Collecting payments is probably one of the last tasks you want to have to worry about. Learn how Jina Alcobia, Director of Operations at Implant & Periodontics Specialists and Love Your Smile, implemented Dental Intelligence Payments and made her collections process easier for patients and her team.
January 23, 2023
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.
Last-minute cancellations of dental appointments can be frustrating for dentists and their staff. Keep reading to learn about the strategies you can employ to reduce short-notice cancellations.
January 18, 2023
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.
Schedules can make or break a dental practice. Keep reading to learn more about dental scheduling mistakes to avoid and how to better manage your practice.
January 18, 2023
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.
Keeping your appointment book full can be challenging as patients cancel and reschedule. Here are some tips to improve your patient retention.
January 18, 2023
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.
Reputation management is key to constantly knowing how to improve your practice so it continues to flourish. Here's 5 ways patient feedback can benefit your practice.
January 18, 2023
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.
Complaints and unhappy patients are an inevitable part of running a dental practice. Here's five tips on how to best handle these situations.
January 18, 2023
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.
All dental offices must comply with HIPAA regulations including specific rules regarding communications. Here is an overview of HIPAA guidelines for different forms of communication.
January 18, 2023
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.
Polishing your treatment case presentation skills will help improve your acceptance rate making your practice more productive and efficient. Here's some tips and best practices.
January 18, 2023
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 staff members are often unsure how to approach financing for dental patients. However, with the right approach and communication techniques, discussing dental financing options can benefit your patients and help you grow your dental practice.
January 17, 2023
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.
Implementing processes to ensure a consistent money collection is integral to your dental practice’s financial health. In this guide, we discuss how to collect money from past-due accounts and mitigate your risk of losing out on revenue.
January 17, 2023
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.
According to the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, 77 million adults do not currently have dental insurance. That’s 29.8% of the population, which means three times more adults lack dental insurance than lack a medical plan — and that’s not including those who have either lapsed or used up their dental coverage.
January 17, 2023
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.
Dental offices have a variety of approaches to new patient dental forms, but intake always comes down to one thing: intuitive and clear forms that collect all the information your practice needs.
January 17, 2023
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.
After a long day of providing quality dental care to your patients, you don't want to have to worry about your revenue. Here's some tips on how to stay on top of your revenue cycle.
January 17, 2023
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.
The American Dental Association (ADA) Dental Claim Form is one of your major responsibilities when offering or performing dental services. After all, you can’t get paid without it, and patients can’t be reimbursed.
January 17, 2023
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!
Getting patients to accept treatment plans can be challenging in today's world for a variety of reasons. Patients are concerned about the costs, fear, and the time commitment. Here are a few tips on how to make it easier for patient to say "yes" to treatment.
January 13, 2023
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.
Adding automated appointment reminders to your practice will help reduce cancellations, improve efficiency in your office, support ongoing treatment plans, and enhance the overall patient experience.
January 13, 2023
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!
When talking to a patient on the phone, they're forming an impression of your office. You will want to be warm and genuine yet professional tone. Here are some tips and scripts to take your phone calls to the next level.
January 13, 2023
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.
One of the best ways to create a positive team culture is by implementing a bonus system for your staff. Here are a few tips on how to create a bonus system that will keep team members engaged.
January 13, 2023
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.
Are you looking for innovative ways to increase efficiency at your dental practice? With these five dental office design tips, you can streamline your workflow and maximize efficiency. Read on for expert design tips for creating a functional layout, maximizing space, boosting productivity, and facilitating a seamless workflow for you and your staff.
January 13, 2023
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.
Increasing your online presence is key in today's world. Creating and maintaining a Google Business Profile is an important part of increasing your digital presence.
January 13, 2023
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.
An increase in positive online reviews from patients is fundamental to improving your practice’s online visibility. Learn how to get more online reviews with proven service and communication strategies.
January 13, 2023
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.
Patient education is the cornerstone of successful dental care. Informed patients are more likely to get regular check-ups, undergo prophylactic procedures, and seek timely treatment when issues arise.
January 10, 2023
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.
A certain level of stress in dentistry may be unavoidable, but you can use various strategies and coping skills to keep work-related pressure in check, stay healthy, and become more resilient.
January 10, 2023
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.
The onboarding process is a magic window of opportunity during which you can engage new employees and lay the foundations for productive working relationships. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of this period.
January 10, 2023
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.
Many dentists lack the time to effectively outline treatment plans to all of their patients. Delegating this responsibility to a dedicated dental treatment coordinator (DTC) is the right move for many growing practices. Read on to discover how a skilled dental treatment coordinator can facilitate growth in your dental office.
January 10, 2023
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!
Now more than ever, patients want transparency and clear communication when sitting in the dentist's chair. Below, we discuss the basics of informed consent, including critical components and best practices for writing and administering informed consent to patients.
January 9, 2023
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.
Dental narratives impact patient outcomes, satisfaction, and the practice’s revenue flow. Learning to craft denial-proof narratives helps you deliver top-notch dental care while supporting the business end of your practice.
January 9, 2023
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.
Do you struggle to get through performance reviews with your dental staff? It doesn’t have to be that way! Below, we’ll provide some expert tips and best practices for administering dental employee evaluations.
January 9, 2023
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.
Do you have a waiting room full of patients sitting there long past their appointment times? Below, we'll explain the negative impact that occurs when dental practices schedule too many patients and discuss a few options you can use to solve this problem.
January 9, 2023
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.
Are your dental procedure times where you want them to be? Far too many dentists in America don't realize the negative impact that dental treatment times have on their scheduling practices, quality of care, and patient satisfaction.
January 9, 2023
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.
Patient appreciation matters. The numbers speak for themselves: A whopping 70% of people who switch practices leave because they don’t feel appreciated. Here are our favorite easy-to-execute ideas for patient appreciation day!
January 9, 2023
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.
Convincing dental patients that the treatment options you present are the best way forward can be challenging, and refusal of care is a common problem for many practices. Read on to discover why patients refuse care and what you can do about it.
January 6, 2023
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!
Same-day dental services are essential in our modern world. Patients want a dental practice that is easy to schedule with and at the forefront of technology to provide faster service and reduce discomfort.
January 6, 2023
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.
Patients have several reasons to cancel dentist appointments. Unfortunately, dental cancellations and no-shows are a part of every dental practice. While there is no way to eliminate them entirely, understanding cancellation issues and practical strategies to combat them can reduce their occurrence in your dental practice.
January 6, 2023
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.
As a dental assistant, your responsibilities include interacting with patients, conducting dental procedures, and taking care of administrative tasks.
January 6, 2023
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.
Finding employees can be challenging, but finding the right candidate can be even harder. Here's 6 tips to make the hiring process a little easier in finding qualified dental professionals.
January 6, 2023
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.
A coherent search engine optimization plan can improve your dental practice's visibility and increase its customer base. Unfortunately, several SEO myths lead people astray. Learn to separate the wheat from the chaff as we debunk these common myths.
January 6, 2023
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.
Wanting to improve your SEO strategy? Here's 7 common SEO mistakes to avoid and how to best fix them. This will save you time in the long run as your dental practice climbs up the organic rankings in search engine result pages.
January 6, 2023
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.
Like any other business, a dental practice needs ample capital to achieve long-term growth and business success, and many dental offices look to external financing for funding. Before you pursue money from an external source, you must understand the pros and cons of external financing to make smart decisions for your practice.
January 6, 2023
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.
Your dental practice relies on your medical billing process to collect payments from patients and insurance companies. Still, common medical billing errors can frustrate your patients and interrupt your cash flow due to denied claims. Learn about five common medical billing errors and how to avoid them for a smooth and accurate billing process.
January 6, 2023
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.
Running a dental practice requires striking the perfect balance between being a stern, profit-oriented business owner and a caring patient-oriented organization. You want the best for your patients, though you must collect payments to stay in business. Learn how to deal with patients who refuse to pay their dental bills.
January 6, 2023
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.
A successful dental practice relies on proper scheduling and patient booking. Learn about the popular types of dental office scheduling to choose the one that best fits your practice.
December 20, 2022
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.
Retaining your current patients is key to a running a scuessful practice. Learn how patient loyalty can increase retention and boost your revenue.
December 20, 2022
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.
Having affordable options for patients increases patient loyalty and gives them a reason to keep coming back. Dental discount plans allow patients to save money on dental care while you still provide the best service for them.
December 20, 2022
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.
Having a hazard communication program in your office is an important way to keep your staff trained on how to handle materials and ensure everyone's safety. Learn the key elements of this program and how to implement it in your dental office.
December 20, 2022
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.
Having healthy communication between you and your dental team is essential. Here are 6 tips on how to have effective communication at your dental practice.
December 20, 2022
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.
Keeping your dental data records secure can be challenging in today's cyber world. Here are tips on how you can keep your data HIPAA compliant.
December 20, 2022
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.
Offering patient financing options is a great way to attract new patients. Learn how financing, marketing as well as a few other tips could help grow your practice.
December 19, 2022
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.
Simplify your payment process and get more patients to say "yes" to treatment with affordable financing options.
December 19, 2022
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.
Many dentists steer clear of dentist upselling during a patient's visit. Learning appropriate avenues to upsell relevant dental procedures can improve the relationship between your patients and dental practice.
December 19, 2022
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!
Per the HIPAA Privacy Rule, dental patients or a different designated party, like a parent or guardian, can request access to their dental records. Learn about release-of-records forms and what they mean for your practice.
December 19, 2022
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!
Successful dental practices understand that security and confidentiality for all patients come first. In a world that continuously moves toward paperless, digital transactions, that means HIPAA-compliant payment processing. Learn what this means for your dental practice.
December 19, 2022
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.
This simple dental form can make or break a patient's experience with your dental practice. Learn more about what it is and how it works to your benefit.
December 19, 2022
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.
A dental scheduling coordinator can help organize and manage appointment schedules for your dental practice. Learn how hiring this position can streamline operations and improve patient care.
December 19, 2022
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.
Maybe you've heard of SEO. Maybe you haven't. Either way, our comprehensive guide on how to optimize your website will help you grow your business.
December 16, 2022
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.
Having your team trained on dental billing and coding is vital to your practice. Learn best practices for dental billing to increase your practice's productivity.
December 16, 2022
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 do you know if your website is effective at bringing patients to your practice? SEO Metrics. Learn the best SEO metrics you should track in order to continue to optimize your website.
December 16, 2022
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.
Spending some time organizing your office can make your day-to-day operations easier. Plus, patients will notice and have a better experience because of it. Here's 6 different ideas on how you can organize your dental office.
December 16, 2022
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.
Learn how to make effective appointment reminders so you can reduce no-shows and keep your chairs filled.
December 15, 2022
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.
No-shows can be a pain for any dental practice. Some practices choose to charge patients a fee for their last-minute cancellations. Discover the pros and cons of having a no-show fee in your office as well as an alternative that might even be better.
December 14, 2022
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.
See why more dental offices than ever are switching from physical paperwork to digital data. Attract more patients with digital solutions like Treatment Plans and Payments from Dental Intelligence.
December 14, 2022
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.
With the new year upon us, it's a great time to look back on your performance. See what we learned from the Top 10% of practices and how it can help you make next year even better.
December 12, 2022
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.
Here are some best practices for designing and sending reminder messages.
November 5, 2022
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.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to your dental office is inventory management. Here are five tips to help manage your inventory in order to create a productive practice.
November 5, 2022
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!
Follow these five tips to improve your dental waiting room, optimize patient comfort, and transform how everyone experiences your healthcare practice.
November 5, 2022
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.
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.
November 4, 2022
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.
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!
Offering dental patient financing from Dental Intelligence allows your patients to have options and allows you to get paid quicker!
November 4, 2022
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!
Keeping your schedule full and efficient isn't always easy. With tools like online scheduling as well as these tips on how to train your team on scheduling dental appointments will help your practice run smoother.
November 3, 2022
Bringing on new administrative staff is an excellent and exciting way to grow your practice, improve daily operations, and boost patient care. Making sure they receive proper training is crucial to achieving daily production goals.
One of the most important things office staff should know how to do is scheduling. Unfortunately, dental scheduling training comes with unique challenges.
Before the technology era, dental scheduling required office staff to take phone calls or schedule appointments in person. Now, a dental practice can use online dental scheduling to make everyone's job easier. While online scheduling requires less effort from the staff, it is still crucial for them to understand the best scheduling practices.
Below are some tips for training new and existing team members on scheduling dental appointments to maximize efficiency and productivity.
Review the Significance of Block Scheduling
Block scheduling is an excellent way to achieve quota goals and create a more organized schedule. Block scheduling reserves certain times of the day for complex or longer procedures.
Many dental offices do this by scheduling primary care appointments in the morning and secondary care after lunch. Primary care refers to dental treatments requiring lab work or tooth prep, which need longer appointment times. Secondary care is routine procedures like cleanings or fillings.
One way to maximize dental scheduling training for blocks is by color coding the schedule. Color coding blocks for different services make scheduling appointments easier for administrative staff. Not only does this improve office efficiency, but it also helps your team achieve production goals.
Have Production and Revenue Goals
No dental scheduling training is complete without discussing objectives. Remind staff how block scheduling helps your office achieve revenue and production goals.
Every dental office should outline specific production and revenue objectives. Although your dental practice's primary focus is providing exceptional dental care, it is still a business. You need revenue to grow and provide better oral health care to more patients.
Establish a realistic objective and put a date on it. Start by devising a goal for the end of the year. Then, determine daily, weekly, or monthly objectives to help you attain it.
Achieving these goals does not mean filling your schedule with lengthy, complex procedures. Your patients need a wide array of treatments, from routine cleanings to oral sedation. A balance of services allows you to deliver adequate patient care while attaining fiscal objectives and revenue growth.
Everyone in the dental practice has a role. For example, the administrative staff is responsible for scheduling and customer service, while dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists directly treat patients.
Knowing who does what in the office can help staff create better schedules and track appointments. For example, administrative staff should know which dentists and hygienists perform certain procedures and approximately how long they take.
Understanding these roles can help staff members schedule better by knowing who is available each day and what treatment times will look like.
Aim to Reduce No-Shows
No-shows and last-minute cancellations are the most significant reasons for scheduling problems. Although these issues are no fault of the staff, you can train team members on how to address them to maintain office efficiency.
For example, appointment reminders are an excellent way to reduce broken appointments and protect daily revenue. Team members can send reminders via email, phone call, or text message, depending on your office's system.
In addition to appointment reminders, office staff should be familiar with the no-show and cancellation policies. They should also be able to relay this information to patients to ensure a clear understanding of what happens when they miss their appointments.
Remember the Value of Customer Service and Communication
Whether scheduling online, over the phone, or in person, customer service is vital. Your front office staff are the first people patients meet when they walk through your doors. As such, they should have excellent communication and customer service skills.
Customer service requires more than a friendly attitude and a welcoming smile. Your office staff should also know how to handle difficult customers, especially when scheduling.
Take Your Dental Practice to New Heights with Dental Intelligence
Effective dental scheduling training is key to boosting office efficiency and improving patient care. However, it is not the only thing your dental practice needs to thrive.
Growing a dental practice requires increasing revenue, improving reputation, and achieving maximum efficiency. At Dental Intelligence, we have the tools to help you succeed.
SEO keywords on your website are an important factor in driving potential patients to your website. Learn how to choose the ideal keyword mix by learning different keyword themes you can use.
November 3, 2022
While returning clients play a role in a successful dental practice, getting new patients through the door will take your business to the next level. Search engine optimization (SEO) uses a deep understanding of search engine algorithms to ensure that your website appears on the first page of a search engine results page, which means tailoring your site to particular queries or dental SEO keywords.
Are Keywords Still Important in Dental SEO?
Keywords still form the foundation of any SEO campaign, as they provide the main way in which your site communicates with search engines about its content and purpose. While Google's algorithm doesn't weigh keywords as heavily as it once did — a practice that led to keyword stuffing which led to a poorer user experience — keywords are still an essential component that will inform the rest of your content creation and website development strategy.
An important part of SEO for dentists is choosing the ideal keyword mix for your site. Keyword themes are groups of similar keywords that let you cover multiple bases at once, and you can pick and choose several themes while developing your SEO campaign.
As a dentist, you operate out of a specific location, which means that you will want to follow the best practices to local dental SEO that our team at Dental Intelligence recommends to increase traffic from people in your local area rather than from the entire world — a potential patient in Minnesota won't get any benefit from finding a dental website in Miami.
While Google may have started defaulting to local areas, location-based keywords can still give you a leg up on your competition. An important note on location-based keywords is that you still need to consider grammar and readability. Some keyword tools will suggest the "dentist services New York" format, but this tends to sound stiff and fake. Rather keep the preposition "in New York" to make your content more natural to prospective patients.
Using service-related dental SEO keywords makes sense for a service-based profession such as dentistry. Consider using at least one keyword per service you offer, but be careful of potentially competitive keywords, such as "checkups" or "dental cleanings." Instead, focus on services that make your practice unique in your location.
Dental Problem Keywords
Potential patients usually look for a dentist when they have a particular problem. Including these problem-based keywords in your strategy will establish your practice as a thought leader for that particular problem, especially if you use these keywords in blogs and other informative content.
Be very careful when choosing dental problem keywords — some people may be looking for a self-help solution or getting more information about their condition rather than explicitly looking for a dentist, making them a low-quality lead. Consider combining dental problem keywords with service or location-based keywords for higher-quality traffic results.
Choosing the Right Dental SEO Keywords for Your Site
Keyword research can be intimidating, especially in a competitive industry such as dentistry. The most important thing to remember is the buyer journey and what people type when looking for a dentist. However, you can use several free and paid tools to narrow your search for the optimal dental SEO keywords.
A great place to start is through Google Analytics. This tool lets you see what keywords and phrases people used to get to your site, and you can use these as a baseline for further keyword research.
Also, consider using Google's free Keyword Finder. This tool provides a more nuanced breakdown of keywords by providing information on the search volume of particular terms and the competitiveness of certain options. All you need to do to take advantage of this tool is enter your website's URL, industry, and location, and Google will do the rest of the hard work for you.
Using Keywords Optimally
Most websites focus on including keywords in content such as blogs or on the website itself. However, small tweaks can have a huge impact on how well keywords perform, such as:
- Using your top keywords in main headings and throughout your website's text while avoiding keyword stuffing.
- Using keywords in meta-descriptions, URLs, and image names and captions
- Keeping keywords grammatically consistent for more natural integration with your content
Choosing the right dental SEO keywords requires effort and care, but choosing the wrong ones can derail your entire SEO strategy. Whether you want more information about keyword research or monitoring leads and digital marketing strategies, don't hesitate to schedule a free demo with our team at Digital Intelligence today!
A patient's medical history plays an important role in their oral health and treatment, which is why it's important to have medical history forms updated regularly. Online dental forms from Dental Intelligence save your patients and your team time by allowing them to update them from anywhere, anytime.
November 3, 2022
Your patients are the lifeblood of your practice. To deliver the best care, you need a stellar team, a welcoming dental office, and an efficient system. One of the most useful tools for a dental practice is dental medical history forms.
Understanding your patient's medical and dental history is crucial to providing the best service possible. These forms contain critical information like allergies, past operations, dental treatments, medical issues, and other factors that can alter treatment options.
As people age, medical needs change. To continue providing exceptional dental care, it is vital to have updated medical history forms for each patient.
One of the best ways to do this while saving paper is by using online dental forms from Dental Intelligence. Our digital forms can save everyone time by allowing patients to update their medical history at home, on their phones, or with an in-office kiosk.
Below, we discuss the importance of updating dental medical forms to protect patient care and office efficiency.
Oral Health and Certain Medical Conditions Have an Important Relationship
Although many patients don't think about it, various medical conditions directly affect oral health. For example, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes can lead to dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
Dental professionals know that oral health problems like these can have multiple causes. Determining why the patient has a particular issue is crucial to treating it. Updated medical history forms can give dentists a better idea of the root cause of the problem, allowing them to provide better treatment and more accurate diagnoses.
Prescription Updates Need Attention
Dental medical history forms contain lists of medications your patients take. Unfortunately, several common prescriptions cause side effects like dry mouth or blood thinning, which can impact dental treatment plans.
Knowing what medications your patients are taking is crucial to avoid worsening the side effects. For instance, if your patient takes blood thinners, you may reconsider certain dental operations.
Pregnancy Can Increase the Chances of Gum Disease
Pregnant women require specialized medical care to protect themselves and their growing babies. For example, if a pregnant woman needs an X-ray, doctors must protect the fetus by covering the patient's abdomen with radiation protection.
In addition, pregnancy hormones can increase a woman's chance of gum disease. Dentists may alter dental treatment plans during pregnancy to protect the mother from severe oral health issues.
In many cases, pregnant women also cannot undergo oral surgery. As such, dentists may need to alter treatment and plan for an operation following the pregnancy.
Being Aware of Allergies Is Crucial
Knowing what your patients are allergic to is crucial, especially when administering medications. Understanding what medications patients are allergic to prevents dentists from making dangerous prescriptions or administering in-office drugs that could harm the patient.
However, medications are not the only potential causes of allergic reactions. For example, individuals can also be allergic to latex, nickel, or metal. Administering dental treatments with these materials can compromise a patient's health.
Additionally, some patients are allergic to chlorohexidine. While you won't find this substance in any dental treatment, it is a popular cleaning agent. If you notice that a patient form has this listed as an allergy, you can prepare the office by using a different cleaning agent.
High Blood Pressure Can Increase the Risk of Stroke During an Appointment
A patient with systolic blood pressure over 180 or diastolic blood pressure over 109 cannot undergo dental procedures. High blood pressure increases the chances of a patient suffering from a stroke or heart attack during treatment.
This risk is why dental professionals often take a patient's blood pressure before proceeding with the dental visit. This is an especially important practice when the patient has high blood pressure listed on their dental medical history forms.
Ready to Give Your Dental Practice an Efficiency Boost?
Generally, dental patients should update their medical forms annually. You can help them do this by providing new medical history forms at annual appointments.
Instead of having patients take up appointment time by completing forms in-office, use Dental Intelligence's innovative digital forms.
By partnering with Dental Intelligence, your patients can easily update their dental medical history forms before their dental appointments. As a result, your team can spend more time providing care and less time sorting through piles of paperwork.
We understand the importance of running an efficient, patient-centered dental office. That's why we offer a wide range of innovative solutions like virtual check-in and online dental forms.
Ready to boost efficiency and improve patient care? Contact us at Dental Intelligence to request your demo today!
Deliver a better patient experience with informative and clear dental referral forms. Learn how to create forms that benefit the patient, receiving practice, and your own team.
November 3, 2022
Dentists dedicate their careers to providing exceptional dental care. Although dentists can offer a wide range of treatments, there are some cases where a patient benefits from seeing a specialist.
Whether the patient needs oral surgery or orthodontic treatment, dentists can refer them to specialists to receive the care they need. To do this effectively, dental offices rely on dental referral forms.
Referral forms act as a guide for the patient and the receiving practice. Traditionally, dental offices filled out paper forms and gave them to patients or mailed them to the receiving practice. These days, online dental forms make the process significantly easier and faster.
Dental referral forms are integral to a practice's operations. Here's why.
Why Does Your Dental Office Use Referrals?
