients, and – best of all – a bigger bottom line. Schedule a demo today and see how we can help you intelligently shape the future of your practice.
Potential customers regularly use the internet to find information about prospective dental practices and will often incorporate reviews into their decision-making process. Using management tools from Dental Intelligence can help build up your portfolio of online reviews, but you will still have to implement strategies for dealing with the occasional negative review.
While bad customer reviews can feel like a potential landmine, they can be a great marketing opportunity if handled correctly. Showing your customers that you can handle negative feedback and take their complaints seriously can foster trust. Properly addressed online reviews will also reassure new patients that they won’t have the same unpleasant experience at your practice as you’ve implemented methods to address the problem.
Best Practices for Handling Bad Customer Reviews
Correctly responding to negative reviews can be tricky, so it’s vital to have several best practices in place. These ensure your staff has the tools necessary to deal with unhappy customers appropriately and that your response to the poor review cements your reputation as a dental practice that cares about its patients’ experience and wellbeing.
Remember HIPAA Compliance and Consent Regulations
HIPAA regulations can present a barrier to how you respond to unhappy patients. By law, you cannot respond in any way that reveals any patient health information, including the fact that the patient was at your practice, without their consent. So while patients can discuss anything about their experience at your practice, if you respond with any patient-specific information, you could face steep HIPAA fines.
Similarly, some states have restrictions on how you can communicate with patients. For example, you may need to obtain written consent before responding to any complaints via email. A smart alternative to email is to simply phone patients — phone calls often provide a more meaningful communication channel where it’s easier to resolve complex concerns without worrying about HIPAA and state regulations.
Take Time to Cool Down and Plan Your Response
While you need to respond to bad customer reviews, it’s also a good idea to wait a few hours before responding. This break is the perfect time to plan your response while giving you time to cool down and look at the situation from the patient’s perspective. Planned responses have a better chance of sounding genuine and turning a bad situation into a positive opportunity.
Own Any Mistakes Your Practice Made
Even the best-run practice will make mistakes; the best way forward is to own the mistake and learn from it. As long as the concern is legitimate, you can respond appropriately by:
- Admitting you made a mistake, without any deflections or defending arguments
- Offering to fix the mistake, either through compensation or additional treatment
- Outlining the steps you’ve taken so that other customers won’t have the same bad experiences
Avoid Prolonged Discussions
It’s incredibly easy to get into arguments online, which can be extremely damaging to your online reputation. Not only do extensive discussions improve the visibility of the negative review, but they also legitimatize it and make your practice seem defensive. Instead, craft a one-time response, and if the discussion continues, ask the customer to contact the practice directly.
Understand How Review Sites Work and Remove Potentially Libelous Reviews
Not all bad customer experiences are legitimate, and some bad actors may use review sites to defame your practice. It’s important to understand your options, including knowing what tools you have available to respond to and resolve conflicts.
Most review sites have policies to prevent libel, including removing the offending review and banning the poster. Following the site’s terms and conditions is often sufficient to prevent actively defamatory reviews from impacting your practice.
Reach Out to Unhappy Customers
Proactively reaching out to unhappy patients can do a lot to repair the situation. Simply contacting the patient by phone and discussing further options or offering compensation for their bad experience can often lead to patients updating their bad customer reviews and ratings.
Stay On Top of Your Reviews
Your online reputation is essential to your success as a dental practice, and review management is a key component to developing and maintaining your reputation. Whether you want to learn how to get more online reviews or discover how to respond to reviews appropriately, Dental Intelligence is here to help. Schedule a free demo today!
Virtual consultations became extremely important during the COVID-19 pandemic when constant patient exposure put many healthcare practitioners at risk. However, even as the pandemic starts to subside, many practices have identified other benefits that make investing in video consultations an excellent idea.
What Are Virtual Dental Appointments?
Virtual appointments use remote communication methods, such as phone calls, emails, or — more commonly — video conferencing, to connect the patient and their dentist. These types of appointments are common in general practitioner offices but offer the same practical advantages for dentists and other healthcare practitioners.
Most dentists use virtual consultations to assess the patient’s oral health and identify any potential dental concern before it becomes serious. They’re also perfect for treatment discussions, where the dentist can outline the potential treatment plan and estimated cost while answering the patient’s question, all from the comfort of the patient’s home.
Virtual Care Offers Benefits for Your Practice and Patients
Virtual dental appointments may feel tricky to set up at first, but once dentists, patients, and practice staff get used to the process, virtual care offers many advantages over in-house care.
Many Americans consider dentistry as optional care when it comes to their health and are likely to put routine dental care on the back burner due to financial pressure. While this tactic results in short-term savings, it often causes severe oral health issues in the future that will cost even more to address.
A virtual appointment is significantly cheaper than an in-office visit, and many health insurance companies have started offering telehealth coverage. Basic video consultations are often sufficient to reveal potential dental concerns that your practice can then address in person.
Virtual dental appointments are also cheaper for the practice. Dentists will require less personal protective equipment, and video sessions require less staff and office space. You can pass these savings on directly to the patient while still seeing a significant increase in revenue due to increased patient volume.
Lower Risk of Infection
Dentists and other healthcare practitioners deal with patients that may carry infectious diseases, including flu and COVID-19. Even if they don’t get sick, the constant underlying stress and need for vigilance can take a heavy toll on your staff’s mental well-being. Virtual consultations don’t have any infection risk and will keep your team safe and productive for longer.
More Personalized Experience
Modern video conferencing technology makes a virtual appointment feel similar to a traditional one, allowing the dentist to foster a strong bond with each patient. Since virtual dental consultations tend to be slightly shorter than traditional appointments, dentists will have more time to discuss the patient’s concerns and focus on their issues without rushing them.
An added benefit is that virtual appointments are easier to schedule than in-house visits, which makes follow-up visits significantly more useful. Patients appreciate the personalized touch of having their licensed dentist check up on them after specialized treatment, and the appointment will also help the dentist gauge how well the patient is recovering.
Treat Emergencies Faster
Any patient with a serious dental concern can access care significantly faster through a virtual appointment than trying to schedule an emergency visit. While a virtual consult won’t help directly address the issue, the dentist can advise on how to best deal with the emergency and prioritize the patient’s in-house treatment using a virtual check-in system.
Frees Up Chair Time
One reason many patients love virtual dental appointments is that they are generally less time-consuming. Patients don’t have to worry about traffic or spending their valuable lunch hour at the dental practice. Instead, they can schedule a quick consultation whenever they have a few free minutes.
Since virtual appointments only need a dentist to conduct the session, they also free up other staff to accept more in-house patients and provide specialized treatment.
Consider Virtual Dental Appointments for Your Practice
Virtual consultations offer numerous benefits, but they can feel intimidating to implement. At Dental Intelligence, we can help handle every aspect of running your practice more efficiently, from showing staff how to write a dental appointment reminder email to implementing a virtual dental appointment system. No matter what your needs are, Dental Intelligence has the skills to help. Schedule a demo today!
Telehealth has become an increasingly popular tool for many healthcare practitioners. But despite offering many benefits to patients and practices alike, only 23% of US dentists1 use virtual dental care.
Virtual dental care uses telecommunication tools, including video conferencing, phone calls, and even email and chat, to connect patients and dentists regardless of location. Many dentists who provide virtual patient care find it an excellent way to provide basic dental services, such as routine oral health checks or treatment plan discussions.
The Benefits of Virtual Dental Care for Patients
Virtual dental care may be the key to attracting more patients to your practice while improving the patient experience for your existing customers. With virtual dental care, patients can experience easier access to care including urgent care and added patient convenience.
Easier Access to Care
Cost is one of the largest barriers to patients seeking basic oral health care. Many people avoid scheduling regular checkups or routine care to save money, but this approach leads to more serious concerns in the future.
Virtual dental care is much more affordable than an in-office visit, making it an appealing option for many patients. These virtual consultations help build up a strong dentist-patient bond which will help convince the patient to accept specialized in-house treatment when necessary.
Virtual care is also a better option for people who live far away from their preferred practice or who have mobility concerns. Many people may struggle to obtain transport to their dentist, but if these patients have a phone and a relatively good internet connection, they can get in touch with their dentist whenever they need to.
Added Patient Convenience
Scheduling a dentist visit requires more than just setting aside an hour or two on the patient’s part. Patients need to consider traffic and commute time when booking their appointment, and any changes will often result in a missed or late session. Virtual dental care alleviates these issues and makes going to the dentist more convenient.
Access to Urgent Care
Virtual dental services can provide a channel for after-hours communication that improves overall practice efficiency and reduces unnecessary emergency room visits. Patients can receive treatment advice as soon as needed, and practices can schedule emergency sessions to deal with these urgent issues first thing in the morning.
The Benefits of Virtual Dental Care for Practices
Virtual dental care also has significant benefits for dental practices that go further than improving the patient experience. Video consultations can transform how your practice offers dental services, leading to unprecedented levels of productivity and efficiency.
As very few practices offer virtual dental care, telehealth services can help you stand out from the crowd. Real-time virtual patient health platforms can streamline bookings and connect patients with a dentist much faster than traditional methods. You can even incorporate the platform into your CMS or marketing tools to engage patients further and generate high-quality leads.
A virtual consultation often just requires a dentist to talk with the patient, freeing up other staff to take care of in-house customers. This reduction in chair time means that your practice will be able to take on more patients without affecting their quality of care.
Licensed dentists do not need to wear personal protective equipment or use sterile equipment while conducting a video consultation. Your practice can pass these savings on to the patients or use them to invest in growing your business further.
Finding the Right Telehealth Platform
Incorporating video consultations and virtual dental care into your existing practice workflows can be a challenge, but it’s one of the key steps to ensure a stellar new patient experience. Whether you want to improve your patient loyalty or attract new customers, virtual patient care offers many advantages that are difficult to ignore.
Dental Intelligence has helped hundreds of dental practices implement new tools to meet the challenges of today’s dental industry, and we can do the same for you. Schedule a demo to discover how we can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and help your practice thrive.
On a small scale, running a dental practice requires many tasks to be completed by a few people. Most people at a single location practice wear multiple hats. But with a DSO, every person specializes in their position to complete the tasks necessary to help with the overall growth and success of your practice.
Managing the operations of a DSO shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have a lot of employees, numbers, and processes to oversee. You spend countless hours trying to simplify processes. It’s a lot.
Dental Intelligence doesn’t just help you find actionable data so you know where to adjust — it also helps you automate your processes to reach your goals.
From simplifying payments and managing your AR globally to being able to drill down into data trends at the organization or practice level, Dental Intelligence has the tools you need to help you standardize your processes across locations and oversee them effectively.
Our Principal Product Manager, Elliot Walker, sat down with our VP of Business Development, Steve Jensen, on a recent episode of our Growth in Dentistry podcast to discuss our new AR Dashboard created exclusively for DSOs. Elliot has over 15 years of experience working with DSOs, from operations to insurance.
“Growth in dentistry, for me, is not just on one single bottom line or any particular role. It's really growth at every level,” Elliot said. “We're focusing on DSOs specifically, so that we allow everybody to grow at every single level.”
Focus on Actionable Data
Data is more than just numbers. It tells a story. And finding the right data isn’t always easy — there’s a lot of data hidden in your practice management software. Running report after report to find it probably isn’t how you want to be spending your time.
With DSOs, there’s even more data to sift through. Dental Intelligence puts relevant, actionable data right in front of you, so you can focus on what matters most for your organization.
“Dental Intelligence helps you really understand what's needing your attention and what opportunities you have,” Elliot said.
When managing a DSO, it’s important to have easy-to-access comparative data for each of your locations. Dental Intelligence allows you to do just that! From patient growth to provider production to aging AR and beyond, you can easily compare metrics for all your locations side by side to see data trends and identify areas of opportunity within your organization.
New DSO AR Dashboard
At Dental Intelligence, we look for ways to help you intelligently shape the future of your practices. That’s why we created a dashboard where you can easily compare your AR globally.
“This dashboard is specifically for DSOs,” Elliot said. “It allows you to quickly compare from location to location in an interactive way so you can make discoveries with your data.”
Instead of spending hours aggregating reports to get a pulse on performance — which leaves room for human error — spend time growing your DSO with the AR Dashboard. Our dashboard gives you a high level view of the health of your AR across all clinics without having to switch between practices.
Personalize the viewing experience to your needs.
With this dashboard, you can see each practice side by side, so you can quickly decide which locations need your attention. You can also see what areas of your AR most need your attention between patients and insurance. Filters allow you to drill down even further to diagnose any issues.
With these options, you can choose how to best prioritize your team’s valuable time in order to get the results you want.
Get Started Today!
Whether your DSO is just starting out or has been around for a while, Dental Intelligence has the tools you need to continue growing your organization. Make data-informed decisions across your DSO and manage day-to-day processes and communication effectively with Dental Intelligence. Schedule a demo today to see how we can help you intelligently shape the future of your practices.
After a long day of providing excellent dental care, the last thing you want to think about is how you are going to collect payment from your patients.
Commonly, practices wait until they hear back from the insurance company on a claim and then reach out to the patient. But getting a hold of that patient and getting them to pay for services they previously agreed to can be difficult.
They don’t answer or respond to voicemails. You could spend the time printing and mailing a statement, but that will probably just end up in the trash.
That’s why we created Dental Intelligence Payments – a simple solution to an everyday problem amongst practices. With Payments, you can easily collect payment in a variety of ways from text-to-pay and bulk payment requests to virtual and physical terminals. We do all the hard work, so you can focus on patient care.
Practices like yours have collected an additional $25,000 on average in their first three months using Payments. The best part is, it’s a low flat rate of 2.59% for all payments processed through Dental Intelligence Payments. It’s taken out at the end of the month, so you can easily keep track of your deposits and make reconciliation a breeze.
Jina Alcobia, Director of Operations at Implant & Periodontics Specialists and Love Your Smile, recently started implementing our new Payments features at her practices. Jina has over 12 years of experience in the dental industry, so she’s seen a variety of softwares and operational processes.
“We've used other softwares before and it didn't quite go well,” Jina said. “But when we started using Payments, it was a game changer!”
At first, Jina was a little nervous to try implementing something new into her office.
Jina thought to herself, “I have to teach something new to my team and it's one additional thing that they're going to have to take on. Is it going to be good or is it going to be bad?”
Fortunately, once her team members saw the value that Payments added to their office operations, they were quickly on board.
New System = Better Results
Once Jina’s practice opened back up after being closed a couple months due to COVID-19, they implemented Dental Intelligence Payments and have kept it ever since.
Because of the pandemic, Jina and her team wanted to limit contact with things from the patient, such as payment. So they started sending out payment messages via text on the day of a patient’s appointment, prior to the appointment. This allowed the patients to pay through a secure link, so they didn’t have to worry about paying in office.
“What we do is a little bit different than what some other offices are doing,” Jina said. “I highly encourage people to at least try what we're doing because it's been really great for us.”
This system allowed Jina to collect payment prior to their appointment which also helped minimize cancellations and no-shows. She says they’ve only had one or two patients respond and cancel.
“I feel once they've sent that payment in, it kind of locks them into it,” Jina said. “They want to go to this appointment because they've already paid for it.”
Collecting Payments Made Easy
Since they’ve decided to keep this process around, now when they are treatment planning with a patient, they will inform them that they will be receiving a text message requesting payments on the day of their future appointment.
This system also helps simplify the appointment process and limit any confusion while in the office, since the appointment is already paid for. Patients come in for their work and that’s it.
Jina and her team also use other features from Payments, including physical card terminals. They use the physical card terminals for patients who prefer to pay in the office or didn’t have an opportunity to pay beforehand.
“It's another easy way for them to take care of their payment with you.”
Jina also loves that Payments makes collections simple.
“All of the payments that come in are in one spot,” Jina said.
Once they come in, they can choose whether or not to have it automatically write back to the ledger in their practice management system.*
By using Payments, Jina and her team have managed to keep their AR Days at 14 days and their AR Ratio at 0.6.
What makes Dental Intelligence Payments so effective?
With Dental Intelligence Payments, you can send a friendly, personalized text or email message to any patient to request payment. Messages contain a custom link that they can click to view their statement and easily pay using a credit card, debit card, HSA card, or Apple Pay. In just a few clicks, their payment is securely made and your collection percentage is growing in the background while you focus on other tasks.
Two Types of Requests
We know each practice is unique, so we made sure you have options — you can send a payment request to a single patient or in bulk.*
With single payment requests, the specific patient will receive one message. Each message is personalized for patients automatically, but with single payment requests, you can add an additional note for your patient before sending.
With bulk payment requests*, you can pull a list of patients with past-due balances and then send messages out in bulk. You can choose which patients from the list you would like messages to go to or select all of them.
Virtual Terminal allows you to conveniently collect payment over the phone. By using the Virtual Terminal, you can securely enter a patient’s payment information to make a single payment. The best part is their card can be saved on file to make it easier to collect payment next time.
Physical Card Terminals
Dental Intelligence also offers physical card terminals for your in-office payments, making it easy to keep all your transactions and reporting from all sources in a single place. Our card terminals have tap, chip, and swipe capabilities and can accept payment from virtual wallets.
Card on File
Make it easier to collect payment in the future by saving the patient’s preferred payment method on file. Our card on file feature allows patients to choose whether or not they want to save the card on file to make future payments even more quick and convenient.
Our user-friendly Payments dashboard allows you to see everything you need to know about collecting payments, so you can stay on top of your AR.
With the Transactions tab, quickly view all successful payments made by patients. You can see whether or not a payment has been associated yet, which means it was written back into the ledger in the practice management system.*
Once payments are fully processed and deposited into your bank account, they will appear on the list in the Deposits tab.
The Payment Request tab will give you a list of all requests that have been sent. You can also view additional information about the request, such as patient name, date sent, requested amount, paid amount, and status.
Ledger Write Back*
Once a patient pays, you can choose whether or not to have it automatically entered into the patient’s ledger in the practice management system. The Transactions tab makes it easy to keep track of associated and unassociated transactions, so you can make sure each payment is properly recorded.
Other Great Features
On top of the features mentioned above, Dental Intelligence allows you to issue refunds and provides a digital receipt for patients that is sent to them automatically.
Get Paid Today!
By using Dental Intelligence Payments, you don’t have to wait weeks or even months to get paid. You can get paid immediately!
You don't have to manually create reports. You don't have to email or mail statements one by one. You don't have to make uncomfortable phone calls that suck attention away from patients currently in your office. With Payments, you can quickly check and see who has a past due balance, click a few buttons, and eliminate hours of work while getting paid faster.
Payments has helped thousands of offices improve their collection percentages and simplify the payments process. Want to learn more about how Dental Intelligence Payments can help improve efficiency in your office? Request a free demo today!
*Ledger write-back and bulk request functionality varies between PMS integrations.
As a dental professional, knowing HIPAA regulations is essential to ensure that your practice remains compliant. However, HIPAA for dental offices can be confusing, as the requirements differ slightly from other healthcare practices. For example, some dentists do not meet the criteria to be a Covered Entity, and specific HIPAA laws vary by state. In addition, many dentists may not realize that HIPAA limits the communication methods between staff, providers, and patients.
If you’re in the gray area regarding HIPAA guidelines for dental practices, keep reading. We will explain some of the most important regulations and policies you need to know regarding communication restrictions and compliance for providers, staff, and patients.
HIPAA Compliance: The Basics
HIPAA is an acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which describes regulations and standards that healthcare providers must follow to ensure proper disclosure and use of protected health information (PHI).
The following types of patient information (contained in both digital and paper records) fall under PHI criteria:
- Phone numbers
- Medical records
- Social security numbers
- Facial photos
- Financial information
- Vehicle information
- Account numbers
- IP addresses
- Biometric identifiers
The HIPAA Security Rule has three requirements to protect PHI, including technical safeguards, administrative safeguards, and physical safeguards. Furthermore, it requires dentists to appoint a security officer to choose and employ HIPAA-compliant software systems
Essential Information Regarding HIPAA-Compliant Communications in Dental Practices
You may already know that your dental practice can be subject to a HIPAA audit at virtually any time. Therefore, it’s important to understand the limitations in place regarding communications to prevent failing an audit.
Texting is an effective form of communication between dental staff, but there’s one problem: a standard SMS message is not HIPAA compliant and, therefore, should never contain PHI regarding patients. One solution is implementing dental office communication software, like the Team Chat platform we offer here at Dental Intelligence.
Essentially, it allows dentists and their staff to communicate internally through a private platform and includes individual and group chat options. Plus, it improves efficiency, convenience, and patient experience by facilitating seamless staff communication.
Another way to ensure HIPAA compliance regarding staff and patient communication is with a secured email platform. However, you may only disclose PHI in an email if you send it on a secure server using encrypted software. If you’re emailing on an unsecured server, you may not include any patient PHI.
Phone Calls and Voicemails
Any Business Associate or Covered Entity can leave a message in a voicemail inbox or answering machine, with a patient family member, or someone who answers their phone when the patient is unavailable to speak. However, you must make a “reasonable attempt” to limit the amount of PHI you disclose during communications that are not in person or face-to-face.
Letters and Postcards
HIPAA allows Business Associates to mail letters or postcards containing PHI to a patient's home (or if they have another mailing address) on behalf of a Covered Entity (that is, your dental practice). However, the best way to ensure that your office remains HIPAA-compliant is to limit the amount of PHI you disclose in physical correspondence to patients. In addition, many dentists have gone paperless or upgraded their office to a digital, cloud-based system that provides greater security and privacy than paper filing
One gray area regarding HIPAA communication compliance is social media. Even a seemingly harmless post that contains a patient’s face without their consent can result in a violation. The most common mistakes or violations regarding HIPAA that healthcare workers commit on social media include:
- Posting photos with visible patient information, records, or documents
- Discussing or gossiping about patients (even without their names)
- Posting videos or photos of patients without explicit written consent
- Failing to check that social media posts are secure, private, or deleted
- Sharing PHI, videos, or images in a “private” social media group or messaging system that can identify a patient
HIPAA for Dental Offices: Communication Compliance and PHI
Although HIPAA for dental offices can be complex, your practice is still responsible for remaining fully compliant regarding PHI and communicating with staff, providers, and patients. However, upgrading to secure communication platforms and messaging systems, like the Dental Intelligence Team Chat, can make the process much simpler.
In addition, we offer innovative solutions for establishing relationships with your team, improving patient satisfaction, and streamlining your administrative tasks. Contact us at Dental Intelligence today to request a demo of our cutting-edge technology.
While most dentists would love to focus on preventative care, most patients who step into a dental practice are looking for solutions to acute or chronic problems. However, before you start getting your dental treatment plan template from Dental Intelligence ready, you need to be able to convince the patient that they need the dental procedures you’re proposing — and that can be more difficult than it initially appears! Let us help with your dental case presentation skills.
Patients have various reasons to be wary of the dentist’s recommended treatment plans. They may worry about the costs of larger procedures, or they may have concerns about pain or the procedure itself. They may even feel that treatment is unnecessary and that the practice is out to exploit them for additional money. While dismissing these concerns may be easy, doing so only worsens the problem of reduced treatment acceptance.
So what can you do to ensure the best patient outcomes? In addition to honing your persuasive skills, a planned dental case presentation focusing on patients is a great place to start.
What Should a Good Dental Case Presentation Contain?
Having a clear framework makes planning the case presentation significantly simpler. While each patient’s case is unique, a template helps dentists address all major components of a successful dental case presentation.
- The patient’s concern, outlined as simply and clearly as possible
- The patient’s medical history
- The patient’s dental history
- The patient’s social and family history
- Justification for any special tests and investigations
- An explanation of the dentist’s intra-oral observations
- A clear diagnosis related to the patient’s initial concern
- A case prognosis if left untreated
- A proposed treatment plan and guide to dental treatment plan phases
Focus on the Problem
It’s easy for an experienced dentist to forget that while they clearly understand the implications of a particular dental condition, the patient doesn’t. Many patients with dental concerns may not have any symptoms, so they are unlikely to accept treatment for something that doesn’t appear to them to be a concern. Contrast these patients with those who come in with an emergency — who are usually more than willing to accept a proposed treatment plan.
It’s best to start a dental case presentation with a thorough explanation of the diagnosis, how it affects the patient now, and how it will affect them in the future. Once patients understand the implications of their diagnosis, they are usually much more willing to accept treatments that address their future and current concerns.
However, avoid exaggerating the problem and “scaring” patients into treatments. Dental patients must make informed decisions based on accurate information — and scaremongering may drive them away.
Dental Case Presentation Best Practices
The best dental case presentation combines speech with non-verbal cues and visual aids, such as diagrams or photos.
Other best practices include:
- Holding the dental case presentation in a private consultation room, especially for major restorative work or patients needing multiple appointments
- Using layperson's terms whenever possible and explaining any technical phrases
- Discussing the reason for the treatment, what to expect during and after the treatment, and the risks associated with the plan or leaving the condition untreated
- Speaking calmly, encouraging questions and feedback, and addressing their concerns without dismissing them
- Confirming understanding by asking the patient questions about their proposed treatment. Note that simply asking a patient, “Do you understand?” will generally get a positive answer, even if the person doesn’t understand. This miscommunication can result in erroneous assumptions and catastrophizing on the part of the patient, leading to lowered treatment acceptance.
- Presenting information in small blocks and confirming their understanding before proceeding.
- Supporting your presentation with visual aids that help patients visualize the problem and treatment options. Common visual aids include physical models, photographs, and brochures.
- Avoiding using any high-pressure tactics — the consultation must be a conversation, not a sales pitch
Many patients are embarrassed when talking about financial concerns. Keep these conversations limited to a private space and reassure the patient that the dental practice has financing options to help ease the financial burden of major dental treatments.
Ultimately, dental practices want to deliver the best service to their patients, which involves providing the best possible treatment for their condition.
Strong presentation skills, established best practices, and a proven template can greatly improve your treatment acceptance rate, resulting in happier and more loyal clients.
For more ideas on how to take your dental practice to the next level using a dental case presentation, contact us today and schedule a demo of our all-in-one solution!
Dental practices must handle schedules in a way that is healthy for the business. Schedule management should include handling patients who cancel appointments at the last minute or don't show up. Dental practices should train staff to reduce the rate of cancellation.
Dental practices can maintain a consistent appointment schedule by implementing strategies, such as using smart software to automate tasks. In this article, we discuss how to handle and minimize short-notice cancellations.
Train Staff to Build a Relationship with Patients
Sometimes patients cancel appointments or do not show up because they fear dental visits. Train staff to assist patients who arrive at your dental practice by greeting them and having friendly conversations. Staff should establish a rapport with your patients so that they will feel more comfortable, which can lead to a decrease in cancellations.
Send Appointment Reminders
Patients may forget they have an appointment, especially if booked weeks in advance. Staff should send up to three reminders to prevent forgotten appointments and no-shows. Ask patients to contact the dental practice if they need to change, cancel, or reschedule an appointment. By using appointment reminder software, you can automate the process of sending out reminders and allow the patients to confirm. If patients need to reschedule, they can let you know using 2-way communication.
If a patient calls to cancel, staff can learn the reason and try to resolve the issue. Remind the patient about their treatment procedures and oral health benefits to avoid last-minute cancellations
Educate Your Patients About Treatment Plans
Many patients may feel uncomfortable declining their dentist's recommendations. The likelihood of a patient not showing up or canceling their appointment is higher when they are not fully on board with the prescribed treatment. Ensure you spend a few minutes at the end of each appointment educating your patients.
Clearly explain how certain procedures can help improve their oral health and what problems may result from not treating the condition. By using treatment plan templates, you can easily provide the information your patients need on their treatment. Most patients will respond positively to your suggestions and advised treatment plans. Lastly, when your patients show up on time, make an effort to appreciate them, and give them recognition.
Reduce Patient Wait Times
An effective way for dental practices to prevent short-notice cancellations is by reducing wait times. When patients arrive for their appointment, you should avoid making them wait too long. Patients are more likely to not arrive on time or even show up if they have previously experienced long wait times.
To reduce the effects of overrun appointments, consider implementing a short buffer time between each appointment. That way, your dental practice can see patients on time without interrupting the office workflow.
Create Wait Lists to Handle Last Minute Cancellations
Dental practices can divide waiting lists into two categories: patients who frequently miss appointments and patients who don't mind coming in sooner.
Patients That Miss Appointments
Many dental practices deal with certain patients that make frequent cancellations. Consider moving appointments of such patients to a waitlist. Dental practices should send reminders (one day before the appointment) to patients on the waitlist to confirm appointments.
