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With the dental professionals slowly getting back in action, it is highly recommended that you should be moving ahead with a revised marketing strategy. The daily workflow and conversations with your patients are no longer going to be the same. With in-person appointments falling drastically, it is necessary that dental practices stay well connected with your patients adopting new and effective ways of communication. 

To help you through the process of how you can communicate with your patients at these times of uncertainty, here are a few guidelines which we would like to share with you. From promoting your practice’s online presence to revising your marketing strategy, these five guidelines are definitely going to assist you to navigate to the new normal. 

1. Reach out to your patients 

 Even if you are not in direct contact with your patients due to the decreased volume of in-clinic visits and appointments, you can always consider reaching out to them. A simple text message or an emailer that says you are with them in these difficult times or sharing an informative blog on how to take self-care of their dental needs are definitely going to move their minds. It will reassure your patients that no matter what you are thinking about their well being too; and not taking advantage of the situation.  

It is not some marketing pitches that they are looking forward to. Reach out to them with empathy and understanding that in-business or out of business you value your patients the same. This will help you to regain your patients quickly as the normal clinical appointments start kicking off. 

Do not be quiet at these times. Tell them more about how you are getting back the hold on your practice, consulting with patients through telehealth conferences and online scheduling. Post about the new updates from your practice on your social media platforms. Engage with them and ensure that the new procedures are for the safety of the patients and that you strive to provide quality dental care even through these difficult times. This not only helps you to gain more appointments but also allows you to build stronger relationships with your patients ensuring an increased loyalty and trust towards the practice. 

2. Extend out of the practice care 

This is your opportunity to show your patients that it’s not only always about revenue and patient collections, but also about the oral health and well-being of them. Keep your efforts more about providing insights on how your patients could keep a tab on the preventive care, their oral health, and other necessary safety measures in the middle of the pandemic. Push out more messages and blogs on the importance of being top on their health and safe well being. Even though it feels like no one is listening, pivot your marketing pitches in a way as to extend the care any patient would look for in these times. Think like a patient and proactively have conversations with them on their recent worries and concerns regarding health. 

Conduct webinars or run campaigns for your patients just to tell them more about being healthy in the middle of the pandemic; just give in a few tips, a new routine to follow or may be a free dental checkup online. These are what your patients going to see and measure at a time when the in-practice visits are yet to get normalized. 

3. Update all your patient-facing platforms

You must be just getting back to normal, but your patients who are still at their homes concerned about getting infected from unnecessary clinical visits will never know what to expect from you as you reopen the practice. It is therefore important to communicate efficiently with your patients regarding the progress you are making with your practice and the recent shift in safety procedures you have brought in to ensure a safe consultation experience for them. 

Update the progress you are making on all your patient-facing platforms or convey them directly through messages and emails. Tell them that you are out there working for them providing them all the facilities they need like teledentistry, curbside check-in and online scheduling to ensure a safe and convenient patient journey. 

Through regular social media posts or emails guide them through the new process. Let them know what all services that you are providing currently through virtual offices and how they could avoid unnecessary clinic visits for a simple dental checkup. If you can undertake any emergency procedures let them know that too along with a proper layout as in how you will be dealing with the procedure to ensure the safety of your patient. With unwanted traveling being restricted at the moment, your patients will definitely appreciate the effort you are making to guide them through the virtual process and letting them have online appointments. 

4. Be consistent with your communication

 Keeping your practice up and running along with dealing your patient communication is an enormous task. The new normal is definitely going to catch you off guard with its numerous safety guidelines and procedures to be taken care of after each patient visit, which means more time would be gone looking after your practice than your patient engagement. 

Therefore creating a schedule to communicate with your patients will help you to market your practice more proactively and efficiently. It is advised that you keep your schedule up for a few days. In this rapidly changing environment, nothing is going to last as we presume them. Thus, it will be easy if you could stick on to a time assigned to a couple of days where you can compose messages to be sent and schedule them on any automated scheduling tools. In such a case you will not be wasting your time creating messages impromptu on the days that you want to engage with patients. 

5. Revamp your marketing strategy with the trend

 Take this time to revisit your website. Your practice workflow is getting revamped and so should your marketing strategy. Make the updates regarding the way your practice will be functioning from now onwards. Keep in mind the SEO listings to the changing times and change your strategy and website according to the shift in patients searches. 

Search for your dental practice taking insights from Google trends and see if your practice is being listed in the first page. If not revamp your business listing and your content strategy. Give more focus to the new keywords that have emerged at the times of pandemic. 

Referrals and reviews matter a lot to your practice. Make sure that your dental practice has updated reviews from patients who have visited you or have consulted with you through the virtual platforms during the pandemic. Get some images with your patient's consent and upload them on your business listing. Patients who browse for the practices near them will definitely relate to your practice quickly if they see original photos of patients like them consulting with your practice. This will boost their confidence to take similar actions which will further increase your appointment volume and revenue generated. 

Even in these incredibly challenging times, a well-planned marketing strategy can still influence your patients positively. No patient can deny the challenges you must be facing to bring them the best dental care. It’s just that you let them know that as a dental practitioner you are keeping your patients’ needs at the forefront. As you focus on that it is just a matter of time for your patients to realize that they are in safe hands and to make regular appointments with your practice.