Your dental office likely uses referral forms to refer patients to other medical specialists. These forms contain basic information about the patient, their dental issue, and a potential treatment option that requires specialized care.
Similarly, other medical professionals can refer their patients to your office. Receiving referral patients typically requires the same documents, as they help you better understand the patient's condition or concerns.
What Information Should Referral Forms Include?
Referrals act as a communication medium for a patient and two different providers. As such, these forms should contain information that pertains to each party.
Regardless of the reason for the referral, all forms should contain the name of your practice, the type of referral (oral surgery, orthodontics, etc.), the patient's name, and their information.
Depending on the reason for the referral, you can also include additional documents that give the receiving practice a better idea of the patient's case. For example, if your dental office is referring a patient to an oral surgeon, the dental referral forms could include X-ray or digital images of the patient's mouth. Doing so saves the oral surgeon and patient time by delivering updated images rather than requiring the receiving office to capture their own.
Before creating and delivering a referral, it is vital to review everything with the patient during an initial appointment.
Although many offices now use digital forms that go directly to the specialist's office, it is still vital for the patient to understand everything. Taking the time to explain who you are referring them to, why, and what they can expect can improve the experience for everyone involved.
Are There Referral Guidelines?
Dentists and every other medical professional have an obligation to provide ethical treatment for patients. Part of this responsibility is completing documents correctly, including dental referral forms.
When completing a referral form, it is vital to follow the American Dental Association's (ADA) General Guidelines for Referring Patients and Code of Ethics1.
In short, ADA guidelines state that dentists should make referrals based on the receiving practice's education, training, and experience rather than personal preferences. Meanwhile, the Code of Ethics states that all dentists should follow ethical practices to provide adequate, professional care.
How Are Digital Forms Better Than Paper Referrals?
Although paper forms were once an effective way to deliver referrals, they are becoming increasingly outdated.
For instance, sending paper referrals requires significantly more time to reach the other practice than digital ones. This extended time frame impacts patient care and office efficiency.
Additionally, receiving practices often struggled to decipher illegible handwriting. Communicating clear, understandable information is crucial for referrals, making this a frustrating problem.
However, digital forms eliminate this issue and send referrals directly to specialists. As a result, all parties enjoy clear communication, and patients can book appointments sooner.
Spend More Time with Your Patients and Ease Your Team's Workload
Patient referrals help you extend care by sending your patient to a specialist that can provide the particular care they need. To benefit the patient, receiving practice, and your own team, you need informative and clear referral forms.
Instead of taking a step back in innovation using paper forms, embrace technology and use online referrals to your advantage. A digital referral for treatment is more clear, can contain more detailed information, and reaches the receiving practice sooner. As a result, you can deliver better patient care and assist with office team's workload.
At Dental Intelligence, we can help you spend more time with your patients and less time navigating paperwork. From digital forms for your patients to Call Insight for your front desk team, we have everything you need to streamline operations and provide exceptional dental care.
Curious to see how digital dental referral forms can transform patient care? Contact us at Dental Intelligence today to schedule a demo.
Create customized plans for each patient using templates for dental treatment plans from Dental Intelligence.
November 3, 2022
A dental treatment plan is a detailed breakdown of the events your patients can expect throughout their treatment timeline. Dentists create these plans with specific treatment goals, ensuring that their clients get the most out of their investment. The dental treatment plan phases we've included below may vary from patient to patient, but they're all essential steps that this short guide can help you understand.
Factors That Contribute to a Dental Treatment Plan
Before we dive in, let's quickly go over what factors might contribute to dental treatment planning. Every person is different, so you must customize each plan to match your patient's needs and preferences. Here are some things to consider as you think through treatment options:
- Patient goals and desires: What are your patients’ long-term and short-term objectives? For example, they may want to relieve pain or fix their misaligned teeth. Patient goals will narrow the treatment options significantly.
- Dentist goals and desires: What are your desired outcomes? For example, you may want to remove a patient's decayed teeth or recommend getting braces. Hopefully, your treatment objectives will align with your patients.
- Patient abilities and willingness: A financially struggling dental patient won't have the same available treatment options as an affluent patient. A patient who doesn't take care of their teeth or has a phobia of dentists will also limit your treatment suggestions.
- Dentist abilities and willingness: What are your technical skills and level of knowledge? If you aren't comfortable administering certain treatments, you probably shouldn't do them but instead refer the patient out.
Determining the best treatment plan for your patients can be challenging. However, our top-quality services at Dental Intelligence make the process so much easier. Check out the templates for dental treatment plans from Dental Intelligence to learn more.
Dental Treatment Plan Phases
Dental treatment plan phases help break down the overall process into easy-to-follow segments. Each stage of treatment has its own function, providing a well-rounded, effective solution to the patient's unique needs.
The assessment phase of treatment begins the entire process. During this phase, you'll examine the patient's mouth, teeth, and gums to determine what you need to do. A professional cleaning (which may involve an oral hygienist or dental assistant) will usually take place at this time, too.
With an initial assessment, you can identify major dental problems and start formulating ideas for the right type of treatment. You'll also learn about a patient's medical history and underlying health concerns.
During the acute phase, the dentist addresses urgent oral issues. For example, a fractured incisor is a severe problem requiring immediate treatment. On the other hand, you could put off recapping an old molar crown until later in the treatment plan.
Disease Control Phase
The disease control phase of dental treatment typically comes into play with more complex cases. For various reasons, a dentist may question the effectiveness of a treatment plan and decide to hold for now. These reasons may include:
- Eradicating an oral disease is necessary before treatment
- A dental disease may prevent a planned treatment from being effective
- The planned dental treatment may worsen the condition
Essentially, you'll treat more acute dental diseases and stabilize a patient's oral health before continuing with planned treatment during the control phase.
Once you complete the disease control phase, you'll need to re-evaluate the patient's situation. Is the crisis resolved, and should you proceed? If so, move on to the next dental treatment plan phase.
The definitive phase is the heart and soul of every dental treatment plan. During this phase, the patient will receive the necessary dental work to fix their smile and achieve healthy, beautiful teeth. Definitive phase treatments often include the following:
- Periodontal therapy
- Tooth restoration
- Cosmetic procedures
- Tooth extractions
- Missing tooth replacement
Just because a patient has finished therapy or surgery doesn't mean the treatment plan is complete. You must monitor the treatment to ensure that it's doing what you envisioned, and no other dental problems have arisen. For complicated procedures, the monitoring phase could extend over weeks and even months.
During this phase, you'll check in regularly with your patients to ask them how they're doing and if they've noticed any issues like oral discomfort, pain, swelling, or aching. You'll also review the treatment progress to see concrete before-and-after results.
Dental Intelligence: The Number One Resource for Your Dental Practice
At Dental Intelligence, we provide the tools and know-how you need to boost your dental practice. Do you want to know more about dental treatment plan phases or a dental morning huddle? We have the answers — get started today!
Simplify your billing process and generate clear billing statements for your patients, regardless of how many payment options or insurers you have to work with, with Dental Intelligence Payments.
November 2, 2022
In theory, dental billing should be simple: A patient comes in, gets a procedure, pays for the procedure, and goes home. However, most practices find that keeping up with payment options, health insurance codes, and late payments can feel overwhelming.
Ultimately, the health of your billing and collections system will play a large part in the overall success of your practice, so it’s worthwhile spending some time developing a streamlined system to generate a clear and understandable dental billing statement.
The Dental Billing Process
As billing becomes increasingly complex, having an established process is essential to keeping track of various accounts and their unique quirks. One way to streamline the process is to have a clear system of steps whenever a new patient steps through your door.
These steps will remain broadly the same regardless of whether you have a manual process or are using a dental payments solution from Dental Intelligence. They include:
- Collecting patient information, including their name, contact details, date of birth, insurance carrier, insurance plan, and insurance ID number.
- Verifying the patient’s insurance coverage by contacting their provider. This verification will usually also give you a full breakdown of the patient’s dental benefits.
- Recording the patient’s treatment as it occurs and including the necessary dental code for each procedure. Dental practices can become incredibly busy, so using a daily sign-off sheet is the best practice to verify what happened to each patient during the day.
- Submitting claims to the patient’s insurance carrier often involves providing the procedure code, patient information, and supporting documentation.
- Following up on claims denied by insurance or ignored for more than 30 days.
- Billing patients for the outstanding balance. Practices may choose between a fee-for-service or reimbursement billing type, depending on which one best meets your practice and patient needs. While the fee-for-service model will get you more money upfront, you may find that fewer patients have the available funds to pay for the entire procedure upfront. Similarly, a reimbursement model may get more patients through the door, but you’ll need to spend more time dealing with health insurance providers to get your payment.
- Recording payments to properly document and complete the life cycle of a particular claim.
Understanding Dental Coding on Your Dental Billing Statement
Dental codes are often the most confusing part of a dental billing statement for patients. To comply with HIPAA guidelines, practices must use official procedure codes to report conditions and treatments. Failing to assign the proper code to a procedure may result in fraud charges and fines, so it’s worth the time to learn and keep up with changes in the various dental coding standards.
The two most common dental billing codes are the Current Dental Terminology (CDT) and Internal Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM). Both code sets will have a specific code for a procedure, which you will need to document correctly. Both codes change annually to keep up with developments in dentistry, and you must use the latest codes to remain compliant with HIPAA guidelines.
Components of an Explanation of Benefits Statement
Insurance companies will send out an EOB statement with every claim they pay out. To ensure that you receive the correct payment and that your patients receive clear communication about their benefits, the EOB statement must contain:
- The plan allowance for a specific dental procedure
- The percentage of the maximum plan benefit that the insurer will pay
- The patient’s deductible
- The dollar amount paid by the provider
- The outstanding balance that the patient must pay, either outright or through a payment plan
Working with an Expert
Many dental practices rely on front-desk staff to take care of their dental billing needs, but the truth is that accurate billing requires expert knowledge and a dedicated individual or team. Even if you have a streamlined system, your billing administrator must know:
- Medicare rules
- Coordination of benefits rules
- The procedure for accurately calculating a patient’s payment responsibility
- The practice’s various payment options
- The appeals process for denied claims
- Documentation requirements for various claims
- How to run reports
- The latest coding updates
- How to calculate write-offs
- How to post payments promptly and accurately to meet accounting regulations
The expense and time required to train a billing expert for handling each dental billing statement have led to many dental practices opting for a third-party solution. These solutions will help you implement a payment system that will generate clear billing statements for your patients, regardless of how many payment options or insurers you have to work with. For more information about Dental Intelligence payments and billing solutions, request a free demo on our website today!
Offering dental financing gives patients the flexibility to choose an option that works best for their financial situation. Dental Intelligence offers dental patient financing that's easy for you and your patients.
November 2, 2022
According to a recent NHIS survey, approximately 1 in 4 adults1 will forgo dental care due to a lack of dental coverage and concern about the costs of visiting the dentist. Even individuals with health insurance may run up against annual limits or deductibles, making routine procedures unaffordable. Many practices have tried to alleviate the issue by providing dental patient financing through a service such as Dental Intelligence.
However, doing so isn’t without risk — lower-income individuals may struggle to meet their monthly payments and put additional pressure on the practice. A useful indicator of risk is the credit score, which is why it’s vital that practices know what credit score is needed for dental financing. This way, you can inform their patients about their options and mitigate the risks associated with in-house financing.
Types of Dental Financing
Dental financing spans several options, giving patients the flexibility to choose an option that works best for their financial situation. Each option will have some drawbacks and benefits, and dental practices may assist patients with identifying the right one for them.
The most common method of dental financing is an unsecured personal loan. Online lenders, banks, and credit unions offer these loans. Patients should shop around before committing to a single lender. Online lending is a competitive space, and many platforms will attempt to get more customers by offering flexible loan terms, good interest rates, and waiving administrative or early payment fees.
Most Americans have at least one credit card, which can be useful in dental emergencies as a dental financing option. However, some may need to get a new credit card to pay for larger dental procedures.
Medical credit cards often offer deferred interest — if the patient pays off the debt within the deferred period, they don’t incur interest on the debt. However, if they can’t pay off the balance within that period, they’ll have to pay all of the interest accrued from the card’s start date.
0% APR cards work similarly, but instead of deferred interest, these cards have a 0% interest period for purchases and balance transfers, often for 12 or 24 months. Patients who pay off the debt according to the card’s terms can get their dental care interest-free.
An increasingly popular option for dental practices is to offer in-house financing through third-party lenders. Doing so can make your practice more appealing while also allowing you to offer more expensive procedures to a larger portion of your client base.
What Credit Score Is Needed for Dental Financing?
Most personal loan lenders evaluate the borrower’s ability to pay off the loan before approving it. The two most important metrics to do so are the person’s credit score and their annual income. Credit scores provide a history of the individual’s credit record and any missed payments and other risk factors. Some lenders also require a certain debt-to-income ratio to ensure that the individual isn’t taking on an unpayable burden.
Patients with good or excellent credit scores (670+) will often have no problem securing a personal loan or financing. However, individuals with credit scores of 580 or less usually need financial assistance and will struggle securing personal loans or additional credit cards.
While most lenders will happily take on high-credit-score debt, a market has also emerged for bad-credit loans, which have more lenient restrictions on credit score and annual income. However, these lenders must still have a way of reducing their risk, as approximately 60% of poor credit individuals2 will fail to meet their monthly payments and end up delinquent on their loans.
The most popular way of mitigating risk is using high interest rates to get as much money out of the person before they default on their loan. Many personal lenders may even charge up to 35% APR (significantly higher than credit card interest rates), dramatically increasing monthly payments and the loan’s total repayment value over its lifetime.
Offering Financial Assistance
Financing options are an attractive way for dental practices to encourage routine and specialized procedures, but your practice must know what credit score is needed for dental financing to ensure that your patients make the right financial decision.
The main drawback of dental practice patient financing is that it requires extensive administration and time to implement. That’s why working with our team at Dental Intelligence when offering financing options makes sense — we can handle the administration, allowing you to offer pay-as-you-go and tailored financing options for all your patients. For more information, visit our website and schedule a demo today!
SEO is an important factor in increasing conversions to your website. With these tips, learn how to calculate your ROI from your SEO campaign.
November 2, 2022
Implementing a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy requires time, effort, and money, so it makes sense that you want to know how effective your SEO plan is. If you’re working with us at Dental Intelligence, we can help you with your local dental SEO return on investment. If you’re still planning your marketing strategy yourself, you’ll have to learn how to measure SEO ROI for your dental practice to avoid spending money on strategies that don’t work.
The Three Major Key Performance Indicators
A dental SEO campaign will have three areas of performance. Each of these plays an important role in getting new patients through the door, so you must consider all three while calculating your ROI.
The main purpose of SEO is to give your site more visibility by ensuring that it places somewhere on the first page of a search result. The simplest way to measure the effectiveness of your SEO plan is to keep an eye on how well your site does in search engine rankings.
However, while a rise in rankings is an excellent sign, it may not always immediately result in potential patients coming through the door. If you’re seeing your site climb the rankings without a corresponding increase in new conversions, you may need to look more deeply into why you’re not getting high-quality traffic.
The quality of traffic to your site plays a massive role in your SEO or social media marketing strategy’s effectiveness. If you’re getting increased traffic, but it’s not the right type, you may be focusing on the wrong aspects of SEO. The main way to measure the quality of your traffic is to look at:
- Pages per visit: How many pages does a person look at before they leave the site
- Average visit duration: The time a visitor spends looking at the site
- Bounce rate: How many people leave your site after only looking at one page
These metrics reflect the quality of your website and the traffic arriving at your site. If people don’t spend a lot of time browsing, it may be that your site could be more engaging or persuasive in order to turn a potential patient into a lead. However, a high bounce rate may also indicate that your traffic quality is low — the person may not need a dentist, and they arrive at your site by mistake.
The ultimate goal of any marketing strategy is to get more people through the door. Metrics for tracking conversions can include contact forms, phone calls, or simply the number of views your site received compared to the number of new patients at your practice.
Using Google Analytics Conversion Tracking to Measure Your ROI
While you can manually track conversions, you can also use SEO tools such as Google Analytics to calculate the financial impact of your marketing investment.
Determining the Value of On-Site Conversions
Google Analytics is an excellent tool for measuring your website's overall performance and can also help you determine how well your dental SEO campaign is doing. You can set your goals for on-site conversions by going to Admin > View > Goals. Good goals for on-site conversions include contact form submissions and phone calls via call tracking.
The second step of using conversion tracking to measure your ROI is to assign a value to each conversion goal. This value assignment may not be accurate, as you’ll need to base the value of a contact form submission on prior data, but by identifying the value of each lead and using that value consistently, you can get a good estimate of your ROI.
Narrowing Down Leads to SEO Traffic
Since Google Analytics will assign a value to every lead, regardless of its source, you’ll need to set up a conversions report by going to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions and only looking at the “organic search channel” to get an idea of how many leads came from your SEO campaign.
The standard ROI calculation is (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment x 100, giving you a percentage of your return. Anything over 100% means you’ve made more money than you invested in your SEO strategy.
Leave Marketing to Our Pros at Dental Intelligence
Knowing how to measure SEO ROI for your dental practice requires understanding how SEO works. However, if you’re too busy to learn about the best practices for dental marketing and prefer getting results, reach out to our team at Dental Intelligence and book a demo today!
A patient loyalty program can help your practice grow its customer base and increase patient retention. Learn what to consider when creating a program and best practices of what to offer.
November 2, 2022
Patient care comes first, but your dental practice is still a business. You cannot provide adequate care to your patients or employees without sufficient revenue. Patient loyalty programs are an excellent way to boost customer retention, as long as you do so ethically.
Patient loyalty program ethics is not a topic that dental practice owners tend to dwell on. However, understanding the potential ethical issues of customer loyalty programs is vital to ensuring your practice benefits patients.
How Does a Customer Loyalty Program Work for a Dental Office?
Dental loyalty programs are similar to any other customer loyalty program. They encourage patients to continue using your service by providing various incentives.
For example, many dental practices give loyalty plan members a discount on services. Other incentives include free toothbrushes with every appointment and rewards cards. Dental practices love patient loyalty programs because they increase patient retention rates. They also improve the overall customer experience, making patients more likely to recommend your practice to their friends.
Dental Intelligence's patient loyalty program helps dental practices grow their customer base and patient retention.
What Are the Ethics to Consider Before Initiating a Loyalty Program?
Before gathering the team to discuss loyalty program ideas, it is vital to understand patient loyalty program ethics. You should consider three main ethical issues: deception, conflict of interest, and fairness.
Suppose your practice initiates a loyalty program that offers patients credit toward treatments for every referral. In this situation, a patient named Jill brings in several new patients to take advantage of the offered credits. Although she is not receiving cash for her referral efforts, she still gets a monetary incentive.
To earn another credit for her next dental appointment, Jill convinces her friend to schedule a visit with your dental practice. Her friend is unaware that Jill receives a credit for everyone she brings into the office, hence the question of deception. Does it matter if her friend knows about the financial incentive?
The financial incentive issue also poses the ethical question of a conflict of interest. To convince her friend to go, Jill will praise the dentist at your practice and say you are the best in town. Since your practice is providing a financial incentive to a current patient, it creates an ethical dilemma when Jill starts praising you. However, there would be no question of ethical practices if she were praising you without a financial incentive at stake.
Fairness is another consideration. For instance, if Jill comes in for an appointment while the dentist is still with another patient, it would be ethically wrong for him to stop what he was doing and attend to Jill simply because she brings in multiple referrals. Additionally, loyalty programs should be equally available to all patients.
What Types of Loyalty Programs Can Your Dental Office Use?
The situation above focuses primarily on referral programs, but dental offices can employ various types of loyalty programs.
For example, establishing a loyalty points system is a great way to encourage patients to come back. Using this model, patients accumulate points after each visit. They can collect these points and use them for promotional items at the front desk, like t-shirts or dental hygiene products.
Another option is employing a tiered loyalty program. Here, patients enroll in the loyalty program and work their way up through different tiers. Each tier offers unique benefits for members, like birthday gifts, gift cards, and other perks.
What Are Ethical Reward Programs?
The above reward and referral programs are great ways to encourage customer retention and reach new patients. However, some loyalty programs completely resolve the question of ethics by eliminating direct customer incentives.
Ethical reward programs focus on charitable causes. For instance, your dental office could promise to donate a certain amount to a local charity if the office schedules a certain number of cleanings in a month. This method encourages patients to return for routine cleanings knowing that they are indirectly contributing to a good cause.
Dental Solutions That Benefit Your Patients and Staff
While many practices overlook patient loyalty program ethics, it is something worth considering. The benefits of customer loyalty extend beyond consistent revenue. When patients come back, it means they trust your practice to help them care for their oral health, which is the primary goal of any dental professional.
At Dental Intelligence, we understand the value of patient relationship management, and we offer digital solutions to help your practice achieve its goals. Contact us today to schedule a demo and see what we can do for your dental team.
Designing effective, easy-to-understand treatment plans for patients may be difficult. At Dental Intelligence, we've created templates for digital treatment plans to make presenting and accepting treatment easier.
November 2, 2022
When a patient visits your dental office, you’ll design a treatment plan that meets their unique needs and provides quality solutions. But what is a dental treatment plan, and what does it include? In this brief guide, we cover the basics of well-rounded treatment plans and what your patients can expect from them.
What Is a Dental Treatment Plan?
A dental treatment plan is essentially a roadmap for a client’s dental health. It outlines the recommended treatment for a patient’s teeth, how you plan to implement it, and the desired treatment outcome. You’ll need to lay out your plan in writing to make it available to others and store it for important medical records.
Dental professionals with new patients usually start creating a plan during the initial appointment. Dentists with regular, long-standing clients have an easier task regarding treatment planning—they already know the individuals and can recall their medical files. Dental treatment options can be long-term (such as with general oral healthcare) or short-term (such as with an isolated procedure like tooth reconstruction).
It may be difficult to design effective, easy-to-understand treatment plans. At Dental Intelligence, we can provide a template for dental treatment plans.
What Are the Phases of a Dental Treatment Plan?
At this point, you may wonder, “What is a dental treatment plan’s process?” Treatment plans include several critical phases, each with a unique purpose. Together, they address dental issues and help patients achieve optimal oral health.
Dental treatment plans consist of the following phases:
- Evaluation Phase: During this phase, you’ll inspect your client’s teeth and look for signs of oral health problems. You’ll also talk to them about their medical history and any concerns they may have regarding treatment.
- Acute Phase: If the patient has urgent dental issues, you’ll address them in the acute phase. Some treatments can wait until later, but you must focus on things like infected or cracked teeth immediately.
- Control Phase: Does your patient have an oral disease that may affect treatment or worsen because of it? The control phase is when you’ll take care of this. You won’t be able to effectively treat teeth if there’s an underlying condition like periodontitis.
- Re-evaluation Phase: Once you complete the control phase of the treatment plan and stabilize the patient’s dental health, you’ll need to re-evaluate. Double-check to ensure that the treatment has worked so far and prevented further issues.
- Definitive Phase: The definitive phase (sometimes called the restorative phase) is when you’ll apply fixes to the patient’s teeth such as realigning crooked teeth or treating gaps with implants.
- Maintenance Phase: Last but not least is the maintenance phase. During this final phase, you’ll monitor the patient’s dental health with regular checkups and tests. This helps track your progress and prevent other dental problems down the road.