Patients with Flexible Schedules
Build a waitlist of patients who require an appointment sooner or have flexible schedules. A wait list allows your dental practice to quickly fill a slot due to a cancellation on short notice. Doing so provides a win-win, as the patient waiting receives an earlier appointment and your dental practice fills a gap.
Offer Your Patients Incentives
Make your patients feel appreciated by offering incentives to arrive at their scheduled appointment time. The best way to accomplish this is by offering prizes and discounts. If your patients arrive at their appointments on time, you can offer them discounts on certain services. You can also create a patient loyalty program that awards patients for showing up on time.
Alternatively, if your patients arrive on time, you can enter their names into a drawing.
Showing gratitude for your patient's promptness is a good alternative if incentives are not viable. Have staff encourage patients by thanking them for their visit.
Use Smart Dental Scheduling for Managing Patients
One of the best methods for increasing the efficiency of your dental practice is to utilize dental appointment scheduling software. At Dental Intelligence, we provide an online booking system that can minimize short-notice cancellations and no-shows. Visit us to learn the best practices for dental scheduling training.
Contact our team at Dental Intelligence today to request a free demo of our suite of tools including dental scheduling software.
Successfully running a dental practice is no easy task, especially keeping your appointment book full. As you know, building patient relationships and loyalty takes a significant amount of time and effort.
Below, we outline five patient retention strategies for dental practices, which can help you develop a genuine rapport with every patient who walks through your door. Read on to gain an edge on the game with our proven techniques for patient loyalty, retention, and satisfaction.
5 Effective Strategies Dental Practices Can Use to Improve Patient Retention
Did you know the average patient retention rate for dentists is a mere 41%?1 Furthermore, it costs far less to retain a current patient than to gain a new patient. Data show that acquiring a new patient costs healthcare practices five times more money than retaining an existing one!
1. Implement a Patient Loyalty Program
One of the best ways to improve retention rates at your dental practice is by launching a patient loyalty or reward program and offering incentives. Implementing a rewards program improves patient experience, benefits your reputation, and may even result in new referrals.
For example, our patient loyalty program rewards patients for specific actions, such as patient referrals, on-time payments, appointment punctuality, and so on. Each positive action earns loyalty points, which the patient can redeem for rewards such as discounted services or free products. It’s an effective strategy that will benefit your dental practice and strengthen patient relationship management!
2. Upgrade to State-of-the-Art Technology
If your goal is to boost retention by improving patient experience, it’s time to invest in a technology upgrade. By streamlining administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, filling out paperwork, accepting payments, or outlining treatment plans, your patients benefit from greater convenience and efficiency. You can use the following technology upgrade ideas as patient retention strategies to increase satisfaction and patient experience:
- Implement an online patient scheduling platform and mobile app
- Launch a patient portal
- Use LiveOps®
- Invest in digital dentistry tech
- Expand patient payment options
- Create a user-friendly website, including a chatbot
- Use SMS texting for 2-way communication
3. Create a Safe, Comfortable, Anxiety-Free Environment
For many patients, the thought of going to the dentist fills them with anxiety, and sitting in a cramped, packed, and dull waiting room makes the experience even worse. However, you can address these issues proactively by making your dental practice a safe, comfortable, and stress-free environment. Here’s how:
- Improve your waiting room: Use comfortable chairs, add plants and décor, offer free wi-fi and TV, keep toys on hand for young children, supply snacks and beverages, ensure that your magazines are current, and more.
- Enforce safety protocols: Be sure to give PPE (personal protective equipment) to your staff and patients and enforce strict protocols regarding sanitation and cleanliness in the waiting room and exam rooms.
- Anticipate patient needs: If patients are noticeably nervous or anxious, guide them through their appointment by speaking slowly, explaining thoroughly, and being patient. You may also want to offer them headphones so they can listen to music during the procedure.
4. Stay on a Strict Time Schedule for Appointments
No patient wants to show up promptly to their appointment and sit in the office lobby filling out paperwork or waiting for an hour because the dentist is running behind or late. Therefore, do everything you can to ensure that your patient appointments are prompt, efficient, and on time — it goes a long way towards maintaining loyal patients and improving their experience.
5. Encourage Patient Feedback
Launching a platform where patients can express their honest feedback regarding your dental practice is one of the best ways to capitalize on patient retention strategies. For example, you can offer loyalty points for every patient who leaves an online review for your practice. In addition, reading online reviews allows you to gain critical insights regarding your practice and helps you successfully manage your reputation.
Improve Patient Loyalty and Retention Rates with Dental Intelligence
With the five patient retention strategies we just listed, you can improve patient experience, streamline your practice, and keep your appointment book full. Check out the Dental Intelligence blog to learn about patient loyalty program ethics and read more informative posts that can help you intelligently shape the future of your practice. Contact us today to schedule a free demo of our all-in-one product.
Did you know that American dentists have an average patient retention rate of about 41%? In today’s digital age, reputation management and patient feedback will directly influence the success and growth of your dental practice.
So how can you address those factors and boost patient experiences? In this post, we will explain five ways a dental patient satisfaction survey can benefit and strengthen your practice, improving the quality of care and driving growth.
How Can You Collect Patient Feedback?
Before we talk about the primary benefits of patient feedback, know that a dental patient satisfaction survey is the best way to gain honest feedback. First, let us quickly explain the tools you can use to request, collect, and analyze this critical information.
- Ask patients to fill out a paper survey after their appointment
- Create a patient portal and dashboard for online reviews
- Use our Swell integration for automated post-appointment review requests
- Send SMS messages or telephone surveys for fast, simple communication
- Manage your digital presence via a website, on Google, or otherwise
5 Benefits of Using Dental Patient Feedback Surveys to Evaluate Your Practice
1. Gain Valuable Insights About Your Dental Practice
You gain valuable insights when patients can express their honest, unfiltered opinion regarding the quality of care they received during their dental treatment. For example, you can discover areas where your practices could improve, such as customer service or communication. Conversely, you can identify strengths and what appeals most to your patients and apply those positive aspects to weaker areas.
2. Increase Patient Satisfaction and Retention Rates
Patient feedback surveys are excellent measuring tools you can leverage to improve overall experience and satisfaction. By learning what parts of your practice patients don’t enjoy, you can fix those issues and boost patient satisfaction.
In turn, this boosts your retention rates, which are critical to your continued success. Why? Previous studies show that it costs healthcare practices five times more money to acquire new patients than to retain existing ones!1
3. Improve Patient Communication and Build Trust
Another way a dental patient feedback survey can benefit your dental practice is by improving communication, building trust, and establishing credibility. By evaluating patient feedback and then using that information to make positive changes to your practice, you show patients that you genuinely value their feelings and opinions.
In addition, opening the lines of communication between dentists and patients is an excellent way to build relationships, encourage transparency, and improve patient experience. When your patients are happy with your practice, they refer you to friends and family, driving growth and keeping your appointment book full.
4. Boost Your Reputation
In today’s digital world, effective reputation management can make or break the success of a dental practice. In fact, 81% of patients analyze reviews to help them choose a healthcare provider.2 However, you can address this critical task head-on by evaluating patient feedback and using those insights to improve your practice. If you’re not actively managing your reputation and answering online reviews, it will inevitably harm patient retention, referrals, and satisfaction.
5. Identify Your Unique Selling Points
A vital key to success for dental professionals is pinpointing that “secret sauce” that makes your practice thrive and attracts new patients. Patient reviews and feedback surveys let you identify the best characteristics of your practice. Then, you invest time and energy into marketing that unique selling point to gain more patients.
For example, maybe you hold a weekly drawing for patients who receive routine cleanings, and the winner gets a free whitening session or an electric toothbrush. In fact, using dental giveaways to boost patient experience is another excellent strategy to keep your practice flourishing and improve satisfaction.
Patient Feedback Surveys: The Key to Building a Thriving, Successful Dental Practice
The critical data and insights you gain from a dental patient satisfaction survey can significantly benefit your dental practice. When patients see that you value their opinions and genuinely want them to have the best possible experience, the results will inevitably be positive. You can reap the numerous benefits of implementing a patient feedback program using tools from the professionals at Dental Intelligence. Contact us today to schedule a demo to see our innovation in action.
Dental complaints are a fact of life in the practice of dentistry. Of course, realizing that a patient had a negative experience at your dental practice never feels good. You may even feel upset or angry. However, it’s critical to address dental complaints promptly and professionally, which helps minimize the damage to the reputation and credibility of your practice.
Keep reading as we explain five expert tips on handling patient complaints about your dental practice.
How To Respond to Dental Complaints in a Professional Manner: 5 Tips for Dental Professionals
Nobody enjoys criticism. Hearing patients complain about your dental skills requires patience, grace, and open communication. Establishing communication in dental offices among dentists, administrative staff, and patients is one of the best ways to address and resolve concerns. For example, Team Chat is an effective way to strengthen communication and verbal skills.
1. Be Patient, Genuine, and Calm
Even if you feel like tearing your hair out or snapping back at a patient — and let’s be honest, complaining patients can often be quite rude — it’s important to maintain emotional and verbal control. At all costs, avoid escalating into a tense confrontation, which makes you look unprofessional or, even worse, aggressive. Instead, take a deep breath, count to ten, or splash cool water on your face. Teach yourself a trick or mantra to help you calm down, even if that means removing yourself from the situation for a bit.
2. Document the Complaint, Investigate the Facts, and Follow Mandatory Procedures
Every patient has the right to complain about their dentist or dental practice. A verbal or written complaint on a feedback survey is minor; sending an official complaint form to the state dental board is serious and could result in disciplinary action. If one of your patients makes an official complaint, be sure to collect related records, document the allegation in detail, and investigate the facts.
If the board does discipline you, avoid another potential violation by strictly following their sanctions. Remember, substantiated complaints are public record. The best way to prevent the serious consequences that could result from a patient complaint is to provide top-notch care, follow state laws and regulations, keep meticulous records, and ensure that every patient has a positive experience at your practice.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Admit Your Mistakes
One of the best ways to build stronger relationships and show a patient you feel genuine remorse regarding their negative experience is to remain humble and admit your mistakes. Of course, every situation is unique. So, what if you believe you didn’t make any mistakes? Well, it’s not always black and white. You might say, “I’m sorry you had a bad experience. We greatly appreciate and value your business and want to make things right. What can we do to resolve the issue at hand?”
4. Compromise To Resolve the Problem
Like any other problem, compromise is often the key to a successful resolution. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to compromise. Some patients are determined to be unhappy or feel that you’re not offering enough. However, don’t let anyone take advantage of the situation or your willingness to resolve the situation.
Start the resolution process by collaborating with your staff and the patient. Be sure to listen carefully and empathize with their feelings. Before you mediate with the patient in person, start with a brainstorming session, which can help you develop potential solutions and compromises.
5. Follow Up With the Patient
One mistake dental professionals often make after handling patient complaints is neglecting to follow up. Take the time to personally follow up and communicate with the patient, whether it’s by phone, email, or in person. Maintain a professional tone and calm demeanor, and listen carefully to their words. In some cases, you may be able to keep them as a patient. Sweeten the pot by offering discounts, free whitening sessions, giveaways, etc.
Effectively Handle Dental Complaints With These Five Tips
At Dental Intelligence, we know how challenging it is to manage a thriving dental practice, and dealing with unhappy patients and dental complaints only adds more pressure. With these five tips, you can effectively manage dissatisfied patients to minimize the damage to your reputation and business. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more about the innovative tools we offer dental professionals and how they can benefit your practice.
A great way to grow your dental practice is to schedule appointments appropriately. Effective scheduling can accommodate new patients and ensure that returning patients come back to your practice regularly. However, short-notice cancellations, long wait times, or double bookings can occur due to bad scheduling practices.
Below are common appointment scheduling mistakes your dental office could be making and how to avoid them.
Not Having Fixed Working Hours
Dental practices strive to provide their patients with the best dental care. An inefficient use of time and energy is one of the most common mistakes made by dentists. Schedule patient appointments for important procedures when you feel the most productive, such as early morning or afternoon.
It's important to communicate your working schedule with your staff. For the dental practice to succeed, you should work the hours convenient for you and not your patients.
Not Scheduling Enough Patients
Avoid giving patients control over your schedule. If your dental practice does not see enough patients during normal business hours, you most likely have a scheduling problem. Being open for more hours could backfire by increasing labor costs and decreasing overall productivity.
Over time, the dental practice may struggle to fill weekends or evenings. Instead of working more hours, try pinpointing why the staff cannot fill the schedule during regular hours.
Not Training Staff to Prevent Cancellations
No-shows and cancellations can be frustrating and disruptive to your dental practice. Staff should try to convince patients to visit your practice if they call to cancel. Also, ask the patient for a reason for cancellation.
Depending on the answer, your staff should have the training to explain the treatment procedures, costs, and benefits to their oral health.
Not Providing Staff with Call Scripts
When your staff member picks up the phone, they may not know what to expect. Potential new patients might be calling to make an appointment, or a current patient may need to reschedule. It's essential for staff members to have access to well-thought-out scripts so they can handle any situation.
Scripts can help maintain a consistent message or voice for your dental practice. The scheduling process will become easier if your staff can refer to specific materials.
Not Following Up on Missed Appointments
When a patient misses their appointment, your staff should contact them to follow up. Instead of accusing them of not showing up, give them the option of rescheduling. Practices with dental appointment scheduling software can offer easy and convenient rescheduling.
Offering pressure-free rescheduling allows patients to select the date and time that is most convenient for them. An easy-to-reschedule system can help reduce the number of short-notice cancellations and no-shows.
Not Leaving Slots Open for New Patients
No-shows are more likely to occur if patients schedule appointment times too far in advance. Whenever possible, try to accommodate new patients within three days. Many dental practices end up losing new patients by overbooking.
Not Sending Reminders
Dental practices should send patients reminders before their appointments. A day before the appointment, you can give the patient a call. Ensure these calls do not provide the option of canceling an appointment.
The purpose of these calls should be to express your excitement about seeing patients on a particular day and time. If the patient says they cannot make the appointment, you have enough time to find another patient to fill the slot.
You can also use Dental Intelligence appointment reminders to automate the process and allow patients to confirm their appointments.
Not Having a Call Wait List
Sometimes gaps appear in the schedule due to unforeseen circumstances. For such situations, your dental practice should maintain a short-notice waitlist. Upon cancellation, you can call the first patient on the waitlist to schedule an appointment.
Alternatively, you can check the day's schedule to determine whether any patients are past due. If they agree to earlier treatment, consider moving them to the open spot.
Advanced Dental Scheduling Solutions for Dental Practices
Many dental offices still provide appointments over the telephone or by walk-in. Scheduling appointments is an ongoing challenge, and unfilled appointments can quickly result in lost revenues. At Dental Intelligence, we can assist you with the process; read our dental scheduling tips to learn more.
Contact us at Dental Intelligence today to try a modern dental appointment scheduling system and more.
ADA policy promotes the use of the most current version of the ADA Dental Claim Form by dentists and payers when reporting services to a patient’s dental insurance plan. ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs created the form by working with internal and external knowledge experts. Knowing what information this form collects and training your staff is crucial to your practice’s revenue and patient care.
The Current Version of the ADA Dental Claim Form
In the current version of the ADA dental claim1, the ADA tried to make things as easy as possible. Staff should be able to complete this form quickly and easily—after all, it’s how your practice pays the bills, so it should be as painless as possible.
Here are some specific items to make sure you’ve properly identified and filled out.
- Boxes 1-2 relate to the type of service and preauthorization number if needed.
- Boxes 3-17 have to do with the patient’s insurance and dental benefit plan information.
- Boxes 18-23 require data from the patient’s intake forms (name, address, etc.)
- Procedure date (Box 24) is the date your practice performed the procedure.
- General area of oral cavity (Box 25) is arranged by numeric codes rather than abbreviations.
- Tooth system (Box 26) — “JP,” or the American system, follows the ADA’s Universal Tooth Designation System with a combination of letters and numbers.
- Procedure codes (Box 29) — add the most appropriate Current Dental Terminology (CDT) procedure code.
- Description of service (Box 30) — this written description should match the code in Box 29.
- Fee (Box 31) — should reflect the usual and customary rate, not the final negotiated rate.
What Do You Need to Know About the ADA Dental Claim Form?
While it’s a process your staff may complete hundreds of times a day, it’s still worth double-checking to make sure everything is perfect with your ADA claim submission to ensure prompt reimbursement. Late payments can be a hassle, and late reimbursements could be devastating to your patients and their families.
Learn more about digital forms by Dental Intelligence to collect the important information in a clear and effective way to make filling out the form as simple as possible. Here are some tips and best practices when filling out the ADA dental claim form:
- Note that Boxes 24-32 may require special instructions in cases where the procedure code (Box 29) is “D9985 Sales Tax.”
- Best practices require you to use JP codes for your tooth system (Box 26), but a value set is available2 to make mapping international JO numeric codes easy.
- Patients may not always understand the finer points of medical billing, so it’s important to make sure your coding is clear, transparent, and understandable. Patients should feel their needs are met, from the first phone call to the last procedure. Being open about your billing procedures and codes is a great way to support that.
- Make sure to file your claim on time. Delays will only interrupt the payment process and make it harder to complete the forms accurately. You and your staff shouldn’t have to remember everything — not with Dental Intelligence and a full suite of billing tools at your command.
- Make sure the description of service (Box 30) duplicates the procedure code (Box 29) as closely as possible so the insurance provider doesn’t reject the claim. Insurance companies aren’t doing their job if they’re not looking for ways to reject or downgrade claims.
Dental Solutions to Save You Time
The ADA dental claim form shouldn’t be difficult to complete, but it can get complicated. To speed things up, learn more about dental medical history forms with Dental Intelligence to evaluate your current forms.
With Dental Intelligence software, you can conveniently capture patient data sets and simplify the process of submitting claims. Dental Intelligence makes it easy to see exactly where you need to go — and how you’re going to get there — with a full suite of tools, from marketing to appointment setting to payments. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more!
For some procedures, your practice can bill a patient’s medical insurance instead of their dental insurance. This leads to a common question: how to bill medical insurance for dental procedures, or whether it’s even possible. And the answer is a resounding “Maybe!”
As any dental practice leader knows, cross-coding can be confusing and time-consuming—and there’s always the chance of the insurance company denying the claim, even after you go through the trouble. But there is overlap in the two systems of coverage, and there are techniques your practice can use to help ensure that insurance covers your patients’ procedures.
It’s as simple as tying the dental procedure back to a medical diagnosis and demonstrating the link to dental care.
What Are the Concerns with Billing for Dental Procedures?
On the one hand, you have dental insurance, which does something very specific — and on the other, you have health insurance, which rejects many claims. You’re trying to get your patient’s care to the place where the two systems overlap. That will result in better outcomes, more reimbursement for your patient, and the satisfaction of a patient well-cared for.
Of course, dental procedures and treatments billed to health coverage must be medically necessary and use a proper medical code.
Always make sure you’re clear about why the medical treatments are necessary and identify them with the correct ICD-10 and CPT codes. If you’re billing Medicare, make sure to use the CMS-1500 form.
Any insurance company will reject incorrectly filed or coded claims. It’s important to be sure your procedure is covered before making the attempt.
What Types of Treatments Does Medical Insurance Cover?
Broadly, there are four categories in which you may have a medical claim:
- Diagnostic: These are any tests, consults, exams or medical imaging that lead back to a source of pain. You would not be able to bill for your patient’s annual wellness x-rays, but medical insurance would cover specific x-rays to determine the location of an infection. Thorough diagnostic tools like Panorex x-rays, CBCT, and Tomography are all procedures that may qualify for medical reimbursement.
- Traumatic: Patients’ medical insurance may cover treatment for dental injuries. In general, mouth trauma will often require medical diagnosis, so medical insurance may cover it.
- Surgical: You may be able to submit extractions, removals, implants and biopsies, and many other preventive procedures for reimbursement by medical insurance. Likewise, a situation where dental issues delay other treatments may call for coverage. For instance, if your patient can’t undergo chemotherapy because of a dental issue, then an oral health exam becomes medically necessary.
- Non-Surgical Procedures: Conditions that aren’t traumatic but nonetheless require a medical diagnosis or referral, such as draining an abscess or treating an infection. Cysts, TMJ, and chemotherapy can all have effects throughout the body, and medical coverage could even extend to sleep apnea treatment and dental implants.
What Are Dental Billing Best Practices?
The categories above should cover almost all relevant circumstances, although your patient’s Explanation of Benefits (EOB) may help to clarify the particulars. In fact, some coverage might even extend to services that only holistically benefit their oral care, like counseling for improving nutrition or quitting tobacco.
Remember, the standard your dental practice needs to meet involves showing necessity for the treatment and connecting it to a medical diagnosis.
Even when you know how to bill medical insurance for dental procedures, patients often still have copays or partial payments out of pocket. To simplify payments for dental care, try Dental Intel’s all-in-one payment solution. With flexible payment options and the ability to remind patients about their bill via text or email, practices collect about $25,000 more per month.
Dental Solutions That Align With Your Patients’ Needs
Now that you know how to bill medical insurance for dental procedures, you can train your billing department and improve patient care by seeking reimbursement from medical insurance, not just dental insurance. Ultimately, it’s about making sure your patient’s care has adequate coverage, wherever it comes from.
Cross-coding to medical insurance can save your patients money, and that’s a win for your practice. At Dental Intelligence, we offer digital tools to simplify team communication and patient billing to increase dental office collections. Contact us today to schedule a demo and explore how we can improve your dental practice operations.
Patient care comes first. But if your dental practice doesn't earn revenue, it can't stay in business. Correspondence with insurance companies can lag, your staff can make errors throughout the reimbursement processes, and in-house systems or methods can become outdated.
The important thing is to remember that revenue is a cycle, and managing that cycle — revenue cycle management, or RCM — is about setting the stage for growth in everything that you do.
Your dental revenue cycle management is all about increasing revenue and cutting costs as your practice grows. That means taking steps to make sure your patient's health journey, from approach to treatment to recovery, is as painless and efficient as possible. The fewer touches, the better — and that means getting things right the first time.
Here, you'll learn several strategies to keep your revenue cycle growing strong without costing your patients so much as an extra minute. As you'll see, it's all about becoming and staying as efficient as possible.
Cutting Costs in Patient Acquisition and Retention
An insurance company will reject claims without correct information, and it's the small details like this you'll have the most trouble tracking down after the fact. Make sure you have the patient information you're going to need throughout the process by reviewing your intake paperwork and procedures. Digital forms make it easy for patients to submit their information. At every appointment, make sure to confirm with each patient that their information is still correct.
Be realistic about your marketing and the information prospective patients would be looking for:
- How much time do you and your staff spend on getting new patients?
- Is your social media abuzz? Do you spend time nurturing those relationships?
- Is your Google Business Listing completely up to date?
- Are your practice's street address, website, and phone number correct and easy to find?
Finally, verify patients' coverage and benefits well before any scheduled appointments. Be transparent with your fee schedules and procedures, including your patient's responsibilities, so there are no surprises for either your patient or your practice.
Following Billing Best Practices
Look at your billing systems and procedures themselves. See where things are getting caught up in the process, where mistakes are being made, and make note of any time the process slows down. Making sure your systems are up to date — and there are no obvious time-wasting areas — is a perfect first step in maximizing your RCM.
Dental insurance claims can account for a great deal of your practice's revenue, so streamlining your billing processes is absolutely necessary to enhance your RCM.
Everything your practice has done or undergone to the present day provides data you can use to figure out a better solution. If you're constantly reaching out to patients with past-due bills, try Dental Intelligence's seamless digital dental payments. You can let patients know their bill is due via text or email and accept major debit and credit cards, Apple Pay, and HSA. Dental practices that use Dental Intel Payments get paid an average of 12 days faster and collect $25,000 more within the first three months.
Maintaining a Full Schedule
Keeping patients coming in the door isn't just good for your practice; it's good for your accounts receivable department and dental revenue cycle management. That's why it's important to stay on top of appointments, follow-ups, annual visits, and all the procedures your patients are too busy to schedule "right now," but they promise to get back to you with dates.
It's not just about booking the visit, either — you'll want to take every opportunity you can to speed up the process of getting your patients into your practice, treating them, and collecting payment. For scheduling and cash flow purposes, that means:
- Getting data into your system as cleanly and easily as possible
- Making it easy for your staff to send patient data where it needs to go
- Ensuring you have everything you need already set up before a patient enters the office.
By staying on top of your schedule, filling in dead spots, asking for referrals, and passing on your business card, you can turn every patient interaction into a chance to mint a new brand ambassador.
One way you can fill holes in your schedule is by allowing patients to book online using Dental Intelligence Online Scheduling. Let patients book when is convenient for them, while allowing you to keep control of your schedule.
Dental Solutions for Your Practice and Patients
Dental revenue cycle management is an important way to keep your business going strong. When you learn how to get paid faster, you can stop spending time chasing past-due payments and more time filling your schedule and caring for patients. At Dental Intelligence, we help streamline your practice with a suite of digital tools. Schedule a demo with us today to learn how you can make the dental revenue cycle more manageable.
Choosing forms with fields for insurance information, patient data, and other details makes your new patients’ first impression of your practice a positive one. Great patient care depends on your knowledge of your patients, so start the patient relationship with customized intake forms.
What Should You Include in New Patient Information Forms?
Use your new patient dental forms to get full coverage information, consents and waivers, dental histories, and more.
- General information and preferences: It’s good to get the basics upfront, but this is also a great time to ask about the little touches that make your new patients feel happy, at ease, and at home from that first “hello.”
- Insurance information: Get the patient's dental and medical insurance coverage since medical insurance can cover some diagnostic tests and treatments.
- HIPAA and consent forms, and any waivers.
- Dental and medical histories to get a fuller picture of the concerns your patient may be bringing with them. This will ease every step of their journey, from the first appointment to more in-depth treatment plans.
Your digital and paper record of a patient can tell you a lot more than just the date of their last appointment. Big life changes, such as gaining new dependents or changing jobs, impact your patients’ medical care, and it’s important to capture those changes as quickly as possible. Check in with your existing patients at the beginning of their appointment to see if they need to update their information.
Beyond the Intake Forms: What to Include in Your New Patient Welcome Packet
Your dental practice should make your patient feel understood and taken care of as soon as you make that first contact with a lead or referral. First impressions matter, and that means the intake process is about more than just collecting patient data and payment information. Introducing a new patient to your services should feel friendly, easy, and comprehensive.
Our suggestion for a patient welcome packet, in addition to the required new patient dental forms, includes the following:
- A welcome letter explaining your practice, journey, and qualifications. Patients want to know the dentist behind the mask, and that includes seeing a more personal and human side of the dentist. Plus, it makes patients feel valued and friendly from their first interaction.
- A walkthrough of their first appointment—what new patients can expect, what to bring, and how it will work. It’s no secret that people get nervous about going to the dentist. By allowing them to visualize their visit, you can ease a lot of those unnecessary nerves.
- Introductions to the staff, including the front desk administrator who’ll conduct their intake, will make your office feel like the welcoming second home you want it to be.
- Any other procedures specific to your business, such as COVID-19 safety information.
- A simple cost sheet shows transparency and ensures there are no surprises. In today’s complex medical system, you will gain a lot of goodwill simply by being upfront about costs for each treatment and how you calculate them.
Why Digitize Your New Patient Registration Forms?
In the new patient registration process, patient paperwork is unavoidably the focus. Some patients may balk at filling out long forms, but by making the process fun and easy—and digital—you’re able to capture more and better information than with handwritten forms.
Remember, you’re collecting information as the basis of a records file that will follow this patient through the rest of their life. Even physical forms, if they’re of high quality, can make the data entry process a breeze. Dental Intelligence offers your dental practice a variety of forms and services for just this purpose. Dental Intelligence’s forms for dental practices can help you collect, arrange, and access your patient data digitally to eliminate paper forms and save time for your patients and staff.
You will want to keep these forms in hard copy at the front desk so you’re ready for walk-ins or patients that need another shot at completing them. Or consider installing a Kiosk, so patients can fill out their forms digitally in office.
New Patient Forms to Streaming Intake for Your Practice
At Dental Intelligence, we’re passionate about making your patients’ every visit a good one. The best way to do that is to balance speed and comprehensiveness with your new patient dental forms. Visit the Dental Intelligence website to learn more about dental referral forms, and schedule a demo with our team to learn how you can customize intake forms to fit your practice.
