You may recall in my last blog, I discussed technological changes that could become the norm in your office by 2020… just 17 months away. My focus was on how the digital office could reduce the human contact points with our patients, meaning the remaining contact opportunities must be more valuable to differentiate our level of care and service from our competitors.
Two interesting points arise from that discussion that merit further attention. Firstly, we need to avoid assuming people use digital technologies merely to speed up their lives. They may be looking to speed up experiences that add little value to make time for more impactful experiences.
Waiting in line adds little value for many people. Such people use Starbucks’ app to punch in their order and have their coffee waiting for them when they arrive at the closest location. No lineups… just run in, grab your coffee and move on.
Similarly, these same people will appreciate any technology that expedites the administrative processes of a dental office. For them, remoting into your schedule and choosing a time from all options works better than the back and forth banter about finding a time.
For those of us who have acquired more “life experience” (a.k.a. we are older!), we assume younger kids “who are glued to their smartphones” do not value personal connections as much as we do. In reality, they do value those connections. They just achieve them in different ways than we did.
Your job is to tap into that reality… and including a treatment coordinator as part of your patient experience might be that much more crucial. A quality human connection that adds value to these patients may become ever more critical to your success.
So, as you examine how technology will change your workflow, consider how you might replace the lost points of human contact with higher quality, more impactful experiences. A well-trained, personable treatment coordinator could be the difference between treatment acceptance or just another diagnosis that walks out of your office.
Now you recall I did say there were two interesting points. Newton’s third law of physics tells us that every action has an opposite and equal reaction. That principle seems to apply to social trends. Just as we have a segment of the population eager to embrace and incorporate rapidly changing technology into their lives, we have another segment determined to fight tooth and nail against it (pardon the pun).
As much as we need to welcome new, tech savvy patients into our practices, we cannot ignore those who have been with us for years and are less thrilled about the automated assistant. Our job is to appeal to both groups.
How you create the balance in the ever-changing technology landscape is not easy. But these seemingly divergent groups do have one thing in common: they continue to value personal relationships. So once again, your treatment coordinator can play a vital role creating that bond with the technologically adverse!
The key for you is to build a patient workflow and experience that enhances these relationships. If you have never done so, you need to examine your current patient flow and see how it might be augmented to better incorporate a treatment coordinator. Then invest in training to ensure you are building the relationships that are key to case acceptance.