What Types of Treatment Do Dental Treatment Plans Include?
Every dental patient walks through your doors with different needs and concerns. You can’t design a one-size-fits-all dental treatment plan because everyone is unique and requires a customized solution to their problem. However, plans typically include the following treatment options:
- Periodontal therapy
- Occlusal therapy
- Orthognathic surgery
Keep in mind that dental treatments can be scary for many patients. A treatment plan should be a collaborative effort between the patient and the dental practitioner. Always ask your patient if they have questions or concerns about a procedure before proceeding.
Tips for At-Home Dental Health Care
What is a dental treatment plan? It’s a clearly defined method to help your patients achieve and maintain healthy, beautiful teeth. You can only do so much during a six-month checkup, so a lot of dental health care must take place at home.
As you devise dental treatment plans, be sure to emphasize at-home care. Patients can prevent many oral health issues by following simple, practical steps, such as:
- Brushing teeth twice a day (especially after meals)
- Using fluoride toothpaste
- Replacing your old toothbrush every few months
- Flossing with string floss or picks at least once daily
- Using an antiseptic mouthwash
- Avoiding sugary snacks and beverages
- Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco
- Eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables
Improve Your Dental Practice with the Right Tools
At Dental Intelligence, we provide the insights and tools you need to intelligently shape the future of your practice. We help you get where you want your organization to go. Check out our state-of-the-art features like dental follow ups today!
Staff meetings are a great time to make sure your team is united. With these four tips, learn how to make your morning huddles more effective for you and your staff.
November 1, 2022
Dental offices are busy places, with so much going on and so much to accomplish each day. With regular staff meetings, you can help keep everyone on the same page and ensure that the entire team is moving toward a specific goal together. However, sometimes morning huddles can be a little boring.
Some team leaders have found ways to make their meetings engaging, productive, and something to look forward to. With these four dental staff meeting ideas, you can make the most of your morning huddles.
1. Prepare Your Agenda
Dental staff meetings should never be impromptu or without any specific, well-thought-out purpose. Set up a meeting time that works best for your staff and prepare a plan carefully. Your morning huddle doesn't need to be long, but it needs to happen for a reason.
As you prepare the details for your meeting, consider these talking points:
- Metrics: Keep everyone in the loop regarding your dental practice numbers. Let them know where the whole team is doing well and any areas that need improvement.
- Goals: Remind team members of your long-term practice goals. Share the milestones they've reached and overall progress on company-wide or department objectives.
A detailed agenda should remain as specific as possible. This will provide direction for the meeting, helping you see more hands raised and fewer yawns. It will also ensure that you cover the topics that really matter and are relevant to everyone attending the session (including yourself).
Some dental practices are large enough to warrant multiple meetings simultaneously. With the best dental office communication tools from Dental Intelligence, you can organize your meetings and share agendas to keep everyone in the loop.
2. Make Sure Your Entire Team Is There
To ensure that your meeting is a success, make sure everyone who needs to attend is present. Don't launch into the discussion until you've taken a quick roll call. This will keep team members accountable and avoid sharing dental staff meeting ideas multiple times.
If you genuinely value your morning huddles, you must hold your staff responsible for attending. If someone needs to share a report and can't make it, have them submit it via email or group chat by a specific date. You can also designate someone to send them the meeting notes to keep them informed.
Keep in mind that small groups aren't always better. Small groups are often less intimidating and encourage people to speak up. But sometimes, it's more economical to share important information with the entire dental staff in a single meeting.
3. Keep It Focused and Brief
Allowing your staff meetings to go on for too long is one of the most common mistakes. This can happen for various reasons, from a lack of preparation to the inability to facilitate productive staff communication. Be sure to start on a positive note and keep things simple and streamlined if you want to boost engagement.
As you work through the meeting, stay focused on the relevant points you prepared beforehand. Maybe save the breakroom snacks and coffee conversation for another time. Your morning huddle might be the best place to discuss topics like:
- Workplace productivity
- Company-wide marketing plans
- Upcoming patient care
4. Give Everyone a Chance to Contribute
One of the best dental staff meeting ideas involves finding ways for everyone to contribute. Don't just share metrics and bring up office goals—ask your team members for questions, suggestions, and concerns. If people know you value their thoughts and ideas, they'll be much more likely to raise a hand.
It's also important not to let one person dominate the conversation. Some people stay quiet not because they have nothing good to say but because they don't get a chance to say it. If you sense that someone is hogging the floor, you can ask others directly for their opinions.
As you try to boost your staff meeting engagement levels, don't forget about staying focused and brief. Some conversations may get wildly off-topic and waste your valuable time. You may need to steer the discussion and not be afraid to say, "We can talk about that later today."
Make the Most of Your Staff Meetings by Using Dental Intelligence
At Dental Intelligence, we have the tools and insights you need to boost your dental practice. We have the resources and knowledge necessary for finding the right patients fast and improving employee engagement. If you have any questions about these or other dental staff meeting ideas, feel free to get in touch!
Effective communication in your dental office is key to the success of your practice. Improve your doctor-patient relationships by following these communication tips.
November 1, 2022
Every successful business runs on timely, clear communication, and excellent communication skills are especially critical in a dental practice. But why is communication important in a dental office, and how can you do it more effectively? With these five practical tips, you can get your message across and help ensure that your patients stay healthy and satisfied for years to come.
1. Listen Actively
Effective communication begins with active listening. It's easy to tune out other people when you're eager to share your professional opinion or key information. You must pay close attention to what your dental patients, office staff, and team members say to build trust and show you genuinely care about them.
Active listening takes time, practice, and patience. You may need to reduce distractions in your office while talking with patients to give them your undivided attention. Also, consider asking questions without interrupting and being empathetic without judging.
2. Summarize What Others Said
Summarizing information is a vital aspect of doctor-patient communication. It helps you understand what others have said and give appropriate feedback. Translating someone else's words shows them you fully understand what they're saying and makes them feel valued and respected.
If you and your patient are on the same page, summarizing will significantly reduce the chances of ineffective treatment and future complaints. You can avoid misunderstandings by doing this after a patient finishes talking:
- Reword their main idea in your own words
- Ask them to clarify any parts that didn't quite make sense
- Give them a chance to explain themselves fully
3. Maintain Transparency
Proper communication helps your team work together efficiently and ensure that your patients get the treatment they need. That's the immediate answer if you're wondering, “Why is communication important in a dental office?" With the most up-to-date dental office communication systems from Dental Intelligence, you can keep everyone on the same page and operate at peak performance.
Keeping your patients and colleagues in the loop helps establish transparency. Through transparent 2-way communication, you can build trust because others will know what to expect. Examples of this type of communication include:
- Laying out treatment options
- Letting patients know how long treatment will take
- Explaining the pros and cons of different treatment plans
Many patients hesitate to place their health in the hands of others. With transparency, you can reassure them that they're getting the best treatment and can raise their hand if they have any concerns.
4. Don't Rely Only on Verbal Commands
A great way to improve your interpersonal communication skills is not relying solely on verbal commands. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Nonverbal cues can convey knowledge, experience, empathy, approachability, and trustworthiness.
Your body language should express confidence and friendliness toward the patient. For example, stand up straight with your shoulders back while maintaining eye contact if you're sharing a crucial piece of information during treatment. This posture shows that you take their needs seriously and will provide quality solutions.
Nonverbal communication also dictates the atmosphere and energy in a dental office. An animated dental assistant helps set a positive tone between staff members and clients, increasing productivity during business hours, and improving the overall work environment. You want your business to be a place medical professionals enjoy working in and patients don't mind visiting for a six-month checkup.
5. Leave Room for Follow-up Questions
Why is communication important in a dental office? It helps establish and maintain strong doctor-patient relationships. With conversations built around the patient and their concerns, you'll instantly improve the quality of your services.
Our final tip for effective communication involves leaving room for follow-up questions. As a patient prepares to leave, ask if they have any questions and let them know you're available if anything comes up in the future. Don't blow off their concerns as no big deal. Leave enough space to have a conversation.
What may be common sense for you might not be for a patient. Never assume they fully understand their next steps and use an empathetic approach when answering their questions. Remember that patients come from all walks of life and backgrounds—it's essential to communicate effectively with everyone who comes through our doors
Boost Your Dental Office's Communication Today
Effective communication in a dental office can be challenging, but at Dental Intelligence, we make it easier with critical insights and state-of-the-art tools, including the resources to help identify where you are and help your practice get where you want it to go. We can answer your questions, like "Why is communication important in a dental office" and "Why are patient emails important?" Contact us today!
Keeping your schedule filled can be a difficult task. Check out these seven tips to help you schedule effectively.
November 1, 2022
From fillings to billing, your dental office has several tasks. One of the most important yet challenging jobs is scheduling.
Scheduling patient appointments can quickly become a hassle, thanks to last-minute cancellations and limited time slots. Fortunately, these dental office scheduling tips can help minimize common problems and maximize patient care.
1. Take Advantage of Online Scheduling
One of the best ways to optimize scheduling is by using online dental scheduling from Dental Intelligence. We combine innovative technology with in-depth dental industry knowledge to help dental practices like yours improve dental care and boost efficiency.
Online scheduling makes it easier for patients to see availability and pick a day and time. In addition, your front desk team can spend more time catering to patient questions and concerns instead of sitting on the phone exploring appointment options.
2. Guide Patients During Scheduling
Although you want to deliver the best care to your patients, it can be challenging to schedule appointment times that fit your office and the patient's busy schedule. Some offices may try to force patients into their schedules to accommodate them, creating more problems than solutions.
Schedule an appointment time that works for your office. For example, if the patient wants to schedule their appointment next week and you only have open slots on Tuesday and Thursday, ask which of those two days works better. Having them choose between your available dates allows them to pick a convenient time without over-packing your schedule.
3. Give Appointments Enough Time
Planning the right appointment time for each patient is crucial for effective scheduling.
Experienced dentists can accurately estimate how long treatment should take. Additionally, some hygienists will take longer than others.
For example, if one hygienist generally takes an hour to complete a cleaning and another needs 30 minutes, plan according to these time frames. Giving dentists and dental assistants enough time to perform services without rushing creates a better patient experience and prevents backlog.
4. Plan Ahead for the Late Patients
Unfortunately, there will always be patients who never seem to arrive on time. Not only does this interfere with your schedule but also their care. If a patient arrives too late, you may have to reschedule them.
Although there are a few ways to encourage patients to show up on time, you cannot guarantee anything. Fortunately, you can work around patient tardiness.
Try scheduling traditionally late patients before lunch or closing. While this might cut into break time, it prevents a patient's tardiness from affecting other appointments.
5. Send an Appointment Reminder, But Don't be Too Late or Too Early
Employing appointment reminders is one of the most well-known dental office scheduling tips. Sending reminders can reduce no-show appointments to around 5%, but timing is everything.
Sending an appointment reminder too early increases the risk of the patient forgetting. Meanwhile, patients may make other plans for their scheduled appointment day if you remind them too late.
6. Start the Day with a Morning Huddle
Getting the entire team on the same page before opening the doors can boost office morale and scheduling efficiency.
During your morning huddle, review the schedule and discuss which patients need to schedule their next appointments, if any chronic late-arrivers are coming in, and if any patients need special accommodations.
Planning the day's schedule with the entire team before the workday begins reduces confusion and helps streamline day-to-day operations. Additionally, reviewing which patients to expect that day can help your staff plan for potential no-shows and late arrivals.
7. Pre-Block Certain Treatments and Services
Block scheduling reserves various time slots throughout the day for certain dental procedures. For example, many offices tend to schedule longer or more complex procedures earlier in the day when hygienists and dentists have greater energy and focus.
Generally, your office should pre-block for services using sedation, periodontal therapy, high-end treatments, and new patients. Block scheduling can boost schedule organization while helping your office achieve fiscal goals.
Make Your Staff's Job Easier with Dental Intelligence
Scheduling dental appointments does not have to be a headache. At Dental Intelligence, we offer numerous intelligent services to help dental offices become more efficient.
Unfortunately, even the best dental office scheduling tips cannot wholly prevent no-shows and last-minute cancellations. However, at Dental Intelligence, we can help your office improve patient care by streamlining operations and making your staff's jobs easier.
Our digital dental solutions can transform office operations. Curious to see how? Contact us at Dental Intelligence to schedule a demo.
Do you need some ideas to enhance your dental giveaways? Here's seven ideas that will keep patients happy and excited about your service.
November 1, 2022
Are you looking for fun ways to promote patient retention? Patients walk into your office because you have a stellar front office staff and reputable hygienists who give them healthy, beautiful smiles. But to take your practice to the next level, you need to get creative.
Dental giveaways are an excellent way to connect with your patients and give them a fun reminder of why they chose you as their dental care provider. Giveaways can be anything from small gifts to big prizes.
The patient loyalty program from Dental Intelligence can help encourage your patients to keep coming back. Along with using a loyalty program, you can use the following dental office giveaways as another excellent way to keep patients happy and excited about your service.
1. Water Bottles with Your Practice's Name or Logo
Staying hydrated is essential for our health. What better way to remind your patients to drink water than with a water bottle with your name on it?
Giving away custom water bottles is an excellent way to encourage healthy habits while putting your name in front of more people. Patients love free water bottles because it allows them to take water with them on the go. In addition, putting your practice's information on there helps remind patients to schedule their next appointment while promoting word-of-mouth advertising.
2. Small Gifts with a Big Message
One of the best ways to make a lasting impression on your patients is by giving them small items they'll use every day. For example, lip balm is an inexpensive yet useful gift that everyone will love regardless of age.
You can also give away dental floss. Your hygienists constantly remind patients to brush and floss their teeth. Giving away dental floss saves them a trip to the store and reminds them of their experience with your dental team.
3. Fun and Healthy Snacks
Who doesn't love food? Giving away fun and healthy snacks instantly boosts a patient's mood while reminding them that certain foods are both tooth-friendly and delicious.
Consider gifting small bags of almonds or other foods packed with calcium. Handing out snacks after an appointment is an excellent way to end a visit and send off the patient.
4. Brushing Timers to Encourage Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
Brushing timers are unique dental giveaways that help promote healthier oral hygiene habits. You can customize these tiny devices with your practice's name and information, creating a constant reminder of the importance of oral health.
5. Hand Sanitizer or Wet Wipes
Hand sanitizer is another fantastic gift that everyone uses. You can give away tubed hand sanitizer or wet wipes. Either way, your patient will be grateful and think of you next time they need to clean their hands while away from a sink.
6. Denture and Retainer Cases
As a dental office, you may have numerous patients with dentures or retainers. Although they may already have cases; they can quickly become dirty. Giving away new denture and retainer cases provides patients with a clean place to store their dental or orthodontic treatments.
For additional fun, order multiple cases in different colors and let your patients pick their favorites.
7. Go Big with Big-Ticket Items
Dental giveaways can be small gifts that patients receive at the end of a visit or seasonal gifts with greater value. If you want to leave a more significant impression on your patients, consider big-ticket items like gift cards or grocery bags.
Reusable grocery bags are becoming increasingly popular as more people take steps to go green. Putting your logo or information on the bag means that patients advertise your practice while shopping at the local supermarket.
Gift cards are another great giveaway, especially as a promotional product. Consider holding a social media contest with a $100 gift card as the prize. Not only does this encourage customer engagement, but it also gets more people talking about your practice.
The winner gets a free gift card, and your practice reaches a greater audience. Everyone wins!
Need More Ideas to Boost Patient Retention?
Dental giveaways show that your dental team cares about their patients. Whether you give away adult toothbrushes, water bottles, or lip balm, patients will appreciate the extra effort and think about your practice even after they leave the office.
Need more ways to increase patient retention? At Dental Intelligence, we specialize in helping dental practices put their best foot forward. We offer multiple services to drive efficiency and improve patient care.
Today’s hackers are smarter and trickier than ever. That’s why we spoke with Amy Wood, CEO of Copper Penny Consulting, who provided us with best practices for cyber security.
October 31, 2022
It’s 7:30 a.m. You’ve arrived at the office with coffee in one hand and your keys in the other. You sit down at your computer, check your email, and see someone has responded about a recent job opening with their resume attached. You open the resume and then all your computers slow down. It’s a ransomware attack.
A pop-up message appears stating that your data is being held hostage and requests you pay these hackers with cryptocurrency soon. Meanwhile, the hackers have already copied your data and are selling it on the dark web.
Today’s hackers are smarter and trickier than ever. They can disguise an extremely destructive virus that can corrupt your practice in moments as a seemingly innocent email.
Whether it’s a power outage, a ransomware attack, or internal mishandling of PHI, you are likely to face at least one major cyber security risk or data breach during your practice’s lifetime.
We spoke with Amy Wood, CEO of Copper Penny Consulting, who provided us with best practices for cyber security. She dedicates her time to educating dental professionals on HIPAA compliance and mitigating cyber risks.
She shared with us five components of how to prepare for when cyber issues do happen: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.
“If you can create a plan with those five components, it will be easier to break down into tasks that can easily be implemented over time,” Wood says.
1. Identify vulnerabilities
Before you can start making your practice secure, you need to know where potential weaknesses lie. Wood recommends a risk analysis to pinpoint vulnerabilities.
“At this point in time, you shouldn’t be completing a risk analysis yourself,” she says. “It's a lot more complicated than it used to be.”
Wood suggests finding an independent third party to evaluate vulnerabilities.
“Too often, I’ve seen an IT provider do their own evaluations and not understand what they should be looking for, just to make themselves look amazing for job security,” Wood says. “The goal should never be to make anyone look bad, but rather, to find vulnerabilities with the goal of minimizing overall risk.”
2. Protect all of your assets
Nowadays, there’s a lot more that goes into protecting and securing your practice’s data.
“Having antivirus and backups alone is no longer sufficient,” Wood explains. “Think of this as the standard of care for your data. You know that standards change over time with how you treat patients. It’s the same with data security.”
The top priorities Wood encourages you to focus on are antivirus, patching, firewall, backups, passwords, Wi-Fi, and encryption.
“Confusion about this topic has been persistent with dental professionals for decades, because, to be frank, it is confusing,” Wood explains. “The technology itself is complicated and the people that understand it don’t know how to explain it in layman’s terms, so it's no wonder data breaches and security incidents persist.”
So let’s break down these seven terms:
Antivirus software is designed to prevent viruses from entering your computer and network system. Wood suggests a business-grade antivirus that is updated, monitored, and documented.
Patching refers to a set of changes to a computer program designed to update, fix, or improve it. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs. Wood recommends watching for operating system updates and internet program patches and completing those updates.
A firewall is a collection of security measures designed to prevent unauthorized electronic access to a computer and network. Wood describes it as an armed security guard with explicit instructions on who can and cannot enter.
Backups are devices used as a safety net to store a copy of your data. Wood suggests monitoring and testing your backups regularly. “The current recommendations on backups to address current failures and threats is ‘3-2-1.’ Three kinds of backups, done in two different ways, with one of them offline.”
Although they may be annoying, passwords are vital to protecting your practice. Wood says you should utilize password managers to store and help create safe passwords. She also suggests using different passwords at work than for personal use.
Wood teaches that Wi-Fi can be separated into segments on your network. “Not everything can or should be connected to the healthcare network,” Wood says. “Isolating devices such as burglar and surveillance systems, audio speakers, and even a Wi-Fi login for team members, will help to limit exposure to hacking.”
Encryption is the process of encoding or converting a message so it can be read only by the sender and the intended recipient. Wood says that encryption is usually easy to do and free. “Servers, backups, email, and mobile devices should all be encrypted. I also recommend setting up multi-factor authentication for bank accounts, social media accounts, and email accounts,” Wood says.
3. Detect anomalies
“Detecting anomalies is really difficult to do, especially in the dental space,” Wood says. “It is best done by an IT provider that offers this service or an outside party that checks for inconsistencies.”
4. Make a response plan
Wood calls cyber and technical incidents “predictable failures.”
“You're not going to stop everything, but you can make a plan for putting a bubble around how bad it will be,” she says. “That way it's a minor inconvenience, not a major catastrophe.”
Making an incident response plan is important for planning for these predictable failures.
“This plan should be discussed in great depth with your IT provider to ensure you have the current standard of care,” Wood says.
5. Practice how you will recover
As a dental professional, you know better than anyone that practice really does make perfect. If you've been practicing for 20 years, a filling probably takes you less than half the time it did when you were fresh out of dental school. The same is true for technical emergencies.
“If you are prone to power and internet outages, practice.” Wood says. “If you deal with floods or hurricanes, practice.”
When practicing for these predictable failures, know your top priorities. Wood suggests having answers to the following questions:
- Who do you and your team contact in the case of a technical incident?
- Who is your insurance carrier?
- Who is your IT provider?
- What’s the most likely technical emergency scenario?
“You have to know that it's not the end of the world if a technical emergency happens,” Wood says.
Wood emphasizes the importance of finding an IT provider that will help protect you.
“Trust your IT provider and build a relationship with them and their company. Know that they are experts in the technical side of things.”
Amy Wood teaches and consults with dental professionals, both by building robust proactive compliance programs as well as reactive data breach mitigation. To learn more about how she can help your practice, check out her website here. Watch our episode with Amy Wood on our podcast Growth in Dentistry here.
No more pulling reports and sending statements. Get paid faster with Dental Intelligence automated payments processing.
October 8, 2022
You’ve got to pull the report. Print it. Check to see who is past due. Download their bill. Print the statement. Fold it. Seal it in an envelope. Stamp it. Mail it. And then wait. Hope for a response. Wait some more. Email them about the bill. Call to see if they got it. Receive no callback. And then try it all again the next day.
You’ve probably been through this process multiple times with little return on the investment of your time. Collecting patient payments is hard, to say the least.
Courtney Mead, Office Manager at KB Dental in Michigan, used to face this challenge too. When she took the helm of her office about two years ago, she worked hard to reduce outstanding AR balances.
Today, less than four percent of their AR balances last longer than 30 days. On top of that, Mead has been able to hit or exceed her office’s collections goal nearly every month for the last six months.
So how does she do it? Dental Intelligence Payments.
When Mead first heard about Payments, especially the text-to-pay feature, she quickly reached out to get it set up and implemented in her office.
Payments allows practices to send out text messages or emails to patients with overdue balances and then allows them to pay directly through a secure link sent in the message.
“This is the best thing that Dental Intelligence has ever done,” Mead said. “This has literally been a game changer.”
"We didn’t have to spend money to get money."
-Courtney Mead, Office Manager
Spend less time and improve collections
Before using Payments, it took Mead and another coworker two days for each day patients were seen to go through and mail out statements.
“It used to be such a waste of time and resources,” Mead said, “but now Payments is saving me about 16 hours of work for each day we see patients. It is a huge time saver!”
Now, Mead and her coworker have an efficient system for collecting patient balances.
Once her coworker enters the insurance payment into the ledger, if there’s a patient portion left over, the coworker gives Mead the Explanation of Benefits. Next, Mead quickly reviews the account and sends a statement directly to the patient using Payments.
If there’s no traction after 15 days of sending the request, Mead will send a second message and edit the verbiage.
“I love that I can customize the wording of the message to fit whatever I need it to say so that I can communicate better with the patients,” Mead said.