Most dental care providers understand that collecting payment when presenting dental patient financing options is the key to cutting down on accounts receivable. After all, your dental practice is in the business of providing dental care, not credit.
However, patients tend to treat their dentists as credit providers instead of seeking patient financing services. In turn, most dental practices allow late payments because they don’t want to lose patients. When this happens, you will find that patients frequently walk out the door after receiving treatment with no payment plan in place to settle the outstanding amount.
The sections below discuss how to collect money from past-due accounts.
Formulate and Implement a Financial Policy
Before providing dental treatment, the patient should agree to your practice’s financial policy. This agreement should outline the acceptable payment types and the payment responsibilities of cash, check, credit card, and insurance patients. The agreement should also state when your office expects the payment. You can use digital forms from Dental Intelligence to allow for an easy way for patients to review and sign your financial policy.
Implement a Payment Collection System
Your dental practice can implement any collection system for pursuing unpaid invoices, provided that it complies with your state’s laws.
Under most dental offices’ payment policies, a patient account is due within 30 days. Under your financial policy, payments can also be due before the patient’s next dental appointment.
When the payment becomes due, your office should call the patient or send them a message to notify them that their account is overdue. Your team should document all communication with the patient and include the date and time of follow-up calls. Follow Ups allows team members to easily track which patients have past-due accounts and mark their call attempts.
Set a threshold amount for these notifications so that you don’t need to contact patients who owe small amounts, which can end up wasting valuable time and money. Most practices only contact patients owing $100 or more.
You can also send a notification before the payment becomes due. For example, suppose you receive the explanation of benefits (EOB) letter 20 days after providing treatment. In this case, you can send the EOB letter and the first notice letter to the patient.
Once the payment becomes due, you can send the second notice letter or call the patient to notify them that their payment is due. Some dental practices send up to four notice letters.
Suppose the patient doesn’t pay the account within a specific period after receiving the fourth and final notice. In that case, you can refer the account to the collections attorney or agency for legal action.
The more frequently you bill, the more effective you can expect your collection process to be. For example, you can bill on a net-10 or a net-15 basis instead of waiting 30 days.
When contacting a patient, use the communication method they prefer, such as mail, text, or phone. Consider using Dental Intelligence Payments to allow for an easy collection process where patients can pay via text or email. That way they don’t have to mail a check or make a phone call.
If the patient settles the amount at any point during the collections process, send them a zero-balance letter indicating that you received the payment.
As a business owner, you can implement any collections process that complies with the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
You should implement the same process for all past-due accounts. Extending a special courtesy to some patients can significantly affect your accounts receivable management.
Offer Flexible Payment Options
The longer a payment is due, the more challenging it becomes to collect. Offering flexible payment options can make settling the amount easier for the patient. These financing options include a payment plan, financing, or a membership program.
At Dental Intelligence, we offer a dental financing solution in partnership with Wisetack, which makes the collection easier for you and your patients.
Our patient financing options allows you to receive the funds in your bank account, while Wisetack settles the account with the patient over time. In other words, you provide a flexible payment option without assuming any risk.
Schedule a demo with Dental Intelligence today to learn how to collect money from past-due accounts.
Having conversations with patients about dental financing options is likely one of the most significant challenges your team faces every day. With dental care expenditures continuously rising, scheduling treatments with cost-conscious payments can be challenging.
In this guide, let’s look at how to discuss dental financing options in a manner that:
- Encourages patients to accept expensive treatments
- Decreases the number of account referrals to collections
- Increases the number of patient referrals
Consider the guidelines below to address cost objectives and increase your case acceptance rate.
Be Confident About Your Pricing
Dental financing conversations are often uncomfortable, especially when dental team members themselves believe no grounds exist for high treatment fees.
When a patient calls you out on the pricing of a treatment you recommend, it can be easy to second-guess your fees. However, when considering the expenses you incur to run your office and provide treatments, it becomes easier to stand behind your fee structure.
Once you start tracking expenses, such as wages, rent, laboratory fees, insurance, and dental supplies, you and your team can confidently discuss treatment costs with patients.
Demonstrate Treatment Value
Prospective patients often object to a dental procedure’s cost because they don’t understand how a specific treatment will benefit them.
Patients might understand what fillings, veneers, or crowns are, but do they realize what positive impact these treatments will have on their well-being, appearance, or quality of life?
For example, a patient may understand that a crown prevents further tooth decay. However, do they know that this dental treatment will restore their facial appearance and make it easier for them to talk and chew?
Discussing the patient’s problems and the solutions you can offer allows you to demonstrate the treatment’s value and frame the treatment as an investment.
When To Have the Cost Conversation
If you run a fee-for-service dental practice, you should have the cost conversation during the first phone call with the patient. Having this conversation during the initial contact is crucial because the patient will need to make a payment when they arrive for their appointment.
On the other hand, suppose your practice implements a traditional reimbursement system, which involves an insurance payout after processing the patient’s claim. In this case, your objective should be to onboard the patient. After verifying the patient’s benefits, your team can discuss available financing options.
Once the patient understands the value of the treatment and decides to continue with the procedure, they need to understand which financing option is best for them. This step is crucial, whether the patient is solely responsible for the entire payment or the gap between the cost and insurance payout.
Tell the patient the amount due after applying for their benefits, then ask them how they would like to pay. In some cases, patients pay immediately with a credit or debit card. However, if the patient wants to learn more about their options, you can offer a payment plan that requires weekly or monthly payments.
Alternatively, the patient can consider dental loans. Patients can use these unsecured personal loans to pay for their dental treatments. If your practice partners with a specific credit provider, you can recommend it as a financing option. In this case, you may need to explain the applicable financing terms, such as the prepayment penalties, unemployment protection, and fees.
Who Is Responsible for Discussing Financing Options With Patients?
Each team member should be comfortable discussing dental financing options with patients, including the dentist, front office staff, and financial coordinator.
Ensure that all your team members understand the expenses surrounding dental treatments. You and your staff should be able to present treatment and payment plans confidently while emphasizing the treatment’s value for the patient.
Contact Us at Dental Intelligence
If you want to provide your patients with stress-free financing options, consider the fully integrated patient financing program by Dental Intelligence and Wisetack. These financing options integrate fully with your treatment plans and provide your team members with instant answers to questions patients typically ask. This solution also provides your patients with pay-as-you-go dental financing options, saving valuable time and money.
Schedule a demo today to learn how to provide dental financing for patients.
Missed appointments are a fact of life for most dental practices, but they can be devastating to smaller practices and a hindrance to more established ones. A recent survey estimates that over 30% of patients don’t make their healthcare appointments, leading to almost $150 billion in annual losses over the entire sector.
Practices have developed plenty of strategies to deal with no-shows, including wait lists, written cancellation policies, and reminder calls. These manual strategies require extensive resources to be successful but lend themselves extremely well to automation.
What Are Automated Appointment Reminders?
Automated appointment reminders replace the traditional practice of making phone calls to patients a few days before their scheduled consultation. These calls let patients confirm their availability while also reminding forgetful clients about their next appointment. Automating the process using a specialized patient manager lets practices send out reminders at set times without any manual intervention.
High-end dental appointment reminder software, such as what we offer at Dental Intelligence, even allows clients to choose how they receive patient reminders — text messages or email reminders. Combined with online booking systems, this software enhances patient communications and frees up valuable resources that help your practice grow.
The Benefits of Automated Appointment Reminders
Some practices are reluctant to implement new platforms, but automated appointment reminders are relatively simple to implement and offer an impressive rate of return. They offer many benefits that make them essential to any modern dental practice.
Reduces Missed Appointments
Missed appointments cost money, not only in terms of lost revenue but also disruptions and unused capacity. Patients miss appointments for various reasons, including emergency situations, anxiety about treatments, lack of transportation, and sheer forgetfulness.
Reminders address many of these issues. They remind patients of upcoming appointments while allowing them to confirm or reschedule their bookings. They also reassure patients that the practice cares about their well-being and wants to offer them patient-centric treatment.
Improves Front Desk Efficiency
Front desk staff are usually extremely busy, and going through a call list and trying to reach every patient before their appointment is time-consuming, frustrating, and often ineffective. Patients rarely answer their phones, meaning that front desk staff have to call repeatedly before getting a response.
Automation frees up a lot of the manual drudgery associated with appointment reminders, giving staff more time to focus on essential tasks that require human intervention. Even better, a reduced workload often results in higher motivation and increased efficiency while providing better service to clients.
Supports Ongoing Treatment Plan Adherence
Very few patients remember when they last visited the dentist, making it almost impossible to reliably schedule annual check-ups without intervention from your front desk staff. Patients that require ongoing support often forget appointments, disrupting their treatment schedule and resulting in added work for dentists and the front desk.
Most modern booking systems allow for setting appointments well into the future, streamlining yearly and quarterly appointments. Automated appointment reminders enhance this system by automatically reminding patients about their upcoming appointment.
Enhances Patient Experience
Automated appointment reminders make it easier for patients to manage their bookings as well. Reminders allow patients to confirm, reschedule, or cancel their appointment, giving them flexibility while letting the practice fill their slots efficiently.
Many practices benefit from combining online booking systems and automated appointment reminders, giving patients significant control over their schedules. Many patients appreciate this extra level of care and convenience — the fewer roadblocks the patient experiences, the more likely they are to show up for their appointment.
Automated appointment software will even let practices tailor patient communications based on past interactions and stated preferences. If a patient prefers email communication, you can tell the software to send them an email reminder instead of a text message. These small touches show that your practice cares about its patients and is willing to go the extra mile to meet their needs.
Take Your Dental Practice to the Next Level
Even simple automation tools can help dental practices take their service to the next level by providing many benefits to staff and patients. If you’re considering moving to a streamlined, digital workflow, automated appointment reminders are a great place to start.
At Dental Intelligence, we provide dental practices with actionable solutions to common practice problems, including drawing up treatment plans, managing patient bookings, and automating many routine tasks. Whether you need help writing a dental appointment reminder email or want to integrate our systems into your existing practice management system, our team at Dental Intelligence is here to help. Visit our website to schedule a demo today!
Achieve an Effortless Workflow With These Top 5 Design Tips for Dentist Offices
So, you’re just about to open a new dental practice, or your current office needs an upgrade. How can you design a functional, modern, and visually pleasing layout? Here are some practical dental office design tips to keep in mind as you brainstorm:
1. Consolidate Spaces To Accommodate Workflow
One common mistake in dental offices is designing a workflow based on the available space instead of the other way around. Successful designs use a workflow-first approach to maximize efficiency, such as consolidating sterilization equipment in a single room.
For example, you could have unwashed tools in one work area, ready-to-use tools in another, and cleaning products/equipment nearby. Also, consider using the natural layout to separate sections rather than physical structures or walls, as it prevents staff from walking more than necessary and bumping into each other.
But how can you tell whether your changes are able to increase dental production? Consider upgrading to the Dental Intelligence dashboard, which provides advanced metric tracking and analytics for key performance indicators. You can analyze data, gain critical insights, and turn practice management into growth opportunities.
2. Find Hidden Space by Repurposing a Closet or Office
Is your dental office at capacity? Would you like more patients but lack the physical space necessary to accommodate them? You just might have more space than you realize. Of course, a complete room renovation and upgrade involves a significant investment and construction process. However, the ROI (return on investment) may be worth it.
Look around for a poorly utilized or unused space, like a closet, storage room, or office you could convert into a patient or procedure room. If you need help consolidating, consider hiring a design team to help you. Unless you’re HGTV-ready (and most of us aren’t), investing in professional design services will make the remodeling process faster, safer, easier, and hassle-free.
3. Consider Optimizing Your Workflow with a New Layout
For most dentists, utilizing a “U” or horseshoe-shaped workflow provides the greatest efficiency. In this type of layout, patients enter the reception area, continue through a hall into their treatment room, and then leave through the opposite side. The result is a smooth, natural workflow that prevents traffic jams.
Another example would be creating identical treatment rooms with the same setup and supplies. Ultimately, it allows staff to perform regular dental services in any treatment room, which prevents “bunching” and eliminates the risk of delays and long waits for the patients.
4. Upgrade Office Technology
Do you use paper forms and scheduling? If so, it’s time to consider going digital. At Dental Intelligence, we offer several advanced tools and cutting-edge software solutions that can streamline your practice, improve patient experience, and free up valuable time for your administrative staff.
One excellent example is our digital Patient Portal. Patients can fill out intake, consent, and privacy forms before arriving for their appointment. It allows you to admit patients faster and decreases wait times, ultimately improving daily production.
We also offer a Virtual Check-In, which eases the workload for your receptionists.
Those examples are simply a few ways our Dental Intelligence software allows you to increase production even without considering an increase in new patients. Furthermore, investing in new technologies improves patient experience and shows them you’re a modern, high-quality facility where quality of care matters.
5. Consider a Minimalist and Thoughtful Design
A bright, kid-friendly layout is acceptable for pediatric dentist offices, but adult-only practices may benefit from a minimalist and thoughtful design that maximizes patient comfort in the waiting area. Use clean, sleek lines, comfortable (but not oversized) furniture, modern technology, and a neutral color palette. Offer free Wi-Fi, beverages, snacks, and more amenities in the waiting room, and go light on the artwork and knick-knacks.
Design Your Dental Office to Support a Naturally Smooth Workflow
The five dental office design tips we just listed are an excellent starting point for new practices or renovations. If you’re interested in learning more about streamlining your business, improving patient experience, and maximizing efficiency in the office, we invite you to read more from our Dental Intelligence blog. Contact us today to schedule a demo with the Dental Intelligence team.
Are you considering a dental office bonus system to motivate your staff and boost productivity? Staff enthusiasm and motivation will rise and fall naturally throughout the course of the year. However, implementing a bonus system may help push your employees to do better and keep your dental practice thriving.
At Dental Intelligence, we help dental professionals improve their practices, driving growth and production. Below, we explain all about dental bonus systems and how you can use them to benefit your business.
What Is a Bonus System?
A dental office bonus program is a compensation-for-work system that rewards your employees' enthusiasm and hard work. For example, they can earn rewards or incentives if they complete work above and beyond their usual output.
A bonus program keeps employees motivated, engaged, and giving their best performance towards furthering the practice and caring for patients. Furthermore, it gives them a good feeling when they come to work for more than just a paycheck and instills a sense of pride in their work.
How Can a Bonus Plan Benefit Your Dental Practice?
A bonus or incentive plan can offer many different benefits for your dental office, including:
Increasing Work Production
Of course, the intended purpose of a bonus program for your dental team is to increase productivity at work, whether that's scheduling new patients or improving collection numbers. Once you set a monthly goal for your dental staff, you can start increasing dental production using Dental Intelligence by leveraging our cutting-edge software and actionable solutions. You can use Follow Ups to track team member’s calls and their success in different tasks such as getting patients back on the schedule or past due balances paid. The ultimate benefit of increasing productivity is the ROI (return on investment) regarding growth and profits for your dental office.
Boosting Employee Motivation and Engagement
In addition to increasing dental production, establishing an office incentive program also boosts the motivation and engagement of your employees. It eliminates the "groundhog day" feeling of monotony in a work environment and lets your dental team feel more satisfied, proud, and accomplished. Ultimately, your staff will feel that their work has more meaning besides just helping your business grow and profit.
Strengthening Staff Relationships and Company Culture
When your dental team can align and work towards a single goal, it has the added benefit of strengthening their work relationships and creating a strong, solid company culture. Everyone working towards a common purpose fosters a sense of camaraderie. Then, when their collective hard work achieves goals, your staff can bond over a mutual admiration.
Best Practices for a Dental Office Bonus Program
Structuring an effective bonus program with attainable goals is a bit harder than it sounds. Below are some attributes of a good bonus system to keep in mind when creating one for your dental assistants and administrative staff:
- Win-Win: The foundation of your bonus system should be a win-win situation for both you and your staff. It shouldn't cause you a financial loss, and you should give the rewards will full enthusiasm and willingness.
- Attainable: Create goals for your staff that are realistically achievable yet still provide a challenge.
- Short-Term: The plan should be relatively short-term. For example, annual bonus rewards can seem impossibly far away, which can result in lagging enthusiasm and motivation. Instead, consider implementing a monthly goal system.
- Measurable: Your system should have easily measurable goals. Of course, you’ll spend time thoroughly explaining and outlining the bonus program. However, your expectations should be very clear, regardless.
Quick Ideas for Bonus Programs
Here are a few ideas for bonus plans:
- Monthly Bonus: Offer team and individual incentives when staff meets a monthly goal.
- Spot Bonus: Reward staff members "on the spot" when they show particular initiative or hard work.
- Competition Bonus: A competition bonus system rewards the first few team members who meet your assigned goal. Use a sliding scale, such as: The top ten get good rewards, the top five get even better rewards, and the top three win grand prizes.
- Profit-Sharing Bonus: If you have room in the budget, you may want to structure a system that rewards your staff with a certain percentage of the month's profits for your practice.
- Referral Bonus: Offer rewards for staff who refer new patients or employees.
Grow Your Practice with a Dental Office Bonus System
A dental office bonus system can reward and motivate your employees and allow your practice to flourish. Interested in learning more about how to enhance your dental practice? Find out how to improve your dental waiting room, streamline scheduling, and increase production per visit on the Dental Intelligence blog. Contact us today to schedule a demo of our innovative products and solutions.
Dental practices face several obstacles to delivering high-quality care, such as getting patients to accept treatment plans. According to a recent Levin Group practice survey1, case acceptance rates for two-thirds of U.S. dental practices fall between 20% and 50%, which is well below the common industry target of 90%.
It’s easy to get stuck on numbers and statistics, but the most effective way of improving your practice’s case acceptance rate is to understand what makes patients refuse treatment. By having a system in place that promotes treatment acceptance, you can improve the client experience while keeping your practice thriving.
Create a Positive Initial Impression
A new patient will already have an impression of a dental practice before walking through the door. Prospective clients will frequently use the internet to find a dentist in their area. Having a well-designed and appealing website is essential to attracting new patients and creating a strong impression of professionalism, care, and trustworthiness.
You can also employ strategies such as calling patients before their scheduled appointment to confirm and say that you’re looking forward to meeting them. This generally creates goodwill by showing the patient that the practice cares about individuals, but employing this strategy means walking the fine line between caring and spamming.
Online reviews also play a big part in a patient’s initial impression of you and your practice.
The better the patient’s impression of the practice and its staff, the more responsive they will be to proposed treatment plans.
Hone Your Dental Case Presentation Skills
Every dentist approaches dental case presentation differently, with varying levels of success. Having an established template for most treatment options and role-playing case presentations can help dentists get practice at delivering vital information about dental treatment without overwhelming the patient and resulting in a higher case acceptance rate.
A good dental presentation will contain the following aspects:
- A clear outline of the problem and its potential implications if left unaddressed. Many patients don’t present symptoms, so they’re not urgently seeking care. Most will try a “wait and see” approach and only request treatment when the condition worsens. Dentists can circumvent this by explicitly stating how the condition can worsen if left untreated and how early intervention is often less painful and more affordable than emergency care.
- Visual aids to help the patient understand the issue and the proposed treatment. You can even give them a copy of their completed dental treatment plan by Dental Intelligence, which they can refer to later.
- A detailed explanation of the proposed treatment, including the benefits of treatment and potential risks. The dentist should explain how the treatment will address the specific concern and present alternative options and their risks and benefits.
- A way to confirm patient understanding — many patients will say they understand when, in fact, they don’t. This miscommunication leads to faulty assumptions that affect the patient’s final decision.
- Simple and concise language without too many medical terms. Dentists can also use shorter sentences or break the presentation into blocks, allowing the patient time to understand and ask questions before moving forward.
Understand Patient Concerns
Patients typically have three barriers to accepting treatment: financial concerns, fear, and the time commitment associated with longer treatments. Dental practices should have plans in place to address each of these roadblocks while still taking them seriously — a dentist that scoffs at a patient’s nervousness will quickly lose patients.
For most patients, the main concern is cost, especially for larger treatments if the patient doesn’t perceive them as urgent. Treatment coordinators should provide various payment options and inform patients of these options during the case presentation. Consider offering patient financing options from Dental Intelligence through Wisetack.
As finances are generally a prickly subject, it’s vital to train your team to handle these issues compassionately and effectively. Common techniques include reassuring patients that costs are a common concern, that they are not alone, and that the dental practice is ready and willing to help them get the care they need and deserve.
Follow Up After the Consultation
Wherever possible, treatment coordinators should schedule the appointment before the patient leaves the practice.
Patients that don’t have a fixed appointment will start worrying about their options and whether they really need the treatment. This is especially true for non-emergency patients, who may not experience any pain or difficulty due to their condition. A friendly follow-up can reassure patients that they’ve made the right choice. If necessary, practices can schedule a follow-up consultation to address the patient’s reluctance and book the treatment.
If you have questions on how to improve treatment acceptance and take your practice to the next level, get in touch with us at Dental Intelligence and book a demo today!
When potential customers in your area do an online search for a dentist near them, you want your website or Google Business Profile to be among the top results. Various factors determine your search engine ranking and online visibility, such as your:
- Presence on Google Maps
- Proximity to the searcher
- Local website optimizations
- Google Business Profile presence
- Online customer reviews
Of these ranking factors, positive customer reviews are among the most crucial. Google uses reviews to determine your practice’s credibility and resulting search ranking.
Prospective patients also trust online reviews to gain insight into your service and dental treatments. The more positive online reviews you have, the more patients your practice will attract, ensuring that your practice grows sustainably over the long run.
Setup and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Before implementing a review-based marketing strategy, you must ensure that your patients have a platform to leave reviews. Dental patients often use platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, or the Better Business Bureau. However, because Google dominates the search engine market, you want to be sure your patients leave reviews on your Google Business Profile.
After claiming your Google Business Profile, you need to take advantage of this listing by adding details, such as your name, address, phone number, and practice website URL.
Adding this information will optimize your Google Business Profile and increase your ranking for relevant search terms, such as “dentist near me.”
Provide a High-Quality Patient Experience
Improving your practice’s dental patient experience will go a long way toward increasing its number of positive online reviews. Happy customers are more likely to give positive reviews. You can evaluate patient experience by assessing the following factors:
- Ease of scheduling appointments
- Scheduling protocols to minimize patients’ wait times
- Coordination between the front- and back-office staff
- Quality of telephone and face-to-face communication with patients
- Protection of patient information
- Office and bathroom cleanliness
- Available dental financing options
- Treatment presentation
A positive experience eliminates objections patients may have to give a positive review. You can also confidently request a star rating and testimonial without fearing that a patient will leave a negative review.
Ask For Reviews Via Email or Text
Patients often want to leave positive reviews but don’t know where. After the patient leaves, you can send them a review request via text or email using Online Reviews from Dental Intelligence. You can also manage your reviews using our Swell integration.
The review request you send should explain that you value your patients’ input and that their reviews can help others make informed decisions. This method makes it easy for patients to leave a review without wasting valuable time.
Embrace Negative Reviews
A negative review is not necessarily bad for your practice, and you shouldn’t let an irrational fear of negative evaluations keep you from using this valuable marketing tool. Most significantly bad reviews allow you to identify potential weaknesses you can address to improve your practice.
Google users tend to distrust businesses that only have five-star reviews. A negative review here and there indicates authenticity and transparency. Responding to negative reviews also demonstrates your commitment to customer service.
Contact Us at Dental Intelligence
At Dental Intelligence, we offer digital marketing strategies and lead monitoring solutions to help you leverage the value of online reviews. Our automated review request solution supports up to five review platforms, including Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Contact us today to schedule a demo if you want to find out how to get more online reviews and grow your dental practice.
When a patient calls your dental practice, they’re getting a critical first impression of your office and how it runs, which will determine whether they make an appointment or call another dentist. Therefore, implementing a set of standard dental office receptionist scripts is essential.
In this post, learn best practices for dental office receptionist scripts that will help your team engage patients and prevent any lost conversions.
Simple, Polite, and Professional Dental Practice Call Scripts for Receptionists
Here are some script examples, based on the most common patient phone calls and questions that dental offices receive:
1. Confirm an Appointment Time
Many dental offices call patients to remind them of a future appointment or dental treatment. It’s best to call patients a few days ahead to remind them, which gives you extra time to fill the appointment slot should they cancel. Here’s a general script to follow:
“Hi, (patient name). This is (caller) at (practice name). I’m calling to confirm your upcoming appointment with us on (date) at (time). Does that still work for your schedule?”
Should the patient say no, ask if they would like to reschedule. If not, prompt them to call back when they are ready to book a new appointment, and wish them well.
“Okay, would you like to reschedule that appointment? We have a few openings on (dates and times). Okay, perfect. We look forward to seeing you then. Have a wonderful day!”
Alternatively, you can use automated reminders to help patients remember when their appointment is. For example, upgrading to dental appointment reminder software from Dental Intelligence is an excellent way to remind patients of their future visits, reduce the time your staff has to spend on the phone, and makes confirmations faster and more convenient for patients.
2. Possible Future Patients
New or potential patients can be challenging. It’s much harder to acquire new business than it is to retain loyal patients, as it takes time to establish trust. Here’s a script for following up with potential patients:
“Hello, (patient name). This is (caller) from (practice). We noticed you had recently called to inquire about (treatment, price, etc.). Is this a good time for you to talk?
“Okay, when would be a good time for us to call you back?”
“Would you like more information about (specific question/service) or to book an appointment? We have openings on (dates and times). Can we schedule you for one of those times?
3. Rescheduling Missed Appointments
Many patients miss appointments—it’s a fact of life for healthcare and dental professionals. However, you should ideally call them back within a day or two of missing an appointment.
“Hi, (patient name). This is (caller) from (practice). Since you missed your appointment on (date and time), can we reschedule you for another time? We have openings on (dates and times).
4. Scheduling Return Visits
It’s also essential to call patients who may not have had time to schedule a new appointment after their last time in the office.
“Hello, (patient name). This is (caller) from (practice). We’re calling to schedule your next (service, treatment, cleaning). Can we set a date now for your next appointment? We have openings on (dates and times).
Important Tips To Remember When Following Office Call Scripts
Here are a few tips for dental office staff to remember when they’re engaging with patients over the phone:
Be Brief: Nobody has time for long phone calls during the day, particularly if they’re at work. Stick to the call objective and keep it brief.
Be Genuine: When speaking with patients, keep a warm and genuine yet professional tone. Personalize the conversation without straying too much from the call’s purpose.
Be Thorough: Before you finish the call, give a quick recap for the patient and explain what (if anything) you expect of them. For example, tell them again the date and time of their appointment, whether they need to fill out paperwork on the website, to call back at a particular time, bring their retainer, and so forth.
Best Practices for Dental Office Receptionist Scripts
Do you want to learn more powerful and simple ways to schedule patients and help your business grow and thrive? We’ve got everything you need here at Dental Intelligence, including advanced software solutions and cutting-edge tools to streamline your practice. Contact us today to learn more about our services or schedule a demo.
In today’s digital age, claiming the Google Business Profile for your dental practice isn’t just smart—it’s absolutely necessary. Increasing the strength of your digital footprint and attaining more visibility gives you a valuable edge over the local competition and often results in more qualified leads, conversions, and new patient bookings.
At Dental Intelligence, we help dental professionals drive growth using a combination of expertise, skill, and cutting-edge solutions. Below, we explain why it’s so essential for dentists to maintain a Google My Business profile and how it can benefit your practice.
What Is Google My Business?
A Google Business Profile (GBP) (formerly Google My Business) is the Google Maps image and business description that shows on the search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user searches for your practice name or phrases like “Dentists near me.” This valuable tool allows business owners to manage their online presence effectively and ensures that profile visitors see current contact information.
In addition, it’s much easier to rank at the top of Google SERPs for your GBP than for your actual website. Setting up the page and claiming your business is simple—verification usually takes a few weeks to finalize. It’s one of the best ways to leverage local SEO for dental practices to drive more organic traffic and quality leads.
In addition, you can maximize the benefits from your local SEO (search engine optimization) efforts using tools and software from Dental Intelligence, like our marketing strategies, online review platforms, and Swell integration.
How Does a Google Business Profile Benefit Your Dental Practice?
So, why is it crucial for dentists to actively maintain their Google Business Profile page? Consider the following benefits of using local SEO and GBP to market your practice:
Establishing Trust and Credibility
Your GBP page combines a map, business listing, contact information, photos, and reviews in one place – Google Search and Maps, which undisputedly rules the search engine market with an 85 to 90% share. It shows the general public that you’re a reputable, trustworthy, and credible business.
