5 important office updates for a modern practice

January 27, 2016

Many dentists spend a great deal of time and money designing a stunning website and fleshing out their online profiles, but how can they ensure that their physical presence is on par as well? Here are 5 things you can do to ensure your practice stands out.

Many dentists spend a great deal of time and money designing a stunning website and fleshing out their online profiles, but how can they ensure that their physical presence is on par as well?

All that is needed are a few simple tweaks to ensure that the dental practice is as appealing as possible to both existing and potential patients. These five updates can help a dental practice stand above the rest.

Click through the following pages to see the five crucial updates that could elevate your dental practice.

 

 

 

 

Offer modern conveniences

Think about what sets a great resort hotel like a Four Seasons apart from a standard chain hotel like a Sheraton: the attention to detail. By providing convenient and modern amenities, patients will feel more comfortable, more at ease and will be more likely to enjoy their experience at the dentist’s office.

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For example, provide patients with free Wi-Fi and keep the username and password visibly accessible in the reception area. Also, utilizing a user-friendly iPad interface or even downloadable or fillable online documents for new patient intake and health history updates simplifies the check-in process.

During complex procedures, give patients an iPad configured with games, music playlists, reading material and even a subscription to Netflix so they can choose what will best keep them calm and occupied during an extended appointment.

 

 

 

 

Stay updated on the latest procedures and equipment that have benefits patients actually want

It’s important to keep up with popular industry trends, equipment, procedures and materials. By taking more than just the required continuing education (CE) courses, dentists can continually upgrade their skills and find out what is necessary to attract today’s dental patient.

CAD/CAM and CEREC are two of the most popular current technologies in the industry. While there are a plethora of reasons to utilize modern systems such as CAD/CAM, the primary benefit is efficiency. Dentists can utilize CAD/CAM systems like CEREC to provide crowns, veneers and other restorations in a single visit instead of having to schedule a second appointment, which saves time for the dentist and creates great value in the mind of the patient.

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Offering the cosmetic procedures that patients are seeking can also help expand the range of procedures and diversity of clientele in a dental practice. Teeth whitening procedures continue to remain in high demand. Offering whitening solutions tailored to a patient’s needs such as post-whitening sensitivity, drastic discoloration or the desire for one-time in-office whitening procedures can also help a practice succeed.

And millions of patients desire straighter teeth, but cannot put their lives on hold by wearing braces.  This opens up a huge opportunity for dentists, as there are many options that don’t require referring patients out to orthodontists. Offering aligners and alignment systems such as Invisalign® and Six Month Smiles®, can help attract more prospective patients in this manner.

 

 

 

 

Provide patients with more than one way to afford dental care

Dental practices that offer in-house financial options to their patients are at an advantage because these resources can help make dental care more affordable to patients and their families, and can effectively serve to unlock their budgets for dentistry.

Quality Dental Plan, for instance, is an in-house dental savings plan dentists can offer to their patients. This service helps families afford the dental care they need, regardless of insurance coverage. QDP focuses on providing quality care for all patients, and there are no caps on benefits and no hidden fees or extra charges.

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Another resource is Comprehensive Finance, an in-house patient financing program whose proprietary PaymentWorthiness™ gives dentists greater flexibility in determining which patients qualify for financing, which helps dental offices provide care to a greater number of patients. By offering alternative payment options such as those offered by Comprehensive Finance, dental practices can appeal to a greater audience of prospective patients and can enable more patients to say “yes” to complex and comprehensive care.

 

 

 

 

Utilize marketing automation tools

Many dental practices already use a marketing automation or electronic patient communication tool, but most are likely not using the system to its full potential. Electronic communication software, like the Dental Sesame system offered by Sesame Communications, can be used to communicate more effectively and more often with current patients, and can help tighten recall, educate patients about new services or procedures offered. And as many doctors already know, electronic patient communication can even reduce overhead by eliminating the need for pricey postcard reminders and time-consuming confirmation phone calls and replacing them (in most cases) with automated email and text message alerts.

More from Naomi Cooper: The importance of becoming a digital dentist

What some dentists don’t know is that after a patient comes in for treatment, many electronic communication systems also offer the option to send a post-appointment survey to prompt them to rate their satisfaction. Post-appointment surveys can feed into online reviews as well as help highlight any inconsistencies in service that could potentially develop into a larger issue. The more feedback received, both positive and negative, the more a dentist can better his or her practice.

Finally, while electronic patient communication certainly helps the practice communicate more effectively and efficiently, it isn’t a substitute for good, old-fashioned one-to-one communication. Some elderly or non-tech savvy patients still do prefer a phone call to an email appointment reminder, so know who those patients are and customize your communication to them. And if a patient is has a complex procedure, follow up with a phone call later that evening. Something as considerate and personal as a phone call from the dentist to check on the patient and make sure all is well truly goes a long way and can set the practice apart from the rest.

 

 

 

 

Give the practice a modern visual refresh

Some changes are so simple, they are often times overlooked. Esthetic changes can modernize a practice and do not have to cost a great deal of money. Give the office a fresh coat of paint and replace any worn flooring or carpet; by doing this, the office will look cleaner and refreshed, easing any concerns on the part of new patients. Try swapping fluorescent lighting with energy-saving bulbs to convey a softer impression and ambiance, and change out any stained ceiling tiles; after all, your patients probably spend a lot of time staring at them!

Related reading: The biggest dental practice design mistakes made by dentists

Because making a great first impression is crucial, no matter how incredible a dentist’s skills, the reception area should be impeccable. This is the first room a patient sees upon walking into an office; so make sure to pay particular attention to this space so that it creates a lasting positive impression. Reupholster any worn furniture, stock a variety of reading materials, select appealing music to play (best to avoid the standard ‘elevator’ fare) and encourage consistency in staff uniforms or attire. Most importantly, ensure that the front desk team gets up from the desk and comes around to greet each and every patient as he or she arrives rather than passing the proverbial clipboard over the counter. These simple changes can all drive the feel of the dentist’s office, and express a warm and welcoming vibe.

Although nothing can replace the importance of being a highly skilled dentist, the subtle cues that result from small updates within the practice can go a long way in helping patients to believe that your practice is the best in town. This will not only keep patients coming back but also encourages them to refer their friends and family. And that’s the true indicator of patient loyalty.