Payments not only saves Mead and her team time, but cuts down on overhead costs for the office.
“We didn’t have to spend money to get money,” Mead said. “Everybody in our office loves it!”
Patients love it too!
“From a patient standpoint, if I [the patient] don’t get a text message or an email about an overdue balance, I am going to forget about that bill,” Mead said.
In the past, when Mead would send out statements in the mail, patients would often hold onto it and wouldn’t pay until the next time they came into the office. Patients didn’t want to take the time to call and pay over the phone or send a check in the mail.
“Now, with Payments, they can just pay online. It’s easy for patients because they don’t have to take any extra steps to pay,” Mead said. “It’s way more successful than paper statements.”
Additionally, Mead found that statements generated by other softwares would often make it confusing for the patients to see what they were needing to pay for.
“With Payments, the statement lets the patient know exactly what they are paying for,” Mead said. “That makes it easier to collect.”
Collect more today
“I am a firm believer that if it goes over 90 days that you are never going to see that money,” Mead said.
With Dental Intelligence Payments, you don’t have to wait weeks or even months to get paid. You can get paid within minutes!
Payments has helped thousands of offices improve their collection percentages and simplify the process of getting paid. Soon, Dental Intelligence will provide an option for practices to add physical card terminals in their office, allowing more ways to collect money. These physical card terminals will sync with Dental Intelligence and practice management softwares.
Interested in learning more about how Dental Intelligence Payments can help improve efficiency in your office? Request a free demo of our all-in-one solution today. Already using Payments and want to be the first to try out our exciting features coming to the platform? Let us know here.
Downtime is an inevitable part of running a practice. Instead of letting slow moments go to waste, learn how to take advantage of downtime with three tips from Dentist Advisors' Matt Mulcock.
September 8, 2022
For many practices, the September Slump has arrived. Patients seem to be canceling and no-showing more, and those holes in the schedule appear to grow like cavities. September can be a slow month for various reasons, like school being back in session and less treatment getting diagnosed during the summer vacation months, amongst others. But even if September isn’t slow for you, most practices experience slow moments at some point during the year.
So instead of letting these moments go to waste, how can you take advantage of this downtime?
Matt Mulcock is the Director of Financial Services at Dentist Advisors, a fee-only fiduciary financial planning and investment firm that exclusively serves dentists. He finds that downtime provides a lot of opportunity and potential for dentists. Throughout his years advising dentists, Mulcock has discovered three ways dentists can take advantage of downtime.
“Whenever you have downtime at your practice, you have a choice in how you look at this, either as an opportunity or an obstacle,” Mulcock said.
Mulcock encourages dentists to take the positive route and focus on the uncapped potential downtime provides.
- Reevaluate your goals and values
“Any time you can take a step back to reevaluate and make a fresh start, you should,” Mulcock said. “That could be daily, mid-week, or mid-month. It doesn’t matter when it is. I think you should be constantly thinking about whether you are living your life according to your values.”
Mulcock believes all goals and values, both professional and personal, are important to review and evaluate.
“Am I living the life that I want professionally? Am I running the practice that I want?” Mulcock asks. “Am I living my best life on the personal side? I always think these are chances to be thinking about the answers to these questions.”
Mulcock suggests facilitating this thought process by finding a values exercise online and spending about 10 minutes going through it. He often does these exercises with clients and finds that it helps people discover where they can improve.
When it comes to your practice goals, review them often and adjust them as needed. Dental Intelligence Analytics allows you to track your overall goals as a practice easily. It also gives each team member visibility into the individual goals that matter most to them, whether it be the amount of hygiene visits for your hygienists or the number of patients rescheduled for your front office staff.
By reevaluating your goals and values, you can plan and prepare for where you want to be.
- Execute a new project
“When you find yourself with some extra time, it's a perfect opportunity to execute on a project you've been thinking about for a while,” Mulcock said.
Maybe you’ve wanted to spruce up your office. With Dental Intelligence Kiosks, you can modernize the patient check-in process by allowing them to fill out forms on an iPad or tablet.
Perhaps you’ve considered revamping your website. With features from Dental Intelligence like Online Scheduling and Patient Portal, you can keep your website fresh by allowing patients to schedule their appointments and fill out their forms on your website.
Just because the clinical work in your office might be slow, it doesn’t mean your practice’s profitability can’t grow. For example, maybe you’ve noticed your AR balances increasing. Downtime makes for a great opportunity for you and your team to focus on patients with outstanding balances. With Dental Intelligence Payments, you can easily send messages to patients that allow them to view their statements and pay through a link.
Whatever your project may be, now is a good time to check it off your to-do list.
- Get organized
“Downtime provides a great opportunity to dial in your practice and your personal life as well,” Mulcock said. “I think this is a great chance to take a step back and reevaluate the numbers, the business, and processes to see if they are working well.”
To get organized, Mulcock suggests reviewing your finances and budget.
“Profit margin is something you should look at when it comes to the health of your practice,” Mulcock said. “If you are in year two of a startup and you are in straight growth mode, your profit margin isn’t going to be close to a practice that is 10 years in, dialed in and mature. Ask yourself, ‘Is my profit margin where I want it to be in this stage of my practice and career?’ If it is lower, then it gives you a direction to go.”
With Dental Intelligence’s Profitability Formula, you can quickly see an overview of your production and overhead. By using the Profitability Formula, you can see what factors are positively or negatively affecting your practice. For example, if your visits are down, consider ways you can increase production per visit.
Mulcock finds that this is also a great time to reassess systems and processes in your office, whether it be how you handle patient handoffs or how you follow up with patients.
If your team spends too much time handling forms and entering patient information, upgrade your practice using Dental Intelligence Digital Forms. Maybe your team could improve on rescheduling patients but doesn’t have a system to know who to call or track those outreach attempts. With features like Patient Finder and Follow Ups, you can easily find specific types of patients you want to reschedule and then leave notes on each attempt.
By using this downtime to organize your practice, you can better prepare for days when you see patients back to back, so they run smoothly.
Time is Money
If time is money, as Benjamin Franklin once said, how you use your time is crucial to the profitability of your practice. When downtime arises, look at the opportunity it creates and make the best of it. There’s an opportunity for improvement in every thumb-twiddling moment.
If you want even more ways to capitalize on those slow months and make the most of downtime, check out our free eBook, “3 Things Every Practice Must Do in a Slow Month.” And if you want to learn how people at Dentist Advisors like Matt Mulcock can help you, you can check them out here.
With the onset of the dreaded September Slump approaching, Dr. Tarun Agarwal from Raleigh Dental Arts shares four tips on how to make September a great month through improving diagnosis and treatment acceptance.
August 9, 2022
Soon the warm summer days are going to end. Vacations will be over. School will be back in session. And your schedule is going to dwindle like the leaves on the trees. The dreaded September Slump is coming.
Sometimes also referred to as Sucktember, September can seem like a difficult month for dentistry. You may be scrambling to figure out how you can fill your schedule so you can continue to increase productivity and profitability at your practice.
Dr. Tarun Agarwal is a practicing dentist and practice owner of Raleigh Dental Arts and the founder of 3D Dentists, an educational training platform. He has seen that dentists have substituted busyness for business which has led to a decline in case acceptance, which in turn affects September’s success.
“We’ve worked in a model where busyness has been the key to ‘good business,’” Dr. Agarwal said. “When we allow busyness and chaos to take over, our diagnosis goes down, communication with patients goes down, and time that we spend talking about financial options goes down.”
Throughout his 22-year career, he has lived by four tips that have helped him avoid busyness while improving case acceptance and keeping his schedule full.
“Diagnosing better isn’t necessarily doing more. Sometimes diagnosing better is actually doing less dentistry,” Dr. Agarwal said. “Sometimes diagnosing better is doing more ideal dentistry versus patch and filling dentistry.”
He feels that having a successful September starts with creating good habits in January that last throughout the year. He notices production in September heavily relies on what was diagnosed in July and August since there is a two to four week lead time on treatment.
“My team members feel Sucktember, but I personally don’t feel it because we are very conscientious about July and August and what we are diagnosing,” he said.
Improve communication about treatment
Dr. Agarwal firmly believes in spending a minimum of one hour for hygiene recall visits. That way, there’s time to communicate with your patients and diagnose treatment during their appointment. He has seen many dentists try to cut their recall visits down to 45 minutes because they have more patients they want to fit in.
“If you squeeze in an extra couple of patients a day because you squeeze 15 minutes off of each appointment, you are probably seeing three more patients which might be five or six hundred dollars more in total revenue,” Dr. Agarwal said. “Or you can give people a time to communicate and diagnose and all it takes is a diagnosis of a couple fillings, crowns, or implants and you’ve made up for all of those revenue issues.”
Experience has taught Dr. Agarwal that not all team members are great at presenting treatment to patients.
“Not everybody is born with the gift of communication,” he said.
Using tools such as digital cameras, X-ray machines, and digital impressions assists Dr. Agarwal and his team by filling any gaps in communicating to patients the treatment they need completed.
“When you have such great records, then you have all the tools to show your patients exactly what is going on,” he said. “Trust is born for most of us when we can show our patients what is going on versus just relying on words.”
For example, Dr. Agarwal enjoys using the CBCT machine because it allows him to slice and dice the images to show patients exactly what is happening. He believes patients don’t care about being taught about the diagnosed treatment. Rather, they want to be able to trust you and confidently know you are doing the right thing.
“Case acceptance and trust have a direct correlation to how much you show your patients, not how much you educate your patients,” Dr. Agarwal said.
If your practice needs an easy way to present personalized treatment plans that include intraoral photos or other visuals, check out Dental Intelligence Treatment Plans. These templates help patients understand why their treatment is needed in an easy-to-understand format.
Make dentistry more affordable
Dr. Agarwal often asks himself, “How can I make my dentistry more affordable?”
He notices giving patients different payment options, including monthly payment plans, directly affects the amount of treatment accepted.
“Affordability has very little to do with price and has more to do with the fact that the modern consumer is a monthly payment consumer,” he said.
With Dental Intelligence Patient Financing, you can make paying for treatment less stressful for patients and provide great options for them in order to make dental care more accessible (and get paid quicker!).
Leverage your schedule
“We, as dental professionals, are not taking advantage of this time to experiment with our schedule,” Dr. Agarwal said. “Starting in July and August, take advantage of the September slowdown with a new way of looking at it.”
For example, he finds that if your production is typically down 20 percent in September, that’s about six hours of work a week. Instead of keeping the same schedule, he suggests setting one day aside for ideal dentistry and then compressing your schedule the rest of the week.
By using Dental Intelligence Smart Schedule, you can see your schedule in a daily, weekly, or monthly view. This allows you to see, at a glance, how you could rearrange your schedule to make days that fall below production goals more successful.
At 3D Dentists, he teaches clients how to create what he calls “priority scheduling.” This allows dentists to prioritize the type of dentistry they enjoy and want to do.
Then, he suggests making your team aware of this goal and celebrating the happiness performing your ideal form of dentistry brings you.
“It’s amazing that when you put your goal out there, people start diagnosing to fill the schedule that you create,” he said.
He also discovers that new patient blocks are usually the first to be replaced by other types of appointments in most practices, yet he believes these appointments should be the most important priority.
“By removing new patient blocks, we are stifling our future in many ways. New patients, by and large, need more dentistry than existing patients,” Agarwal said. “New patients also adapt better to cultural changes in the practice.”
Finding joy in dentistry
Dr. Agarwal continuously teaches these principles to his own team and instills them in his own practice, as well as in other dentists who use his educational training platform.
“My goal is to help dentists find happiness and joy within their profession, so they can find and live happiness and joy in their personal lives,” Dr. Agarwal said.
For more tips on how to make September a successful month, check out our eBook “10 Ways to Avoid the September Slump.” If you want to learn more about Dr. Agarwal, you can find him on all social media platforms as “T-Bone Speaks.” Don’t forget to check out his educational courses offered at 3D Dentists.
We all want our practices to have flourishing teams and data to back up all their hard work they are putting in. Learn how Dental Intelligence helps Office Manager Zach Shelley grow his practice through positive team culture.
July 18, 2022
So you’ve just hired a new employee. Now what? You and your team spend hours training them on every little task. Then they begin working on their own as you periodically review their progress. They seem to be performing great and working well alongside your team. Then one day, they put in their two weeks and leave you wondering why. What could make a hard-working employee want to leave?
Retaining current employees may seem difficult. Hiring and training a new team member requires a lot of time from you and your team and increases overhead fees. Furthermore, some studies show any time a company replaces a salaried employee, it costs about six to nine months worth of the employee’s salary.
Creating a strong team culture where everyone works cohesively and has a sense of belonging will keep employees on board. But building a great team culture doesn’t happen overnight. Constant and concerted efforts must be put in not only by you, but by each member of your team.
Zach Shelley, Office Manager at Satellite Family Dentistry in Florida, has built a culture within his team where everyone feels like family. Their culture allows them to not only celebrate successes together but also have hard conversations with each other when issues arise.
Shelley originally went to school to become an emergency responder. That path eventually led him to dentistry where he landed a job as a lab technician specializing in implants. After thirteen years working in the lab, Shelley decided it was time for a career change and has since led Satellite Family Dentistry over the last couple of years. Shelley’s experience in the dental industry has helped him build a great team that is growing in size and success.
Make personal connections by investing in your team
Building meaningful relationships with your team can be as simple as asking them about their family and home life, celebrating their birthday, and congratulating them when they accomplish a task.
“Take the time to be intentional,” Shelley said. “Intentionality is one of the biggest things you can use to build that family culture.
Shelley points out that when he talks to team members, he makes sure there is a purpose. Whether it be to learn more about their life outside the office or follow up on a task. He also spends these moments checking in to see where he can help his team members. For example, when speaking with a new team member, he likes to follow up on their training progress and then offer to teach them more where needed.
He believes that team members are more likely to perform well when they know he cares — not only about their performance but also what is going on in their day-to-day life.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Be engaged with your team by caring about them from their personal to professional development.
Choose to devote attention to your team by spending time throughout the day with them. Connect with them in a way that acknowledges that they’re more than just an employee. By investing in your team, you will be able to establish lasting relationships and provide stronger connections.
Be available and present
It may feel like there isn’t time to connect with and listen to your team as you are busy seeing each patient back-to-back. But according to Shelley, investing that time is worth it.
“Don’t be too busy to hear a concern or suggestion,” he said. “Staff members’ voices need to be heard.”
A significant part of Satellite Dentistry’s success comes from conscious efforts to spend time listening to their team members. They’re aware of what’s happening in their office. They listen to concerns and address any issues that need to be resolved. Shelley and his team are willing to listen to opposing opinions and are ready to adapt when necessary. That mentality ensures every single person on the team plays a valuable part in the success of the practice.
Make your team meetings and morning huddles effective by building a foundation that centers on accountability.
“One big change for us was when we started using Dental Intelligence,” Shelley said. “Dental Intelligence was huge in giving us the ability to have a snapshot every day of what we needed to be looking at.”
Before using Dental Intelligence, morning huddles seemed ineffective and redundant to Shelley. His team simply reviewed the schedule, often seeing they didn’t have any openings. He mentions that that didn’t tell them much useful information.
Shelley and his team now use the Dental Intelligence Morning Huddle daily to see what they need to review. This includes incoming patients with unscheduled treatment or family members as well as those with past-due balances. In addition to seeing these uncompleted tasks, they can use Morning Huddle as a guide to assign tasks to team members to complete.
The Morning Huddle feature helps Shelley hold each of his team members accountable to their part in providing a great patient experience. By using the Morning Huddle, Shelley and his office have become more efficient even before patients walk through the door.
Provide solutions to issues
When problems do arise within the team, Shelley believes it’s best to handle them directly, yet conscientiously.
“Attack the problem, not each other,” Shelley said. “Figure out how to solve the problem because what we are doing really matters for our patients.”
He makes sure to keep staff meetings focused and informative by reviewing any necessary issues and changes as a team.
“Staff meeting issues should be team issues. Direct issues to those employees that need to improve.”
Recently, Shelley realized that their patient handoff experience needed improvement. He addressed the issue with his team and used the Perfect Handoff Checklist to train them on how to make this a better experience for the patient.
Shelley handles office issues by finding solutions that will provide a greater team culture and patient experience.
You may have a new team member onboard that feels overwhelmed with trying to feel up to speed. They may feel like they are making mistakes and are having to be corrected. What better way to make them feel welcomed and included than by praising them for their accomplishments?
Shelley makes a concerted effort to recognize when employees have accomplished a task whether they be experienced or new to their team. He mentions it only takes moments to do so and the benefits of doing so pay off.
Shelley also likes to make things fun during their staff meetings when celebrating team members. Recently, he put gift cards under everyone’s desk and did a big reveal Oprah style. Little gestures like this help build a sense of belonging amongst team members.
Growing your team culture
Shelley has watched his team grow, not only in size but in skill and knowledge. Their team culture includes making everyone feel like family, and they mean it when they say it. Shelley has developed a tight-knit culture by forming connections and staying present with his team.. What can you do to build a greater team culture and foster a feeling of inclusion?
With the tools Dental Intelligence offers, you can easily track team members’ performance and improve your team communication. Equally important, you can allow each team member to see their data, so they can see how they are being a team player in helping your practice achieve its goals.
For more tips on building a top-notch team culture, check out our eBook “7 Ways to Keep Your Best Team Members,” with one-on-one checklists for every role in the practice.
Learn how offering affordable financing options makes treatment more accessible, so you can help more of your patients get the dental care they need.
May 20, 2022
This is a joint blog post with our friends from Wisetack.
How many times has the following scenario happened to you?
A patient comes in with a dental abscess and localized mouth pain. You present your recommended treatment plan: a root canal and a crown. You’re confident they’ll go through with it; you’re the expert, after all. They never come back.
According to Dental Intelligence, this happens more often than not – 61% of the time, on average. In a recent poll from Dental Intelligence, 25% of all dental professionals that were surveyed ranked increasing treatment acceptance as the number one goal for their practice(s).
Getting patients to say “yes” is a key issue in dentistry, and the web has a plethora of materials dedicated to solving this problem. Common recommendations include simplifying jargon and making things as clear as possible with imagery in patient education. It’s also important to build an emotional connection with patients. Most experts also advise enhancing the entire patient experience to alleviate the common dentist dread. This includes making the visit more enjoyable, of course, but also streamlining administrative tasks for the patient as much as possible (that’s where Dental Intelligence comes in).
All the tips mentioned above are valid and should be followed, but they are trumped by one key patient concern: cost. Even if you put your best foot forward with everything else, a patient won’t agree to treatment if they can’t afford it.
Many patients cannot afford treatment
It’s no secret that some patients forgo necessary treatments when they can’t pay for them. What can be more surprising, however, is how frequently that happens. The numbers speak for themselves:
- 80% of Americans delay dental care, knowing it will cost them more in the long term.
- 56% of Americans cannot cover a $1,000 emergency with their savings.
- 74 million Americans do not have dental health coverage.
With your patients’ financial situation out of your control, are you just out of luck if they can’t afford treatment? Not quite. An effective solution is to offer financing. And even if you are already doing that, it is still worth evaluating different financing partners, as some will have a much more positive impact on your practice and your patients.
Financing benefits more patients than you may think
It goes without saying, but the main reason a patient would finance a treatment is that they can’t (or can’t comfortably) afford it. But it’s not the only reason. A patient who has the means to pay for a treatment might still favor financing if they qualify for a 0% APR. (True 0% APR terms incur zero interest and shouldn’t be confused with deferred interest options, which charge high interest rates after a promotional period.) That’s why once you have chosen a financing partner (or several) to work with, it is crucial to promote financing as a payment option to all patients — not just those you think will need it.
Choosing a preferred financing partner
Not all financing partners are equal and finding one that can fulfill both your needs and your patients' needs can be challenging. Below is a handy chart of what to look for in a financing partner, and why Dental Intelligence has selected Wisetack as its preferred partner.
Help more of your patients get the care they need
Offering affordable financing helps with the ever-present challenge of increasing case acceptance in your practice, but more importantly, it puts necessary and life-changing dental care within reach for patients who could otherwise not afford it (and would end up paying significantly more in the long run by putting off their proposed tx). Affordable financing like Wisetack’s lets your patients live better lives, and helps your practice shed risk. It’s a rare, win-win situation that no practice should go without.
To make your practice stand out and rank among the numerous dental websites out there, you must invest in the latest digital marketing strategies.
May 9, 2022
For many dentists, running a dental practice and having a website now go hand-in-hand. You understand that in today’s digital world, your patients expect you to have a website. A website is a necessary part of having an online presence.
However, many dental practice owners do not consider the marketing practices required to rank a website in search engines. Additionally, having an optimal online presence involves more tips and tools than just having a website, such as social media, ads, online profiles, and patient reviews. To make your practice stand out and rank among the numerous dental websites out there, you must invest in the latest digital marketing strategies.
Here, we have laid out a few of the top lead generation and marketing strategies to help your dental practice grow.
Digital Marketing Strategies for Lead Generation
Upping your marketing game requires the latest techniques and strategies to improve lead generation to convert more potential patients. SEO, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads are three of the highest-performing lead generation strategies for dental practices.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A priority for any business with a website is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO for dentists involves using relevant keywords, target locations, and high-quality content to help pages rank higher in search engines. The goal is to improve online visibility, so the website gets more organic or natural traffic.
At Med Rank Interactive, we start by doing keyword research to target keywords and variations that have the highest search volume for our clients’ topics or services. Keywords with higher search volume help to boost their rankings in search results since these terms are more widely researched by patients.
These keywords are used to generate content for the client’s website and to optimize current landing pages. Our goal is to create original, high-quality content that is relevant to their readers. We use keywords in headings, titles, page descriptions, and links for better SEO.
To achieve the best optimization results, the chosen keywords are relevant and used naturally within the content. No overstuffing keywords just to fill in content; this will actually harm rankings!
When creating content, we want it to be natural and true to the client’s voice to establish their dental practice as an authority on the brand. We check Google’s “people also ask” sections to generate content that is frequently searched. These suggestions are used to better optimize landing pages and to improve SEO in blog posts.
Knowing what patients are asking and searching for is key for improved SEO!
In addition to keywords and phrases, our marketing agency helps our clients choose their target location(s) for local SEO strategies. By combining keywords with target locations, we can boost your chances of ranking in Google’s local 3-pack or within the first page of search engine results. Local SEO strategies help our dental clients reach more prospective patients in their area.
Google Ads for Dentists
When spending money to create advertisements, our clients want to make sure they spend it in the right place. Google Ads help put dental practices in front of more potential patients and maximize exposure. With Google’s expansive reach, our clients can reach patients while they are searching for related dental products and services. Simply put, their ad pops up at opportune times during the patient’s search.
Our marketing agency uses platforms like Google Ads to run advertisements, so we can choose which keywords and phrases will trigger our clients’ ads.
Their ads are displayed above organic results in search engine results for those keywords if the bids are among the highest.
The best thing about Google Ads for dentists is that our clients only pay when people click on their ads, which means they do not spend anything if no one hits on the ad.
Furthermore, there is no need to wait for results. The ads may start sending qualified traffic to the client’s website as soon as Google Ads activates them. This implies that Google Ads are an excellent strategy to immediately increase traffic to our clients’ dental practice websites.