Increasing Your Online Exposure
When people search for dental services in your local area, they use queries like “dentists near me” or “best cosmetic dentists.” When this occurs, you want them to see your practice first, and managing your GBP is an excellent way to accomplish this. According to a Google My Business study1, the average company obtains 59 actions from its GBP listing every month.
Strengthening Your Local Presence
As a dental professional, your SEO efforts will focus primarily on obtaining local business instead of reaching a nationwide audience. Thus, it’s essential to have a current, accurate, and informative business description on your Google Business Profile, allowing potential patients to contact you immediately when they need your services. Likewise, maintaining this page strengthens your local presence and reassures the public that you’re a legitimate, credible business with a happy and satisfied patient base.
Boosting Leads and Conversions
The goal of SEO is to reach a wider audience, generate more leads, increase conversions, and book new patients. Claiming and managing a GBP listing facilitates your SEO efforts and improves visibility, which means you have more page views, calls, and, ultimately, more business. In fact, 88% of consumers2 will call or visit a company within 24 hours of making a local search on their mobile device.
Managing Your Reputation
Your Google Business Profile also includes an online review section where you can reply to patient feedback. Actively responding to positive and negative reviews is a critical part of effective reputation management. Furthermore, it shows patients you genuinely care about their experience with your practice, establishing trust and credibility.
Actively Communicating and Engaging with Patients
A GBP page also encourages patient engagement and facilitates communication. You can view feedback, respond to reviews, upload photos of your practice, and more. In addition, people can “like” and “follow” your business. Your GBP listing also allows patients to self-schedule appointments from your profile, which improves convenience, efficiency, and patient experience.
Optimize Your Digital Presence and Drive Growth With a GBP Page and the Help of Dental Intelligence
As you can see, the benefits of actively managing your dental practice’s Google Business Profile page are well worth the small investment of time and effort required. At Dental Intelligence, our products and services help dental professionals develop a seamless workflow, increase production, and drive growth.
Check out our Dental Intelligence blog for more tips, like the perfect dental SEO keywords, optimizing marketing strategies, how to monitor key performance metrics, and more. Contact us to schedule a demo of our innovative solutions.
The first days and weeks of a new job can be daunting. To help recent hires hit the ground running, it’s critical to make them feel part of the team as soon as possible. Here are our top tips on how to welcome a new team member to your dental practice:
Have a Well-Thought-Out Onboarding Strategy
If you run a small dental office, it may be tempting just to make up the onboarding process as you go along. You have enough on your plate as it is. Why add the extra responsibility of creating a formal onboarding process to your to-do list? Besides, small businesses don’t need these kinds of formal HR protocols, right?
Wrong. All dental practices should have standardized processes for training and onboarding new hires. This not only takes the guesswork out of onboarding but also ensures that you don’t inadvertently skip important steps or best practices.
The simplest way to go about it is to create an onboarding checklist. Potential action items for your list include:
- Compliance: Start by taking care of any legal and policy-related issues, such as verification of employee documentation and form submission.
- Clarification: Train new employees, ensure they understand their roles, and set clear expectations.
- Culture: Introduce new hires to the rest of the team and the company culture and values.
- Connection: Assign a dedicated mentor or point of contact for each new hire.
In addition to the onboarding checklist, it’s also a good idea to have an employee handbook with all the information a new hire might need to hit the ground running.
Set Clear Expectations
To perform their duties properly, employees must first know what these are. Make sure new hires understand all aspects of their positions, including not just their core duties but also any fringe or occasional responsibilities. For instance, a dental assistant in a smaller practice may have additional roles such as scheduling appointments or keeping records.
A great way to set clear expectations from the outset is to enclose a job description with the offer letter. Later in the onboarding experience, you may also provide training materials that cover the position in more depth and that new hires can refer to going forward.
Check In on New Hires and Give Feedback
It’s essential to check in with new hires often, even if you think you’ve explained everything or they look like they have it under control.
Regular check-ins can help you identify and address potential issues early in the employee onboarding before they become real problems. It’s also easier to monitor policy compliance and confirm that new hires can complete their tasks by the end of their shift.
As you do that, be sure to provide easy-to-understand, actionable feedback on how the new hires can improve or become more productive. This is an essential part of learning how to welcome a new team member.
Encourage Communication and Collaboration
Easy, open, and rapid communication and streamlined collaboration between staff members not only make your practice more efficient but also facilitate employee engagement and can help new hires feel part of the team more quickly.
At Dental Intelligence, we make this happen using our system for office communication for dental practice teams. Our communication solutions allow you to:
- Connect with your coworkers
- Send individual and group messages
- Get notifications about unread messages
- Manage schedule changes in real time
- Keep all team members in the loop
- Collaborate and communicate even when away from your computer
Make New Hires Feel Part of the Team With Dental Intelligence
The onboarding process is crucial for ensuring the future success of new hires and establishing relationships with your team — and you only get one chance to do it right. Once that introductory period is over, it can be hard for new hires to unlearn bad practices, become more engaged, or better connect with other staff members.
At Dental Intelligence, we take onboarding seriously. That’s why we developed our communication software for dental practices. With it, you can set the right tone for all your future working relationships.
Don’t take our word for it. Contact us at Dental Intelligence and schedule a free demo to learn how to welcome a new team member using our cutting-edge communication solutions.
According to a 2015 study by the American Dental Association (ADA), 75% of dentists experience stress on the job. Keep reading to learn how to manage and reduce workplace stress using mindfulness, self-care, and social support.
1. Learn To Identify Good and Bad Stress
The word “stress” has a negative connotation that’s somewhat unwarranted. Not all stress is bad. Occasional short-term challenges can keep you energized, motivate you to set and achieve goals, and boost your professional performance. According to some studies, good stress may even have health benefits.
Chronic stress, on the other hand, is bad for you — even if it’s moderate. Over time, this type of stress can wear you out both physically and mentally, resulting in anxiety, decreased performance, poor concentration, and more.
As dentists are at a higher risk of experiencing workplace stress than the average professional, it’s essential to learn to identify good and bad stress. That will enable you to take measures to nip negative stress in the bud and use positive stress to develop as a professional and grow your dental practice. Common symptoms of chronic stress include:
- Body aches
- Digestive issues
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow or rapid breathing
- Appetite changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Irritability or mood swings
2. Make Self-Care Non-Negotiable
In your line of work, self-care isn’t optional. It’s imperative that you set aside time to recharge your batteries daily. Otherwise, there may be negative consequences not just for you but for your patients as well.
The good news is that many self-care practices can fit seamlessly into your busy schedule. Even something as simple as not skipping lunch breaks or doing short breathing and mindfulness exercises between appointments can be very beneficial for your physical and mental health.
Other potential self-care strategies you may want to explore include:
- Getting massages
- Engaging in hobbies or creative pursuits
- Socializing with friends and family
- Going on trips
- Spending time in nature
- Building a regular spiritual practice
The only limit is your imagination. Any activity that improves your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health — other than spacing out in front of the TV or mindlessly scrolling your social media feeds — can help decrease your overall stress and make you more resilient.
3. Set Healthy Boundaries With Patients
Patients and dentist-patient relationships are significant sources of stress in dentistry. No matter how friendly you and your staff may be, some people still won’t enjoy their visits to your office. Patients are often anxious, upset, scared, or in pain, and these negative emotions can easily spill over to you without you even realizing it.
It’s essential that you learn not to internalize patient anxiety, especially if you are a highly sensitive or empathetic person. You can sympathize with patients without empathizing with them.
One way to do that is by assuming an active role in the process and helping people through their anxiety instead of feeling it with them. For instance, the ADA recommends using guided breathing exercises to help patients relax.
4. Build a Robust Support Network
Social support is critical for improving our resilience to stress. In addition to bonding with the people in your personal life, consider investing time and effort into your work relationships as well. Connecting with people who are going through similar challenges can help validate your emotions and make the experience less stressful overall.
One of the best ways to build rapport within your team is to improve dental office communication. Modern technologies like our dental practice communication system can be of great help in this regard. You can use our software solutions to:
- Start individual and group chats
- Receive notifications about unread messages on your phone
- Streamline collaboration between staff members
- Manage schedule changes and plan your day in real time
- Create a better patient handoff experience
- Keep the entire team in the loop
Reduce Stress in Dentistry With Dental Intelligence
At Dental Intelligence, we understand that efficient collaboration and good interpersonal relationships are critical for a successful, stress-free dental practice. That’s why we designed our dental practice communication system to help you drastically improve team rapport and interactions.
Don’t take our word for it. Contact us today to schedule a free demo to see the system in action and get more communication tips for improved dental team performance.
In addition to improving health outcomes, patient education has a strong business rationale. Keeping dental patients informed about treatment options, oral health conditions, and the latest advancements in dentistry can increase satisfaction and retention rates and even help you attract more patients.
With this in mind, check out our top tips for developing and delivering effective dental education for patients:
1. Ensure That Your Educational Materials Are Accessible
As a dental professional, you likely default to technical language without even realizing it. That’s not a problem when speaking with other oral health experts, but you want to avoid medical jargon when communicating with patients. Use everyday language where possible, and keep your informational materials concise, simple, and easy to understand.
You also need to remember that people process information differently. Auditory learners learn by listening, visual learners learn by seeing and reading, and process learners learn through association and application. Your educational materials should cater to the different learning styles and feature a well-balanced mix of text, practical examples, and high-quality visual aids, such as:
- 3D dental models
Generational differences can also influence how people absorb information. Older patients may prefer paper-based brochures and booklets, whereas millennials and Gen Z patients are more likely to use digital resources like blogs, online articles, mobile apps, and other software solutions. Keep those differences in mind and consider providing both hardcopy and electronic educational materials in your practice.
2. Don’t Scare Patients — Empower Them
It’s important to educate people about various oral diseases and conditions, as well as the potential consequences of neglecting oral care or failing to address issues early.
However, you don’t want to terrify your patients into inaction. Instead, create a sense of agency and empowerment by detailing the available treatment options, laying out concrete steps patients can take to improve their oral health, and explaining how your practice can help.
You should also set time aside for one-on-one discussions before, during, or after appointments. By personally answering patients’ questions and appeasing their concerns, you can help them feel seen, heard, and supported. In addition to improving dental care outcomes, that’s a highly effective way to increase retention rates and generate repeat business.
3. Step Up Your Branding Efforts
Informational materials can do more than provide dental education for patients: They can also promote your business.
At a minimum, everything from the waiting room brochures to the informational videos on your website should feature your practice name, logo, brand colors, and contact information.
Don’t stop there — make sure that your materials also reflect your dental health philosophy and your services. Do you prioritize a healthy lifestyle and regular preventative care over invasive procedures? Make sure your communications, branding, and informational materials get that message across.
If you want to really stand out from the crowd, consider developing original content using intraoral photography, case studies, and patient interviews from your practice. Many dental care providers repurpose and recycle the same generic information, so creating unique materials can help you cut through the noise.
4. Use Loyalty Rewards To Facilitate Patient Education
Patients today don’t want to read boring leaflets. The patient education of the future is fun, interactive, and gamified.
That’s precisely the philosophy underpinning the patient loyalty program by Dental Intelligence. Our smart solutions for loyal patients can incentivize various behaviors that will improve health outcomes and make your practice more efficient, such as:
- Confirming appointments
- Being on time
- Submitting insurance information
- Filling out patient forms
- Referring family and friends
- Making payments on time
Crucially, you can customize our loyalty program to reward patients when they engage with messages from your practice, including educational communication.
Educate, Engage, and Delight Your Patients With Dental Intelligence
Dental patients today expect to have information and services at their fingertips. To outrun the competition, you must stay ahead of the technology curve and deliver the modern solutions your patients seek and love.
At Dental Intelligence, we understand the importance of creating interactive dental education for patients. With our smart solutions for dental practices, you can not only engage and inform patients but also receive powerful analytics, benefit from online scheduling, process payments online, and more.
Don’t take our word for it. Contact us to schedule a free demo and learn how to attract new patients, retain existing ones, and boost your revenue.
One of the key aspects of a successful dental practice is a high treatment acceptance rate. Not only do low acceptance rates decrease overall patient health, but they can also affect the practice’s bottom line.
A dental treatment coordinator (DTC) can play a significant role. The dental treatment coordinator’s main responsibility is guiding patients through various options with the goal of treatment acceptance. By relieving dentists of this duty, DTCs can apply their sales skills to reassuring and informing patients, resulting in higher acceptance rates and better quality care.
Using a dental treatment plan template from Dental Intelligence can encourage patients to consent to treatment and make it easier for your DTCs to present treatment effectively.
The DTC Conducts the Case Presentation and Follow-Up Discussions
In many small dental practices, dentists are responsible for case presentations. Unfortunately, these can take up to an hour for complex cases, dramatically cutting into the dentist’s time. Having a dental treatment coordinator take on the task — while still having the dentist offer additional input and technical expertise — frees the dentist to focus on providing dental care instead of patient administration.
Treatment coordinators can even increase the success of case presentations, as they will have enough time to make the patient feel comfortable during the session. They will answer any questions and address any concerns, allowing the patient to make an informed decision about their treatment plan. Patients feel reassured by consistently dealing with one person instead of several dentists assigned to their case. As the treatment coordinator builds the relationship, patients will be more likely to seek and accept treatments for their oral health problems.
Dental treatment coordinators are also responsible for following up on patients who leave without scheduling their treatment. While the ideal scenario is having the consultation and immediately scheduling the treatment, most patients want time to contemplate their options. While allowing patients to do so can build trust, most patients are unlikely to schedule a visit after leaving the practice. Following up within two or three days shows the patient that the dental office cares for their well-being, and the dental coordinator will be able to alleviate any lingering concerns and schedule the treatment during this follow-up session.
The DTC Outlines Financial Options
One of the largest factors for care refusal is the financial burden of treatment. Even patients with health insurance coverage may not have the finances to cover copayments, especially for larger, more complex procedures. Unfortunately, many patients are reluctant to bring up financial concerns as the reason for refusal, which is why the dental treatment coordinator should do so first.
After the case presentation, the dental treatment coordinator should outline the practice's various payment plans. These can include discounts for up-front payments, interest-free monthly payments, or third-party financing. By treating this part of the case presentation as routine, coordinators reduce the stigma of needing financing assistance, which often translates to a higher treatment acceptance rate. Dental Intelligence offers easy patient financing options through Wisetack, which make it even easier for patients to say “yes.”
Characteristics of an Excellent Dental Treatment Coordinator
DTCs are often the face of the dental practice, so they must have the right characteristics to succeed. These characteristics include being:
- Engaging: Treatment coordinators must be able to form a connection with prospective patients. They should be able to provide advice clearly without too much detail to avoid overwhelming the patient and should be able to foster a sense of trust and reliability.
- Prepared: The key to a successful case presentation is preparation, which includes having the right visual aids and script and being ready to answer any patient's questions.
- Persistent: Patients have many reasons to refuse treatment, including fear of pain, financial concerns, or feeling that they don’t need the treatment. A good dental treatment coordinator will be able to listen while being persistent enough to encourage patients to make the right decision, even if the initial answer is a “no”.
The Power of a Dental Treatment Coordinator
A good dental treatment coordinator can be an asset to any practice. They free up dentists to focus on providing high-quality treatments and can increase customer loyalty, improve the customer experience, and keep acceptance rates high.
Whether you want to learn about dental treatment plans or need assistance with any other aspect of your practice, Dental Intelligence is here to help. Schedule a demo to discover how to take your practice to the next level!
Dental narratives explain to insurance companies why they should accept claims. When your patient needs dental treatments beyond their standard covered services, you must provide documents and supporting explanations detailing why a given procedure will improve the patient’s health. Many dental care practitioners feel overwhelmed by writing narratives.
At Dental Intelligence, we help dental practices improve their internal operations for optimal patient and team experiences. Our software also helps you easily collect payments for dental services without wasting precious resources. Continue reading below to learn our top six tips on writing dental narratives for insurance claims.
1. Understand Coverage Inclusions and Exclusions
Before writing narratives, determine what the insurer will or will not cover. For example, most organizations cover two standard cleanings per year, so you shouldn’t waste time writing narratives for services included under this umbrella.
Insurers often state which treatments they don’t cover. A few common examples include the following:
- Attrition (tooth structure wear and tear)
- Abrasion (tooth damage from brushing)
- Abfraction (tooth damage from traumatic forces)
- Erosion (gradual tooth destruction from products or poor hygiene)
Using the above terms in your narrative will likely result in a denial from many companies. Learning what you can and cannot say to insurers can help you improve success rates.
2. Skip the Prewritten Templates
Stock dental narratives may seem the quickest and easiest solution, but they don’t adequately display the patient’s needs. A narrative should tell the patient’s full story, including the context surrounding their problem, potential future complications, symptoms, etc. You will not find such specific details in prewritten templates.
Stock narratives typically use vague information that may not relate to your patient’s needs. Such inaccuracies can lead to denials and fraud claims. To maintain your practice’s reputation and claim approval rates, you should write each narrative individually.
3. Keep the Narrative Concise and Informative
While you want to discuss the patient in detail, you don’t need to tell their whole life story. Only include the most relevant information relating to the claim. The narrative should generally cover the “who, what, when, where, and why” supporting the patient’s medical necessity.
For example, the narrative for a ceramic crown may include the following details:
- Existing crown placement (if replacing) details with date and reason for replacement
- The pathology report on the tooth’s condition
- A detailed cosmetic explanation (when appropriate)
- The amount and location of decay
- Any past or planned root canals
- The prior filling restoration size
- The estimated amount of tooth remaining after decay removal
- The remaining tooth structure condition
- Fracture notes
- Additional diagnoses, like cracked tooth syndrome
- Tooth periodontic and endodontic prognoses
- Patient symptoms or chief complaints
- Radiographic images
- Intraoral images
- Prep and complete dates
4. Add Context to the Evidence
Insurers cannot look at an x-ray of a broken tooth and understand why the patient would need treatment. You must explain the context behind all attached evidence, translating what the information indicates and why it proves that the patient’s health depends on the requested service.
When explaining context, focus on tooth functionality and future complications if not fixed. Try to include specific figures, like decay percentages and estimates, for the most detailed explanation possible.
5. Avoid Mentioning Cosmetic Problems
Most insurers won’t accept claims for cosmetic issues. For example, if the patient cracks a front tooth and wishes to fix it, you may need to consider functional reasons that can improve the claim’s acceptance likelihood. For a cracked tooth, you could explain how the patient has pain, trouble chewing foods, and a general lack of functionality rather than discussing how their smile looks.
6. Keep It Professional
Before submitting your claim, you want to ensure it sounds professional and legitimate. We recommend the following tips:
- Avoid abbreviations and slang words
- Do not handwrite the narrative
- Spellcheck the document for errors
- Add all supporting evidence in downloadable formats
- Attach digital clinical notes when appropriate
Get Paid Faster With Dental Intelligence
Crafting successful dental narratives improves claim acceptance rates, patient outcomes and satisfaction, and practice revenue streams. At Dental Intelligence, we want to help you learn how to get paid faster. Our comprehensive software automates the payment collection process with seamless digital experiences that your patients and team will love.
Schedule a demo with Dental Intelligence today to see how our platform can transform your dental practice.
If you’re not actively managing your dental appointment book and analyzing key procedure metrics, you could be adversely affecting your practice.
Let’s start by discussing how overly long dental procedure times could impact your practice.
How Dental Procedure Time Impacts Your Practice
The amount of time it takes to complete each procedure can profoundly affect the overall success and productivity of your office. For example, let’s say that the average times for routine dental procedures are higher than you originally planned. It becomes far too easy to have a sloppy scheduling mindset and unhappy patients when that happens.
Long Wait Times
One of the worst qualities a dental office can have is ultra-long wait times for patients. If your dental treatment duration rates are higher than they should be, the inevitable result is a packed waiting room and disgruntled patients. You should keep average times for procedures as low as possible without sacrificing the quality of care.
If a dental procedure time takes longer than usual, you will have less time for other patient appointments. Of course, the key to a thriving and productive dental practice is effective time management, not overscheduling or cramming as many patients in each workday as possible. However, if you have to cancel on patients because you don’t have enough time to fit in their dental treatment, it will result in lower profits and unhappy patients.
Low production rates are another common impact of letting your dental procedure times run over. In particular, it’s crucial to have a good mix of low-ticket treatments like cleanings and high-ticket procedures like root canals or dental implants. Improving your time management skills regarding patient procedures is one of the best ways to run a thriving dental office.
How To Manage Dental Treatment Times for a Thriving and Productive Practice
Let’s discuss some actionable advice and expert tips you can leverage to keep procedure times down and productivity up.
Utilize Online Patient Scheduling
Switching to digital software systems for patient scheduling is one of the best ways to ensure that your procedures and treatments stay within their appointed time frames. For example, one solution is online dental scheduling by Dental Intelligence. It allows you to streamline your scheduling practices, prevent double bookings, and update schedule changes in real time. The best part is, patients can schedule online any time, anywhere.
Analyze Important Metrics
How can you determine if your dental treatment times are running over? You can start by measuring and analyzing key metrics. For example, you may want to spend two weeks recording the timeframes for each type of treatment and dental procedure. Which appointments take the longest? By gaining this valuable data, you can better understand how to mix your workday to maximize time efficiency and production.
Set Daily and Monthly Production Goals
Your dental practice should focus on increasing cost efficiency while decreasing anxiety and stress for your staff and the front desk. For example, you can do this by setting daily average production goals that lead to higher monthly and annual goals. Here’s how you can do it:
- First, determine your specific monthly or annual production goals by the number of available working days within the particular period.
- Take that number and then decide how much growth you want for the following months and year: i.e., 10%, 15%, etc.
Now, you have a hard number that can act as a guide. As we said earlier, that will make it much easier for your staff to determine a good mix between low-profit treatments like cleanings and high-profit procedures like root canals.
You can use Dental Intelligence’s Metrics and Reporting to easily set goals and review your data. No need to run your own reports. Everything is already built out for you.
Switch to 10-Minute Increments
Although many dentists use 15-minute increments for their patient scheduling, you may want to consider switching to 10 minutes. It keeps your time management skills sharper and helps you cut appointment times. Consider this: If you have three dental assistants who manage to save even 15 minutes each workday during the year, your practice can benefit from 500 extra working hours annually!
Contact Us at Dental Intelligence Today
Are you interested in more ways that Dental Intelligence can help your practice and lower dental procedure time? Check out our blog to learn about the different types of dental office scheduling, tips for improving productivity, and how to streamline your workday. Reach out to us and schedule a demo of our advanced software solutions today.
Overscheduling patient appointments is a widespread problem for dental offices across America. Packing your workday with too many patient appointments can cause some serious harm to your office and its reputation.
How Does Overscheduling Dental Patients Impact Your Practice?
To successfully run a dental office, you must provide your patients with a positive experience and high-quality care. However, some dentists focus more on profitability than patient satisfaction, and one of the most common problems resulting from that mindset is overfilling their schedule.
Consider the following reasons why patient overscheduling is harmful to your dental practice:
Long Wait Times
Nobody wants to arrive on time for their dentist's appointment and spend the next hour sitting in a packed waiting room. One study showed that long wait times1 negatively affected dental patients' satisfaction levels, with first-time patients being the most dissatisfied and unlikely to return. Think about it: Would you want to go to a dentist that you knew had hour-long wait times? Of course not!
If your patient schedule is overfull, the only way to ensure that you see every patient is by working faster. But, as you know, rushing your work often leads to mistakes, unhappy patients, an increased stress level, and poor quality of care.
In healthcare, making a mistake can have severe repercussions for you, your patients, and your business. Of course, patients must give informed consent before any treatments or procedures, but that doesn't provide comprehensive protection against you for making a mistake due to carelessness.
Another inevitable result of a packed appointment book is that both you and your staff have to sacrifice your breaks or, at the very least, cut them short. Remember, an unhappy employee is one who has to work through their lunch break! In addition, if your staff members are unhappy, they are more likely to become irritable with patients, negatively affecting your practice.
Receiving poor feedback and negative reviews is one of the most significant impacts overscheduling can have on your dental practice. One of the first factors potential patients research when looking for a new dental practice is reviews and feedback. If you're receiving negative feedback because of long wait times, poor quality of work, and overworked front desk staff, it will undoubtedly affect the quality of your business.
How Can Your Dental Practice Stop Overscheduling?
How can you fix this problem? Let's discuss a few solutions:
Adjust Your Appointment Schedule Blocks
If the time you spend with each patient tends to exceed the allotted appointment time on a regular basis, you may need to spread out your appointments by 5-10 minutes each. Seeing fewer patients per day will give you higher-quality time with the patients you do have, which can improve retention and lower stress levels in your office.
Online Dental Scheduling
One of the best ways to avoid overfilling your appointment book is by upgrading to online dental scheduling by Dental Intelligence. With our Online Scheduling, you can let patients book their own appointments directly into your management system. Plus, it frees up your staff to devote time to other important tasks.
Use Appointment Reminders
Another effective way to streamline your scheduling practices is with appointment reminders for patients to help them remember their upcoming procedures and routine appointments. No more of those little scheduling cards that get thrown out or lost! Use texts instead.
Consider a Dental Scheduling Coordinator
Instead of overburdening your office staff with all the administrative work, why not consider hiring a dental scheduling coordinator? A scheduling coordinator manages the entire flow of your workday and scheduling practices. Then, you can rest easier knowing that your workday will be smoother, more efficient, and more productive.
Invest in Your Dental Practice with Dental Intelligence
Overscheduling can harm your dental practice in more ways than one. From negative reviews, unhappy patients, and overworked staff, your business will gradually see the adverse effects of poor scheduling habits.
Instead, consider upgrading to Dental Intelligence. Our advanced software solutions provide the tools and resources dental professionals need to improve the quality of care and streamline their practice. Reach out to us for a demo of our Online Scheduling and other tools.
Dental implants are a common procedure for both cosmetic and medical reasons, but before performing this treatment on a patient, you must receive their informed consent. You can do so with a dental implant consent form that will protect your practice against legal liability issues and ensure that your patients make a well-informed decision regarding their treatment plan.
What Is Informed Consent for Dental Patients?
Every state in the U.S. requires patients to give informed consent before a dental procedure. It ensures that patients have a comprehensive understanding of their treatment and can make their own decision based on the information their dentist provides. The types of informed consent include verbal, written, and recorded. While some dentists still use the traditional written informed consent form, many practices have gone paperless, which reduces costs and improves the patient experience. You can check out online dental forms by Dental Intelligence now.
Critical Components of a Dental Implant Consent Form
When obtaining informed consent from a patient who wants or needs dental implants, dentists must speak in person to the patient using language understandable to a layperson. Then, they must also obtain the patient's written signature on the informed consent form. The form and conversation should include the following elements:
- The patient’s official diagnosis and a rationale for their proposed treatment
- The nature of the dental implant procedure and what it involves
- Potential risks the patient must accept before receiving dental implants
- Alternative treatments instead of dental implants
- Projected benefits, outcome, and prognosis for the patient after receiving their dental implants
- The type of risks the patient will face if they refuse the dental procedure
- Costs and expenses the patient will incur by agreeing to dental implants
Before performing dental implant procedures on patients, you need to obtain valid legal consent. In addition, patients who receive detailed information about their implants and the potential risks and outcomes are much less likely to file a lawsuit.
Best Practices for Obtaining Informed Consent for Dental Implants
Below, we discuss expert tips and best practices for dentists to follow regarding informed consent:
Check Each Form
Don't make the mistake of filing away consent form submissions without checking them first. Be sure that the patient has signed and dated each of the form fields, whether that's in-person or electronically. They must give their consent freely and voluntarily.
Ensure Patient Comprehension
Remember, your patient must understand the terms and language you use when discussing their informed consent. Avoid technical jargon and use simple, straightforward, and concise language. Patients who speak a foreign language will need an interpreter and a form in their language.
Patients Under 18 Cannot Self-Sign
If you have patients under 18 who may receive dental implants, they cannot self-sign. They must have a parent or guardian present during the verbal conversation, and the written informed consent form must be signed by their parent or guardian.
Record and Store Consents
To ensure that your dental practice has the proper legal protection regarding patient consent to treatment, you should always record and store each consent form. Instead of taking up space with paper, switch to online dental consent forms to ensure that you have instant access to any document you need. Plus, it makes the process smoother, faster, and hassle-free for both the dentist and the patient.