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Dental Practice Management Software

CareStack is an all-in-one cloud-based dental practice management system to manage the administrative and clinical needs of a growing enterprise via centralization, automation and analytics. It offers different products and services to improve Operational Efficiency, Patient and Staff Safety, New Patient Growth, Reimbursement and Collections. 

CareStack’s practice management software helps you manage your practice in a clean, easy-to-use interface. Its HIPAA-compliant, integrated modules include patient engagement, scheduling, telehealth conferencing, charting, automated two-way reminders, claims & billing, and business analytics. Simply put, CareStack is rewriting the rules of what an intelligent solution should look like for dentistry - for groups, DSO's and solo practices

 

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With dental practices getting back to business navigating through the effects of COVID-19, the change that was brought in a matter of months has been found quite hard to adapt with. But the only way to figure out this change is to get deep into it, step with the times and make a successful recovery. 

After COVID-19 transformed the way dental practitioners perform, many of you certainly have a lot going through your minds right now from your patients’ safety and convenience to the retention and acquisition of patients and practice revenue. With the new protective guidelines laid out, you would be hesitant to apply them in your practice as you might not really be sure on how they are going to affect your practice; both financially and professionally. But, the best way to be ahead of the curve is always to phase out and finish with assurance because the next normal in dental care is definitely not going to be the one we are leaving behind us. 

 Outlining the recovery plan for your dental practice

 With 93% of dental providers expecting the changes in the dental industry to be long-term, a new strategic recovery plan is of great importance to your practice’s survival. According to ADA, strategic planning is usually created to review the practice history and to use the relevant information to identify what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and how it needs to be done to ensure a successful future. Thus, the strategic recovery plan should be kept simple and focused to prioritize the three core players in your practice journey: Patients, Staff, and you; the dental practitioner. 

  • Patient Management

With the safety of your key stakeholder at bay, the disruption of the dental industry is real and long-standing. The reduced patient visits to dental providers are a raising concern. As a solution to this, dental providers are shifting rapidly to telehealth platforms to offer routine dental services. 27% of the dental providers are currently consulting their patients through telehealth platforms while 13% of them are soon expected to take up teledentistry. 

The increased interest in teledentistry is not just concentrated for the providers. With the very low upskill time for using this alternative, around 44% of patients are preferring online scheduling and paperless onboarding to face-to-face appointments. With an all-in-one telehealth software, you can fix your practice hours and allow patients to schedule their appointments, collect their medical history and every other relevant information digitally without much hassle. You can also engage with your patients through high-quality video conferences, documenting the clinical notes using odontograms and smart notes. With the curbside check-in feature that teledentistry offers the patients can check-in for appointments and fill out intake forms from the safety of their vehicles, making the front desk tasks contactless and convenient. 

For these reasons implementing a telehealth platform as a part of your recovery plan is an excellent step to maintain patient retention and appointment volume in these challenging times.  

  • Safety practices for your staff

It has always been important for dental practices to have a requisite number of PPE, gloves and surgical masks. With COVID-19, these items have gone high in demand, reserving them more for the dental practitioners. But, the guidelines insisting PPE protocols for the front-desk staff is making it hard to get hold of enough supplies. At the same time, the safety of the staff are cornered as they have to be in direct contact with patients coming through the clinic doors.  

Implementing virtual scheduling addresses all of the above challenges in no time. With improved communication in real-time and pre-planning the appointments, you can schedule to minimize the visits of your patients, thereby reducing the amount of staff-patient interactions. (and of course the unnecessary use of PPE) 

Virtual scheduling can also help the staff to answer the patient's queries via text messages; whether it’s a follow-up on the treatment or a change in the next schedule. They could efficiently handle them with a few taps on their tablets or PCs. This reduces the number of pointless patient visits to the clinic. 

  • Revenue Cycle Management

As the owner of the dental practice, your revenue goals play an important role in the recovery plan. It’s time that you focus more on your patients and overhead cost control than worry about claims management and patient collection. Do away with the traditional ways of conducting your practice and shift to a cloud-based dental practice management software; your all-in-one solution to maximize revenue, growth and operational efficiency.

Dental practice management software offers a multitude of remote features that includes HIPAA compliant billing, online forms, electronic pay per claims, analytics and much more, and all you have to do is take advantage of these practice management products available to help you navigate smoothly through the turbulent times. 

As you lay the last phase of your recovery plan streamline your workflow with efficient practice management systems to reach the maximum potential of the practice owned. Implement the best products available in the market and optimize your practice to be super-efficient to quickly recover from any unexpected downturns. Set targets to increase the practice capacity, case acceptance, and patients appointments to double your revenue as the synergistic effect of these works magic on your profit. 

There is no “return to the normal” 

It’s not the first time that a global pandemic is affecting the dental industry. If it was AIDS in 1980, it is COVID-19 in 2020 and maybe some other contagious disease in the coming years. But the opportunity that they present still remains the same for you. The key is always to keep your dental practice resilient and future-proof that it doesn’t get attacked unexpectedly. As former President Barack Obama had once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.” It’s just a matter of time and getting hold of the right products that would seamlessly integrate your practice workflows into a flawless well-established model. 

 

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