We want our Google Ads campaigns to have a unique offer that the user can only find on the ad, nowhere else on the website, to encourage them to take action. Here are some points that help our clients generate more leads and get the most out of their ad campaigns.
Once again, it's critical to understand what keywords potential patients use when looking for dental services online. Then, we can categorize those keywords into ad groups that are specific to the services our client offers.
For example, we may create a group of keywords that target people searching for dental emergency services and another group that focuses on dental extractions.
This helps us produce more relevant search ads with higher click-through rates.
Then, for each of our client’s search ads, we create a unique landing page for their targeted keywords and customers. This helps increase the quality score of the ads so that Google Adwords trusts to show it for the targeted keywords for which we are requesting them to display the ad.
This means that a client’s search ads and landing pages should both highlight the same topic, keywords, or services for which they are advertising. For example, if their search ad mentions dentures, the landing page should also highlight the types of dentures that they offer.
Alt text: keywords for Google Ads for dentists
Additionally, on landing pages, we feature clear calls-to-action (CTAs) that urge potential patients to take the next step and contact our client to make an appointment.
Creating custom landing pages aids in consistency and ensures that prospects do not lose interest and click the return button before contacting the client.
- Next is local targeting is essential for dentists. We want our client’s ads to appear most of the time when people in their area look for dental services. The client can reach their most qualified prospects and avoid overpaying for search ads by targeting a local audience.
- Our marketing agency also uses Google advertisements to generate phone calls. This phone call costs our client the same as a normal click to their landing page.
- In order to generate call-in leads, we include the client’s phone number in their search ads and use Ad Schedule to set their ads to appear only during office hours. This ensures that all calls are answered by a real person who can assist in converting leads into patients.
- Another interesting thing about Google Ads is that it also allows us to provide more detailed information about the client’s dental practice using ad extensions.
Examples of these are location and call extensions that display their office’s address and contact number.
We also have sitelink extensions to display links to multiple pages on a client’s website instead of one landing page.
These extensions will help our dental clients broaden the reach of their search ads and attract even more patients.
- Lastly, we analyze and evaluate our clients’ Google Ads campaigns to obtain valuable information to improve their ads strategy in the future, like testing new ad copies and keywords that will result in the highest number of traffic and conversions.
Google Ads Case Study Results
Check out the case study results for the Google Ads campaign that we ran for a client. Soft Touch Dental is a trusted dental practice for stunning, healthy smiles in Florissant, Missouri. They recently joined our marketing company to expand their reach by marketing their dental practice through Google Ads.
Med Rank Interactive increased their leads through Google Ads by:
- Adding keywords that have the most Average Monthly Searches based on our keyword research
- Creating compelling ads with headlines and descriptions that have pain points that lead to a click on our ad
- Weekly monitoring of search terms to make sure ads appear for the right audience
- Performing bi-weekly and monthly audits, optimizing, and experimenting to generate the most leads
- Received 105 Phone Calls in the last 30 days
- Received 43 Conversions in the last 30 days
Our client’s Google Ads campaign has a conversion rate as high as 33% which is well above the industry average!
On the first day of running the ads, our client already received 4 phone calls and 1 conversion! They have also appeared as the first listing in Google’s local 3-pack!
Facebook Ads for Dentists
Like Google Ads, Facebook Ads are an effective way to generate leads and sales. The ads can be customized and targeted, so they get in front of more of the right potential patients. At Med Rank Interactive, we use Facebook Ads that focus on our clients’ target keywords and patient demographics. There are various options for ads including images, videos, slideshows, polls, messenger ads, and much more.
Using ads is a great option for driving website traffic, boosting phone calls, and increasing patient conversions. Additionally, we can monitor and analyze ads, which helps our clients improve or expand their ads to meet their marketing goals.
In Facebook Ads, we set detailed targeting to target the right audience based on the client’s niche. In one client’s case, we want to target everyone who is interested in getting braces in Cary, NC.
First, we target the location and adjust its radius:
The Facebook algorithm shows ads to people who are interested or most likely to convert based on our set of detailed targeting options:
For example, if a Facebook user is interested in health & wellness (a health and wellness group member, likes wellness FB pages, posted about health, etc.), then most likely they will see the ad as it is targeting “Health & Wellness.”
Our Client’s Actual Facebook Ad on News Feed:
If a potential patient clicks anywhere on the image of the ad, a form will pop out asking for basic details such as name, email, phone number, and preferred time of appointment. Once they are done and hit submit form, our client is then notified via email for a new lead containing all of the information submitted on the form.
Our client can now reach out to the potential patient to confirm their appointment.
It is important to remember that Facebook Ads may not convert as well as Google Ads. This is because when users are on Google, they are actively searching for a dentist. On Facebook, they are scrolling through their News Feed. With Facebook Ads, we use email automations with follow-ups and SMS follow-ups. These are added to encourage users to book an appointment with the client when they complete a Facebook form.
Our agency tracks all leads from Google, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads in a CRM so that our clients and our marketing team understand which avenues are the most profitable marketing channels. Dental Intelligence now allows us and our dental clients to track scheduled patients by marketing channel more efficiently because DI connects right to the dental practice’s patient management system.
Actual Facebook Ad Form:
Facebook Ad Manager Dashboard:
Facebook Ads Case Study Results
Check out the case study results for another client. Griffin & Bernstein Orthodontics strives to provide the best orthodontic care for adults and kids in Cary, NC.
Med Rank Interactive helped boost their social media presence and drive new leads through Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads Case Study Results:
- 49 Facebook Ads leads in just over 4 months
- 126% cost-per-lead improvement
- Maximized campaign delivery with the lowest cost-per-click
- Increased the client’s quarterly ads goals
Using Dental Intelligence to Monitor Leads and Marketing Strategies
Tracking Leads by Referral Source
DI is able to help us monitor where leads are coming from into the practice. We can track and monitor which leads and sources are successfully growing a client’s dental practice.
This all starts with referral codes. Referral codes are what our clients put into their patient management software when they ask how a new patient found their dental practice. It could have been through Google, their Google My Business profile, or a friend as an example.
Updating Referral Sources
The first and most important aspect when tracking leads with DI is referral codes. If a client is not entering referral codes for each referral or keeping track of them, they will be unable to tell which marketing campaigns are and are not working for their dental practice.
Here is a quick and easy list to use for referral sources that we prefer for our clients:
- Family / Friend
- Social (i.e., Facebook)
By entering these referral codes when a new patient comes into the practice, our clients have a clear view of where their new patients are coming from and where to devote more of their marketing efforts.
Once they have started entering referral codes into their patient management system, they can then go into DI. From there, go to the left-hand menu, hover over the three people icon, and click “Patient Finder.”
Next, click “Start From Scratch” located in the middle of the screen.
Then, click “Edit Table” in the top right and scroll all the way to the end, and check mark “Referral Source”.
Now, our clients can see all patients that have come into their practice and where the patients have found them.
Take Your Practice to the Next Level with Digital Marketing Strategies
Now that you know the best digital marketing strategies and how to monitor and analyze their success, you can take the next step toward growing your own dental practice. Ask your dental marketing company about SEO strategies and Google and Facebook Ads to generate patient leads and how to use the DI platforms to monitor referral sources.
Lamar Hull, MBA, is the founder of Med Rank Interactive, a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in local SEO, reputation management, Facebook / Google Ads, content marketing, website design, and data analytics exclusively for dentists, orthodontists, pharmacists, independent physicians, and multi-location medical practices. Hull has an MBA in internet marketing and uses much of his time learning new strategies in online marketing and health care. He attended Davidson College where he played basketball for Bob McKillop and alongside NBA superstar Stephen Curry. Med Rank Interactive is an agency partner of Dental Intelligence and has been featured in Dental Economics, Dentistry IQ, and Dental Entrepreneur.
70% of patients want to pay their bill via text, but less than 20% of dental practices currently offer this option. Learn how to optimize your payments for both practice and patient.
April 25, 2022
If you had to make a list of things you enjoy most about owning or managing a dental practice, collecting payment from patients is probably not going to make that list. This is true whether you’re attempting to collect a past-due balance from someone or just a co-pay after an appointment. Asking for and receiving payment from patients has always been a necessary but often unpleasant part of dentistry. If you agree, you’re not alone. Here’s what others working in dental practices recently shared with us about the challenges of patient payments:
We call, we text, we email — trying to get info to help us get payment. It’s such a painful task to collect. We even have instances where we finally send someone to collections after exhausting all other options and the patients (finally!) respond angrily with “We never heard from you!”
It’s tedious and frustrating to [try and collect payment] each month. Even after all of the work we put into making sure everything is correct, we still see a lot of statements coming back in the mail because the patient moved.
Even after 120 days, some will tell us they never heard from us/never received a statement from us. Trying to collect over the phone is also a challenge. Many won’t answer the phone. The few that do may dispute the charges or say they’ll pay eventually but don’t.
It’s really hard when patients show up for next appointment and we have to ask them about an overdue bill. “Didn’t we already pay that?” Now we are starting off in the negative with them, and that’s never how we want to start an appointment.
If they leave without paying, it becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” problem. We start sending statements via text. We start adding billing charges that stack up until we get the angry phone call asking “What is this? Why are you charging me? Didn’t my insurance cover all of that?” We then have to walk them through everything on their statement, the treatment they received when they and/or a family member came in.
Does it have to be this way? Is the pain associated with collecting payment just something every practice needs to live with? The answer is “absolutely not!”
In a recent conversation Dental Intelligence had with Scot Kessler, Director of Business Operations and Development for Highland Dental in Liberty, Missouri, we learned how the four practices in the Highland Dental family have been using Dental Intelligence Payments to collect payment quickly and easily from their patients. Here’s how Payments works:
- You send an invoice via text and/or email to one, several, or many patients, all with a few clicks. You can use default text or customize it.
- The patient receives the text and/or email with a link to a detailed invoice. They have the option to pay directly from their phone or through a secure website. After the initial easy-to-do set up, they can pay the same way each time they receive an invoice.
- That’s it!
As a thriving and successful practice with over 5,000 active patients, Highland Dental has seen it all when it comes to trying to manage all of the challenges around patient payments. After seeing a demo of Payments, they agreed to give it a test run just to see how their patients would respond.
Highland’s first Payment’s request was sent to around 800 patients with outstanding AR due. Highland had been working hard to clean up their overdue balances and had made several attempts to call or contact these patients, but without success. However, within minutes of sending a text message using Payments, the phone began to ring with people wanting to pay some or all of their overdue balances. Others used the pay-by-phone/website options. All told, Highland Dental collected over $20,000 in past-due balances within a few days of sending one message to every single one of these 800 patients. That’s right — 1 message, 800 patients, $20,000 collected. Incredible!
Like many practices, Highland Dental has traditionally sent printed statements to their patients and then waited weeks or longer for payment. This outdated method of collecting is both ineffective and expensive. The average cost of sending statements is $2.71 per statement. Most of those end up unopened in the garbage or recycling bin. What about calling the patient to collect? On average, 52% of calls from practices to patients go unanswered, but you probably already know that.
Recent surveys have shown that patients are very interested in using a text-based payment solution.
- 51% of Americans are currently using contactless payments, and this is only going to increase
- 9 out of 10 patients consider contactless payment a better solution than the old way
- 9 out of 10 also want to see new safety measures in place around interactions
- 97% of text messages are opened
- 70% of patients want to pay their bill via text, but less than 20% of dental practices currently offer this option
- 65% of patients would consider switching dental practices to one offering a better payment experience
- Payments is one of the newest features in Dental Intelligence. DI supports thousands of dental practices in using actionable insights found in their practice management software (i.e. Dentrix, Open Dental, Eaglesoft, etc.) to experience real, sustainable growth.
Prior to using Dental Intelligence, Highland Dental relied on computer spreadsheets to track all of their key performance indicators (KPIs). This was cumbersome, time-consuming, and often included data that was outdated. This method also limited who had access to the information being tracked. As Scot at Highland Dental put it, “Trying to keep up with the most current data about our practice wasn’t really possible. Tracking our KPIs helped, but we still felt like we were always trying to catch up to a fast-moving train. We knew we needed a better way.”
Dr. Robert Klein, the founder and owner of Highland Dental, learned about Dental Intelligence when searching for a better way to manage his practice, and they began the process of implementing DI into their four locations. They also incorporated Dental Intelligence Online Scheduling which allows patients to schedule their own appointments without requiring any interaction with the practice. Over half of their new patient appointments are now booked using online scheduling.
For Highland Dental, all of these solutions are centered around a single objective: Improving patient care. Tracking data allows them to offer better care to their thousands of active patients because they are now able to better understand who each patient is, what each patient needs, and where they are in their need for care. This is the reason that a dental practice should make using actionable data an imperative. For example, Highland knew they need to improve case acceptance, but they weren’t sure how to do so. They also were unsure of where they were. Once they began using Dental Intelligence, they could see exactly where they were, and they also saw what areas needed attention.
Scot shared another example of a provider on their team that had lower case acceptance than other team members. Instead of using data as a punitive tool, the leadership team wisely used this information to help this provider see what other team members were doing and then coached them with the help of this data to adjust how they were presenting treatment. That benefited everyone – the patients who needed treatment, the provider who wanted to give better care, and the practice trying to increase production and profitability. He also mentioned how their hygienists are using Dental Intelligence to see what patients need before they are in the chair which directly impacts the conversations they have with each patient. They also use DI to identify patients who have unscheduled treatment and work together to get them scheduled.
All of these successes and countless more made the decision to implement Payments into the practice an easy one for Highland. Although the need to collect from patients with overdue balances was influential, the real objective for Highland was to improve the overall patient experience with the practice. Payments is a patient-centered platform, built to make the process of paying for dental care as simple and efficient as possible. The beauty of this solution is the customization it allows you. Instead of attempting to collect using a standard billing statement you send in the mail, Payments lets you customize the content and timing of the communication you send to a patient.
At Highland, using Payments has also provided them with a powerful incentive to audit all of their outstanding AR balances to ensure they were updated and reflected the most accurate information about what was due. This revealed some opportunities as well as some discrepancies. Armed with this data, Highland was able to identify the specific patients they wanted to target in their initial campaign. This was what led to over $20,000 being collected in a matter of days.
As Scot puts it, “Payments has enabled us to connect with our patients in a new and much more effective way. The ‘old-school’ method of sending paper statements had its day, but this new platform clearly works better for our patients. In fact, we had to put our campaign on pause because our front-desk was overwhelmed with phone calls from people wanting to pay their balances. Payments just makes it so easy. Even if someone moves, they don’t change their mobile number. Whether someone is sitting on their couch, waiting in a parking lot, anytime, anywhere, they can take a minute and get us paid. We’ve gone from an average AR of 45 days to receiving payment within 3-5 days of billing. That has enormous impact on our practice’s ability to grow.”
If you are dealing with the headache of patient payments (and who isn’t?), moving to a text-based platform like Payments is a step you should be looking at taking. This is clearly the way patients want to interact with their dental practice and handle their balances. To learn more about how Payments can help your practice, visit us today.
Build systems and follow them. Show up for and participate in team huddles. Set goals and hold yourself and your team accountable for those goals.
April 21, 2022
This is a true story with a very happy ending. But the best part of all is that this happy-ending story can also be yours if you want it to be.
Here are some numbers from 2021 – Year #2 of the global pandemic, in case you forgot 😉. These were shared with us by Kelly Schwartz, CEO of Schwartz Consulting, from 71 of the several hundred practices his company works with.
Ready to have your mind blown?
- Average increase in production per office was $346,000. Two had an increase in production of over $1.5 million from the previous year.
- Collections average $ increase per office was $307,000.
- Treatment $ to Acceptance average per office was 51%. Highest was 74%.
- Patient Acceptance per office average was 80.8%. Six were over 90% and one was at an incredible 94%.
- Total increase in Production was over $24 Million
- Total increased Collections was over $21 Million
Record production. Record-breaking increases in collections and case acceptance. In any year these would be worthy of a huge celebration, but to experience this type of success in a year like 2021 is almost miraculous. And here’s the best part — for the most part, these practices aren’t struggling with staffing shortages. Their team members are thriving and happy. Their impact on patient care and practice growth is recognized and rewarded. In a moment when so many practices are desperately trying to fill open positions, these practices are celebrating their success as a team and exploring ways to grow even more.
Everything Teeth - Miami, Florida
A great story, right? Maybe this is your experience right now as well, and if so, fantastic! However, we work with enough practices (over 8,000 and growing) to know that many are not doing as well as these 71 offices. We hear daily reports of struggles to keep chairs full, painful stories of out-of-control AR, and of serious staffing shortages that are directly impacting patient care and practice performance. As an organization, Dental Intelligence has a simple mission: Help dental practices to provide more and better dentistry. Our all-in-one solution was built for this singular purpose. Schwartz Consulting is one of many consulting companies that use our solution to help their clients experience exceptional performance.
For this reason, we’re excited to share exactly what these practices did to experience such remarkable results, so you have a map to follow as you chart your own growth path. To keep things simple, we’ll focus on two areas: Scheduling and treating patients; and retaining and recognizing team members. If you can get these two things right, you’re well along the road to sustainable success.
An important point to emphasize before we begin: These practices have implemented robust and repeatable systems and processes that are the foundation of everything they do. In other words, their success isn’t based on luck or talent or location. This is critical to understand because it means what these practices are doing can be repeated. That’s right, if they can do it, you can too.
Scheduling & Treating Patients
One of the first questions that Schwartz Consulting asks a practice is a simple but important one: How’s your recare? Before exploring other important areas of opportunity, knowing what the practice’s current capacity is for adding new patients and more production with existing patients is the first step toward improvement. Kelly Schwartz calls this a “practice snapshot.” Knowing where you are is key, and recare is a great place to discover this.
Julie Cichoracki DDS - Richmond, Michigan
When examining recare, Schwartz looks at unscheduled treatment and recall. “One of the things we’ll do is identify patients who’ve been in the last 12 months who need the most care and prioritize them accordingly. This could be 15-20 patients. Then we look at those needing lower levels of care and identify the top 5-10 or so to schedule. Instead of going from top to bottom of the list or just by the highest dollar amount, we want our practices to schedule the patients who need the most care.”
Schwartz Consulting requires all their practices to use Dental Intelligence, the leader in dental practice growth analytics. Dental Intelligence automates many of these systems and processes so a practice can focus on what their numbers mean and what to do instead of trying to find and understand that data.
This enhanced access to insights about patients has important implications. “I try to train the team to think of the patients that need the most care,” Kelly said. “So, if a patient comes in every six months for a cleaning, that’s great, but if that patient doesn’t need or accept presented care but still want an eight o’clock appointment every six months, the practice needs to think about how to manage this. Do we want these patients on the schedule? Of course! But that 8:00AM appointment should be reserved for a certain kind of patient — the ones most in need of and who accept presented care.”
“For example, your patient Katie urgently needs care. And if she doesn’t get it, she’ll have more issues. At Schwartz Consulting we train the team to use Dental Intelligence Patient Finder to identify the patients that have been in during the last 18 months and who need the most care and to then start with them.” Is this how you handle recare? Is there a process here that you could replicate?
Inner Banks Dental - Washington, North Carolina
Scheduling is a very complex and time-consuming process. It’s also never done, right? Notice that the focus for these practices isn’t to just fill holes in the schedule. It’s scheduling the “right” patients — the ones who most need care and who are most responsive to that care being presented. This is so critical to understand.
“Here's where Dental Intelligence becomes so important,” Kelly continued. “We want every patient to come in for the care they need. We coach our practices to triage and schedule based on patient need and level of care. But instead of the old methods of scheduling, we use the tools Dental Intelligence gives us, which is like replacing a screwdriver with a power drill. When I’m filling our hygiene schedule, I want to go into our Unscheduled Patients pie chart and look for patients who’ve been in recently that need the most care and that’s where I’m going to start treating — that’s where our focus is. Then, if we have holes in the doctor’s schedule, I’ll use Patient Finder and jump in and pull in patients that aren’t scheduled.”
“I can also find patients that are better matches when I use the quick fill that DI has provided by the best match. When I click on — ‘I have an opening on my schedule’ — I hit my best match and that pulls up the patients that would best fill my schedule for that day – the ones I’m most likely to reach.”
Russo Dentistry - Raleigh, North Carolina
Kelly also mentioned two scheduling-related metrics he gives special attention to in these high-performing practices:
1. Patient Acceptance % — How many schedule after treatment is presented?
2. Treatment $ Acceptance % — And of those dollars presented, how much is scheduled?
There’s much more that these practices are doing to schedule and treat the right patients. You can’t ignore an average increase in production of $346,000! Check out our entire interview with Kelly on our podcast, Growth in Dentistry, to learn more ways you can schedule more effectively and experience the same incredible growth as these 71 practices.
Retaining and Recognizing Team Members
Now let’s take a minute to learn how these practices are taking care of their team members. One of the most important things they’re doing is scheduling and treating the right patients. You read that correctly. When a practice is thriving and patients are happy and responsive to the care they’re receiving, team members also tend to thrive. It just makes sense. Your practice team are professionals who have a passion for patient care. The more opportunities they’re given to care for those patients will naturally lead to more employee satisfaction.
Here's a great way that these Schwartz Consulting practices tap into this employee satisfaction during the hiring process. “They record several team members sharing a few of their favorite things about working for the practice and then send those as a highlight reel to an applicant,” Kelly said. “Instead of the owner or hiring manager talking about how great the practice is, this method instantly showcases the practice culture in a direct and powerful way.”
Peters Family Dentistry - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Kelly also mentioned how important it is to schedule the first interview with someone at a time convenient for the person being interviewed. “You’d be surprised at how many practices I’ve worked with that don’t do this,” he shared. “If the applicant is currently working in a practice, getting away for an interview during business hours is difficult and awkward for them. We encourage practice owners to hold the first interview outside of work hours, so an applicant sees we value their time. This has had a positive impact on many of our practices’ ability to hire quality team members.”
Perhaps one of the most important takeaways that Kelly shared had to do with employee retention. With over three decades in the industry, he’s worked with thousands of practices and has seen many different approaches to retaining team members. A consistent pattern he’s noticed is that in those practices where the owner (who’s often also the doctor) has a trusting, nurturing relationship with his or her team, team members are much more likely to stay. He often asks owners who on their team is the easiest person to fire. After a pause Kelly will smile and say — “It’s you, doc. Whenever someone leaves you for another practice, you are being fired.” He then talks with them about the importance of giving each team member a sense of ownership in the practice, whether financially, by responsibility, or both.
A big part of why these 71 practices had such an amazing 2021 comes down to how each team member perceives their value. “If I have a ‘secret sauce,’” Kelly said, “It’s teaching owners and doctors how to make sure their team knows how much the doctor cares for each of them. This is leadership. Build systems and follow them. Show up for and participate in team huddles. Set goals and hold yourself and your team accountable for those goals.” With an average increase in production of over $300K, average case acceptance at 80%, and collections up 50%, the numbers tell the story. These teams have figured out how to work together, and that starts with the person at the top.
Schwartz Consulting Practices
Now It’s Your Turn
With so much to consider here, perhaps you’re asking yourself this question – “Where do I start?”
Let’s break it down into the same two areas: Scheduling & treating the right patients; and recognizing and rewarding team members.