Provide Opportunities for Questions
Some patients may be too embarrassed to ask questions after having an informed consent discussion. Ask every patient if they have any questions, concerns, or confusion about dental implants and the procedure's risks, benefits, alternatives, and outcomes.
Just as you would record and store patients who sign their informed consent forms, you should also do the same for patients who refuse treatment. Additionally, document any patients who refuse to follow a specialist referral to another healthcare provider for necessary treatment.
Upgrade to Dental Intelligence Today
A dental implant consent form should be clear and simple, contain the critical elements we discussed above, and ensure that patients understand the risks, benefits, outcomes, and alternatives to the procedure. If you'd like to learn more about dental insurance breakdown forms, informed consent, and how we can benefit your dental practice, schedule a demo today.
Did you know that August 10 is National Patient Appreciation Day? Whether you choose this or another date, it’s important to mark a day in your calendar to show your patients how much you value them.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to show patients how grateful you are for their loyalty. One way to do that is to have an annual patient appreciation day at your dental practice.
Here are our favorite easy-to-execute ideas for patient appreciation day:
1. Offer Free or Discounted Services
On your patient appreciation day, consider offering free or heavily discounted services like dental exams or teeth cleaning. Alternatively, you could give patients coupons for future treatments, such as $25 off their next teeth whitening.
It’s also a good idea to award referrals on this day. Give discounts to anyone who brings a friend or relative for the first time. New patients should also get a free introductory service. That’s a fantastic way to not only show appreciation to current patients but also attract new ones — and make a stellar first impression.
2. Hand Out Freebies
People love free stuff. Consumer studies show that 83% of customers are more likely to generate return business if you give them a gift, and 90% will remember your practice name and logo if you print them on free merch.
With this in mind, consider having branded door prizes or swag giveaways, at least on your patient appreciation day, if not year-round. Opt for functional items that will remind patients of your practice each time they use them, such as:
- Pens or pencils
- Sticky notes
- Flash drives
- Tote bags
- Water bottles
- Kids’ coloring books
By the same token, you want to stay away from non-functional items like stickers, silicone wristbands, or fridge magnets. Your patients probably won't hang on to these items for long.
Another great marketing tip to consider for your patient appreciation day is offering free healthy snacks and drinks before or after appointments. Think fresh or dried fruit, trail mix, herbal teas, or bottles of water.
3. Organize Educational Sessions on Dental Health
People appreciate free information just as much, if not more, than free swag. Your patient appreciation day offers an excellent opportunity to educate your clientele on new treatments and technologies or dentistry in general.
To that end, you can give demonstrations in your office, host in-person or online webinars, invite guest experts to give talks, or have a Get To Know the Staff Day, during which patients can ask questions and learn more about your practice and services.
Bonus Tip: Develop a Patient Loyalty Program
You shouldn’t limit your patient appreciation efforts to just one day of the year. If you want to see real revenue growth, go the extra mile and integrate our ideas for patient appreciation day into a year-round program for loyal patients.
Implementing a full-fledged loyalty program for patients may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
At Dental Intelligence, we know that running your practice and caring for your patients takes up most of your time. You likely don’t have the bandwidth to brainstorm and develop a loyalty program on top of your other responsibilities. That’s why we developed a turnkey patient loyalty program that you can use off the shelf.
Our proprietary solution enables you to reward patients automatically for things such as:
- Confirming appointments
- Showing up on timeFilling out their paperwork
- Referring family and friends
- Making payments on time
Patients can then exchange their points for rewards such as free or discounted dental services, dental products like electronic toothbrushes, gift cards for Amazon or local businesses, and more. You are free to customize the rewards and incentivize virtually every positive action to encourage engagement and efficiency, delight patients, and increase retention.
We Know You Appreciate Your Patients — Make Sure They Know It Too
Studies show that it costs five times more to attract a new patient than to keep an existing one. But that’s not all: Raising retention rates by just 5% can increase your profits by up to 95%.
At Dental Intelligence, we understand that patient appreciation efforts are vital to increasing retention and generating return business. Consider implementing our ideas for patient appreciation day. Then, contact us to schedule a free demo and learn how we can help boost your revenue through patient loyalty programs.
Don’t underestimate the importance of regular performance evaluations: They help your staff feel valued and heard in the workplace, foster stronger teamwork and communication skills, and keep your dental practice running smoothly. With some proactive planning, professional resources, and the right approach, you can reap the benefits of performance reviews for your dental staff.
Dental Employees Performance Evaluations: Best Practices
When was the last time you held performance evaluations for your dental staff? Here's a list of best practices for evaluating employees in your dental office.
Prepare Ahead of Time
First, decide on your employee performance timeline. Most experts agree that new employees benefit the most from having monthly reviews for the first six months. For veteran staff, try to hold performance reviews every three or four months. In addition, you should administer an annual evaluation on the employee’s work anniversary that sums up their overall performance for the year.
Choose a Format
Next, you’ll need to decide how to review your staff’s performance. While written reviews are the traditional choice, they’re time-consuming and take up space. Instead, consider switching to a digital dental employee evaluation form. Plus, digital evaluations are fast, convenient, and allow for easy storage and access.
Establish an Evaluation Criteria
Don’t make the mistake of holding performance reviews “on the fly” or just winging it with a quick verbal discussion. Draft a list of evaluation criteria, key performance metrics, and more. Common evaluation points include:
- Productivity and quality of work
- Punctuality and attendance
- Problem-solving skills
- Motivation and initiative
- Leadership and communication skills
- Overall professional competency
- Hard and soft skills appraisals
You may also want to set a major goal for each employee to achieve each month, which you can use in your evaluations. Boost motivation and productivity by offering rewards or incentives for staff who meet or exceed their goals.
Keep Notes Throughout the Week
Another problem with only holding annual reviews for dental employees is that it’s hard to remember the details of their work performance over the last 12 months, whether good or bad. To avoid this problem, spend a few minutes each week taking notes on your employees regarding their strengths, successes, weak spots, and areas needing improvement.
For example, you could have a spreadsheet with points, such as “attitude,” “punctuality,” or “communication,” etc. Taking just a few notes here and there during the week can make the evaluation process much more manageable.
Ask Staff to Complete a Self-Appraisal
In addition to the standard dental employee evaluation form for performance reviews, you should also ask your staff to complete a self-appraisal. Doing so allows you to gain valuable insight regarding your team and their feelings, sense of self, and opinions.
Ask your employees to give their own honest feedback regarding your performance as a leader: What can you do to improve or make their workday more pleasant? Self-appraisals also offer you a new perspective and strengthen communication between you and your staff, fostering a positive work environment and company culture.
Develop a Follow-Up Strategy
During a verbal evaluation, an effective strategy is to highlight two or three areas where each staff member excels and two to three areas where they could progress. Keeping the list short ensures the conversation remains on-topic.
Finally, end the review by offering a few tips or actionable advice each employee can follow to improve their skills and become a better asset to the office. At the bottom of each dental employee evaluation form, list a few options tailored to each staff member to help them focus on professional development or training.
Keep Your Dental Practice Running Smoothly with Dental Intelligence
Using the tips we just discussed, you can ensure that every dental employee evaluation form you receive from your team will help them improve. At Dental Intelligence, our software solutions help dental professionals streamline their practices and increase efficiency. You can learn more about how we can help your practice now by browsing the resources on our website.
For example, do you know the importance of dental referral forms or how to check if your payment process is HIPAA compliant? We invite you to read our blog, listen to our podcasts, or attend a webinar. Reach out to us to schedule a demo of our cutting-edge solutions.
When you provide dental treatment, patients and insurance companies must pay for your dental services. Dental patients may occasionally refuse to pay their dues for various reasons. Teaching your front desk staff how to prepare for these scenarios can help maintain your business’ revenue without compromising patient experiences.
Common Reasons Patients Refuse Paying Their Bills
Patients have bills, life stressors, and tight finances. Helping your team understand why patients may refuse to pay dental bills reminds them that we're all human. A few reasons why people may not want to fulfill their payments include the following:
- The patient has dental insurance and assumed it would cover all or more of the charges.
- The patient paid for some services in-office but received an additional bill by mail.
- The patient did not know how much they would need to pay before the services.
- The patient believes the services were not worth how much they cost.
The above scenarios show that patients often refuse payments over a lack of clarity. No one wants to pay for something they weren’t expecting. Providing transparency can alleviate many of these issues.
Tips on Handling Payment Collections Appropriately
So, how can you handle payment collections to avoid the above problems? Below, we offer tips on providing transparency throughout the payment process, preparing for challenging conversations, and automating the process for convenience on both ends.
Dictate Finances Up Front
Your practice should have clear financial policies surrounding all service costs and payment deadlines. You should clearly explain this information to patients before they agree to any treatments so they know what finances to expect.
For example, you can tell them how much their insurance covers and what they need to pay before their appointment. If additional services pop up during the appointment, like a cavity, your dental team should inform them of the associated costs. You can easily present this to them by using treatment plans by Dental Intelligence
Requiring patients to sign financial agreements can help with future complications. If they receive bills in the mail and claim they weren’t aware of such costs, you can show them the signed paperwork agreeing to the services.
Create a Script for Overdue Payments
Calling someone to discuss overdue payments is nerve-wracking. We recommend developing a script so your team can confidently relay the message. You want to sound friendly, personable, and stern.
You cannot anticipate how patients will respond, so try to consider potential questions ahead of time. Preparing answers to common questions will make the conversation easier for your team.
Regardless of how the patient responds, remember to stay calm and professional. You should have an escalation process for complex scenarios.
Documentation is key in proving that your office took the required steps. You should keep track of paperwork for all provided services, fulfilled payments, and communication. Any time you speak with a patient over the phone or in person about payments, keep notes of the conversation for future reference. By using Follow Ups, you can quickly keep track of when you talk to a patient about an overdue payment.
Automate Payments With Simplified Software
The above tips can help ease payments, though they will consume your front desk’s time and resources. For more streamlined results, consider using an automated payment collection platform that takes care of the process for you. At Dental Intelligence, we provide a simplified and intelligent solution for dental payments that includes the following features:
- Individual and bulk text message reminders
- Secure digital payment collections
- Flexible payment options, including debit, credit, Apple Pay, and more
- Messaging templates
- A payment platform for tracking patient fulfillment
- Paperless statements
With Dental Intelligence, practices typically collect an additional $25,000 within three months, averaging collection speeds 12 days faster than traditional methods.
Offer Financing for Affordable Payment Plans
Some patients cannot fulfill their payments because they don’t have the funds. Offering financing schedules allows such patients to make partial payments over time on a schedule that works for them. Financing improves collection rates, patient satisfaction, scheduling, and revenue streams.
You can typically integrate patient financing within your payment collection software. Dental Intelligence offers patient financing through Wisetack, so you get paid no matter what.
Easily Collect Payments With Dental Intelligence
Do your patients often refuse to pay their dental bills? Learn how to master payment collections with Dental Intelligence. Receive a demo from Dental Intelligence today to see how our platform can streamline your payment system.
One of the key elements of a successful dental practice is a high treatment rate. According to a 2015 Levin Group survey1, almost two-thirds of all U.S. dental practices fall short of the recommended 90% close rate, meaning that these practices fail to reach their true potential.
If you already have a dental treatment plan template by Dental Intelligence but are struggling to reach your target case acceptance rate, it may be time to consider what factors affect your practice’s refusal of treatment rate. Addressing these factors will improve your practice’s performance and help patients make the best treatment decisions for their needs.
Lack of Trust
Patients find dental practices intimidating so they may be reluctant to put their faith in dentists with whom they don’t feel a personal rapport. While focusing on providing high-quality dentistry is vital, fostering a feeling of compassionate care and trust is also important.
Treating patients like people is the first step to creating trust. Instead of rushing patients in and out of treatment rooms, consider slowing down and getting to know each patient more intimately. This may be as simple as asking about family and work before digging into oral health.
By focusing on patient comfort and providing a caring and compassionate atmosphere, patients are more likely to consent to treatment and recommend your practice to family and friends.
Lack of Understanding
Many oral health issues are asymptomatic, making patients skeptical about treatment options for problems they don’t think they have. It’s not enough to simply tell a patient they have an oral health concern and propose a treatment plan — the dentist should also spend time explaining the condition and the consequences the problem will present if left untreated.
Many dentists fall into the trap of assuming that patients know more about a certain procedure or oral health concern than they do. Fostering a sense of understanding through visual aids, brochures, and examples while also allowing patients to ask questions can dramatically reduce refusal of treatment rates.
Lack of a Dedicated Dental Treatment Coordinator
Small practices can get away with having dentists go over the patient’s treatment plan in detail, but as your practice grows, your dentists will find they don’t have the time to thoroughly present each patient’s treatment plan.
A dedicated treatment coordinator can handle treatment presentations on the dentist’s behalf. These presentations typically cover every facet of the treatment plan, from explaining the problem to outlining the treatment process and addressing patient questions. These presentations, held in a comfortable, private room, give patients the reassurance and information they need to consent to treatment.
Lack of Follow-Up
While same-day consultations and treatments are ideal, most patients don’t like feeling rushed and want to spend time weighing their options. While giving patients space can help provide comfort and trust, it also gives them time to second-guess their options, and very few will call to schedule a treatment themselves.
Instead, it’s up to the treatment coordinator to follow up on patients, either on the day of the consultation or two to three days after. The coordinator should have a pre-planned follow-up script and be ready to address any lingering concerns while gently encouraging the patient to seek treatment.
Lack of Financing as a Reason for Refusal of Treatment
One of the largest factors in the refusal of treatment is the patient’s ability to afford the recommended treatment. Unfortunately, patients are reluctant to admit their financial concerns and will generally invent other excuses for why they refuse care.
Practices that offer financing and treat these options as routine are more likely to make patients feel comfortable about their difficulties and in control of their choices. With patient financing options by Wisetack from Dental Intelligence, you can make the treatment acceptance process easier. More options lead to more patients consenting to recommended treatments and returning for routine care.
Increase Treatment Acceptance
Understanding why patients refuse care is essential to providing them with the reassurance they need to accept recommended treatments. Practices with a formal plan for treatment presentations and treatment planning (read our guide on dental treatment plan phases) are more likely to have informed, consenting patients, leading to increased revenues and improved performance. For more information about treatment acceptance or treatment planning, schedule a consultation with our team at Dental Intelligence today!
What Is External Financing?
External financing provides business capital from external sources, such as bank loans, grants, and private investments. Dental practice owners looking for funding options may consider outside sources to avoid taking internal resources away from the business or their personal savings accounts.
Making informed decisions regarding external financing sources helps dental offices fund innovation, weather financial hardships, and sustain steady business growth. But hasty decisions can lead to more fiscal difficulty. Let's review the pros and cons of external financing arrangements so that you can make the best financial decision for your dental practice.
The Advantages of External Finance Sources
Greater Financial Stability
Dental office owners can often use external financing without restriction, making external sources a viable option for funding financial relief without pulling resources away from the business.
A dental practice may use external funding to catch up on overdue vendor payments or overcome an emergency financial situation without sacrificing business operations or overall financial stability. To ensure that you can use your external financing on any aspect of your practice, look for sources with no limitations on how borrowers spend the money.
A dental office owner may also use external financing to fund growth or to keep up with an expanding practice. Outside financing provides the funds they need to make office improvements, purchase new equipment, fund marketing efforts, buy more property, and facilitate other growth-focused projects. External financing can provide the necessary capital if you need more space for a flourishing dental practice or funds to purchase the latest dental equipment.
Patient Financing Options
External financing doesn't just benefit dental practices; it also provides financing for dental patients, allowing them to make manageable monthly payments on expensive treatments. Daunting prices can stop dental patients from getting treatment, so dental offices that offer patient financing programs enjoy increased treatment acceptance. Your practice can make it easy for patients to afford the treatment they need by providing financing from an external source.
The Disadvantages of External Finance Sources
Gaining funds from private investors and investment firms often requires dental practice owners to hand over partial business ownership. Depending on the investment agreement, this may entitle the investor to a proportional share of profits and a voice in business decisions. You'll need to decide what control you're willing to part with before seeking funds from investors.
Interest and Fees
A bank loan provides immediate funds, but dental practice owners must consider the interest and fees that will result in more long-term costs. If you're considering a third-party loan for your dental practice, ensure that you can afford the payments and keep the loan from becoming another financial concern for the business.
Some business owners seeking external financing choose secured loan products to avoid high interest rates or find more favorable eligibility requirements. To get a secured loan, a borrower must offer collateral, such as a vehicle, property, or equipment, which the lender may repossess if the borrower fails to repay the debt. Although it can be easier to get a secured loan, you must consider the assets at risk if you don't make payments on time.
Provide Patient Financing Through Dental Intelligence
If you want to pursue external financing that benefits your dental patients, Dental Intelligence has the solution. We provide third-party funding to dental patients through our partnership with Wisetack, a great company that helps businesses offer simple financing solutions to their clients.
Why Provide Patient Financing Through Us?
Dental practices and patients both benefit from patient financing solutions through Dental Intelligence and Wisetack. Advantages for patients include:
- Fast virtual applications
- Treatment plan-based financing options
- No late or early payment fees
Many patients worry they won't qualify because they don't know what credit score is needed for dental financing. Wisetack makes it easy for patients in various financial situations to get financing.
Dental practices that use Dental Intelligence to provide external financing for patients avoid cash flow problems because Wisetack keeps them covered. Offices receive treatment payment within one to two business days, and Wisetack works with the patient to settle the debt.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you provide an excellent patient experience.
You have enough to occupy your time without having to correct common SEO mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes are detrimental to your dental practice's SEO strategy and may even lower your rankings in search engines.
The number one rule of ditch digging is to put down the shovel. The same applies to common search engine optimization mistakes — stopping is the first step. Avoiding these common mistakes will ensure that your site is functioning at a high level and reaching existing and potential patients in your local area — your target audience.
1. Failing to Optimize Your Website for Local Search Results
One of your dental practice's most significant advantages is that while it competes for rankings, it is primarily concerned with ranking locally. If you are in Eugene, Oregon, you are not competing with dental practices in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York. Your goal is to win the rankings battle in Eugene and the surrounding communities.
Build your website around your target audience. If you haven't already, create a Google My Business page. Encourage and make it easy for patients to leave reviews. Include references to your location on your site, and check that your metadata is optimized.
Metadata includes the title tags and meta descriptions on your site. It is a valuable part of your SEO strategy.
Check out our tips for local dental SEO.
2. Forgetting to Conduct Keyword Research
Often professionals, such as dentists, assume they know what words patients will search for when looking for their services. After all, they are educated and licensed to practice in the field. Consequently, they focus their site content on keywords they believe patients search for rather than the keywords they actually use to search.
Fortunately, you do not have to guess which words to pursue. Your target audience will tell you if you know where to look. Google offers Google Keyword Planner. This keyword research tool will help you identify the words you should target.
3. Having Low-Quality Content
A website is not a create-it-and-forget endeavor. Poorly constructed content can hurt your rankings in Google. Websites require updating to remain fresh and full of high-quality content. Put your keyword research together with your local optimization, produce a relevant and engaging site for your patients, and avoid using duplicate content.
4. Not Taking Advantage of Social Media
Social media is a fast and easy way to promote your brand and build your business. You should post about your practice, new services, and daily dental tips. In addition, social media accounts may be automatically linked to your blog, posting all new content.
You need to use social media to build your customer base. Dental Intelligence offers templates for creating great dental marketing content.
5. Failing to Include Videos
Dental care lends itself to creating short how-to video content. Post these videos on your site and social media to create a holistic approach to your SEO strategy. You can cover an array of quick care topics and allow potential customers to see your practice and get a feel for you.
6. Using Improper Anchor Text
Anchor text allows you to link content to related content elsewhere. This practice helps search engine algorithms understand your content. Consequently, anchor text is an excellent way to improve your site's ranking and reputation.
People often need to learn about anchor text which can cause the exact opposite of the intended effect. Make sure your anchor text is relevant. Do not use identical anchor text multiple times; never chase too many keywords.
7. Failing to Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
In the modern incantation of communication, mobile devices reign supreme. You will lose customers if your website is not optimized for mobile viewing. View your dental practice's website on your phone, and ask your family and friends to do the same. If it appears clunky and needs help to fit on your screen, you need to make it mobile-friendly.
Improve Your SEO Strategy
Now that you know the seven common SEO mistakes your dental practice should avoid, begin searching for these errors in your own SEO strategy. Contact our team at Dental Intelligence today to see how we can help you bring in new patients, then learn about the perfect dental SEO keywords for your campaign.
Your practice exerts a substantial amount of resources in scheduling appointment times and dental procedures for your patients. Cancellations are a drain on your resources. Ensure that your dental practice is taking advantage of all of the strategies to reduce cancellations, including using dental appointment reminder software by Dental Intelligence.
Read on to learn about the most common reasons patients cancel their dental appointments and the practical strategies you can use to minimize them.
1. Patients are Afraid of Dental Appointments
It is no secret that dental appointments evoke fear in many. They can be painful and intimidating. Helping patients overcome this fear is critical.
Do not be afraid to speak to your patients about any apprehension they may be feeling. Simply validating your patients’ fears will go a long way toward minimizing fear. In addition, make sure you take extra time with these patients and explain what is involved and why it is beneficial to them long-term.
2. New Patients Lack Familiarity
New patients may call to make an appointment for many different reasons. However, since the two of you have little familiarity before their first appointment, it is easier for them mentally to cancel or be a no-show. Your practice must confront this propensity of new patients because they help your practice grow exponentially through referrals to family and friends.
Your practice should have a particular protocol for rapport-building during the initial communication. For example, taking a few extra minutes on the phone to connect with a new patient can improve the probability that the patient will not cancel.
Additionally, it would be best if you attempted to schedule new patients as quickly as possible. Fresh off a phone call that established some familiarity, the patient should be in the office within the next two days for their first appointment. With these two steps, your patient will find your practice friendly and efficient. As a result, they will be more likely to keep their appointment.
3. Your Policies Allow Guilt-Free Cancellations
Knowing that cancellations and no-shows are a part of any dental practice means you need well-established policies concerning cancellation issues. Make sure your practice has covered the following matters in its cancelation policies:
- Required cancellation notice
- Number of cancellations or no-shows that result in a penalty
- Number of cancellations that prevent that patient from booking appointments
Your staff must explain these policies to the patient so that they understand the expectations. Moreover, you have to have an efficient system to track cancellations and follow through on your rules. Dental practices with a cancellation policy in place that they have thoroughly explained to patients results in fewer cancellations. These policies will give your patients fewer reasons to cancel dentist appointments.
4. Patients Aren’t Being Reminded of Their Appointments and/or Confirming Them
Sometimes people simply forget appointments. Your practice must use reminders and confirmations to limit these preventable no-shows or late cancellations. However, even if you send reminders and confirm appointments, your process may need to be more effective.
The first thing you should do is review your data. Determine what your cancellation rate is for customers that received reminders and confirmed their appointments. If it is higher than expected, reconsider your current approach and suitable alternatives — for example, implementing automatic appointment reminders.
5. Patients Do Not Know The Importance of Hygiene
Part of any successful dental practice is to educate your patients. If you tell your patients to return in three months for another procedure, they are more likely to cancel because they may not understand its importance to their overall health.
Create a comprehensive treatment plan for your patients, and set goals. Explain the importance of each procedure from a health perspective. This will encourage a more significant commitment to the plan by your patients and help them understand the tangible benefits of keeping appointments.
Your dental practice needs to adapt to the reality of patient cancellations. While you cannot prevent all cancellations, you should direct a great deal of effort into minimizing them.
Implement New Strategies
Knowing patients' top five reasons to cancel dentist appointments is half the battle. Now you must implement strategies to minimize cancellations. Start by reaching out to our team at Dental Intelligence to learn how our software can minimize cancellations. Then you can learn how to write a dental appointment reminder email.
A dental practice requires much ongoing time and effort to maintain. You must hire and train new staff, attend educational seminars to hone or acquire new skills, and purchase new equipment to offer more services. Then, having put in all that effort to provide top-flight services, you need to grow your customer base.
An effective search engine optimization strategy can attract new patients and grow your practice. Like your practice, an effective SEO approach also requires time, knowledge, and content to obtain high organic rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs). Knowing what to do with SEO also means knowing what not to do.
Read on as we debunk six common dental SEO myths.
Myth #1: SEO Provides Immediate Results
The bad news is that SEO is not a quick fix. The good news is that it works.
SEO is a long-term strategy requiring ongoing attention and maintenance. A high organic ranking depends on high-quality content about your relevant keywords. The idea is simple — provide the information your customers want.
You are competing with every other dental provider in your area. Just like dental school, there are no shortcuts to success. However, you can rise to the top of SERPs by formulating and implementing a local dental SEO strategy.
Myth #2: An Exact-Match Domain with Relevant Keywords is All You Need
Decades ago, an exact-match domain, WhiterTeethDental, rose to the top of Google. However, unscrupulous individuals snatched up exact-match domains quickly and filled the sites with unrelated information and advertisements. The algorithms powering SERPs are far more advanced today.
A relevant exact-match domain does not hurt, as it will make it easier for patients to remember your site, but you need "domain authority." Acquiring domain authority takes time and consistency. That is, your dental practice needs a long-standing website with fresh content.
Myth #3: Keyword-Stuffed Content Works with Google
This particular myth has legs despite being publicly disavowed. Keyword density indeed mattered at one time. However, Google no longer considers this metric in its relevancy determinations.
All search engines, Google included, want the same thing as you and your customers: high-quality content that is informative and related to the search query. This does not require barely readable, keyword-laden content written for an unknown algorithm. Doing so may even result in your website being penalized by search engines. However, it does require providing fresh content that addresses your customers' questions.
Myth #4: There Are Shortcuts to the Top of SERPs
This SEO myth centers around tactics referred to as black-hat approaches. The term black hat refers to practices designed to mislead search engines, effectively cutting the line to the top. These tactics include keyword-stuffing, discussed above, but it also involves more nefarious conduct, such as cloaking and link buying.
The best you can hope for from these techniques is a short-lived jaunt upward in the rankings. The worst-case scenario involves search engines discovering your tactics and penalizing your website. Black-hat methods are akin to a streaker at the Super Bowl — he may be on the field momentarily, but he is not playing in the game.
Avoid black hat techniques and focus instead on what is known to provide sustainable long-term results.
Myth #5: All My Dental Practice Needs is a Blog
Blogs are essential to a strong SEO strategy, but more than a blog is required. Your dental practice should take a comprehensive and integrated approach to its SEO strategy. While such an approach will undoubtedly include a blog, you must also engage in keyword research, social media campaigns, and link building. Then couple that with your content. It helps to know which are important.
Myth #6: A Social Media Campaign and Link Building are Enough
A thriving social media presence is a fun and easy way to build your brand and company. Similarly, you can and should submit your dental practice to relevant directories to build links, including registering a My Google Business page. Remember that the quality of links matters. Focus your link-building efforts on obtaining fewer, higher-quality links.
Improve Your SEO
With these myths in mind, you are prepared to learn the SEO metrics to track your dental practice and boost your rankings. Contact our team at Dental Intelligence today to request a demo of our dental practice growth tools.
Cultivating certain dental assistant skills will help you succeed in these essential duties, which can significantly benefit your dental practice.
1. Active Listening
One of the most important dental assistant skills is active listening, which involves giving the patient, dentist, or coworker your full attention while they’re talking. Good listening skills allow you to respond correctly to patients’ questions and concerns and accurately follow instructions from the dentist. To be an active listener, you should do the following:
- Maintain eye contact
- Confirm what the person said
- Provide feedback
Communication is a crucial part of any team, and you need excellent interpersonal skills when helping patients and working with dentists, hygienists, and other dental staff at your practice. Practicing good communication when relaying information from patients to your team will keep the clinic running smoothly and enhance the patient experience.
The following are examples of communication you should refine as a dental assistant:
- Having face-to-face and phone conversations
- Explaining dental care to patients in a way they can understand using treatment plans
- Making small talk with patients
- Describing patient or room status, schedule changes, and other details
Improve communication amongst your fellow team members with team chat, which allows you to easily communicate without disruption to your clinical work.
You’ll likely juggle several daily tasks when working as a dental assistant, so you must be comfortable multitasking. You might have to take phone calls or help a patient with an issue while preparing an examination room and assisting other team members.
