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.