- Focus on the patients that most need and who are most likely to accept care. Dental Intelligence can help you find these patients in a few simple clicks.
- Follow up fast with patients that didn’t schedule their next visit before leaving your practice. Don’t wait weeks or months before reaching out. Dental Intelligence Follow Ups lets you automate this so unscheduled patients can’t fall through the cracks.
- Develop a system for how you and your team schedule, reappoint, and treat each patient. Don’t leave this to chance. Remember, systems and processes are your map.
Best Smile Dental - Greensboro, North Carolina
- Involve your team in hiring new team members. Whether you have them record a video testimonial or some other method, they’re the best advertising for how your practice really works.
- Create a team of owners, whether through actual sharing of profits or a robust bonus system, and most importantly, by giving them a meaningful role in how you define patient care and practice growth.
- Get granular with your systems and processes. These are your practice religion. They will make or break your practice culture. Great systems = great place to work.
Can you do all of this, all at once? No! That’s not realistic. Start with one step, maybe two. Be consistent. Spend a few minutes each day reviewing how you are doing and celebrating any progress made, however “small” it might be. These exceptional practices didn’t get to where they are overnight, and neither will you. But over time, if you persist, you will absolutely reach new heights and enjoy sustainable success — absolutely!
If you’re ready to move forward, we’d love to help! Schedule your free practice demo today to learn how you can use the power of practice intelligence to build the practice of your dreams.
To learn more about Schwartz Practice Consulting or to request a complimentary practice consultation, visit them here.
Learn how to effectively increase production in your dental practice (without adding new patients!)
March 25, 2022
How much did you spend last month trying to acquire new patients? $1,000? $3,000? $5,000? More? How much in the last year? The more important question is this — Did your investment pay off? How can you know? Is there even a way to measure whether what you spent resulted in a sustainable & profitable increase in new patients? Here’s a final question — Is adding new patients even the best way to grow your practice? The truth might hurt a little, but it’s time to talk about your “leaking bucket.”
Imagine a bucket full of holes being filled with water. Your job is to get all of that water to another container without losing a drop of water. Not going to happen, right? No matter how fast you run, or how much water you put into that bucket, there’s a 100% chance that you are going to lose some water, and probably lots of it. The only way to stop the leaks is to plug the holes!
The Problem with New Patients
Isn’t adding new patients the fastest, most direct way to increase production and practice revenue? It would certainly seem logical, but let’s explore this assumption using the power of data.
There are only two ways to increase production in a dental practice. That’s right, only two: Increase the total number of patients, or increase the amount of production per patient per visit. According to Dental Intelligence's EVP of Finance Christopher Toyn, “In the first 4-5 years in a practice there is a lot of volatility in growth. After this, most practices plateau.” This is when panic can set in and the impulse, understandably, is to increase marketing spend in order to drive more patients to the practice.
“Most practices do pretty well in adding new patients,” said Toyn. “What they don’t do as well is retaining and rescheduling both new and existing patients. Even with high growth in new patients, most practices also have a high new patient attrition rate, which leads to a plateau or even a decline in overall growth.”
So, why aren’t new patients the best way to grow your practice? It’s probably important to add here that new patients aren’t really bad. Of course not. New patients need dental care just as much as existing patients do. Adding new patients is a great way to build and grow your practice, if done as part of an overall growth strategy.
Here’s what data from thousands of U.S. based practices tells us about new patients:
- They have a much higher rate of appointment cancellation.
- They’re more likely not to accept and/or schedule treatment, and also more likely to cancel before receiving needed treatment.
- New patients are harder to retain & more likely to leave when a new offer comes along from another dentist.
- Extra time is needed to “onboard” new patients, which impacts production per hour. Office tour, developing relationship, insurance verification, paperwork, getting to know staff, etc.
The reality is — so many practices are trying to fill a bucket that is full of holes. Instead of stopping the holes from leaking, they keep trying to fill the bucket with water (new patients.) Instead, they should first stop the leaks (focus on scheduling/treating existing patients) and then, if there is still room on the schedule, they can strategically add new patients.
The secret is…there is no secret
So, if adding new patients isn’t in fact the best way to increase production and grow your practice, what is? Is there a proven, reliable approach to accomplishing these important goals?
A dental practice owner in Arizona recently shared this experience with us. He asked his office manager how many of their patients were currently scheduled. “All of them!” was her immediate response. He had seen the data beforehand that indicated otherwise, so he pressed her — “All of them? As in, 100% of our active patients have an upcoming appointment?”
Dental Intelligence asks this same question to thousands of practice owners and leaders around the country, and none of them ever say less than 70% of their active patients aren’t scheduled.
Not surprisingly, this office manager was shocked when the owner told her that in fact, only 40% of their active patients had a scheduled upcoming appointment. Many practices are even lower than this. So, what’s to be done? Of all your active current patients, how many currently have a scheduled appointment? Any idea? This is where your most important growth opportunities are hiding. The number #1 metric you should be looking at is Pre-Appointment %. If you’re not looking at this every month, you are wasting dollars. Pre-Appointment % is the percentage of active patients (those seen in the past 18 months) that currently have a scheduled appointment.
Our analysis has shown that when a practice focusses on keeping Pre-Appointment % at 65% or higher, they significantly reduce patient attrition while also saving thousands of dollars annually on recall efforts and new patient marketing.
Back at the practice in Arizona, they went from 40% pre-appointment to over 90% in just one year. Once they had the right information, they could take the right action to correct the issue. But when they were driving blind, they didn’t know how to correct the problem. How did they make such a dramatic improvement in just 12 months? They started by focusing on hygiene re-appointment. Hygiene Re-Appointment % is defined as the percentage of hygiene visits that schedule their next hygiene appointment before leaving the practice. This has been one of the most significant impacts on the % of patients that are getting rescheduled.
Two other metrics to focus on are Cancellations % and No-Shows. Often, we walk in the door on Monday and discover we have a bunch of cancelled appointments or no-shows. But we should be even more concerned with the number of those cancelled appointments that haven’t been rescheduled.
How many of your cancelled appointments have been rescheduled? Do you know? Do you know how to find out? When reviewing this number, often 50% or more of patients who cancelled an appointment haven’t been rescheduled.
Let’s say that right now you only have 20% of your active patients with a future scheduled appointment. You should be jumping up and down with excitement! This means you have HUGE opportunities!
Are you spending time, money, and energy on trying to attract new patients when there is likely much greater value to your practice from rescheduling existing patients who don’t have a scheduled appointment? Some practices have millions of dollars in unscheduled treatment with no focus on recapturing those patients.
Here are some steps to get you started:
- Discover where you are: It’s hard to measure progress if you don’t know what your starting point is. Before you spend a lot of time and effort on marketing to new patients, first discover where you are.
- Plug the holes: Identify what your current percentage is. How many patients are rescheduling their next appointment after a hygiene appointment?
- What is your plan for recapturing those patients? How will you measure your efforts?
How do you see this information? Who should be making these phone calls? What is the right system for recapturing cancelled/unscheduled patients? How do you determine which patients are the most important for you to call? Determine what your system will be, implement it, measure how it is working, make adjustments as needed, and continue to monitor progress. And don’t forget to celebrate success!
Dental Intelligence Payments was built to help you provide more and better dentistry to your patients and ease the burden of collections for both patients and practice.
March 22, 2022
The numbers tell the story. In a recent survey done by the ADA Health Policy Institute, 40% of all participating practices indicated that troubles with filling vacant staff positions was the #1 reason they were unable to see more patients.
Staffing shortages are much on the mind of many dental practice owners and leaders these days, and for good reason. In a recent poll published on Becker’s Hospital Review, one in five health-care workers left the industry in the past two years, and a stunning 79% of practices reported that staffing shortages had personally impacted them and their workplace. In a related development, many within healthcare, including dentists, hygienists, and other clinical providers and team members are also reporting significant problems with burnout. According to another recent article, “In August 2020, an ADA Health Policy Institute survey on the impact of COVID-19 on dentists under the age of 35 found that 87% reported experiencing anxiety and 55% reported experiencing depression.” All of this data speaks to something that’s likely obvious to someone working in a dental practice — providing dentistry is really hard right now!
Our mission at Dental Intelligence is simple: Help dental practices to provide more and better dentistry to their patients. However, you can’t do this if you don’t have the tools, resources, and team members required to accomplish these objectives. But what can be done? While the answer of what to do to deal with staffing shortages and burnout varies according to each practice, there are principles and solutions that apply in every situation. This case study will focus on how Dental Intelligence Payments, a simple-and-secure patient payment tool, has helped several practices deal with some of these recent challenges while improving patient care and practice growth. Regardless of what your practice may currently be experiencing, you’ll be excited to learn what’s happening in these practices and how you can enjoy similar results.
“$20,000 in past-due balances collected in a matter of days”
Highland Dental, a large and established general practice in Liberty, Missouri, has experienced what most practices have been through in the past two years — lots of uncertainty, stress, and adaptation. This is also true of their patients. Due to a variety of factors, Highland had built a sizable AR balance that team members were struggling to bring under control. This was impacting the practice financially as well as overall team morale. Highland had tried all of the typical steps to collect from patients, but they weren’t seeing a measurable return on those efforts. They were then introduced to Payments.
According to Scot Kessler, Director of Business Operations and Development at Highlands, “Our first Payments request was sent to around 800 patients with outstanding AR due. We’d been working hard to clean up our overdue balances and had made several attempts to call or contact these patients, but without success. However, within minutes of sending a text message using Payments, the phone began to ring with people wanting to pay some or all of their overdue balances. Others used our pay-by-phone/website options. All told, we collected over $20,000 in past-due balances within a few days of sending one message to every single one of these 800 patients.”
Can you imagine? Communicating with 800 patients with a single message indicating they have a balance due and then, in just a few days, collecting over $20,000 in past-due AR from these patients? In fact, this campaign was so effective Highland had to put it on hold because their front desk was overwhelmed with calls from patients trying to pay. Based on this experience, Dental Intelligence saw a need to make text-to-pay even easier for patients to use instead of calling the practice to pay their balance. Added benefits here include increased security for the patient and better workflow for the practice.
Payments enabled Highland Dental to also audit all their outstanding balances and made everyone’s job easier and less time-consuming. This text-to-pay platform checked all the boxes that Highland was looking for in a payment solution.
Recent surveys have shown that patients are very interested in using text-to-pay when visiting their dentist.
- 51% of Americans are currently using contactless payments, and this is only going to increase
- 9 out of 10 patients consider contactless payment a better solution than the old way
- 9 out of 10 also want to see new safety measures in place around interactions
- 97% of text messages are opened
- 70% of patients want to pay their bill via text, but less than 20% of dental practices currently offer this option
- 65% of patients would consider switching dental practices to one offering a better payment experience
These numbers should at the least spark a conversation about how you are currently handling patient payments and if an upgrade to text-to-pay is needed. (Hint: The answer is “yes!”)
“Our collections percentage is way up and our workload is down”
The team at Smiley Family Dentistry in Grand Rapids, Michigan can relate to what Highlands Dental has experienced. According to Financial Coordinator Colleen Ford, “I used to spend most of my day trying to manage collections and patient payments.” In our conversations with many other office managers and financial coordinators, this has been a common frustration. The time and effort required to stay on top of collections is significant. One practice we spoke to indicated they spent almost a week each month dealing with past-due balances. That’s a heavy load for any one team member to carry. As we spoke with Colleen and office manager Kori DeHaan about their efforts to find a better way, they shared how important it was that the solution be simple for both patients and team members. This is what Payments was built for.
“Now with Payments I can get all my billing done in two hours or less each day,” Colleen shared. “Following up with patients on payments is now easier as well. I’m much more efficient and our patients love how easy it is to use.” Kori added that “Payments has definitely simplified things for Smiley Family Dentistry. Our collections percentage is way up and our workload is down. This means we can focus on other important priorities. And our patients have loved the switch as well. It’s been such a blessing.”
In the spirit of doing everything possible to reduce staff workload, offering patients the ability to pay directly from a text message (or if they use Apple Pay, from a single click) is a great way to make your team and patients smile. Payments is so easy to use!
One of our main motives in building this platform was to reduce the amount of pain dental practices experience when attempting to collect past-due balances from their patients. It’s estimated that more than $10 billion in invoiced dental care doesn’t get collected each year, meaning practices are providing a significant amount of needed treatment without compensation. This isn’t sustainable. This loss of revenue also impacts the quality and access of care that a provider can give. New equipment can’t be purchased. Services can’t be expanded. New staff can’t be hired.
Collecting more of what a practice is owed leads to healthier individuals, families, and communities, not to mention that these small businesses can continue to offer employment to their staff and needed dental care to their patients.
“People who’d been ignoring us for so long finally paid their bill.”
At Asheville Smile Center in Arden, North Carolina, Billing Coordinator Ashley Williams knows all about the struggle to collect. Here’s her description of that collection process before they began using Payments: “1. Post payment to the account, 2. Put information into a spreadsheet with notes, 3. Contact patient when payment is due by email or text, 4. Mail a statement, 5. Call to follow up, 6. If they called me back, it was usually to complain that they had never heard from us. In other words, this process was all over the map and very frustrating.”
Managing all of this requires so much from team members. More importantly, even with all of this effort, as Ashley mentions, collecting payment is still not a sure thing. Our goal in developing Payments was to make paying a bill much easier for patients and also less time-consuming for team members. Patients love Payments because they can quickly and securely pay their bill on their phone. And team members love the solution because it’s easy to use, provides them with full transparency and robust reporting, and substantially reduces the amount of time between a payment request and collections – from months to minutes!
According to Ashley, “Payments has substantially altered our collections process. We still send out a few statements to some of our older patients, but otherwise, our entire process has changed. It’s so much easier and more effective!”
One of our favorite stories Ashley shared involved a patient who had an overdue invoice for $900 that was over two years old. “He had ignored every message I’d sent to him. When I sent him a text through Payments, he immediately made a payment and set up payments to pay off the balance. It was crazy! I wondered if he thought it was a collection agency or something. Regardless of the reason, people who’d been ignoring us for so long finally paid their bill.”
“It’s easier for the patient and the practice”
In summary, this is simple.
Payments was built to help you provide more and better dentistry to your patients. Your job is already very stressful and filled with no shortage of important tasks and responsibilities. Payments is especially helpful in situations where you may be short-staffed and wearing multiple hats. In short, it was built for moments exactly like right now. But don’t just take our word for it.
“Overall, I love how easy Payments is to use,” Ashley shared. “You can jump right in and start engaging with patients in just a few minutes. You really can’t mess it up. It’s easier for the patient and the practice. I’ve tried a lot of different things, but none have done the trick like this. I love it!”
Ready to see for yourself how Dental Intelligence can make life easier for you and your patients? Awesome! Schedule your free, no-commitment demo today and get back to loving your job again.
The hygienist’s role is central to everything else everyone else does in a practice. Their work makes everything else possible.
March 14, 2022
Do you believe the following statement? “Hygienists are the key to healthy patients and a thriving, successful dental practice.”
Believe it or not, extensive historical data tells us this statement is valid. Hygienists have a greater impact on the health of patients and overall success of a practice than any other team member, dentists included. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. An experienced, engaged hygienist identifies and evaluates different conditions and either treats those issues themself or shares with a doctor to diagnose and address. The hygienist is also often the most trusted clinician in the practice and is the person most patients look to for guidance when making decisions about needed treatment.
Data also confirms that the rapport a hygienist builds with patients directly impacts case acceptance. Patients spend more time with you than with any other provider. Because of this, a hygienist is also at the heart of practice production and profitability. Like a hub in a wheel, the hygienist’s role is central to everything else everyone else does in a practice. Their work makes everything else possible. For these reasons, “I’m just a hygienist” are words that should never be said or thought. A hygienist’s impact and importance cannot be overstated.
However, to validate and act on these statements, data is required. But where to start? There are so many things to pay attention to! How can a clinician know which metrics to track and, more importantly, how to correctly interpret what those numbers mean? This can be a great challenge and deterrent to a hygienist’s efforts to impact patient health and practice growth. Just keeping up with a demanding schedule can quickly overwhelm. Finding the right system that informs but doesn’t overload a busy clinician is critical.
In an insightful recent article about this subject in RDH Magazine, Kathryn Gilliam shared how understanding the business of dentistry positively impacted how she cared for her patients:
“[I learned] that the financial health of the dental practice is vital for being able to provide this level of care to our patients. We needed a certain level of productivity and profit to be able to pay the rent on our building, keep the lights on, afford the supplies necessary to do our jobs, purchase and maintain new technology, and regularly attend advanced continuing education courses. This was basic business education that I had not received in my four-year undergraduate studies nor in my two years in dental hygiene school."
"It was a real eye-opener to learn about supply and demand, profit and loss, my personal profitability, and other business basics. I became keenly aware of my position as a business partner to my owner-dentist. I felt a responsibility to produce at least three times my compensation and create a profit so we could cover the expense of my assistant, as well as be able to afford the microscope and laser we wanted to implement to treat our patients at a higher level.”
How well do you understand the business of dentistry? Are you content with letting someone else handle that, or do you have a voice in the management of the practice?
Here at Dental Intelligence, we work every day with over 8,000 dental practices that use the insights found in their practice management software to provide more and better dentistry to their patients. Our data reinforces the important role that hygienists play in the overall success of a practice in addition to the critical impact they have on patient health.
For example, Grove Creek Dental in Pleasant Grove, Utah did the following in 2021:
- 224 crowns (which represented over $180,000 in production.)
- 1,800 prophys (which resulted in over $116,000 in production.)
All this restorative production started in the hygiene department, which, on average, is the source of 80-85% of all production in a typical practice. If $300,000 in production (not including all the other treatment coming from hygiene) doesn’t validate the impact of this department on a practice, nothing will. This practice uses Dental Intelligence to measure all their KPIs (key performance indicators). Instead of manually trying to track everything, Grove Creek has found that Analytics does all that work for them and enables the team to easily understand and effectively act on this data.
Hopefully the message here is clear — data helps hygienists to take better care of their patients, which directly impacts the growth of the practice. Or as RDH Sarah Varney so succinctly put it, “An objective look at numbers is never punitive. They tell a story about how we are serving patients — and where we need to grow.”
Now for the fun part! Here are some of those KPIs that hygienists should be keeping track of. These are all included in the Dental Intelligence Performance Board for easy access. Consider starting with one or two of these and then spending the next few weeks keeping track of each one. It should only take a few minutes each day, but the impact will be significant.
Perio Diagnostic % - The ‘how much perio is there?’ Metric
What is this?
Perio Diagnostic % divides the total number of patients diagnosed with perio treatment into the total number of patients seen who are 30 years or older and have not previously been treated for periodontitis.
Why is this Important?
According to the CDC, we know that the national average of periodontal disease in America is 47.2%. Granted, depending on where you practice, this number will swing either higher or lower. Knowing your perio diagnostic % allows you to see where you are among the national Average and even among other hygienists in your area or practice. This can help you decide if you or your practice has a blind spot in diagnosing periodontitis.
Perio Acceptance % - The ‘does the patient understand the treatment?’ Metric
What is this?
Perio Acceptance % is the percentage of patients seen in the practice that are 30 years or older and not currently in perio, who were diagnosed with perio treatment and said yes to all or a portion of that treatment on the day of their appointment. This is identified by the treatment that was added to their treatment planner and scheduled or by unscheduled treatment that was completed the same day. If a team member was part of this patient’s appointment, this team member will get credit for the patient accepting the treatment.
Why is this important?
We know that every team member plays an integral part in patients accepting our recommended treatment. How big is their impact? Without seeing who was with the dentist when these cases were presented, it’s difficult to know the impact team members are having on the patient saying, yes or no. When looking at acceptance by individual team members and by the Treatment Teams, you can quickly identify the top presenters and the top presenting teams. Use this data to identify these top performers, learn what they are doing, and replicate their delivery.
Perio Visit % - The ‘did they complete the treatment?’ Metric
What is this?
Perio Visit % divides the total number of patients that were seen for perio into the total number of Hygiene Patients seen in the period. To be counted as a patient seen for perio, one or more perio procedure codes need to have been completed on the day of the patient’s appointment.
Hygiene Visits per Hour – The ‘how much is my time worth?’ Metric
What is this?
Hygiene Visits Per Hour is calculated by taking the provider's total visits (Not Patients Seen) divided by the actual Clinical Hours.
Why is this important?
All providers want their production per hour to increase. If this number is lower than desired or expected, one of the first metrics to look at is the Hygiene Visits Per Hour. The cause of low production per hour could simply be a consequence of not seeing enough patients in the hour. If patient visits are not the cause, then begin looking at the Average Treatment Presented, Treatment $ Acceptance % and Average Accepted $ Per Patient.
Hygiene Re-Appointment % - The ‘did I get them to schedule back’ Metric
What is this?
The percentage of hygiene visits that on the same day of the hygiene visit have scheduled a subsequent hygiene appointment before leaving the dental office. Hygiene visits are the number of patients being seen for hygiene care.
Why is this important?
By reappointing a higher percentage of your continuing-care patients, you'll help ensure a stable and growing patient base. This provides your patients with the possibility of two exams per year, resulting in needed treatment being diagnosed. The hygiene department will grow at a much faster rate, increasing the number of scheduled appointments without the cost and hassle of your front desk making numerous calls to reschedule. By focusing and improving the performance of same-day reappointing, the practice will increase overall production, collections, and value. Currently the alternative method to measure the re-appointment % in the practice is through manual efforts that are time-consuming and often inaccurate.
NP Hygiene Re-Appointment % - The ‘how did the first appointment go’ Metric
What is this?
The percentage of the provider's new hygiene patients that have scheduled a future hygiene appointment.
Why is this important?
Adding or not adding new patients into your continuing care program is a key factor in the number of new patients your practice will need to grow based on your priorities.
Fluoride Treatment % - The ‘risk of decay’ Metric
What is this?
The percentage of patients who had fluoride completed during their hygiene visit, based off whether these codes were put on the patient's ledger.
Why is this important?
Oftentimes, as hygienists, we allow insurance companies to dictate what we prescribe. It's been reported by the NIH that 92% of adults 20-65 have active caries in their mouth. This being true, it is safe to say that virtually all patients would benefit from fluoride treatment regardless of insurance reimbursement.
Expanding on that idea, if your practice does not currently offer silver diamine fluoride, learn more about it and speak with the doctor about allowing you to perform that fluoride treatment on pediatric patients. This is the only fluoride that can arrest caries, and very few practices have begun using it. This service is a double win, improving oral health and improving your value in the practice.
The Data-Driven Hygienist
For these and so many other reasons, you make a difference. If you have learned nothing else, hopefully, you’ve learned this: the numbers (and patients!) do not lie. You have a vital role to play not only in patient health, but also in the health of a practice. Hygiene is at the heart of any successful office.
As a “thank you” for taking time to read this article, we have a gift for you. It is a simple Hygiene Patient & Practice Impact Tracker you can use to discover your impact on patient health and practice growth. It includes daily, weekly, and monthly steps you can take. Click here to download your free copy today.
Dental Intelligence enables dental practices to be available for booking 24/7. Patients need help when they need it, and our Online Scheduling is here to support practices in serving their patients.
February 22, 2022
As the nation’s largest Dental Support Organization (DSO) focused on tooth replacement solutions, Affordable Care provides business expertise and support services to more than 350 dental practices across the United States. Since 1975, millions of patients have trusted an Affordable Care supported clinic.