Being able to jump from one thing to another without getting overwhelmed is essential for dental assistants, and it will help the practice operate smoothly.
Even when you’re running back and forth, completing various tasks nonstop, organizational skills are necessary to keep a dental office from descending into chaos. Dental assistants should be able to organize paperwork, patient schedules, dental instruments, etc., so other staff members can do their job without having to do extra steps.
Good organization means patients receive dental care in a smooth and timely manner, which reflects well on the practice and increases patient retention.
Your ability to act professionally while doing your job as a dental assistant affects the patient experience and the clinic’s reputation. Maintaining professionalism means:
- Taking your work seriously
- Arriving on time
- Dressing appropriately
- Keeping a positive attitude
Patients are more likely to return to or recommend a dental practice with staff that upholds these qualities.
Many people fear going to the dentist, so part of a dental assistant’s job is ensuring patients feel comfortable while receiving dental care. Being empathetic and understanding a patient’s feelings will help you provide a more calm, positive experience, ensuring the patient gets the care they need and increasing the chances they return to your practice.
7. Attention to Detail
Detail-oriented people make the best dental assistants because the ability to catch even the most minor details significantly improves patient comfort and safety. Dental assistants must be able to:
- Ensure all dental equipment is sterile and in the correct place
- Accurately record patient information
- Complete every task
- Notice when a patient is anxious or in pain
Dexterity refers to a person’s skill when performing tasks, especially with their hands. Dental assistants often use their hands to aid in dental procedures, using dental tools to work in a precise area. Excellent dexterity and hand-eye coordination are necessary when performing these tasks so that the patient is comfortable and receives high-quality care.
Dental assistants must face challenges with determination, allowing them to handle issues efficiently and quickly get back on track. Whether you get a difficult patient or make a mistake when prepping an examination room, being able to bounce back quickly will help you maintain high-quality patient care and pave the way for success in your dental career.
Enhance Patient Experience with Our Dental Practice Solutions
Possessing essential dental assistant skills goes a long way toward building a successful practice, but you can improve the patient experience in more ways. At Dental Intelligence, we can help you modernize how you interact with your patients, including a virtual check-in system, digital payments, and loyalty programs.
Contact us to try Digital Intelligence yourself. For more dental practice tips, check out our blog to learn how to increase productivity with dental billing and coding training.
5 Common Medical Billing Errors to Avoid
As a dental practice owner, you must understand the typical pitfalls of medical billing to ensure that your cash flow remains steady and your patients receive fair dental bills. Consider whether each of these common billing errors may be negatively impacting your dental business:
1. Coding Mistakes
Medical billing processes used at dental practices, doctor's offices, and other HIPAA-regulated facilities use codes to designate procedures on billing forms to protect patient confidentiality. The dental industry uses Current Dental Terminology (CDT) codes maintained by the American Dental Association (ADA). Many dental offices struggle with dental billing codes, resulting in errors and claims denials.
To protect your practice from costly coding mistakes, provide the training and resources your staff needs to understand and remain up-to-date on current CDT procedure codes. This will also help prevent your patients from paying unfairly high medical bills.
2. Inaccurate or Missing Patient Information
Patient information inaccuracies and missing information on insurance claims can cause many problems for dental offices. Missing a field during data entry or including the wrong patient information often results in claims denials and more work for the practice's billing team as they investigate, correct, and appeal the claim.
These errors rank high among common medical billing errors, but you can reduce the instances of information inaccuracies by collecting patient information early in the treatment process by using digital forms.
3. Inaccurate Insurance Information
Some dental billing teams also struggle with insurance information errors, resulting in duplicate billing, claims denials, and other issues. Dental offices that fail to gather or input correct insurance information may need to rethink their current billing processes to eliminate weak points and start collecting information sooner.
We recommend using digital forms to gather patients' insurance information to prevent mistakes while entering the data into your computer system.
4. Missing Documentation
Dental insurance claims often include attachments that document the purpose of the procedure. Insurance companies want proof that the patient needed the provided treatment, so billing teams attach clinical notes, x-rays, and other forms of evidence to their claims. If you've ever forgotten to attach a file to an email before sending it, you understand how easy it can be to fail to attach the proper documentation.
To avoid this common billing error, your practice can use a claims checklist that includes attaching all relevant evidence that the patient needed the procedure. If you can't decide what documentation to include, we recommend overdoing it. It's always better to send the insurance company too much evidence rather than too little.
5. Late Claims Filing
Insurance companies give dental practices a limited amount of time to submit claims following patient procedures. The window depends on the company, but even a 12-month grace period can race by in a busy dental office, leaving billing staff members needing more time to submit claims.
The best billing process for avoiding filing late is filing all insurance claims as quickly as possible. The later a claim becomes, the less likely your dental office will receive payment, so establishing a fast claims process can make a huge difference in your cash flow. Try to file every claim within 48 hours of the procedure to stay ahead of this standard billing error.
Simplify Patient Financing Billing With Dental Intelligence
About half of your dental billing comes from insurance claims, but what about out-of-pocket payments? You can simplify your out-of-pocket billing process by offering dental patient financing along with online dental payments at your practice.
Dental Intelligence has partnered with consumer financing company Wisetack to provide dental offices with simple, risk-free patient financing. With this fully integrated program, billing teams don't have to worry about chasing down patient payments to maintain cash flow. Dental practices receive fast payments within one to two days of the procedure, and Wisetack takes care of debt settlement.
Dental Intelligence can also help you avoid common medical billing errors by introducing digital patient forms to your dental office. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
From dental assistants to dentists, your employees’ abilities affect the patient experience and profitability of your practice. When hiring new team members for your dental clinic, it can be tempting to get the hiring process over with as soon as possible, but speeding through it can have consequences.
We’ll provide six dental staff recruitment tips to help you find qualified dental professionals who will help your clinic grow. To learn more about developing your practice, read how to increase dental production to raise the value of your clinic.
1. Make the Job Description Specific to Your Needs
Whether you’re searching for a dental hygienist or an associate dentist, your job description should express your needs and wants for the position. Provide a concise, easy-to-read explanation of what the role involves and what you expect from potential candidates, including:
- Details regarding their daily responsibilities
- Standard procedures in your dental practice
- Required dentistry qualifications
- Performance expectations
By using a precise job description that highlights your requirements clearly, you significantly increase your chances of receiving applications from qualified candidates. You might be sacrificing time writing the description, but it will save you a lot more during the hiring process.
2. Don’t Hire Too Quickly
Staffing issues hurt your practice but filling a position out of desperation can have worse consequences. You might hire the first person who applies without ensuring they’re the right candidate, which can negatively impact your team’s work ethic and the patients who have to see them. Starting the hiring process over again will be costly and time consuming.
To avoid selecting an unqualified applicant, you might require a working interview, where the candidate spends a day working with your dental team. This practice allows you to assess their abilities before hiring, and you can include a probationary period for more security. Check your state’s laws on working interviews before adding them to your hiring process.
3. Post on Dental Job Boards
Dental job boards are online recruitment sites where you can post open positions to attract qualified candidates, specifically in the dental industry. While posting on major job boards like Indeed will help you find a large number of candidates, posting on an industry-specific site can help narrow down the applicants and increase your chances of hiring someone who’s a good fit for your clinic.
Online job boards let you advertise outside your local area, helping you find experienced applicants willing to relocate from other parts of the country or start working as soon as possible.
4. Contact Local Dentistry Schools
If you need to fill positions in your dental clinic, consider contacting schools to inquire about graduating dental students who would like to work at your practice. As long as you’re comfortable hiring someone just out of school, you can find quality candidates for various roles in your clinic and give someone their first experience in the dental field.
5. Provide Referral Incentives to Current Employees
Your current employees can be a valuable resource when you start hiring because they might know the perfect candidate for the role. Your employees are familiar with your practice’s work culture and procedures, meaning they can recognize whether someone would be a good fit.
You can offer incentives like gift cards, bonuses, vacation days, etc., to encourage your team to refer candidates for open positions.
6. Evaluate Your Practice’s Image
When advertising for a position at your clinic, remember that the applicants will also be judging you. Employees want to work in clean, modern surroundings, so the appearance of your clinic can affect a candidate’s motivation to work at your practice. A sleek, up-to-date clinic will attract more qualified applicants than a dull, outdated one.
You should also evaluate the appearance of your website, ensuring it reflects your practice’s professionalism and personality. A stylish, well-designed website shows candidates your dental practice is innovative and constantly growing. Updating your brand image can be costly, but the amount is worth the increase in capable applicants and improved patient experience.
Set Your Practice Up for Success
Wading through the talent pool for the perfect candidate is tedious, but you can make the dental staff recruitment process easier and attract higher-quality applicants by focusing on your clinic. With Dental Intelligence, you can bring your dental practice into the modern landscape with innovative scheduling and communication software and in-depth analytics tools.
Contact us to schedule a demo to try Digital Intelligence for your practice. Check out our dental staff meeting ideas for more ways to improve your dental clinic.
Every business must pivot with the times to remain successful and growing — including dental practices. Patients expect same-day services because they are easier for them to fit into their schedules and provide instant results. Your dental practice should respond by offering the latest technological advancements to your patients.
Here are the four reasons same-day dentistry will grow your practice.
1. It Saves Time and Money
Investing in the latest dental technology is expensive, but it has untold benefits for your dental practice and your patients. For example, digital scanning is less invasive, faster, accurate, safe, and more economical than traditional molds. With digital scanning technology, you can provide same-day patient appointments that save time and money.
Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC) machines place your dental practice on the cutting edge. The same-day services these machines allow you to offer your patients can resolve their dental needs in a single day, provide instant gratification, and reduce their copays. In addition, since this technology only requires a single appointment, it is far easier for them to schedule.
Your patients have busy lives occupied with family, work, and friends. If they can receive the dental care they need in a single visit, they will appreciate the convenience and will likely remain loyal patients.
At the same time, these machines allow you to accomplish in a single appointment what would have taken your dental practice two appointments in the past. Thus, you can see more patients and grow your dental practice. In addition, they diminish the effect of cancellations, as patients are twice as likely to make one appointment as they are to make two appointments.
2. Patient Satisfaction
A simple crown used to require multiple appointments, a temporary crown, and the construction of the permanent crown in a distant lab.
Now dental practices have the ability to create and place a permanent crown in a single dental appointment with their CEREC machines. In addition to crowns, your dental practice will be able to complete the following procedures in a single appointment:
The advancement in technology is safe and tested. With fewer appointments required, your patient satisfaction increases.
Combine these advancements with modern software for dental appointment reminders from Dental Intelligence and truly automate your office so you can spend less time on administration and more time on patient care.
3. Reduces Fear-Based Cancellations
Many people have dentophobia, the fear of dentists. According to the Cleveland Clinic1, 36% of people in the United States fear dental appointments, and 12% are terrified. This fear can manifest in some patients refusing to see a dentist. Therefore, dental practices must address this fear head-on as it will attract a more extensive patient base and grow the practice.
One effective way to address this is by reducing the number of appointments necessary to complete dental procedures. A person who is afraid to see a dentist is more likely to show up for a single, same-day appointment than multiple appointments that are weeks away. Technological advancements in dentistry make this possible. In addition, the technology of these latest machines reduces discomfort, which plays a major role in dentophobia.
4. Emergency Dental Services
Patients often need same-day dentistry. It is common knowledge that patients in pain or needing cosmetic repairs will seek out the first appointment they can obtain.
Technological advancements have shortened the time and number of appointments to meet the needs of these patients. Your dental practice must capture the patients that need services in an emergency.
By offering same-day appointments, you can bring these emergency patients to your practice rather than leading them to a different one. Then, when they need future dental care, they may be more likely to seek out your practice again.
One way to provide more same-day emergency appointments is through integrated online scheduling for your patients. A system that coordinates in real-time with your calendar can maximize the number of patients you can serve. Offering the ability for your patients to schedule an appointment online and in real-time is especially useful in emergencies where patients are looking for an immediate dental appointment.
Make sure your dental practice takes advantage of same-day dental services by employing a real-time, online patient scheduling portal — like the one we offer at Dental Intelligence. You can learn more about dental scheduling and expand your business! Reach out to us today for a free demo and see how we can help you intelligently shape the future of your practice.
As a dentist, your patient's safety is a top priority. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all workplaces that use hazardous chemicals—including dental practices—to outline and implement a hazard communication program. The purpose of this program is to educate your staff on how to handle the materials and ensure the safety of everyone who enters the office.
OSHA lays out its requirements for these programs in its Hazard Communication Standard, also known as HAZCOM or HCS. Here's what you need to know about applying the standard to a hazard communication program in your dental office.
Assign Hazard Communication Program Leaders
OSHA recommends choosing one person in your office to coordinate your hazard communication program efforts. This person can then assign more minor responsibilities to other staff members. Asking employees to take ownership in this way will engage them in the program and help ensure its successful implementation.
Learn the Key Elements of HCS
The employee in charge of leading the hazard communication in your dental office should become familiar with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standards. You can get a copy of the entire HCS from OSHA's website, but here are the key elements:
Before creating your program, you must identify which hazardous materials are present in your practice and what their hazardous properties are. For example, some materials are flammable, irritative, corrosive, toxic, or explosive.
Typical hazardous materials in dental offices include mercury, silica dust, nitrous oxide, hydroquinone, and beryllium. Your office's cleaning supplies for infection control may also include hazardous components. Waste containing biological materials, such as blood and saliva, is also considered a hazard.
Once you identify the hazardous materials in your office, you must label them according to OSHA hazard communication standards. Labels should include the following information:
- Product name or identifier
- Hazard classifications of the product
- Pictograms that illustrate the hazard classification
- Signal words indicating a hazard, such as warning or danger
- Precautionary information for safe handling
- Contact information of the manufacturer and supplier
At a minimum, any container holding hazardous materials must include information about the type of material, how it can be a hazard, and how to handle it safely.
Maintaining Safety Data Sheets
Safety Data Sheets contain detailed information about each hazardous material in your dental office. These sheets must be readily accessible to your employees at all times. Suppliers should send these sheets to your office along with the materials, but sometimes you may need to request them.
Create and Communicate Your Program
OSHA requires you to create a written version of the hazard communication program for your dental office to share with employees. The document must include the following items:
- A list of all the hazardous materials in your office
- Your plan for implementing a labeling system
- Your plan for maintaining Safety Data Sheets
- Your employee training plan
Dental Intelligence's dental office communication solution can help you effectively disseminate the plan and other important information to your employees.
Train Employees to Follow the Program
OSHA mandates that you educate and train all your employees according to its standards and the steps in your written hazard communication program. This hazard communication training must occur before employees begin their work assignments and any time you introduce new hazardous materials into your workplace.
Regularly Evaluate Your Program
It's wise to periodically evaluate the hazard communication program for your dental office to ensure that it's still relevant and effective. These reviews will also allow you to make updates for shifting workplace conditions and any changes to OSHA's requirements. By routinely evaluating your program, you can confidently prepare for inevitable OSHA inspections and avoid violations.
Work With a Trusted Partner
If you're beginning to implement a hazard communication program in your dental office, consider working with a digital solution provider such as Dental Intelligence. Our tools can help you save time and manage the process—and your entire practice—more efficiently.
At Dental Intelligence, we offer more than just office software. We provide dental practices with a modern, all-in-one solution that combines analytic and engagement tools to intelligently shape the future of your practice. We can help you with everything from dental staff meeting ideas to online scheduling, payments, employee communication, and more.
Contact our team at Dental Intelligence today to schedule a demo and find out what we have to offer, including tools that will help you implement a hazard communication program in your dental office.
If you're like many dentists, your dental practice accepts copays from patients and receives reimbursements from insurance companies.
But did you know there is another way to let patients pay for your services that can attract new patients and boost patient loyalty?
Dental discount plans offer patients an affordable alternative to dental insurance by charging one annual fee instead of monthly premiums and in-office copays. Because patients have already paid for their year's worth of dental services upfront, they are more likely to schedule biannual cleanings and keep appointments.
A dental discount plan combined with a loyalty program, like Dental Intelligence's patient loyalty program, can boost revenue and secure repeat patients. Here's everything you need to know about how these plans work and how they can benefit your dental practice.
What Is a Dental Discount Plan?
Dental discount plans are becoming an increasingly popular way for patients to save money on their dental care. With discount plans, members pay a flat rate annual fee instead of a monthly premium like typical health insurance.
At each dental visit, your patient presents their dental discount card, which locks in a lower price and often a range of discounts for certain services.
While typical dental insurance reimburses your practice, these discount plans don't. Instead, patients pay you directly.
Dental discount plans are often much less expensive than dental insurance, and patients don't have to worry about waiting periods or deductible amounts. According to recent data, 89% of patients without dental insurance are interested in a dental discount plan that is clear and affordable. You could have an untapped market of patients in your area who just need the incentive of an annual discount plan to encourage them to invest in their oral health.
Dental discount plans are especially helpful for:
- Patients without health insurance
- Insured patients who need more work than insurance covers
- Patients with specific health conditions
- Older patients who aren't fully covered by Medicare
What Are the Advantages of a Dental Discount Plan?
A simple and transparent dental discount plan shows your patients that you care about their health and understand the barriers they may face in affording quality dental care.
Benefits of a dental discount plan for your patients include:
- Affordable for uninsured patients
- Clear fixed cost, so no more unexpectedly high dental bills
- More convenient for patients than working through an insurance provider
- Discounts on services like preventive care, restorative care, and cosmetic dentistry
Because the cost of membership-based dental plans is transparent upfront, patients have a level of price certainty that helps them develop another layer of trust with you as their dentist.
Your practice also benefits from these plans in several ways:
- Improve patient retention
- Help patients commit to their oral health
- Patients accept more restorative care services
- Receive payment directly, so there is no need to contact the insurance company for reimbursement
By encouraging uninsured patients to see your benefit plan as an affordable, long-term option for their oral care needs, you can show your patients that you value their business and are committed to providing quality care.
Do Dental Discount Plans Increase Patient Retention?
Building patient loyalty can be challenging, especially in today's competitive market. Many uninsured patients only visit the dentist once every two years and are less proactive with regular dental cleanings and follow-ups.
Membership plans are statistically proven to keep patients committed to your practice. Data shows that a dental discount plan can lead to two to three times more visits from patients. Patients also accept up to 75% more treatments since they have comprehensive coverage.
In short, a dental discount plan provides your patients with member-only benefits that keep them happier and healthier, more likely to keep appointments, and more likely to refer you as an affordable, high-quality dentist.
Make oral care easy for your patients, and they'll keep coming back. Plus, they're more likely to refer their friends and family because you stand out from the crowd and offer something special.
Start Retaining More Patients with a Dental Discount Plan
Patient loyalty is essential for your practice to succeed. Not only do loyal patients come back for regular checkups and cleanings, but they also refer their friends and family to your practice. Learn more about dental discount plans, dental giveaways, and ways to boost patient loyalty.
At Dental Intelligence, we specialize in digital solutions to help dental practices grow their patient base and streamline day-to-day operations. Contact us today to schedule a free demo and start building better patient relationships.
Your dental team performance can depend on many factors, but clear communication is often at the heart of it. If you want your team members to be productive and successful, you must encourage effective communication at your dental practice.
Using a solution like Dental Intelligence's dental office communication software is an easy way to improve your team’s communication. Implementing this and other essential steps, such as morning huddles, regular staff meetings, active listening, and more, will help boost your team’s performance.
1. Make Communication a Priority
Before you begin implementing any communication strategies with your dental team, you should make it clear that proper communication is a priority in your office.
When you lead by example and explain how better communication leads to better dental team performance, you show your team that communication is a focus. You can even reward and incentivize good communication on your team by including communication goals in performance reviews and employee recognition programs.
2. Hold Morning Huddles
Taking 15 minutes at the start of each workday to huddle with your team is essential to improving your practice’s performance because it sets the tone for the day. During this time, you can discuss daily expectations, schedules, patient and team member needs, and any special situations you anticipate. Ending this brief meeting with a cheer, words of encouragement, or employee recognition will also help you kick off the day on a positive note.
3. Plan Regular Staff Meetings
Beyond your daily huddles, longer staff meetings are essential to your dental team’s communication. These meetings should be mandatory, have set agendas, and allow some room for open discussion of needs, wants, expectations, and concerns between staff and departments.
All staff should attend, from those who do dental assisting to front-desk workers, office managers, and dentists. To make attending easy for your staff, you should hold staff meetings at a time when you usually wouldn’t have any patients or you’re able to clear your patient schedule.
Whatever frequency you choose for these meetings—monthly, bimonthly, every six weeks, etc.—be sure to get these meetings on the calendar as far in advance as possible. This will allow all team members to plan accordingly and ensure full-team participation.
4. Provide Spaces for Written Communication
Providing spaces where employees can record, store, and access meeting notes, instructions, and other written resources is another element of effective communication in your practice. This communication hub can be a physical space, like a notebook or binder, or it can be a digital space, like a shared electronic folder, shared document, or group chat.
Dental office staff should have a way to note non-urgent matters as they arise so the team can address them in the future. It can also be helpful to have a way for employees to raise issues or voice their concerns in writing between huddles and meetings. Before meetings, leaders can review these lists to help create meeting agendas.
5. Practice Active Listening
You can encourage your staff to practice active listening with customers, dental team members, and anyone they encounter in your practice. Active listening means giving your full attention to what someone is saying and their non-verbal cues, such as body language and facial expression.
To be an effective active listener, you should also let the person who’s talking know that you’re paying attention and that you understand what they’re saying. You can actively listen by making eye contact, nodding, repeating what they said in your own words, and asking clarifying questions if needed.
You can explain active listening to your dental team and offer them opportunities to practice it together during your staff meetings.
6. Use a Dental Practice Communication System
Dental office communication systems are software tools that can help your team communicate better and feel more connected. For example, at Dental Intelligence, we offer Team Chat—an internal communication system that works similarly to group texts and other digital chat services. This tool, which we designed specifically for dental practices, allows your team to communicate anywhere, anytime, through desktop computers or mobile devices.
At Dental Intelligence, we also offer an all-in-one solution that includes tools for more efficient practice management, patient communication, scheduling, payments, loyalty programs, and more. This solution combines analytic and engagement tools to help you work smarter, not harder, to improve dental team performance.
Contact our team at Dental Intelligence today to schedule a demo and find out what we can do for your team. We’re committed to making communication in your dental office as efficient as possible.
As a dentist, your goal is to provide outstanding patient care. In order to do that, you need to keep patients returning to you year after year. So how important is patient loyalty to a dental practice?
Boosting patient retention with a patient loyalty program means less effort spent on patient acquisition and a smoother business for you.
Here's a closer look at why building loyalty with a patient loyalty program is crucial to sustaining your patient base and practice.
Why Does Patient Loyalty Matter?
Loyalty can be beneficial for both the dentist and the patient. When a patient remains with the same oral healthcare provider for an extended period, it's because the dental practice has established a level of trust and comfort.
For the patient experience, it can mean that they have a better understanding of their medical history and are more likely to receive continuing care.
For you as a dentist, returning patients mean fewer administrative tasks to take care of, like filling out new paperwork and gathering medical records from other providers.
A loyal patient base can also mean retaining over $9,000 in revenue annually through proactively nurturing your existing clients.
Clearly, you want your patients to keep coming back, but how can you keep them engaged?
A patient loyalty program allows you to:
- Spend time treating patients instead of chasing leads
- Create and maintain rapport with each patient
- Show you truly care about their oral health
Let's break down the details to answer the question, "how important is patient loyalty to a dental practice?"
Retaining Old Patients Is Cheaper Than Acquiring New Ones
In a single year, a new dental practice can expect to acquire 360 patients on average. This practice will lose an average of six patients per month, leaving 288 returning patients at the end of the year.
Most patients will generate revenue from their routine dental health cleanings every six months. Current patients are also likely to require different, more advanced treatments that net you more money, like teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry services.
An average routine cleaning generates $125 per appointment. In a lump sum, your returning patientss (just from cleanings alone) earn you $36,000 in one year.
Considering the lost patients in a single year, you can calculate a conservative $9,000 in revenue lost.
When you retain your existing patients through a loyalty program, you don't have to pay marketing costs to find new patients. Experts calculate that marketing outreach expenses can range from $50 to $300 per new patient. If you want to just replace the patients you've lost, it would cost over $3,600 at a minimum per year.
When you put effort into improving patient loyalty, you recoup these losses and boost your practice's revenue.
Increase Patient Retention Through a Patient Loyalty Program
A dentistry patient loyalty program is a great way to show your patients that you appreciate their business. It's a simple way to provide your patients with the level of care they deserve so that they won't ever consider leaving.
When you institute a patient loyalty program, your practice reaps benefits, including:
- Incentivize patients to invest in oral health
- Increase organic referrals
- Keep patients engaged with a points system
- Build loyalty
- Enhance the patient experience
- Boost revenue by tracking recommended and required services
In recent reports, data shows that building better relationships with your dental patients not only produces happier and healthier clients—instituting a patient loyalty program can also boost revenue by up to 6%.
Incentivize Patients to Grow Your Practice for You
The easiest way to retain patients is to let them know you're thinking about them. Appreciation is key to making a lasting impression on your returning patients. When your patients trust you and feel appreciated, they're more likely to continue to invest in their oral health and tell their friends and family about your practice.
A patient loyalty program makes your practice stand out from the crowd. It keeps your patients' visits to your practice convenient, professional, straightforward, and pleasant. After all, it's easier to keep existing patients than to attract new ones.
Need More Ideas to Retain Your Patients?
How important is patient loyalty to a dental practice? The answer is: very! Rewarding patients not only strengthen their loyalty to your practice.
At Dental Intelligence, we specialize in assisting dental practices with our top-tier patient loyalty program that can boost revenue and increase patient retention. Our program abides by all patient loyalty program ethics and offers a high return on investment. Contact us today to schedule a free demo and start building better dental patient-practitioner relationships today.
Millions of Americans fall victim to HIPAA violations each year. With hundreds of security breaches reported annually, protecting your patients and practice from the consequences of dental HIPAA violations is crucial.
Noncompliance can be challenging or even catastrophic for your practice. To avoid a lawsuit or a Corrective Action Plan for repeated offenses, it's imperative to understand these requirements for handling patient information.
What Are the HIPAA Requirements for Dental Offices?
HIPAA requirements protect your clients' private health information (PHI), streamline record-keeping, and keep your practice running smoothly and efficiently. Requiring dental offices to comply with set protocols ensures consistency in administrative functions across the industry and allows patients access to their medical records.
There are four primary tenets of the HIPAA standards:
- Privacy Rule: This rule regulates who may access the patient's private health information.
- Security Rule: Dental offices must be up-to-date and comply with current protocols and technology to secure patient information.
- Data Breach Notification Rule: Patients must receive notifications if their personal information has become insecure.
- Omnibus Rule: This rule recommends using electronic health records for optimum security.
HIPAA compliance is essential to protecting your dental practice from liability issues.
3 Common HIPAA Violations and How to Avoid Them
Here are some helpful tips for managing the risk of common dental HIPAA violations:
1. Inappropriate Staff Access to Records
According to HIPAA guidelines, staff can only access patient records for medical reasons. Mistakes can and will occur even if your staff is diligent about protecting patient confidentiality. Improper staff access to medical records carries the potential risk of breaking all four HIPAA guidelines, but you can take several steps to mitigate this risk.
To avoid violations:
- Train staff on when and how it is appropriate to access PHI.
- Establish document access controls to track staff access to patient records. You can reduce your risk of information breaches accidentally (or sometimes intentionally) caused by staff.
- Integrate your patient records system with a HIPAA-compliant server to save patient records securely.
2. Poor Security of Patient Records
Dental practices have lower security than other medical offices, so they're particularly vulnerable to data breaches and information leaks. Like the previous violation, this severe security issue is a potential violation of all four of the HIPAA requirements.
To avoid violations:
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authorization to log in to patient records. This step is crucial to avoiding data breaches like ransomware attacks or phishing.
- Protect your patients and practice by ensuring that all devices lock with complex passwords and multi-login access. Having computer equipment and hardware that contains unsecured patient information that can become lost or stolen is a significant risk.
- Use medical-grade communication platforms to manage client information. Communicating patient data through unauthorized and unsecured devices or accounts is a major HIPAA violation.
3. Improper Disposal of Equipment or Documents Containing Records
This avoidable risk carries the potential to violate all four HIPAA guidelines. When a patient leaves your practice or your practice no longer needs the patient's PHI, HIPAA mandates that you securely destroy copies of the medical records.
