April 1, 2021
by David Rajczak, DJR Consulting
Part 2 – A Two Part Series
Part 1 of this article introduced the benefits of several third-party software integrations. Part 2 continues by describing additional applications.
The most effective applications target overdue and inactive hygiene patients with progressive messaging (multiple touch points) as their overdue (perio, recall and insurance interval) status changes. Sending the right message at the right time by using automation and intelligent logic improves patient response rates and optimizes recall performance.
Secondly, objective analysis of recall workflow is necessary to gauge the effectiveness of messaging. The road to increasing recall appointments starts with measuring current Recare performance using the metrics in the chart below.
As an example, let’s examine the Due/Late Percentage metric. Once we know the result, we can assess the amount of opportunity for recovery and design a messaging strategy around it. As a benchmark, the average number of names on a six-month overdue recall list is 200 to 250.1 This uncovers a lost revenue opportunity of at least $40,000 over the last six months. For effective recall management look for applications that:
That said, most practices should continue to use some degree of phone contact until the right blend with automated messaging is found.
Virtual waiting rooms/digital forms
Virtual waiting rooms allow patients to check in for appointments on their mobile device and complete intake forms and COVID-19 questionnaires digitally. This eliminates time spent in the waiting room and allows patients and staff to follow COVID-19 protocols.
The typical dental practice misses about one third of their calls and a large majority of patients won’t leave a message or call back if their calls are sent to voice mail.2 To prevent losing these new patient acquisition and booking opportunities, when a patient visits the practice website, Call Tracking applications dynamically swap the dental practice’s registered phone number with a new phone number that varies according to the source the patient used to find the website.3 When the patient calls, whether the call is answered or not, the specific number dialed identifies the source of the call such as Facebook, Google, Online directories, email campaigns and the search keywords used if applicable. Some systems will even report over a period, how many appointments resulted from each call source and the revenue derived – ultimately determining the marketing campaigns that generate the best return. Calls can also be recorded and reviewed for quality assurance.
Review acquisition/reputation management
Patients looking for a new dental practice are increasingly referring to online reviews.4 Therefore, it is essential for practices to regularly acquire reviews to boost new patient acquisition and enhance their practice brand.
Patient Review applications send review requests via email or text at a set interval after patients have finished their appointment. Some applications easily direct positive responders (E.g. 4 or 5 stars) to a public review forum such as Google to improve the practice’s search ranking. Patients providing a poor review can be contacted immediately to address any issues. This process improves patient satisfaction while preserving positive public review ratings.
Reputation management applications can also pull practice reviews from multiple sites so both positive and negative reviews can easily be responded to. Dashboards display performance metrics such as review request conversion rates, average satisfaction scores and analysis by review channel to help the practice assess patient satisfaction.
Most PMSs fall short on providing detailed practice intelligence for decision making.5 Practice Analytics applications produce specific key performance indicators (KPIs) by pulling the required information from your PMS database. The results are typically presented in graph form for easier viewing and interpretation. In addition to the Recare metrics previously presented (in Part 1), some KPI examples (by no means exhaustive) are shown in the table on this page.
Let’s say a practice discovers its average production per patient is well below the industry average. This may indicate too low fees, lost recalls or poor treatment conversion rates. Knowing KPI values can trigger calls to action that lead to improved practice performance that otherwise would not have been realized.6
Final thoughts & conclusion
The applications described can breathe new life into PMS. While PMS vendors may offer some of these features, the depth of functionality they provide is typically limited as their primary focus is to continue to develop and support their PMS. Also, many third-party vendors offer multiple applications under one platform that result in cost savings and one point of contact for support. However, check if the solution provider has been certified by the PMS vendor to ensure that there are no data security and stability issues during data exchanges between the two systems.
Note that a dental practice’s success in leveraging these applications is largely determined by the quality of the implementation, training and ongoing support provided by the vendor.7 Also, look for vendors that can make best practice recommendations based on their experience working with many practices.
The applications reviewed in this article series work in tandem with PMS to improve patient engagement and provide new practice intelligence. The net result is increased patient satisfaction and practice success. Implementation of these applications is not only the wave of the future for dental practices – it is essential for practice sustainability in an ever-increasing competitive dental services landscape.
About the Author
David Rajczak, founder of DJR Consulting, is a dental practice management and technology focused expert as a result of over two decades of experience working with industry leaders such as ABELDent, Henry Schein and CareCru. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-577-5252.
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