One of the solutions offered by Affordable Care to support dental practices in serving patients is Dental Intelligence Online Scheduling. Online Scheduling allows each practice the ability to offer real-time, patient-directed appointment scheduling on the practice’s website. Without any required involvement from the practice, a patient can simply visit their local Affordable Care supported practice’s website (or find them on Google) and schedule an appointment at a time that works for them.
According to Stewart Stearns, Director of Digital Marketing at Affordable Care, Online Scheduling “helps our team better support the practices in being accessible to patients for appointment scheduling 24/7 and this has led to many more appointments being set each day. This has been especially important for the doctors and dental practices during the pandemic. As an organization, we are now supporting several thousand appointments scheduled online each month.”
Affordable Care began using Online Scheduling in 2017 and has worked closely with many DI team members to shape this platform around the organization’s needs. “Our decision to implement this solution was a response to those time-sensitive moments when a person chooses to do something about their health,” Stewart said. “We understand this doesn’t always happen on Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am to 5pm. This decision can happen at any moment and on any day. Online Scheduling enables each of the dental practices to stay nimble and available to their patients 24/7. Patients need help when they need it, and we want help support the dental practices in serving their patients.”
Surprisingly, many dental practices across the country still require patients to call during business hours to schedule appointments. This can add a layer of complexity for both the patient and practice. For the patient, it means they must remember to call when the practice is open and wait for the person assisting them to open an appointment calendar and search for open times. For the practice front desk team, they are required to handle these appointment requests and other appointment-related tasks, which takes away from their time spent providing clinical support to patients and other support to team members.
Online Scheduling removes all of these requirements while still allowing the practice complete control over their schedule. It also enables the patient to find and schedule a time that works for them to come in without requiring a phone call (or calls) to their dentist during office hours.
A recent consumer study by Accenture confirmed that patients absolutely prefer to schedule their own appointments:
- 77% indicated this would be their preference if offered by their dentist vs. calling to schedule an appointment.
- 70% of patients are more likely to choose a provider that offers the ability to book, change, or cancel their appointments online.
- 40% of all appointments are scheduled after hours or on weekends.
All of this speaks to the foresight shown by Affordable Care to implement Online Scheduling as a support service to the dental practices more than three years ago. The decision to do so was based on valuing the importance of data. As Stewart relates, “We track everything we do. Data creates an urgency for action. If you have the data, you are entitled to take action. At Affordable Care we’re encouraged by senior leadership to confidently go where the data takes us, which creates a very dynamic environment. Follow the data, take the action needed to grow, and provide new opportunities for doctors to care for patients.”
According to Stewart, “Online Scheduling is a definite competitive advantage for Affordable Care supported practices. From the patient’s perspective, it makes their local practice a lot more approachable and flexible. If they remember to schedule their appointment at 3am, this option makes it possible for them to do so. We’re providing the tools to help patients easily set their own appointments directly. It’s all about convenience and we believe it adds significant value to the patient experience.”
Another key aspect of this solution for Affordable Care was the scalability Dental Intelligence offered them in being able to integrate Online Scheduling as a solution to more than 300 different practice appointment books. “The complexity of that is stunning,” Stewart said. “To have a technology partner that can help to make that complexity doable for our DSO is huge! Online Scheduling runs extremely smoothly for us. It’s great to have technology that by and large just works. It is a key competitive advantage. When someone asks if those patients would just come through another channel, the answer is ‘Why risk it?” If Online Scheduling works well and is cost-effective, keep using it, right?”
As with any practice solution, whether hardware or software, the bottom line is what counts. In his analysis of the return on investment offered by Online Scheduling, the value was clear. “The return we are seeing is high compared to other forms of marketing we use,” Stewart added. “Although the practices see lower show rates on online appointments, we have found if practices treat them like any other appointment and include some follow-up and other normal interactions with them, those rates improve. It’s about setting expectations. We originally were only going to offer this option to new patients, but we’ve learned that all patients want to have the ability to schedule online.”
If your group or single-office practice doesn’t yet offer Online Scheduling to patients, it’s time to reconsider doing so. Patients place great value on their time and appreciate when their health-care providers do the same. Are you ready to help make accessing care easier to your patients?
Establishing healthy patterns and practices can go a long way toward ensuring you can grow professionally and personally.
January 28, 2022
Katie Poulsen, Director of Customer Marketing and Curtis Marshall, Principal Product Manager at Dental Intelligence, recently had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Peter Boulden and Dr. Craig Spodak from Bulletproof Dental about how dental practice owners and team members can find and sustain a work/life balance. As a new year begins, establishing healthy patterns and practices can go a long way toward ensuring you can grow professionally and personally.
Today we're talking about work-life balance, and I'm really intrigued to discuss this topic with you because I've heard you guys say in previous podcasts that it's a myth. I've heard you talking about that with Dr. Boulden, that balance is a myth and it's not achievable. So, let's first dive into that. Is balance obtainable for you? Tell us a little bit about your perspective on that.
I think getting balance in your life is a stressor. It stresses us out. Oh my gosh, I feel so unbalanced, and I've been told I don't have to have it. I think when you get peace and give yourself some grace with the fact that there's going to be periods where you're going to be a way better family person, per se, than you are a businessperson. And then suddenly, those scales are going to shift again. So, I think we go through, like Naval Ravikant says, I think we go through periods where we train, and then we sprint, and then we rest, and then we reassess. The key takeaway though, is just awareness. If you acknowledge the fact that like, "Man, I've been head down working on business stuff," as long as you're aware about it, and you kind of need to bring that lever back to center again, I think that takes the stress of, "Oh my gosh, am I spinning all these plates equally, with equal RPMs, all these plates that I'm spinning? My family, and philanthropy, and my visions, and all these things, my businesses, am I spinning them all equally?" I think that's stressful in and of itself.
I just think we don't have the silos that we make ourselves out to have. I think that comes in, the first example that runs into my mind is peoples’ spiritual identities. They tend to silo their identities, like - here's my work identity, and my house identity, my father identity. I think you're one human being. And life is meant to be multifaceted. So, it's always integrated for me. I don't think of time here as time away from somewhere else, it's just all the same to me.
Being aware about the other aspects. I think the most dangerous part is when you don't acknowledge the fact that when you're unbalanced, right?
We fool ourselves by thinking we're being great fathers, or great mothers, by working really hard. It's like, your kids just want more time with you. And you're like, "Well, I'm going to work so you can have all this fancy stuff, or you can go on a vacation. Don't you appreciate that?" Kids don't want that. Kids just want quality time. You could live in a trailer for most young kids and be happy.
My dad was a dentist, he passed away at 65. And he worked on Friday and died that Sunday. And he was so good at his job, but he wasn't balanced in that way when he was home – he still did his work. Like when he was home, he was studying dentistry, all the time he was talking. But I knew that was valuable for him. But I also knew he was there for me as a kid, and it's really tricky as a dentist to sometimes do that. So, I guess my question to you is, what advice do you have? It can be overwhelming and time-consuming to own a practice, especially at the level that you guys do, so what advice do you have for those that feel that their personal life suffers from stresses of running a dental practice? What have you done to make it so that you can have that perspective shift?
I think it's easy to speak as a man to this, because men, we have a natural desire towards productivity. And I think it's easy for us to fill up all our buckets at work, especially in a dental practice, you have all these people that are dedicated, a single doctor practice. You're the doctor, you're the man or woman in charge. And I think you can leave your family because your family keeps it real. When you're at work you're special, you're the doctor, you're in charge of things. And everybody's there to support you, and it can be very egocentric. And you can come home, and your family needs you, and it could feel not the same level of exchange. And I think of men not having the ability to talk as much about how they feel, there's a degree of stoicism that's kind of passed through male culture. And I believe that we fill up at work. We fill up all our needs and significance at work.
I think women, by virtue of biology and stuff like that, have a little bit more of a tug to be with the kids and stuff like that. So, whilst I'm sure women can overwork, and women have another thing that I talk about oftentimes too, it's very difficult. There's no clear role for them. They work too hard; they're being too aggressive. They work too little, they're a gold digger. They must walk a very fine line. Men have a free pass to go in and work really hard. Daddy's working, daddy's doing this for us. So, I think there's a trap for us that we can really bury ourselves in work, and leave our families adrift, because it's so culturally rewarding for us to be productive and work hard, and so acceptable for us to do so that there's a little blind spot that we can get sucked into work as men.
But I've heard you talk about how you block your day. I don't know if that is advice that you would give, but I love that idea of blocking out time. Just because in dentistry, we live in blocks of time anyway. And to be able to do that at home, I do that as well. That's how I function. It's how I block out as a working, full time mom. I block out my time at home, with my kids and with my work, and that's how I live.
It creates guidelines, right? It creates boundaries for people. Like Craig and I set podcasting for a certain time every week. So, I try to pre-block my schedule. For instance, on Wednesdays, nothing can get on there, because I've already blocked it personally for me. That's my day to recharge, midweek. I go get a massage, go get my nails done, whatever.
But going back to what you're saying is, what advice do you have for running complexities, that is a good tool into laying down guidelines? But it is tough because, for instance, the people that listen to your podcast are probably people who are much like ours, right? They're entrepreneurs in a dental job, or a dental career, a dental practice. And so, you have the business of dentistry during the day, and the business of growing your business after you're done the dentistry. Right?
Now, if you just want to kind of run along and be a dentist, which is admirable, and just stay with your practice, you do the dentistry and you go home. And everything seems to take care of itself. By the grace of God, it really does in dentistry. Because if you're good, you can kind of just exist, and have a great career, by not having to do much.
However, if you're in a growth-minded standpoint, you do have to take the next five hours after you get off work, because you're going to have to go from here to here. And what got you here, isn't going to get you here. And so, you need a different set of skills now that are going to take you next level. And that's what Craig and I focus on in the Bulletproof mastermind, and Bulletproof podcast, is taking the business of dentistry and applying it with the least amount of friction possible, because Craig and I have made a lot of friction-able mistakes, if you will.
And so, we stood on the shoulders of giants, and we want to give back, and our mission is just to say, "Hey, if you want to grow, here's some things that have helped us."
Yeah, so you're bringing up a great point, Craig, and this is something we've gone into a lot recently is just knowing your strengths, Katie and Curtis. Knowing your strengths, like knowing that you stink at hiring. So, stop hiring. Let someone else do that. Find your superpower and double down on that. Because what it'll give you is a lot more purpose, a lot more freedom, all these things. And then it'll accelerate your business. I used to be the bottleneck in my practice, honestly. Looking back, I was the bottleneck in that I was the nucleus in almost all decisions, all things. Now I don't want to be involved. I don't even want to know. I always ask questions when someone comes to me, it's like, "Do I need to know this, or do I need to be involved?" And they will audit that question. They'll have to give me an answer. If the answer is yes, let's talk about it. But nine times out of 10, or four times out of five, it's, "No, you're right. I got this."
Yeah. Because a lot of dentists, when they start their little baby from the ground up, their practice, they've got to be involved in everything.
Yeah, the very act of being a dentist steers you away from the macro that's needed to really make bigger decisions.
So, Katie, what I did or have done in the past, because sometimes I used to go home and play the “woe is me” game. Look at all the stuff I did and all this stuff. And a lot of times it was stuff that I didn't really want to be doing or wasn't good at, but I took as this badge of honor. Like, “look at me, look at this suffering I'm doing for my family and my future. So, I made myself, a lot of my day now is spent getting rid of things that I don't enjoy doing anything. So, I would audit and write down all the things that I was doing during the day, and then I would identify the things that probably should be with someone else. Because either I, A — Hated them, or B — I wasn't very good at them. And so, my actions became, How do I get this off of my daily sheet?
Now I don't do that. I don't do stuff I don't want to do. And ironically, the things I am doing, I'm really good at. Why? Because I like doing them. It's this virtuous cycle.
And by the way, I don't want anybody to hear Peter, I just want to make sure that no one hears him as saying this an egotistical “I delegate taking out the trash.” He's not talking about that. He's talking about that there's certain things that people in his organization love to do. Peter and I are both low-detail people. We're high vision, we want to win, we're fast paced. But the details, nah, let someone else figure that out. So, Peter and I have come to realize that if we're surrounded by high detail people, like a Lacey who works in the Bulletproof organization, for example, we can get a lot of things done. Lacey is high detail. She loves figuring out all the little things. So, if we're working on a summit or something like that, she'll love figuring out all the little details. Peter and I would die doing that. Peter and I get to focus on the stuff that we're good at.
So, it's not a hierarchical thing. It's not like “I am king and they’re serfs.” It's just that it's a Strength Finder type of exercise. We've done a lot of work to find out what we're good at and stay in those lanes. Peter just sticks to the stuff he's really, really good at. And then, at the end of the day, he's worked really hard, but only on the stuff he's really good at. He's not as exhausted as if he was trying to pretend to be good at everything.
Dan Sullivan talks about the four freedoms. Freedom of time, freedom of money, freedom of relationship and purpose. And so those, personally for me, were quests. Going back to what you were saying, Craig. I want to work on the stuff that I want to work on. I want to work because I'm not forced to make money, just because I enjoy doing what I'm doing. I want to work with relationships, I want to work with people that I like, not because I'm forced to do that. So, this can become a driver as well. I don't know why I went on that tangent; I just think it's important in front of what we're talking about, contextually.
I think the biggest thing is, when you look at anything, balancing anything, take personal out of this, right? You're balancing a car, making sure that the wheels are balanced, or whatnot, whatever it might be. You can't focus on everything at once. You need to focus on one specific thing at a time. And if you're able to do that, then everything else starts to get into line.
Humans are not designed to multi-task. All you do is do a bunch of things really poorly.
Yeah. And I think that we're touching on something else, like this realization that you're not meant to be good at all this stuff. That provides a little bit more grace for people, and a little bit more understanding. Then people suffer less, and they actually become happier. So, this idea that you need to be in balance, that you need to be a multi-tasker, you need to be a CEO, you need to do all this stuff - It's daunting, and you're not meant to, and you're not meant to be good at everything. And I think it's an important realization that you have to come to. And eventually you'll find out what you're good at, and what makes you happy. And just double down on that, because that's life's ultimate bottom line is that question - What makes you happy?
What does growth in dentistry look like to Craig Spodak and to Peter Boulden right now?
I can't answer growth in dentistry, because dentistry, like I always say it's a snowflake. It's everybody's practice is entirely different. And I think if we could start understanding that dialogue at a bigger level, that dental practices are uniquely suited to the owners and leaders of those individual practices and could be whatever they want it to be. So, I can't answer to that. But for me, growth is just progress. Slowly getting better. Change is always going to happen, whether you grow from it is up to you. So, going through life and getting slightly better, whether that means dealing with the downs or the highs better, it's just that that's what the key to life and the key to happiness is, is just growth. Growth over time. And I don't think failure is anything to be ashamed of. Failure is just growth in action.
So, I think growth in dentistry would be, I'm going to piggyback on that Craig, because I think that's good, is that identifying A, from a self-awareness thing, what does it look like? So, I'm going to talk about, for me, what it grows like is, growing my enterprise. I like foot on the gas, I like building, I like designing, I like visionary stuff. So, growth for me is continuing to grow my ecosystem, whether that's my own practices or whether that's a DSO, or whether that's whatever. It's continuing to evolve to make dentistry a better place.
I like how Craig mentioned, it is a snowflake. And this is why dentistry is a snowflake. It's different. And that's why we ask this question.
And dentistry is such a different... occupation for a lot of people than others, because dentistry…
…It's the most beautiful profession in the world.
Can I jump on this, Katie? Here's why, is because we talked about the dentist who wants to be the craftsman and just be in his office and work. And he can make a great living and be very fulfilled.
And art. Make art all the time…
... and can go home and study more dentistry. He can be the artist in that. It also fulfills the buckets of the entrepreneur. Someone like me, who really went to dental school knowing yeah, I'm going to do dentistry for a while, and then I'm going to really grow things. And so, it's the most beautiful thing, because you're always making impact in people's lives, you're really respected in your community, and you can do whatever you want. There's no ceiling on what you want to do. But it gives you what you want. It gives you what you want if you work at it.
So many great insights here! We’re thankful to Dr. Boulden and Dr. Spodak for sharing some of their wisdom with us. Both doctors use Dental Intelligence in their practices to provide more and better dentistry to their patients. If you want to learn more about how your practice can benefit from the power of data, visit us today to get started.
An effective Morning Huddle can easily become the most valuable 15 minutes of the day in your dental practice.
January 17, 2022
You’ve likely heard some version of this statement before – Morning Huddle is an important factor in running a thriving dental practice. This being true, a surprising number of dental practices either don’t hold a huddle at all or, more commonly, their huddle often leaves something to be desired. The morning huddle is typically left to the office manager to oversee, with varying levels of support and involvement from owners and doctors. This means at least a few hours of preparation each week, requiring the office manager to comb through various reports to collect the information needed to run the huddle.
It also often means that the office manager ends up doing most of the talking while other team members are passive participants being told what happened and what is scheduled to happen. These and other factors can lead to a meeting that everyone dreads and that no one finds beneficial. There is a better way.
At Greenville Family Dentistry in Greenville, Illinois, office manager Whitney Thornton knows all about the challenges of holding an effective morning huddle. She recalls the many mornings her team would gather in their break room and struggle to stay awake as she reviewed their previous day’s numbers and went over the schedule. “They were there because they had to be there, not because they wanted to be. We tried to make it worth their time to attend, but they still didn’t find much value in being there.”
Practice owner Dr. Matthew McCullough had made key performance indicators (KPIs) a priority throughout his twenty years in practice and felt this would be a necessary part of any changes they would consider implementing in order to improve their morning huddle. His search led him to Dental Intelligence, the leader in cloud-based dental practice analytics, and Greenville began using the company’s growth platform in January 2020.
“Dental Intelligence Morning Huddle has been a huge part of our growth in the past year,” Whitney recently shared. “We use it daily to celebrate our successes and also to hold each other accountable. Instead of those frustrating huddles we would hold in our break room, we now stand together in one of our operatories and involve everyone in making the most of those few minutes together before we begin treating patients. It’s so much better than before.”
How has using this new platform helped Greenville to have a more effective morning huddle? According to Whitney, “Before we began using Morning Huddle, our team was very disengaged. At some point someone had read in a book or an article that we should hold a huddle, and so the practice started doing it, but there wasn’t a clear vision about how to make it actually worth doing. Now it’s so different. Everyone on our team has access to the huddle so they can see beforehand what we’ll be discussing each day. I also give each team member a role in making our huddle fun. On Monday we do ‘Monday Munchies,’ which means someone brings snacks or a treat. Tuesday is ‘TikTok Tuesday’ when one of our team members shares a funny TikTok video to watch. Wednesdays and Thursdays also have a theme. We’ve found starting our huddle with something fun and positive makes it more light-hearted and engaging for everyone.”
Don’t let the simplicity of this idea diminish the power of the principle it teaches. Our experience working closely with over 10,000 dental practices has shown that creating a positive culture around the morning huddle is one of the single most important factors in how successful a practice is. That’s right, the few minutes you spend in a huddle (and how you spend that time together) have an oversized impact on the overall performance of your dental practice.
Not convinced? Whitney shared how a team member took the time on a Sunday evening to text her about making sure to celebrate another team member’s success the next morning in their huddle. “The fact that team members feel they have something to contribute during our huddle is such a great thing for us,” Whitney said. “We try to make every huddle a celebration, even if we might have missed some of our goals from the day before. Highlighting even small wins does so much to unify and energize our team. Being able to see everything in one place using DI makes this so easy.”
Whitney also uses Provider Pulse to let the team see how everyone is performing relative to each other and to their individual and team goals. “The trust this transparency creates for our team has been so healthy and empowering,” she added. “We all feel like we’re doing this together and finding ways to help each other to succeed.”
Another victory for Greenville resulting from their improved morning huddle is a significant increase in their hygiene recall percentage. According to Whitney, it is now at or close to 100%. DI allows team members to see the names of every active hygiene patient without a current scheduled appointment, including the patients who left the practice the previous day without scheduling their next visit.
By reviewing this list each day during their huddle, the Greenville team has been able to consistently schedule virtually 100% of these patients for their next appointment. This is the impact that integrating data can have on patient health. By paying attention to their unscheduled patients, Greenville Family Dentistry is absolutely improving the health of those patients who otherwise would fall through the cracks.
By using Morning Huddle, Greenville has also improved team member accountability. Instead of the old model which required Whitney to handle all of the reporting, each team member now comes to the huddle prepared to report on their performance. “We’ve identified key things we want to look at daily and that has made such a difference in our outcomes,” Whitney said. “For example, our hygienists can see the impact they’re having and the production they’re bringing in with the fluoride treatments they’re doing. Looking at these daily instead of once a month is powerful. Trying to look at something a month or more after it happened leads to very little if any change. It’s hard to fix something that happened that long ago. But now we are looking at our performance within hours of when it happened, and that has been transformative.”
Whitney also emphasized the impact of being able to see openings on their schedule while they are in the huddle, whether on that day or within the next few days. “If you are looking at this in the huddle, you can say on a Tuesday, ‘Hey, it looks like we have some openings on Thursday,’ or ‘I see that patient coming tomorrow has some unscheduled treatment. Let’s give them a call today and see if they want to get that taken care of while they’re here.’ These are things we now look at every day. DI shows us the holes we need to fill — it’s really, really cool.”
Before dental practices had access to these robust, real-time insights about their performance, it was difficult to talk with team members about ways they could improve. As Whitney recalled, “Providing them with any kind of feedback was very subjective. Without data to back up what we were talking about, discussions about areas of improvement were all based on feelings, not facts. Data has changed all that for the better. When we look at numbers together, team members can see for themselves how they are doing. This has changed the quality of the conversations we have and the outcomes that result. Now we have a way to identify areas of improvement and also to celebrate success."
"For example, both of our hygienists recently did over $2,000 of production on the same day, which included 55 adult sealants between the two of them. We totally celebrated that in our huddle! These girls helped the entire office to hit our goal and we absolutely made a big deal about this. Just one way having this data handy is changing how we care for our patients.”
“Using Dental Intelligence helps us to operate at a higher level,” Whitney added. “No more running reports or trying to find out what’s happening in our practice. Now we know what’s happening. Instead of searching through our files for patients to fill holes in the hygiene schedule, we can find that information in seconds. It just feels like we can operate so much quicker and more efficiently, and I can’t say enough about the huddle and what it’s done for us. We also love the Auto Follow Ups feature, which has helped us stop our patients from calling through the cracks. It’s a powerful safety net."
"As a manager, DI makes my job so much easier. I can see the numbers and what is happening in our practice in real time. And with the huddle, there’s now so much more team involvement. We’re all headed in the same direction. Everybody sees it. Everybody is motivated to do better. They want to get our patients taken care of, and they hate it when those patients leave without scheduling their next appointment. DI has improved our practice more than any other solution we’ve ever used. I love it!”
Keeping your chairs filled all day, every day is tough. That's why we created Online Scheduling! Learn how our new features can help you Practice Smarter.™
January 13, 2022
Let’s face it. It’s difficult keeping your chairs filled day in and day out. Patients cancel, no-show, or leave with unscheduled treatment.