How to avoid violations:
- Before you dispose of a computer previously used to manage client records, hire an IT professional to scrub it free of private data.
- Shred all discarded paper documentation containing the PHI of patients.
- Review information disposal clauses in your contract if using a third-party service to dispose of information.
Respecting client confidentiality should be a top priority in any dental office. Dental Intelligence puts privacy and HIPAA compliance first. We offer tools to help you maintain compliance, like our template for dental treatment plans. Patients can view their treatment plan digitally, then sign and submit it—privately and securely.
Your HIPAA Compliance Checklist
With these common violations in mind, use this checklist to evaluate your practice's current HIPAA compliance:
- Provide training to your staff on HIPAA requirements
- Develop official policies for HIPAA compliance in your office
- Encrypt patient data within your records system or when transferring information between physicians
- Use high-security, two-factor authorization to access patient information
- Instate a protocol for the disposal of old record-keeping equipment or documents
Top Tools for the Dentistry Business
Getting your dental office on track to HIPAA compliance can be easy. At Dental Intelligence, we provide digital solutions to help you meet and maintain standards and avoid dental HIPAA violations.
With free helpful tools for your practice, like our guide to dental treatment plans, you can streamline day-to-day operations to focus on what's most important: patient care.
Ready to grow your dental practice's efficiency, security, and success? Contact us now to schedule a demo and see how our Dental Intelligence digital solutions can help your practice.
Successful dental offices use effective scheduling processes to run smoothly. Dental staff can schedule appointments in many ways, and each approach has benefits and drawbacks. Most businesses opt for automation because scheduling can be tedious using a manual process.
Dental Intelligence's online dental scheduling can help streamline and manage all aspects of patient scheduling. We can help dental offices improve patient retention, schedule appointments, and reduce appointment gaps via automation. When you know the different types of dental office scheduling methods, you can choose the best one for your practice.
1. Time-Specified Scheduling
A time-specific scheduling system books patient appointments at a specific time. The appointment time depends on the reason for the visit and how long it will take to treat the patient. Most dental offices use this scheduling method to maximize appointment volumes and minimize wait times.
This scheduling method can cause scheduling gaps if patients don't show up. Furthermore, dental offices should keep day-to-day slots open to accommodate new patients, walk-ins, or emergencies.
2. Wave Scheduling
Wave scheduling allows you to make appointments for a group of patients in thirty-minute intervals. The dentist usually sees patients in the order in which they arrive. The waves scheduling method ensures that a patient is always waiting for treatment.
Dental offices with many patients will benefit from this scheduling method. However, some patients may not be happy waiting for their turn. To ensure satisfaction, you need to inform patients about delays.
3. Modified Wave Scheduling
A modified wave scheduling method schedules patients in the first half of an hour and keeps the other thirty-minute slot open for special procedures. This scheduling method allows the dentist to accommodate walk-ins, long procedures, and late patients. The modified wave scheduling best suits dental offices with irregular appointments or where patients walk in without making appointments.
4. Open Booking
While there are many types of dental office scheduling methods, open booking offers the most flexibility. Patients can attend their appointments anytime, also known as walk-in scheduling. It's easy for patients to schedule an appointment at their convenience without committing to a set time slot or day.
A major disadvantage is that the dental office can stay open with no customers on some days, while others can be chaotically busy. Predicting patient turnout and analyzing appointment behavior is much more challenging with open booking.
5. Double Booking
Similar to wave scheduling, double booking schedules an appointment for two patients. Making two appointments in a single-time slot can improve patient flow. For example, patient one can visit the dentist, while patient two visits the hygienist for a teeth cleaning.
Only use this method if your dental practice has the required staff and office space. Avoid double booking for the same procedure because the patient waiting may realize that someone else took their appointment time, and that can lead to frustration.
6. Cluster Scheduling
Cluster schedules group patients with similar problems, conditions, and issues in a specific time slot. For example, a dental office may have morning slots for root canals and afternoons for tooth fillings. This method allows you to see many patients quickly, and those returning for regular treatments will experience reduced wait times.
On the downside, errors can occur when dentists and dental assistants perform repetitive tasks. Aside from staff availability, consider how long each procedure takes before scheduling patients.
7. Patient Self-Scheduling
With the help of a self-scheduling portal, website, or text messaging service, patients can schedule appointments online without staff assistance. Patients can view the schedule with time slots available and select the one they prefer. By scheduling their appointments, patients are more likely to show up for appointments, which reduces no-shows and cancellations.
8. Priority Scheduling
Priority scheduling can reserve space for emergency appointments. Dental offices should keep a daily slot or time open for urgent needs. If a patient needs to see the dentist urgently, you can make a same-day appointment.
Best Dental Scheduling Solution for Making Appointments
Dental offices that want to enable their patients to schedule appointments online can use Dental Intelligence's online appointment scheduling software. Our system allows patients to book appointments anytime, anywhere, from any device.
Contact Dental Intelligence today to schedule a demo and for more information on types of dental office scheduling and how it works with our online dental scheduling system.
Patients typically request access to their dental records for another healthcare provider to review. However, they may file a request for other reasons within their rights. When they submit a release-of-records form, they authorize their current dentist to release the records to a designated person. Understanding the release of records process, the people involved, and your patients' rights will help you keep your patients fully informed.
What Does a Release of Records Form Mean for Your Dental Practice?
If your practice is not covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), your state laws regarding record release apply. If your practice uses electronic claims to communicate with dental plans, then HIPAA coverage applies. With communications and recordkeeping moving to electronic platforms, HIPAA coverage applies to most modern practices.
You may need to access or release a patient's dental records for several reasons. Most situations require the patient's consent, and your practice will receive a release-of-records form specifying the patient's name, the records to release, and the person receiving the records.
With online dental forms by Dental Intelligence, manual data entry of patient records and release of records is a thing of the past. Our streamlined digital solution, designed specifically for dental practices, sends patients a secure link to fill out their forms online before their appointment. You can even customize our library of pre-made forms to make sure you get all the information you need from patients.
What Are Your Patients' Rights?
When you understand and effectively communicate your patients' rights to them, they see that you keep their needs and privacy as the cornerstone of your practice. Release-of-records forms for dental practices are about strong communication and a good relationship based on the provided information. The following people can request access to a patient's dental records:
- A patient who is either a competent, lawful adult or a minor with court-granted emancipation.
- A personal representative as defined by your state laws. This is usually a parent or legal guardian.
- If the patient has died, an executor of the patient's estate
A patient can do the following with their records:
- Review their information and make any needed corrections
- Learn how you use or share their information if applicable
- Request reports regarding the reasons for any shared information
- Keep copies for their personal records
What You Can Do to Keep Your Patients Informed and Your Practice Covered
HIPAA Privacy Rules apply to all varieties of protected health information, whether it's verbal, electronic, or paper. As most businesses move toward paperless recordkeeping, spoken or hard-copy agreements will eventually be rendered unnecessary. All parties involved in any agreement will have access to the same records that they may print out or save as they wish.
However, you still carry the weight of keeping all patient information secure and private unless otherwise specified by a patient's release-of-records form. A few things to consider when a patient requests access to their online dental forms:
- Confirm that the patient has an encrypted email address if you send records via email. Unencrypted email addresses are prone to information leaks and hacking, which puts patient information in jeopardy. You will want to inform your patient of these risks before sending sensitive information to their email.
- Ensure that all patients complete and sign consent forms when sharing their information with different providers.
- Institute policies holding your employees accountable for keeping patient information private.
- Check in with lawyers about your state laws to comply with all policies, consent forms, and other legally binding documents.
Dental Intelligence Keeps Your Patients and Practice Covered
Keeping your patients' information accessible to them and their chosen providers but private from everyone else is a balancing act that requires careful consideration. Communication, vigilance, and knowledge all play an important role in building a competent and qualified dental practice. You need dental software that covers all your bases while you take care of your patients.
At Dental Intelligence, we meet your needs for dental records and dental consent forms in one secure and user-friendly setting. We provide the tools and resources you need to give your patients the care they deserve. Get in touch with us today to learn more about what Dental Intelligence has to offer!
Have you considered upselling your services to patients? If you haven't, you could miss out on an important opportunity to greatly improve each patient's smile while increasing your dental practice's profits. When patients come in for a cleaning, they may also be interested in a whitening treatment. If you offer or upsell this service, you could help patients get what they want and need from your practice with every visit. The most important part of the process is building communication and trust with patients.
With dental payment solutions from Dental Intelligence, you can make it easier than ever for patients to pay for preventative and elective dental services. Our secure payment system lets you offer flexible payment options, communicate with patients who have past-due balances, and get paid an average of 12 days faster.
Understand What Your Patients Need
The first step to successful dentist upselling is understanding your patient's needs. Keep the necessities at the forefront of your services before you upsell them on anything else. Then, look at what else your practice offers that will improve your patient's oral health or complement the service they need. You can approach this by asking a few questions:
- What do your patients want to achieve when they seek services from your dental practice?
- What services do you offer that would go hand-in-hand with those initial goals?
- How can you help patients get the most out of their money?
For example, consider a patient who comes in for a deep cleaning after years of no dentist appointments. They tell you they hope their teeth will look brighter, whiter, and healthier. You schedule their appointment for the deep cleaning but also educate them on your whitening services. While deep cleanings will get rid of plaque and many stains on their teeth, whitening will provide the brightness they want. When your patient adds on a whitening treatment, you have performed successful dentist upselling.
Inform Your Patients About Oral Health Options
When many people book appointments for dental procedures, they want the quickest and least expensive option possible. Who can blame them? Everyone leads busy lives, and dental appointments can eat into much-needed time.
When a patient requests the simplest and most pain-free option available, you should elaborate on that option and others too. Let them know the pros and cons of each related procedure and why they shouldn't just go for the cheapest or quickest one. This can benefit their oral health in the long run while showing your knowledge and care about their situation.
Demonstrate How Your Dental Procedures Can Improve Oral Health
After you have discussed the better treatment options available, patients may still want to take the cheaper option. This is where the use of visuals comes in.
If a patient schedules a typical cleaning, show them before and after photos of what your whitening services can do. When someone needs an implant for an extracted tooth, show them photos of all their options, including the more expensive and longer-lasting ones. Explain that endosteal can last for over two decades while zygomatic lasts half of that.
Streamline What Your Dental Practice Offers and How You Market It
As a busy dentist, you may not place focus on your marketing materials. Advertising may feel like it's too technical with the changing interface and algorithms of today's platforms. When you're marketing your services and designing materials to use in dentist upselling:
- Design and write materials that appeal to your patients' oral health concerns and goals.
- Keep your patients informed about how different options complement certain services to make them more likely to seek those extra options.
- Use before and after photos or pictures of different fillings and implants alongside written information to help your patients make informed decisions.
Streamlined Digital Dental Solutions for Your Dental Office
Many practices are hesitant to implement dentist upselling into their marketing plan and conversations with their patients, viewing it as little more than a sales tactic. In reality, it's a fantastic communication method that helps your patients understand all their options with any given service.
When your practice masters dentist upselling, you present an image of knowledgeable, caring staff ready to assist its patients with all their goals. Dental Intelligence is prepared to help you streamline how you manage your dental practice today, from marketing resources to understanding factors affecting a dental billing statement. Request a free demo from us today!
Most dental practices have busy and chaotic schedules. Dental practices may overbook, have missed appointments, or have visits that take longer than usual. An experienced dental scheduling coordinator can create daily schedules to improve revenue and balance the number of visits.
Dental Intelligence provides real-time data and analysis to help dental practices make better decisions and deliver exceptional healthcare. We provide an advanced online dental scheduling system to manage and track appointments. A dental scheduling coordinator can use our software to meet or exceed monthly patient goals.
What Is a Dental Scheduling Coordinator?
A dental scheduling or front office coordinator manages all aspects of patient scheduling. Besides coordinating services such as dental lab work, they ensure that each patient visits the dentist for the treatment planned. The coordinator works with the staff members, patients, and insurance companies to schedule appointments efficiently.
While scheduling changes are unpredictable, your dental practice will be more productive if you know how to fill the calendar by addressing common patient problems. A productive schedule includes dentist and hygienist appointments. Listed below are some of the coordinator's daily activities and primary duties:
- Appointment scheduling: Make appointments for new and existing patients by answering calls and emails.
- Patient communication: Explain dental procedures, treatment times, and payment options.
- Patient information: Gather patient data such as the reason for the visit, contact number, and insurance information.
- Reminders: Send patients appointment details or reminders via email or phone. Follow up with patients for feedback to ensure that they receive proper care.
Does Your Dental Practice Need a Scheduling Coordinator?
If your dental practice does not have an office manager or a person who manages appointments, you should hire a dental scheduling coordinator. A coordinator can keep track of patient attribution rates, discuss treatment plans, and upsell dental services. Consider the following when hiring a dental scheduling coordinator for your dental practice.
Outline Job Duties and Responsibilities
The scheduling problems and needs of every dental practice are unique. Depending on the practice, the role and responsibilities of the scheduling coordinator may differ. Start by creating a detailed job description to screen candidates and hire the right person.
Many dental practices stay productive by blocking out time each day for specific tasks. The block scheduling method allows dentists to work most efficiently. After hiring your new dental scheduling coordinator, provide them with the necessary tools and training.
Give the coordinator an average of how long each procedure takes. The best way to ensure that you schedule productive days is to block out enough time for new patients and specific types of procedures. Have the coordinator confirm pre-blocked times 24 to 48 hours before the appointment.
Perform Administrative Tasks
Successful dental practices understand how to balance administrative and operational tasks. A scheduling system can automate repetitive tasks such as sending appointment reminders and follow-up requests. A dental scheduling coordinator can oversee the system and manage communication between your dental practice and patients.
Scheduling success is a team responsibility. Booking appointments shouldn't be a guessing game, so work with the scheduling coordinator to build a weekly schedule. Ask your dental scheduling coordinator to make appointments using ten-minute units instead of 15 to improve productivity and schedule procedures more accurately.
Reduce Wait Times
Patient satisfaction involves multiple factors, but wait time is one of the most important. A survey showed that waiting too long at a dental office caused 30% of patients to leave, while 20% considered switching providers. A dental scheduling coordinator can build an effective appointment schedule to reduce wait times and prevent double booking.
Fill Slots to Meet Weekly Goals
When a patient makes an appointment, a dental scheduling coordinator can offer choices convenient for your dental practice. For example, several slots may be open next week, but the practice needs to fill two this week. A trained dental scheduling coordinator can guide a patient's initial decision by asking them, "Would you prefer 11 a.m. tomorrow or 2 p.m. Thursday?"
Experience the Dental Intelligence Difference Today
Dental Intelligence can optimize your dental practice's appointment book with online scheduling and automation. Our team can integrate our scheduling system with your dental practice to improve patient scheduling and grow your business. We also provide resources such as our proven dental office scheduling tips to help your dental scheduling coordinator.
Contact Dental Intelligence today to schedule a demo to learn more about how our smart software can manage your dental practice.
Dental care marketing strategies can feel overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. Growing your practice involves many carefully planned campaigns that cater to existing patients and potential new ones. If you want to learn how to attract new patients to your dental practice, we can help you.
At Dental Intelligence, we provide a platform that makes dental patient financing easy, attractive, and intuitive. Our software can set you apart from the competition so you can reach new patients. Continue reading to learn our top tips and tricks for attracting more patients to your practice through financing and other strategies.
Beat Competitors by Leveraging the Power of Financing
Financing is a powerful dental marketing strategy that improves patient experiences and expands your target audience. Financing allows customers to pay in payment plans over set periods, making your services more affordable to everyone. The simplified payment process we offer at Dental Intelligence through Wisetack allows you to:
- Serve more patients
- Integrate payments within your system
- Contain all patient information in one message
- Offer quick applications without complex paperwork
- Let patients choose between flexible payment options
- Receive payments, even if patients don’t hold up their end
- Offer low APRs and approvals for poor credit scores
With the above benefits, you can attract patients from competing practices with higher fees and complex payment processes. Patients prefer your office when they can easily pay as they go.
More Tips for Attracting Patients
Aside from offering financing, you can use our extra tips below to learn how to attract new patients to your dental practice. We recommend considering your marketing budget and selecting the items that align best with your goals.
1. Create Active Social Media Channels
Active social media accounts help you increase brand awareness, reach new audiences, and boost website traffic. We recommend selecting your preferred channels and posting two to three times per week. Be sure to engage with others in the community by sharing posts, commenting, and liking.
When sharing content, make sure your information is unique, relevant, and engaging. You can try fun YouTube videos interviewing your providers, posts explaining tooth-cleaning techniques, press releases, and more.
2. Optimize Your Website for Search Engine Results
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for all modern businesses. Adjusting your website to meet the current search engine ranking criteria can help you appear at the top of results anytime someone Googles “dentist near me” or “what to do if I have a toothache.”
We recommend reviewing our resources on SEO best practices to get started. Overall, you want to ensure that your site loads quickly, has simple navigational paths, and includes keywords throughout the content.
3. Encourage Reviews and Referrals
Positive reviews speak volumes about dental providers and encourage new patients to pick your practice over the others. You can encourage your existing patients to leave reviews by offering incentives like discounts, gifts, and more.
You can also start a referral campaign. For example, you could offer 15% off cleanings for each friend that a patient recommends to the practice.
4. Participate in the Community
Community participation helps you build brand awareness and recognition while meeting other industry professionals. We recommend researching any dental conventions or events in your area. If you don’t find any, you could consider throwing your own community event to bring more people into your office.
5. Curate Quality Content
The more high-quality content you create, the more website traffic you can receive. If you have the time or resources, we recommend starting a blog, webinar series, or newsletter with consistent publications.
You can write about dental tips, practice news, and more. For example, a blog post titled “How to tell if you have a cavity” could bring in potential toothache patients.
6. Update Local Listings
Your business likely has a Google business listing, plus additional listings on Yelp and other review websites. You want to ensure that all the information at those sites is correct, so you don’t accidentally deter potential patients. Update the contact numbers, hours, review sites, and descriptions with your newest information.
7. Use Dental Marketing Tools to Unify Your Strategy
Digital marketing involves juggling many different platforms and tools that can feel overwhelming. At Dental Intelligence, we offer dental marketing tools that unifies the experience and makes finding new patients easy.
Reach out to us today if you want to learn more about how to attract new patients to your dental practice and schedule a demo with our sales team to view our platform in action.
Offering affordable dental care is challenging when your services, tools, and equipment cost so much. Many patients don’t have dental care plans, so they must pay for all appointments out-of-pocket. When you offer in-house dental financing to patients, they can enjoy more flexible and accessible payment plans that improve their experience and increase your practice’s patient flow.
At Dental Intelligence, we provide a full suite of dental software tools to improve your organization's operations. Dental Intelligence's dental patient financing allows you to simplify the payment process, boost treatment acceptance rates, offer flexible payment plans, and receive funds, no matter what. Below, we discuss everything you need to know about in-house financing for your dental practice.
In-House Dental Financing Benefits for Your Patients and Practice
In-house dental financing improves the patient experience, which benefits your business. Discover the benefits below.
Medical bills threaten the overall health of many Americans who cannot afford to pay the premiums for top-tier insurance plans. Up to 44%1 of patients chose to skip medical care because they couldn’t afford it in 2018. Offering in-house dental financing allows your patients to enjoy the following benefits:
- Accessible and affordable dental care
- Easy approval and acceptance processes
- Low-interest rate offers
- Lower initial appointment costs
- Easier-to-manage out-of-pocket expenses
Receiving funds for the services you provide is more challenging than it seems. Offering financing lets your business enjoy the following benefits:
- Reduced debt
- Consistent cash flow
- Improved patient reviews and recommendations
- Increased patient scheduling and new patient appointments
When Can You Offer Dental Financing?
Many assume financing is exclusive to ultra-expensive purchases, like homes and cars. You can offer financing on all of your services, regardless of the price. You’ll find that many retailers offer financing for products as low as $10 to make the payments more enticing to the consumer.
Professional teeth cleanings and preventative care appointments are some of the most common financing services you can offer. Breaking up the cost of cleanings can encourage more patients to consider scheduling their regular appointments.
Dental financing may be most beneficial for your expensive services that the average person cannot pay out of pocket for. For example, braces can cost as much as $10,000, which isn’t much different from an auto loan. Dental emergencies, like chipped teeth, can cost the patient $5,000.
If you don’t offer financing for such expensive services, patients must receive their own loan or look elsewhere.
Types of In-House Dental Financing Plans
In-house financing specifically refers to plans that don’t involve banking institutions. Rather than requiring the patient to apply with their bank or credit union, you can offer the financing directly from your office. The two main types of in-house dental financing plans include traditional and hybrid.
Traditional financing means your practice runs the entire process without help from any third-party organization. You create the application criteria, any associated paperwork, and the payment schedule. You can offer individualized payment plans for each patient’s needs or practice-wide offers like 6-, 12-, and 18-month plans.
Traditional financing may seem like the simplest option, but it has more risks. First, you must review the patient’s financial stability without help from financing professionals. Many practices skip this step, which only increases risks.
If patients do not fulfill their end of the deal, you won’t receive funds for your services. Unlike a traditional loan, you won’t have another lender providing payments.
Hybrid financing allows your practice to work with a third-party platform that handles the payment scheduling, collection, and application processes for you. Typically, the system includes its own application process that may check the patient’s credit score to determine their interest rate and viability. The application will also include various legal paperwork that protects your practice’s financial best interests.
With hybrid models, you can earn interest on patient installments, and you won’t have to deal with contacting people each time they owe dues. The system can handle payment collection for you.
The biggest benefit of hybrid models is payment protection. If patients default on their financing, you will still receive your funds.
Improve Your Patient Experience with Dental Intelligence’s Financing
If you want to improve your patient experience and business cash flow with in-house dental financing, consider our hybrid model from Dental Intelligence. Your patients can qualify with a low credit score for dental financing to receive any service they need. Request a demo from our Dental Intelligence team today to see how our financing platform works.
A dental insurance breakdown form is an essential collection of information that you should obtain when you take a new patient. This form includes a comprehensive list of procedures and services that the patient's dental insurance will or will not pay for, including the amount of coverage for each service. Dental Intelligence's online dental forms offer a secure, paperless method of collecting insurance information. Discover how these forms streamline communication between your practice, your patient, and their insurance company.
What Information Does a Dental Insurance Breakdown Form Include?
Dental insurance breakdown forms contain a lot of details about the patient, what their dental insurance will pay for, and when it pays for services. An average breakdown form includes:
- Basic information that identifies the patient, insurance company, and plan to which they are connected.
- Whether an insurance company uses a fee schedule or usual, customary, or reasonable (UCR) amounts to inform its price.
- Any deductibles and the services they cover.
- When a plan renews. While many plans renew at the beginning of a calendar year, some do not.
- How long a patient must wait before their insurance covers a service, also called a waiting period.
- Annual maximum amount. Did a patient come to you from a different dental practice? How much of their annual amount did they use there?
- Missing tooth clauses. How does the plan cover missing teeth? Some companies cover restoration only when the extraction happened while a patient was under their policy.
You can customize your form to fit the needs of your practice by including other pertinent information from new patients or existing patients with changes in their policy.
How Does a Breakdown Form Benefit Your Dental Practice and Patients?
The benefit of a completed dental insurance breakdown form that requests all the right information is two-fold.
- Save time: Both your practice and the patient will enjoy saved time and streamlined communication in the long run.
- Help patients choose dental services: A breakdown form helps the patient understand how their insurance plan works with your dental practice. When patients can make informed decisions about what care their insurance covers, your dental practice is less likely to end up with an unpaid bill for their dental care.
- Better patient communication: Your dental practice also builds a reputation as a knowledgeable, efficient dental care provider that puts its patients' needs first.
How Can a Breakdown Form Streamline Communication with Insurance Companies?
Many dental insurance policies have specific requirements for each service or procedure. You must carefully scrutinize even the most routine services so the patient doesn't get a surprise bill.
For example, most dental care providers prefer to do x-rays annually. However, some policies only cover the cost of an x-ray every other year. Others will cover it from the 12-month mark to the exact day. You want to make sure your patient's needs align with those specifics and that they understand the resulting bill breakdown.
Another important example is among the most routine services: cleanings. The policy may require that the cleanings occur every six months to the exact day, or it won't cover it.
A dental insurance breakdown form helps with all the tiny details by streamlining them in one place. Your staff can easily access the form without making numerous calls to different insurance companies. These forms also improve the process of data entry by making all pertinent information readily available in one place.
You can more easily communicate with your patient and help them make decisions based on their budget, needed services, and when their dental insurance will cover it. This shows patients that you are informed, knowledgeable, and prepared to help them make an informed decision.
Keep Your Dental Practice Organized and Informed with Dental Intelligence
Building strong communication and a professional reputation should be the focus of your work. When you use Dental Intelligence's digital solutions, you empower your team to make your patients the center of your dental practice while our management system handles the minutiae of managing patient intake forms and dental insurance breakdown forms.
Our paperless system ensures any patient's details are readily available at the click of a button, all while keeping patient intake secure and simple. It's a win for everyone involved, including your team. Get in touch with us to learn more about how Dental Intelligence can shape the future of your practice.
As the world moves toward an increasingly digital way of life, businesses move with it—including healthcare providers. Fewer people carry cash, and using checks is a rare occurrence. As you grow your dental practice's pool of patients, you will likely accept credit card payments if you don't already. Successfully implementing HIPAA-compliant payment processing, such as Dental Intelligence's payment solution, will keep your patients' private information secure.
The Basics of HIPAA-Compliant Payment Processing
HIPAA regulations state that any payment processor that only processes transactions of a healthcare facility is not a business associate. For example, if you only use a payment processor for credit card transactions when patients pay for services, that payment processor is simply providing standard financial transaction services and is not conducting a HIPAA-covered transaction.
However, when your payment processor provides additional services, such as reporting or practice management, HIPAA then considers it a business associate. So how can your practice stay HIPAA-compliant? Your practice and the payment processor must enter into a business associate agreement (BAA).
Under the BAA, the payment processor applies features and agreements that secure protected health information (PHI).
A breakdown of who is who in this agreement can help you better understand how the BAA functions as a whole:
- All transactions begin with the cardholder. In your case, the patient holds the credit card that pays for the services.
- The issuing bank approves the cardholder's transaction to transfer funds to pay for the dental service.
- Your practice is the merchant: you provide a service for which the cardholder pays.
- An acquiring bank has a relationship with your practice that allows you to obtain payment for your services.
You want to ensure that the way your practice processes payment and your acquiring bank or financial institution are HIPAA-compliant.
How to Choose the Right Payment Processor
The rise of digital transactions has exposed the weaknesses in how any business keeps its information confidential. Hackers can access information while communication occurs during the payment process, which puts a patient's information and money at risk. Dental practices should not save cardholder information, including name, card number, and other details, to prevent any data breaches.
Choose a processor that follows the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards or PCI DSS. These standards apply to the following cards:
The DSS offers several directives to combat hacking instances or breaches of payment card industry data. Use these directives to learn how your practice's payment security stacks up against its recommendations:
- Eliminate as much retained data as possible from network storage devices
- Protect system and network access points
- Act quickly and efficiently against breaches
- Monitor authorized access
- Protect any stored data with the appropriate protection structures
While these points are the building blocks for all businesses that take card payments, payment processors who follow these and other listed DSS points are a great place for you to start.
Implementing HIPAA-Compliant Payment Best Practices for Your Dental Office
Sharing a BAA with a DSS-compliant payment processor is the first step in implementing HIPAA-compliant best practices for your dental health provider. Another best practice for all healthcare professionals is to keep all PHI secure both during the payment process and in general. Only information strictly pertinent to the payment process should be provided.
Avoid transmitting receipts by text message or a non-encrypted email address. Make it clear to your payment processor that they shouldn't do so either. Keep your encryption technology updated. Outdated technology is notorious for its vulnerabilities to a hacker's evolving skills. Implement chip readers on your POS and always use them when applicable. Finally, avoid storing all unencrypted card information, whether by paper or electronically.
Digital Dental Solutions That Fit Your Practice Needs
Growing your dental practice means building a good reputation. A good reputation requires patients who feel secure during each step of routine visits, from the waiting room to the final payment. Dental Intelligence provides a myriad of management solutions, including dental patient financial integration. While we focus on the daily minutiae, you can focus on the most important part—treating your patients. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more about our secure, HIPAA-compliant payment processing software and more digital tools to streamline day-to-day operations in your dental practice.
If you are a dental practice owner, web design and Google search rankings may be the last thing on your mind. As more people embrace technology, however, you must take advantage of these marketing strategies to find new patients, expand your practice, and create more revenue. Leveraging web design and SEO in your business strategy can launch your dental practice toward greater success.
At Dental Intelligence, an advanced patient management software provider, we want to help you grow your business using our local dental SEO tips and tricks. Below, we discuss everything you need to know about getting started with SEO and web design for high-quality digital marketing success.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of adjusting your website to rank higher in search query results. For example, you may want your practice’s home page to appear first when anyone searches “dentist for fillings.” Local SEO refers to optimizing for local queries, like “best dentist in Austin, Texas.”
Optimizing web pages for search engines involves many complex ranking factors. Everything from your site construction to the keywords and images you use can impact how well you rank.
Why Are Web Design and SEO Important for Your Dental Practice?
Leveraging web design and SEO in your dental practice can allow you to reap many benefits. You can:
- Expand your online visibility
- Gain more potential patients
- Increase your local authority
- Reach nationwide audiences
- Appear more modern, professional, and trustworthy with a high-quality website
How To Optimize Your Website in 5 Steps
Reaching the top of Google’s organic search results for your chosen terms will take time. You must satisfy each critical ranking factor for weeks to see results. Luckily, if you start with our steps now, you can begin seeing more traffic soon.
1. Conduct an SEO Audit
First, to understand how well your website currently performs, you can use various SEO audit tools, like Google Analytics, to view the performance of each page. Such platforms will display visitors per page and site, the current terms you rank for, and any issues your website has that impact your ranking.
For example, you may discover broken pages or missing alternative texts. We’ll cover how you can fix these things in steps three and four.
2. Research Keywords
Keywords are at the heart of all SEO strategies. Your keywords define when, where, and how your website appears and to whom. We recommend using a keyword research tool to find the best ones for your dental practice’s location.
You may find that the popular terms with high monthly search volumes are the hardest to rank for. You can select one or two of these difficult terms plus a few easier, less popular phrases to support them. For example, your list may look like this:
- “Dentist near me” (hardest)
- “Best dentist near me” (difficult)
- “Best dentist in Austin, Texas” (hard)
- “Best dentist in Austin, Texas, for cavities” (easy)
3. Improve Your Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to the behind-the-curtains factors of your website that impact its ranking, like the overall construction and navigation. We recommend reviewing the following items:
- Site loading speeds: You can increase speeds by compressing images and using HTML templates rather than custom designs.
- Navigation: Ensure that visitors can easily access every website page from the header navigation menu and footer links.
- XML sitemaps: Your sitemap should include every page. Be sure to submit the most up-to-date version to Google.
You should also improve any issues you found in your site audit. For example, fix any broken pages or links so search engine crawlers can easily index your site.
4. Improve Your On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is where your keyword research comes in. On-page refers to all of the visible content. Be sure to include keywords in the following items:
- HTML headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
- Body text, content, blog posts, etc.
- Metadata (title tags, meta descriptions, etc.)
- Image alternative texts
The more unique, relevant, and helpful the information you write surrounding your keywords, the better your chances of ranking high.
5. Analyze and Optimize
After publishing your changes, regularly check Google Analytics and other measuring tools to analyze your progress. Check your goal keywords to see how your rankings improve—and make changes accordingly.
Review our measuring SEO ROI guide for more in-depth steps on analyzing SEO success. After generating traffic from your web design and SEO strategies, consider a new patient management platform for handling all your new patients. Request a demo from our Dental Intelligence team today to see how our comprehensive software works.
Optimizing your dental practice’s website for success should be an ongoing process. Make sure that each search engine optimization effort returns actual results. To do so, you’ll need to understand which key SEO metrics to track so you’ll know how to improve your strategy.
At Dental Intelligence, we provide tools that help your business flourish. Our local dental SEO guide can help you navigate the complex ins and outs of designing your website to rank high in search engines.
Here, we discuss the top six metrics you should track after implementing our SEO strategies.
1. Website Traffic
Website traffic may seem like the most obvious SEO metric to track, though it involves many complex insights. When measuring website traffic, consider the following:
- Organic traffic: Organic refers to anyone who searched for a term and clicked on your website in the results (rather than an ad). Steady growth in your organic traffic means you have successful SEO strategies.
- Paid traffic: Any visitors who come from paid advertisements do not reflect the success of your SEO efforts.
- Social media traffic: You may gain visitors from people navigating from your social media accounts.
- Referral traffic: If any other websites link to yours, they can direct visitors to your site. Backlinks are excellent SEO tools that develop website authority.
- Direct traffic: Anytime someone directly types in your website’s URL to visit your site, this displays growth in brand recognition and authority.
2. Keyword Rankings
When developing your SEO strategy, you likely selected various keywords that you wanted to rank for. You should measure your ranking progress for these terms and compare them to where you started. Keep in mind that ranking high for difficult terms with tens of thousands (or more) of searches per month takes time, so you shouldn’t expect to reach the top immediately.
We recommend seeking short-term wins by using easier terms. Maybe one of your blog posts can rank at the top for a term with lower search traffic that’s related to your primary keyword.
3. Click-through Rate
Click-through rate refers to how many people actually click on your website after viewing the search results. Just because you appear near the top doesn’t mean people click on your site.
A low click-through rate could mean a few things:
- You’re ranking for the wrong keywords
- Your website’s title tag or meta description isn’t engaging or relevant enough
- Your metadata doesn’t adequately answer the user’s question
If you have a low click-through rate, we recommend analyzing the search engine results page (SERP) to see how your listing compares to competitors. You can adjust your metadata to suit user needs better.
4. Session Duration
Session duration refers to how long users spend on your website in total. Google Analytics provides deep insights into user sessions, like where they navigated, which pages they spent the most and least time on, and more.
Low session durations may mean that you don’t have engaging-enough content. For example, users may give up if they see large bodies of text without visuals or easy-to-digest headings. You may also see low session durations if you have confusing navigation, making it hard for users to find what they need.
We recommend analyzing your pages that have the longest session durations. Your users enjoy this content the most, so you should continue writing more on the subject.
5. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate refers to how many users clicked on your website and then immediately left. Bounces may happen from users finding the information they need quickly, like a phone number, or they may indicate website issues.
For example, high bounce rates may display poor loading speeds. Many users abandon websites if they don't immediately load. You can resolve this by compressing your images and following the recommended HTML template.
6. Total Conversions
Your total conversion rate may be the most important SEO metric to track. Conversions refer to how many people called and scheduled an appointment after landing on your site.
Determining how leads discover your dental practice can be tricky. For example, a new patient may have found your practice from a Google search or a referral. We recommend asking new patients where they heard about your office so you can compare the success of your different marketing strategies.
Do You Want to Increase Referrals?
As you learn the top SEO metrics to track, consider implementing a referral program in your practice to increase revenue and conversions.
At Dental Intelligence, we offer a Swell integration that helps you grow your online reputation through reviews. Request a demo from our Dental Intelligence team today to see how our platform works.
Providing excellent patient experiences means streamlining your dental practice’s operation from a business standpoint. Patients don’t want to deal with annoying insurance complications, confusing payment letters, or misinterpreted services. Continuing education with dental billing and coding training at your practice can increase dental production, improve patient satisfaction, and bring in more revenue.
At Dental Intelligence, we provide insights and tools that help your team complete their goals so you can offer the ideal patient experience and grow your practice. Our comprehensive platform makes everything from scheduling appointments to collecting payments a breeze. Below, we discuss how incorporating more billing and coding training within your business can boost productivity.
What Is Dental Billing?
Dental billing is the process of collecting payments from patients or insurance organizations for the services you provide. Unlike a standard business, dental billing involves many complex procedure codes and dental terminology. You must correctly adhere to such requirements to receive timely payments from insurance providers.
Why Train Your Team on Dental Billing?
Dental billing involves more than just swiping a credit card or collecting cash. Minor mistakes can cause major delays that impact your ability to receive the funds you need for your services. Such issues can impact the patient experience and reflect poorly on your practice.
Training each staff member on patient billing ensures the process runs smoothly and efficiently each time. When your employees fulfill steps on time, you can receive prompt payments.
How Should the Dental Billing Process Work?
The dental billing process should include the following steps:
- Collect patient information: Your staff should collect the patient’s name, phone number, email, insurance info, date of birth, etc.
- Verify coverage: Ensure that the subscriber ID and other insurance numbers align with an active and valid plan. You can check this by calling the carrier or using the organization’s online portal.
- Record treatments: The dentist, assistant, or coding companion should accurately chart all provided services according to American Dental Association (ADA) codes, which we’ll cover in the next section.
- Submit claims: Submit claims to the provider with the patient’s service codes, insurance information, clinical notes, and personal details. Be sure to follow up on any denied claims.
- Bill patients: Collect patient payment information for any outstanding dues. You may collect the funds up front or bill them later via mail.
- Post payments: After receiving funds from the insurance provider, post the payment to your management software.
What Is Dental Coding?
Dental coding is how your team can report any procedures, treatments, or services they provide. Dental coding uses official CDT and ICD-10-CM procedure codes and must comply with HIPAA. Inaccurate or improper coding can result in unintentional fraud, delayed payments, and denied claims, so it’s critical to support your team with the resources they need to perfect their coding skills.
Supporting Your Team with Coding Resources
The two main types of dental coding are the following:
- Current Dental Terminology (CDT): CDT codes describe any procedure your team conducts on a patient. You can find the most up-to-date CDT codes in the ADA catalog1. The ADA updates these each year, so be sure to provide your team with the latest changes.
- Internal Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM): ICD-10-CM codes work like CDT codes, though the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) update them each year, so your team must use them for medical insurance claims. You can find the latest codes on the CMS website2.
Increasing Productivity with Dental Billing Software
Increasing productivity with dental billing and coding training can only go so far when you have an outdated system. Modern dental billing software can increase your practice’s revenue by offering patients an easier way to pay, centralizing finances, automating payment reminders, integrating platforms, improving payment turnarounds, and more. Practices that make the switch to dental billing software can enjoy the following features:
- Advanced claim tracking
- Automatic billing cycling statements
- Patient engagement tools
- Digital forms
- Mobile apps
- Voicemail Drops
- Virtual check-ins
- Patient financing options
- And much more
The above enhancements can transform your practice into a well-oiled machine. You can take advantage of all these features and more with our products at Dental Intelligence.
Boost Productivity with Dental Intelligence
At Dental Intelligence, we want to help you learn all the different ways to make your dental practice flourish, whether it be dental billing and coding training or the best marketing practices for modern office settings. If you’re interested in shaping the future of your practice, request a demo from our Dental Intelligence team today.
How much time do you think one of your dental hygienists spends daily rummaging through cluttered drawers to find the tool they need? Now, consider how much time your staff may collectively waste simply hunting for items. You can create a more efficient and productive business by implementing a few dental office organization ideas that will reflect well on your patient experience and reduce wasted time and resources.
At Dental Intelligence, we want to help you achieve success with your dental practice, so we provide a comprehensive guide to increasing dental production. Our all-in-one platform makes running your business a breeze, from collecting payments to scheduling appointments and communicating with patients. Below, we discuss our top six steps for reorganizing your office.
1. Get Rid of the Items You Don’t Need
Before organizing anything, you must purge. We recommend gathering all your materials in one place to easily review what you do or don’t want to keep. You can do this room by room or by department to avoid tearing the whole office up at once.
As you sort through the items, make piles of things to keep, recycle, donate, and throw away. Items you may no longer need could include:
- Pens that don’t work
- Worn-down erasers
- Old batteries
- Any items in excess (i.e., a dozen staplers)
- Outdated dental instruments
- Excessive decor (like holiday decorations)
We recommend working through this with your desk staff and office manager so everyone can agree on what dental office supplies you do or do not need.
2. Sort Tools and Supplies Together
Now that you have your keep items, you can sort them into more logical piles. For example, you may have piles of pens, pencils, erasers, staplers, paperwork, binders, clips, toothbrushes, exam packs, dental floss, sterilization equipment, and operatory products. Keep these items separated based on who may need to use them, when, and where.
You may end up with a pile of items you don’t use daily but don’t necessarily want to get rid of. We recommend storing such items in a back closet where they’re out of the way.
3. Store Equipment in Organized Bins
Now that you have your sorted piles, you can organize them into bins. If you don’t already have bins, you can visit a local department or craft store or create your own with cardboard boxes.
We recommend organizing certain tools into dedicated containers with all the required items for specific procedures. That way, your team can quickly grab one container and begin working rather than searching for each item.
Try labeling each bin so employees know which items belong where. You can also use a color-coding system for easier recognition. For example, you may place all sanitary products in purple-labeled bins and all office-related products in green-labeled bins.
You may also want to label certain individual items for more complex dental technologies.
4. Organize Drawers with Labeled Bins and Dividers
After filling your bins, you can begin organizing them inside your drawers and cabinets. We recommend the following dental office organization ideas:
- Separate large drawers with multiple bins or dividers
- Place smaller items in drawers and larger equipment in cabinets
- Label the outside of each drawer and cabinet with the items they contain
5. Define Organization Procedures for the Future
After spending hours getting your office in tip-top shape, you want it to stay this way. The only way you can keep your office organized is if the whole team is on board. We recommend hosting a meeting with all staff members where you can review the new organization procedures for the future.
You can try implementing the following policies:
- Replace all items immediately after use or after the appointment
- Regularly toss items that don’t work
- Review all cabinets and drawers before closing each night to ensure that everything looks right
- Purge, sort, and reorganize every quarter to continuously keep up with everything
- Keep cleaning or organization schedules on a bulletin board
When you implement your chosen policies, clarify who will oversee each task and when they should complete it within their daily duties.
6. Streamline Your Internal System
Dental practices must also organize how their internal tech system works. Outdated patient management software kills efficiency, creating “digital clutter” and poor patient experiences.
We recommend selecting a comprehensive platform to manage all your business transactions and integrations in one place. At Dental Intelligence, we offer advanced patient scheduling, payment collection, digital forms, patient portals, and team chat software all in one place.
Request a demo from our Dental Intelligence team today to learn how our dental office organization ideas can transform your practice.
Appointment reminders can reduce no-shows and get your patients in the chair as scheduled. Learn best practices for sending appointment reminders to patients for increased engagement.
Staff time spent on reminder calls can detract from your dental practice's productivity but getting patients into the office is important. Utilizing these best practices for appointment reminders can save your staff time on calls and reduce no-shows and cancellations. A well-crafted and well-timed appointment reminder can help you achieve your practice's goals, getting your patients in the chair.
Timing Is Everything
Making reminder calls during work hours can be tricky, as many patients are unable to pick up phone call reminders while at work. Providing email and text message reminders gives patients the flexibility to respond to reminders on their own time. You can also utilize Voicemail Drops to send a message directly to the patient’s voicemail with just the click of a button, without fear of ringing them while they’re busy at work.
Many dental practices find that the best timing for reminders is one to three days before an appointment. If you send a reminder too far in advance of the appointment, the patient could still forget. Too close to the appointment, and the patient may have arranged their schedule already and need to cancel. Consider sending multiple texts or email reminders to patients, one a week before the appointment, and another the day before.
Include Key Appointment Information
A well-crafted reminder can make all the difference. Make sure you include all the necessary appointment information in your reminders. Include the name of your practice, your address, important directions, the time and date of the appointment, and how the patient can contact you to cancel or reschedule. You want to make it as easy as possible for the patient to respond and giving them the information they need is the first step.
Though you want to provide all the right information, remember to keep reminders — particularly voicemails — short. Patients may tune them out if they are too long. Include the most important information for the patient to get to the appointment on time and leave it at that.
Request a Response
Reminding patients of appointments is one thing but being certain that they have confirmed their appointment seals the deal to reduce no-shows. Asking patients to respond to your reminder keeps them engaged and more likely to show up on their appointment day. You can ask the patient to call you back to confirm or make it even easier by allowing text message confirmations. Automated email and text reminders with a confirmation feature can help.
Automate Your Patient Reminders
New technologies can provide your practice with the tools to deliver automated reminders to patients. Using automated reminders can be a game changer in reducing no-shows and staff time spent on reminders. The most effective systems use different reminders to reach patients using their preferred communication channel. Some patients prefer text message reminders, while others might be more receptive to email or push notifications (if your practice is using a mobile app).
Dental Intelligence's dental appointment reminder software allows patients to customize their reminders and set preferences for the number and type of reminder sent before appointments.
Keep that Personal Touch
Providing good customer service and letting patients know how you value them are important for patient retention and continued engagement. Train staff on keeping reminders brief yet conversational; adding that personal touch goes a long way for your patients and business.
Automated reminders and Voicemail Drops can help to free up staff time, but you can still personally reach out to those patients who haven't responded.
Why Invest in Reminders?
Craft your reminders based on what you are trying to achieve in your practice. Implementing patient reminder best practices can help you to reduce no-shows, free up staff time, and increase revenue and patient satisfaction. Additionally, scheduling will become easier as more patients respond by confirming or requesting to cancel their appointment, making your schedule more consistent and predictable.
Automated Reminder Software that Benefits Your Patients and Practice
No-shows and empty calendars are becoming a thing of the past. Dental Intelligence's appointment reminder software can keep your schedule full and your patients healthy with automated and fully customizable appointment reminders for patients. The system integrates with your scheduling software, automatically updating and confirming appointments based on patients' responses. Patients can respond when it is convenient for them and set preferences for how they want to be contacted. Staff can focus more time on writing patient re-engagement emails and customer care.
Try out Dental Intelligence's digital solutions for dental practices and get your patients back in the exam room. Contact us today to schedule a demo.
Appointment no-shows and last-minute cancellations can be bad for any dental practice, but does charging a fee for missed appointments make things better or worse? Learn best practices for what to consider when implementing dentist no-show fees.
Your goal is to keep your patients healthy, but you must also run a sustainable business. Implementing a dentist no-show fee might help you make up for lost revenue, but it could also cost you patients who leave your practice as well as time spent collecting fees. The considerations around fees start with looking at your existing dental appointment reminder system.
What Is a Dentist No-Show Fee?
A no-show is when a patient misses an appointment without calling to cancel or reschedule more than 24 hours in advance. Some dental practices charge a fee for this case, usually on the second or third occurrence. Some practices charge the co-pay the patient would have paid, but completely making up lost revenue is nearly impossible.
If you do implement no-show fees, it is best to inform new patients of the policy when they join your practice so there are no surprises down the line.
What Are the Benefits of No-Show Fees for Missed Appointments?
Fees can benefit the dental practice in several ways:
Prevent future no-shows: Patients are more likely to show up because they are financially invested.
Show how valuable your staff's time is: No-show fees may make patients more aware that the dentists' and staff's time is valuable.
Prevent lost revenue: You may recoup some lost revenue for missed appointments.
What Are the Drawbacks to No-Show Fees?
Though no-show fees may help retrieve a portion of lost revenue, they have many drawbacks.
Negatively impact patient satisfaction and good patient relationships: Some patients may leave your practice because they can't afford the fees or don't find them to be fair. Others may become angry with staff when they receive a bill for a missed appointment.
Waste staff time: Staff may spend extra time collecting fees, which reduces productivity and doesn't create a healthy relationship between your practice and patients. Fees don't prevent your staff from spending time rescheduling appointments for those who missed them.
Don't address the root cause: Fees do not address the problem causing missed appointments or offer any positive incentive for patients to show up for appointments. Patients usually miss appointments because they forget about them. A modern appointment reminder system may solve the issue without implementing no-show fees.
What Are Alternatives to No-Show Fees?
Instead of a punitive fee, follow these best practices to avoid no-shows:
- Use consistent, clear patient reminders, ideally via text or email, in addition to phone calls.
- Confirm the appointment ahead of time to give the patient time to reschedule.
- Make rescheduling easy with online scheduling tools.
- Explain to patients the value of their dental care appointment to prevent no-shows.
An automated patient reminder system can reduce missed appointments, save your front office time calling patients, and allow patients to respond to reminders at their convenience.
Dental Intelligence's dental appointment reminder software lets you send customized appointment reminders via text or email, reducing no-shows and the need for missed appointment fees. With patient responses that automatically update in your practice management system, your staff can clearly see which appointments are confirmed. Patients can also customize the type and number of reminders they receive, creating a system that works for everyone.
Should Your Practice Charge a No-Show Fee?
With these benefits and drawbacks in mind, should you charge a no-show fee at your dental office? A no-show fee might do more harm than good and lead to frustrated patients, not more appointments. Before implementing any no-show fees, you should consider your current appointment reminder system. Make sure you send patients appointment confirmations, reminder texts, and emails up until the day of their appointment.
Automated Appointment Reminders that Benefit your Patients and Staff
While many practices implement dentist no-show fees, the drawbacks may outweigh the revenue gained. Educating patients on the importance of keeping up with appointments and utilizing a user-friendly software like Dental Intelligence's appointment reminder software can reduce no-shows and help you build positive relationships with patients and staff. It will save your staff time and energy spent calling patients who missed appointments.
Dental Intelligence understands the value of a positive relationship with your patients, and we offer digital solutions to help your practice achieve its goals. Check out our blog for more information as well as other resources like reasons to implement online scheduling! Contact us today to schedule a demo and see what we can do for your dental team.
Think of how much paper your dental office uses every day. Forms, new patient paperwork, charts, bills, and receipts – it adds up. This excessive paper use has an environmental impact and can hold your business back.
More dental offices than ever are switching from paper forms, records, and charts in favor of using digital data. Staff and care providers are reaping the benefits of cheaper, more efficient, and more streamlined patient data management. With paperless resources like Dental Intelligence's template for dental treatment plans, the move to paperless is easier than ever.
Do dental offices have to go paperless? If your goal is to attract more patients to your practice, the answer is yes. Switching to a paperless dental practice is possible for any office and comes with several benefits.
Downsides to Paper Records and Forms
While paper records may be what you're most familiar with, they can cause issues that you don't get with paperless solutions.
If your office moves locations, staff may misplace paper forms and charts or leave them out where unauthorized people could access private patient data. If personal health information ends up in the wrong hands, you may be subject to HIPAA violations.
The risk of damage is another drawback to using paper charts and forms. Take care to store paper documents safely to prevent damage. While paper can be damaged or even destroyed, you can securely store digital data virtually forever.
Storing patient data online in secured cloud storage eliminates the risk of damage, destruction, or theft of your patient's sensitive health information.
Going Paperless in Your Dental Office: The Benefits
Do dental offices have to go paperless? The benefits are numerous:
- Your patients can complete necessary forms online before their appointment. This eliminates the need to arrive early to fill out pages of paper forms, saving your patients time.
- Going paperless is eco-friendly. Not only does it save waste, but it appeals to some of your best patients: Millennials. This demographic is more likely to pay for services that protect or benefit the environment.
- Storing necessary forms and private health records digitally eliminates the need for physical copies, making it easier to adhere to your state and region's record retention guidelines.
- Your office will save money by going paperless. Imagine where you could better use those funds when they're available for expenses other than paper.
How to Make the Switch to a Paper-Free Office
The transition to an entirely paperless office can take time. Begin the shift to a paperless dental practice by making small changes. Here are some valuable tips for transitioning to a paper-free office environment:
- Get your staff members on board with going paperless. Provide training, highlight the benefits, and open up a dialog for feedback.
- Enforce strong password protection for online data and records. Use two-factor authorization to enable access.
- Be sure to back up all digital data according to HIPAA regulations.
- Familiarize yourself and your staff with local guidelines surrounding record retention. Online storage is infinite, and you technically never need to delete anything. Digital record-keeping makes maintaining this requirement much easier.
- Stay consistent in your digital organization. Paperwork and filing procedures will become streamlined among your staff.
- Explore cyber liability insurance options. The right plan can protect your business and patients from online security breaches and data leaks.
- Make forms, essential documents, and paperwork available online. Patients can save or submit these digitally for a completely paper-free experience.
- Allow patients to pay their bills online and receive digital receipts.
- Make the switch to email and text-based advertisements and appointment reminders.
- Digitize your inventory system.
Paperless Solutions for Dental Offices to Streamline Patient Care
The shift from excessive paper usage to more earth-conscious methods is ongoing and growing. Staying current and open-minded to eco-conscious trends is essential for the future and sustainability of your dental practice and to ensuring a stellar new patient experience.
Do dental offices have to go paperless? Staying on the cutting edge of owning a dentistry business garners patient trust. These changes do require initial investments, but the long-term savings are substantial.
At Dental Intelligence, we make the shift to paperless easy with streamlined digital tools for everything from paperless forms to paperless billing. Schedule a demo today to learn how our solutions could benefit your practice.
The leaves have fallen. Temperatures are dropping. And snow is in the air… at least for some of us. The holiday season is here!
It’s a time of celebration, celebrating successes and accomplishments. A time to pause and reflect on the past, reflecting on how well you and your team performed.
But with the holiday season in full force, that also means the new year is on the horizon.
Soon there will be new goals to focus on — individually and as a team. However, before you set your plans for the new year in stone, you’ll need to review your data from the past year. Then you can make important decisions that will positively impact your practice in the coming year.
Luckily, we’ve already done the hard work for you.
Why Dental Intelligence?
Dental Intelligence helps over 10,000 dental practices intelligently shape their futures, which gives us unprecedented insight into what makes a dental practice as successful as it can be.
After running reports and looking at data from over 10,000 practices across the last couple of years, we discovered two critical things the top 10% of practices had in common.
Let’s look at what we found:
1. The top 10% of practices increased patient growth from 18% to 41% (23% increase)
2. They increased their average restorative $ presented per exam from $2,162 to $3,294.
So let’s break these numbers down and see the story they tell us.
Increased Patient Growth
The top 10% of practices increased patient growth from 18% to 41% (23% increase).
What could be causing this?
In short, it’s a clear testimony that these practices can remain stable during unstable times. They have the resources to endure what other practices can’t, and all of dentistry has been doing a lot of enduring the last few years.
One study of the pandemic’s impact indicated 75.9% of practices experienced closures, with a “significantly higher percentage in the private sector than in the non-private sector.”
Another study showed the top 10% of practices actually improved their performance from 2019 to 2020.
These findings suggest the highest-performing practices may have been able to weather the storm, reinvest in their facilities, and expand in 2020, whereas other practices closed or merely subsisted instead of significantly growing.
As a result, the top 10% would have been able to win patients displaced by the closures of other offices. This, combined with continual growth investment, may have served as a springboard for continued expansion in 2021.
There’s also a small chance that some of this increase is artificially inflated. Since remote work is becoming commonplace, patients are freer to relocate. If this is the case, they could be listed as active patients at their old practice while also being listed as a new patient at another practice. It won’t be possible to know for sure until relocated patients are deactivated at their old practices — usually after 18 months.
Increased Average Restorative $ Presented Per Exam
The top 10% of practices increased their average restorative $ presented per exam from $2,162 to $3,294.
That’s a difference of $1,132 presented per exam, an increase of 52.35%.
Thankfully, this dramatic increase isn’t exclusive to only the top 10%. The average practice saw the same figure increase by 38.57%, and even the bottom 10% of practices achieved a 34.29% increase.
What could be causing this?
Part of the increase could be attributed to economics. Mid 2020-mid 2021 was one of the best economies in recent memory in terms of investment values. That economic bump could have led to patients voluntarily seeking elective procedures like cosmetics, since their portfolios looked healthy.
But a strong economy would only be part of a possible explanation. There’s also an X factor to consider — Zoom meetings.
Remote work is more common than ever, meaning more people are on video calls all day, every day. They’re looking at themselves via webcam for 8 hours, 5 days a week. They see imperfections in their smiles, they’re constantly reminded of those insecurities, and they have a solution — cosmetic dentistry.
The home improvement industry saw record increases in 2020 because everyone was stuck looking at their four walls all day, every day. The same school of thought should apply to aesthetic improvements to their own appearance as well.
Getting the Data You Need!
So now that we’ve reviewed the most noticeable findings from our study, you might wonder, how does my practice compare to the top 10%?
Not sure how to calculate these numbers? No sweat. You can get a free Growth Report and see all the production, collections, and many other metrics so you can make decisions to intelligently shape the future of your practice. One quick sync with your practice management software will give you access to accurate, real time benchmarks from your practice’s data so you can see how you stack up. Request your free Growth Report today.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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 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 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!