Then, to reschedule, your team has to reach out. If you're lucky, you'll get the patient on the phone to reschedule right then and there. If not, a game of phone tag ensues until you can get them back on your schedule. Either way, it's a hassle, to say the least.
However, you can relieve your team members from spending countless hours on the phone with Dental Intelligence Online Scheduling, and increase your number of future appointments.
With Dental Intelligence, your patients can book anytime, anywhere. No need for them to wait to schedule an appointment for that midnight tooth pain. Their fully booked appointment is as simple as a few clicks, and they’re ready to see you.
Patients can easily view available openings in your schedule and select the time that works best for them. Dental Intelligence constantly syncs directly with your practice management software, so your openings show in real-time.
Our highly customizable setup lets you decide what services to offer and which providers are available, if any service types require approval before booking or adhere to Block Scheduling, and so much more. You stay in complete control of your schedule while still allowing patients to have the freedom to schedule whenever is convenient for them.
Dental Intelligence Online Scheduling not only allows for a quick and simplified booking process for you and your patients, but now has new features to make that scheduling process even smoother.
Before a patient finishes booking an appointment online, Dental Intelligence can ask for their insurance provider. Let patients know which insurances are accepted, in-network, or out-of-network with an easy-to-use drop-down selection.
Dental Intelligence helps your team streamline patient intake and prepare ahead of time with the combined power of Online Scheduling and Digital Forms. Once a patient has booked their appointment, they will instantly receive a "Save the Date" message with a link to complete their new patient paperwork online prior to their appointment.
If it's an existing patient, we can detect what forms have been submitted previously and ask for any necessary updates. When patients have the ability to book online and complete their paperwork online, your team can spend less time on the phone plus less time dealing with bottlenecks at the front desk.
Perfect Time Slot
Our Perfect Time Slot feature makes the already-simple online booking process even quicker and easier for patients..
Dental Intelligence looks into the patient’s visit history and suggests the best time slot for that patient based on their previous appointments. If that initial day and time doesn’t work for them, they can view other available openings.
We’ve made it easier for patients by removing a step from the scheduling process. They don’t get stuck deciding when they should schedule their appointment because the best option has already been provided. Plus, they’re more likely to show up at the suggested time since it has worked for them before.
If you’re struggling with cancellations and no-shows, you can add a reservation fee at the end of your online scheduling process. Asking the patient for a deposit at the time of booking will help ensure that they are committed to showing up for their selected appointment time and will help filter out patients who are most likely to no-show or cancel last minute.
Customize the reservation fee amount to fit your office's needs. Then, once they pay, you can apply the payment toward treatment.
Bulk Scheduling Requests
You can fill your schedule easily by sending out bulk invitations to patients to schedule their next appointment. Send an invite text, email, or a notification from the patient mobile app.
Simply select patients with needed treatment, past-due hygiene, and send! With Patient Finder you can create custom lists that target specific types of patients you want in your chairs. Want to do more crowns for patients with an AR Balance less than $10 who have Delta Dental insurance? Just apply the filters and we’ll build a list that you can use for bulk communication.
You can also control when these patients can book. Do you want to fill your schedule during the holidays? Set the earliest scheduling date for weeks out and then send the request. Patients then receive the request but will only be able to book when you want them to.
From the Management Dashboard, you can see who needs an appointment and who has made an appointment.
When viewing patients that need an appointment, filters allow you to conveniently populate pre-made lists. For example, if you want to reschedule those who canceled or no-showed, you can filter by patients with broken appointments. Then, easily send off some scheduling requests.
You can also filter to see patients with hygiene past due, then send out a link so they can get their appointment booked.
Often patients call in and want to be seen sooner than what is currently available, so they’re put on an ASAP list. Filter to see patients on the ASAP list and then send out scheduling requests when an opening arises.
Finally, you can easily track appointments that were scheduled online as they come in. Our list provides all the details you need including the patient’s information, appointment type, whether they’re new or returning, and any notes the patient may have left.
Once you’ve sent out scheduling requests, you can easily view the success of your efforts in the Performance Dashboard.
You can see how many patients scheduled an appointment online. A color-coded bar graph shows you the number of new and returning patients that booked appointments each day. You can see other analytical data such as which insurances are most common from new patients that schedule online.
Track how your links are performing by seeing which links are getting clicked and opened the most as well as leading to a scheduled appointment. That way if you send out multiple different links to patients, you can see which one is most effective.
Get Started Today!
If you haven’t used Dental Intelligence before, what are you waiting for? Stay in control of your schedule and keep chairs filled today with Online Scheduling. See our tools in action by scheduling a free demo today. Let us help you intelligently shape the future of your practice!
Want to start 2022 off on the right foot? Here are 3 simple things you can do to hit the ground running and set the tone for a successful year.
January 7, 2022
The New Year is always a great time for change. It marks the beginning of a new chapter and a new chance to be the best versions of ourselves, both personally and professionally. As a dental practice owner, the new year presents an opportunity to review, reevaluate, and revamp your practice. Businesses need New Year’s resolutions just as much as individuals do. Let’s talk about some of the actions you can take in the first week of the new year to get some quick wins under your belt and set the foundation for the year to come.
Do These 3 Things to Start 2022
It’s easy to jump into goal-setting without first taking the time to step back and really look at your current situation. But we can’t get where we want to go without first knowing where we are.
For the past 10 years, I’ve made a habit of taking some time on New Year’s Day to reflect on how the previous year went. I grab my computer and a cup of coffee, turn off my phone and all my notifications, and excuse myself to a quiet corner to work through a guided reflection. I answer the same 20 questions, year after year. Questions like:
- In which areas did you struggle?
- In which areas did you thrive?
- Which topics did you most enjoy learning about?
- What was your single biggest time-waster this year?
- What one thing would you do differently and why?
Once I have answered all my reflection questions for the current year, I go back and reread all of my previous years’ responses, from the very first year I began the exercise all the way through to the current year. It’s amazing to see how your habits, ideas, goals, and mindset shift and change over time. Seeing everything spelled out on paper helps to reveal what is working well and where there are areas of opportunity. Armed with this insight, you can set realistic, impactful goals for yourself and your practice in the new year. This also gives you a tangible document to look back on next year to measure the success of your 2022 goals and to see how you and your practice have grown.
- Reevaluate Your Tools
I was working part-time as a restaurant shift lead in my early 20s. I remember training my first new hire. I was showing them how we filled the dishwashing sinks and explained that one of the faucets was broken, so we kept a pitcher underneath the counter to fill that sink with water from an adjacent faucet. My trainee looked at me, a little confused, and said, “Why don’t we just replace the broken faucet? Don’t those cost like $60?”
At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I can honestly say it hadn’t occurred to me to replace the faucet. Our floor manager trained me to use the pitcher under the counter, and they were taught to do it that way by the manager before them. We had operated for over a year with one of our main sink faucets in-operational, and everyone just adapted. Our “workaround” was getting us by, so no one ever stopped to consider how much time and energy was being wasted due to this faulty piece of equipment that would have taken $60 and an hour to repair.
How often do we keep doing things the way they’ve always been done without questioning why or asking if there’s a more effective way? With equipment and software especially, we tend to use things day after day and get used to little “quirks” as they pop up. As more and more “quirks” develop and we adapt to them all over time, it’s easy to overlook how much time and effort are going into our workarounds for broken or outdated equipment.
Take some time at the beginning of this year to inspect your hardware and software and make any necessary repairs or replacements. As the practice owner, you may not be actively using everything in your office regularly, so be sure to consult with your team. Do your hygienists have the tools they need? Does your front office team have software that supports your business goals? Set your team up for success by giving them the right tools to do their job effectively.
Stop settling for workarounds. Invest in the equipment and software you need, and you’ll see the ROI in increased productivity, loyal staff, and better patient retention.
- Prioritize Staff Appreciation
Staffing shortages are a universal problem right now, and dentistry is no exception. Looking at the year ahead, acquiring and retaining quality team members is going to require more intentionality than ever. There’s a good chance you already hosted a holiday party or treated your staff members to an end-of-year gift or bonus. That’s a great start, but the key is to consistently prioritize staff appreciation throughout the whole year.
Building an exceptional workplace culture and making sure your staff knows they are valued and respected is one of the greatest things you can do for your practice in the new year. A team who knows they are valued will be more invested in the collective goals and success of your practice. Empower your team to be the best version of themselves by making recognition and appreciation a habit, by giving them the tools to do their work effectively, and by rewarding people who go above and beyond.
If you don’t currently have a bonusing system in your practice, consider implementing one. It’s an easy way to motivate team members and to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to acknowledging extra effort and appreciating high performers.
Keep the Momentum Going
There’s no limit to the amount of possible New Year’s Resolutions you could make, but starting with these three will set you up for success in the new year. A clear understanding of where you are and where you want to be, coupled with the right tools and the right team? That’s a recipe for success.
For more actionable tips on starting the new year strong, check out The 2022 Office Manager Roadmaps from Dental Intelligence.
You only get to make one first impression. Set the tone for new patients with a first visit experience that's modern, efficient, and personal.
November 18, 2021
You only get one first impression with a new patient. What message are you sending when they visit your office for their first appointment? The small details in your intake process have an undeniable impact on setting the tone for that patient relationship going forward.
Many dental offices struggle with user experience during patient intake. It can be difficult to find the balance between processes that make life easier for your staff and processes that create a better experience for your patients. For instance, how often does paperwork get lost, or does your schedule fall behind because patients show up 1 minute before their appointment time and still have 15 minutes of paperwork to fill out?
If you are looking to start new patients on the right foot, it’s critical to streamline your intake systems in ways that benefit both staff and patients. A pleasant and efficient patient intake process helps build trust and confidence in the quality of services and care you are offering.
Top Priorities for Improving Patient Experience
Where should you focus your efforts if you want to improve the new patient experience? These three priorities have an undeniable impact on the first impressions you set with each new patient:
- Efficiency: Use fast, effective systems to collect patient information. Use automation to streamline the process, ensuring efficiency for both the new patient and office staff.
- Modern: It’s time to get rid of the printed paperwork. If you are still handing out clipboards with patient forms, then you need to update your system. Digitize it to streamline the intake process and reduce busywork in your office.
- Personal Touch: One fear of using technology for patient intake is losing personal touch with the patient. Find the balance between leveraging technology while still making it a personalized experience. Technology can improve personalization since the office staff will have more time back in their day to focus on enriching interactions with patients.
6 Steps to Optimize New Patient Experience
Strong patient relationships and long-term loyalty begins with a stellar first-time experience. Follow these proven tips if you are looking for ways to improve the new patient experience in your dental office:
1. “What to Expect” Landing Page
A lot of people already have anxiety about going to the dentist, so it's helpful to eliminate as many unknowns as possible. Create a landing page for your website that walks new patients through exactly what they can expect leading up to and during their first appointment. Providing basic logistical information, such as where to park when they arrive or how and when they will receive appointment reminders, goes a long way in putting patients at ease. The goal is to spell out all necessary details to eliminate any surprises or potential friction between when the patient books the appointment and the time they are actually sitting in the chair.
2. Online Scheduling
Many people don’t want to pick up the phone to call for an appointment. When scheduling over the phone, the back and forth of offering up potential times can often result in patients double booking themselves or accepting an appointment time they can't make, not to mention the number of people who don't think about scheduling until after business hours and then get sent to voicemail. Digital scheduling tools allow your patients to view your real-time availability and check it against their own schedules before booking, ensuring they select an appointment time they can commit to and effectively increasing show-rates for new patients. Your patients are already booking flights, ordering dinner, refilling prescriptions, and buying groceries online – meet them where they are.
3. Go Paperless
There are countless benefits to going paperless for patient forms and consents. Not only does it provide cost-savings and free up physical space in your office (goodbye, filing cabinets!), it helps increase compliance and makes paperwork significantly easier for your patients. Digital forms allow patients to complete their paperwork at their convenience from their phone, tablet, or computer prior to arriving for their appointment, ensuring your staff stays on schedule and waiting rooms aren't backed up with patients scrambling to fill out forms. Digital forms also introduce smart functionality that can collapse questions or auto-populate additional questions based on patients' answers, so they won't have to fill out sections that aren't relevant to them. Digital forms are quicker to complete on the patient end, and they instantly file automatically into your practice management software, meaning always-up-to-date patient charts without any data entry or extra clicks for your front office staff.
Learn more about the impact digital forms can have on your practice
4. Virtual Check-In
Crowded waiting rooms are a thing of the past. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients prefer to wait in the comfort of their own vehicle. Seamlessly check patients in remotely by sending them a text or email link to click when they arrive, and text or call to let them know when you're ready to see them. Virtual check-in helps you decrease waiting room traffic and keep things running on schedule so your providers can give every patient the time and attention that they expect.
5. Optimize Treatment Plans
Often, new patients require extra treatment to get caught up after having been without a dentist or regular exams for a time. Talking to a new patient about treatment can be tricky, especially if they have a backlog of dental care needed or have dental anxiety – but having the right tools helps you cater your treatment presentation to each patient to ensure they understand their needs and feel confident in saying yes to treatment. Digital treatment planning tools allow you to customize treatment presentation to highlight what's most important, include intraoral photos or infographics to help with patient understanding, and incorporate payment options as part of the conversation early on so that patients know their options. Treatment presentation should be transparent, educational, and understandable in order to build trust with new patients.
6. Digital Payment Options
It’s a hassle for office staff to print invoices and mail letters to remind patients about overdue balances, and by that same token, most patients don't love waiting days or weeks to get their bill in the mail only to have to send back a check or call in to make a payment. Make collections easier for everyone involved with digital payment requests. Send your patients a text or email with a link to securely view their statement and pay their balance right from their phone or computer. Your patients will appreciate the quicker turnaround time and easy payment options, and your staff will appreciate not having to stamp and seal hundreds of envelopes every month. This is the last patient touch-point in the appointment cycle and a final chance to remind your new patient that your practice prioritizes their experience and convenience.
Turn First Impressions into Long-Term Retention
Efficient. Modern. Personal. These are characteristics new patients are beginning to look for and expect from their dental office. Use these tips to create a seamless experience for new patients, and you’ll not only make a great first impression, but this positive patient experience will create a strong foundation for lifelong patient loyalty.
What’s one thing that every single dental practice struggles with? Finding, scheduling, and keeping the patients you want in your chairs is a never-ending job.
November 12, 2021
What’s one thing that every single dental practice struggles with? If you answered, “filling their schedule,” you are the winner! Finding, scheduling, and keeping the patients you want in your chairs is a never-ending job.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Kelly Schwartz, CEO of Schwartz Consulting Group, about some of the most effective ways a dental practice can fill their schedule with the right kind of patients. Kelly and his team work with over 750 dental practices, providing them with tools and resources to help them grow in the ways that matter most to each practice.
Here’s our recent conversation with Kelly. Our host is Katie Poulsen, Director of Customer Marketing at Dental Intelligence. We were also joined by special guest Curtis Marshall, our Principal Product Manager.
We’re talking about filling schedules this season, and you are very good at filling schedules with the perfect patients, so we’re going to talk about finding the perfect patient for the hole in your schedule. It sounds hard — you just keep making call after call. How does a practice achieve that when the schedule falls apart?
I’m a big believer that you begin with the end in mind. So, if you’re a dentist who’s going to do a crown prep, you need to know what that crown should look like at the end of the procedure. You visualize where you want to go and build upon it. To be successful and to fill the practice with the right patients, we want to make sure that you know what your plan is for the day.
That could be a schedule for the day, or it could be a certain number of patients or production - how do you pick the best patients? So, the first thing I look for is — do we have a goal for the day? Let’s say the goal is 5k in production.
How do we get there? It starts with keeping hygiene full.
By keeping the hygiene department full, that’s where most of the work diagnosed comes from and that can be converted with systems and education into the doctor’s chair.
But your question is really, “How do we pick the RIGHT patients?” So, when I ask offices what the right patient looks like, they say the patients who have the most dollars of work to do. Which, in theory, is true. But I try to train the team to think of the patients that need the most care. So, if you, Curtis, come in every 6 months for a cleaning, that’s fantastic, but if you don’t need or want work - that’s one thing - but you want an eight o’clock appointment every six months - you don’t do the work you don’t refer the work, you just want eight o’clock so you just want the time not the practice.
Katie, on the other hand, needs treatment. And if she doesn’t get it, she’ll have more issues than you will. So, you want to pick the right patient so what we like to do — we love using Dental Intelligence because it’s the only tool I’m aware of as a coach — but what I like to do is train the team to find the patients that have been in in the last 18 months to find the most care.
Just to clarify there Kelly, by care, you mean the most treatment needed, correct?
Right, so the patient that needs treatment and goes untreated, they have a greater chance of having a problem and I don’t want that as your Dentist. Or — Katie, who just wants a cleaning and has a twice-a-year coupon from her insurance to come in - so Katie just wants to come in for a cleaning.
What I tell them to do is look at the patients who are overdue and then find the patients with the most treatment needed. Then we prioritize - so one of the things we’ll do is call the first 10 patients who have been in the last 12 months who had the most care, then we’ll call those who were in in the last 6-9 months who had the most care. Then we’ll go to all the patients who need 3k in production or more. Instead of going from top to bottom of list — we go to the patients who have the most care. The reason why is we want them to get in before they have more problems.
I love that because it’s not just beneficial for the practice — it’s what’s best for the patient.
Absolutely! If I have five openings and fifty patients and I only have five hours in chair time open, let’s pick the patients we can get in and prevent them from having to spend more money. We want to catch it before it’s a problem.
So that’s where I start — hygiene chairs open.
In dentistry, if you have eight patients per day in a hygienist’s chair, you have 448 teeth to look at, but if you only put seven patients per hygienist per chair, you have 392 to look at, meaning you lose 56 opportunities to find teeth needing treatment. That’s really important. And then you don’t want to have a patient - a practice full of patients who don’t need treatment. Most practices’ goal is to get everyone healthy, right? In dentistry we can’t afford to have that. If we have sixteen hygiene patients who don’t need work, we don’t need assistants. We need a front desk. So, we like to prioritize those patients and have a system in place to get those patients in the chair with the biggest amount of treatment — I’ll call it the low-hanging fruit. So, we want to be productive and keep butts in chairs with patients who need care in our practice.
Kelly, this is really cool — to recap here what we need is first you need to know your goal. So a question for you - if my goal is 5k in production — I hope yours isn’t but if it is, and you have many holes in your schedule, is that a perfect day? 5k? If you’re scheduled to it — your goal is 5k per day, and you’re scheduled to goal, but you have holes in the schedule, is that still a perfect day?
I train our front desk teams to have consistent productive days. If our goal is 5k, 6k, 10k — it’s either 1k over or 500 under. I don’t want to put so much pressure on that every minute of every day must be full. We want to be productive and grow. If we hit within that range every day for a month, then the next month might be $5500 a day. We’re making steady progression. We don’t set a goal at the beginning of the year and say that’s it. I’ve seen teams have a 5k or 6k day on the books but who have three openings and spend three or four hours trying to fill an opening in two hours which is not a productive use of time.
I’d rather look to the future to be more productive. Productive is more important than full.
In order to have a perfect day, you truly need to understand — “What’s a perfect day for you?” Ultimately, it’s production — nine out of ten times. So, you need to schedule to your production goal. Once you know what that is, the key is then making sure that you’re able to fill up those appointments with dollars.
If you have these holes in your schedule, then what you’re wanting to do to fill them by getting patients to have treatment already presented and get those patients scheduled rather than getting the Katies who have perfect teeth, right?
Here's where Dental Intelligence becomes so important. I still want Katie to come in for her appointment — that just needs to be part of my overall approach to scheduling. Instead of the old methods of scheduling, we use the tools DI gives us, which is like replacing a screwdriver with a power drill. When I’m filling our hygiene schedule, I want to go into our Unscheduled Patients pie chart and look for patients who’ve been in recently that need the most treatment and that’s where I’m going to start treating - that’s where our focus is. Then if we have holes in the doctor’s schedule, then I’ll use Patient Finder and jump in and pull in patients that - I’ll do a search.
For example, let’s say I have a 45-minute opening, I’ll look for patients needing fillings that have been in within a certain timeframe. 30, 60, 90 days - they’ve recently been in and are motivated. Maybe they need a crown prep. I’ll pull patients who need crown preps. I’ll use that DI power drill instead of running reports in Dentrix, Eaglesoft, Open Dental, just looking for anybody.
I can also find patients that are better matches when I use the quick fill that DI has provided by the best match. When I click on — “I have an opening on my schedule,” I hit my best match and that pulls up the patients that would best fill my schedule for that particular day — the ones I’m most likely to reach.
One of the problems we have is when you call old school on a Dentrix, Eaglesoft or Open Dental list, and her last name is Adams, and my last name is Zebrowski — all the Adams get called 100 times and we never get to the “Zs”. So, we want to make sure we have a sequence of who to call, when to call, when to leave a message, when to hang up, leave an Online Scheduling link, etc. Use all the tools together. But if you open time on recall, I’m going to my pie chart looking for them. And if I’m looking to fill my doctor’s schedule, I’ll go to my recent restorative elective cases and look for the patients who were just in who need my care. I’m going to look for anybody who has zero % accepted on newly diagnosed treatment and I’m going to follow up with them quickly.
Here’s a question for you, Katie. Do you know the #1 reason that patients leave a practice?
Leave as in they never come back?
Yes. The biggest reason is their perceived lack of caring from the doctor. So, 64% leave because they think you don’t care. Imagine that I, your doctor, told you during your visit three weeks ago that you needed a crown. But for one reason or another, without good systems, I don’t follow up with you for 60 to 90 days. When my team does call you, why am I calling? Because I care or because I want money?
It’s typically the latter - the doctor needs to fill his or her schedule.
But with DI, we set it up so that if you walk out the door without scheduling that crown - within fourteen days you’re being contacted by the office because we now know who the patients are that didn’t get the care they needed. We send them a letter, text, or email as soon as they walk out the door saying “We know you didn’t schedule, and we care, and we’ll contact you soon to get that scheduled.” And so, within three days you get this communication and a photo of your tooth because your dentist really cares.
I have a friend whose last name starts with “Z” who actually told me he rarely if ever gets called because of that, and he works in marketing!
It’s about “power tool” instead of “old school”. It’s 2021! We should have flying cars by now! If you think about day planners and file cabinets and answering machines and pagers, they’re all obsolete, but they’re not that old. Our “why” for doing this - talking to you today on Growth in Dentistry – is because we know that our systems at Schwartz Consulting Group combined with Dental Intelligence equals results.
So, here’s the question - getting butts into the hygiene chair is important. Two of the numbers I find that really give me the pulse on my practices and systems are:
1: Patient Treatment Acceptance - How many schedule after presented?
2: And of those dollars presented, how much is scheduled?
What’s a good number here in your opinion?
As a % what’s a good case acceptance?
Over 90 for people saying yes. If I present to 10 people 9 should say yes.
That’s the goal. But what % of the practices do you think are currently performing at that level?
Not very many. Based on the data we look at, most are at around 40-50%.
40-50% do treatment - that’s what data shows for the majority of clients, right? And what $ of dollars are scheduling?
I believe 30% or maybe even the high 20s.
Want to keep reading? Check out part 2.
January 12, 2023
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