Dental Products Report spoke with Henry Schein One Product Manager for Patient Experience Andrea Gallimore to learn about why it's so important to be ready to communicate and interact with your patients when and how they want to connect. [6 minutes]
Noah Levine (NL): Hello, I'm Noah Levine, Editorial Director with Dental Products Report. Today I'm joined by Andrea Gallimore. She's a product manager for patient experience with Henry Schein One. Andrea, thanks so much for joining us.
Andrea Gallimore (AG): Thanks know us. Great to be here.
NL: Well, to kick things off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background,
AG: I actually was an office manager for 12 years for a practice. And so got that background in the dental industry. I did that for 12 years, ran a multi-doctor practice. Then I moved into full time working for Henry Schein 13 years ago, actually. I just had my anniversary at the beginning of this month. That's it. So I've been with Henry Schein now for 13 years, so 25 years in this dental industry, love it to death and love working with practices to help them be more efficient and effective and productive in their practice.
NL: Getting right to some questions we'd love to ask you about. I mean, it's right there in your title, that you're a manager for patient experience. And I think, you know, practices get things right really well when it comes to providing good communication or good experience for their patients. So that what did they get right? What did they get wrong in general?
AG: Well, you know, one thing they get right is sending electronic communications to their patients, asking the patient to confirm appointments. You know, we live in an instantaneous world nowadays, and we're all busy. So getting that reminder. And confirming right away is something we'll do when we see that come in on our telephone. Now, the flip side of that, too, is what do we get wrong in practices sometimes when we're communicating with our patients is that we overcommunicate with patients, you know. If you think about it, you're with yourself, how many times do you get another message saying confirm your appointment? And you've already confirmed it and you get another one, confirm your appointment? And you're like, Well, I've already confirmed this appointment. And did I not know it, you know, so we have to be very careful. It's a delicate balance, to not overcommunicate, but to communicate and get your patient to respond and confirm their appointments.
NL: Now, we live in a world that has gotten a lot more complex when it comes to how we all communicate with each other and how dental practices can communicate with their patients. Some of the biggest influences on how practices are perceived in public have become very prominent the last few years, I'm speaking about social media platforms, online review platforms, how have the rise of these platforms changed the ways dental practices, communicate and interact with their patients?
AG: Well, it really has, because if you think about it, word of mouth is how we got new patients a lot of times into our practices. And that is still in essence what we're doing. But it's done through social media. Now, you know, you're out there, and you need to find an oral surgeon, for your son or daughter or whatever. And you go out social media and you posted, "Who do you recommend?" You want all your friends telling you. Well, what's important is for the practice, to have those social media accounts, and have reviews on those accounts, and have interactions with their patients basically, on those accounts, because when someone's seeking a recommendation, they're gonna hit right on that social media account, and they're gonna go right over to your website, and they're gonna look for Google reviews. And this all ties together. So having social media, keeping the patient base informed about what's going on in the practice, also will drive a new patients into your practice.
NL: Now, this leads into, you know, kind of the other side of things. This is technology patients are using to interact with practices, but on the practice side, over the years, and you've been, you know, in the practice management side of things for a good while now. How has the technology changed? What can practices do differently, more efficiently now with technology than they could in the past?
AG: Well, you know, it's given us in a practice, really more opportunity to connect with the patient than we had in the past as technology has evolved. And instead of just, you know, calling and leaving a message on the phone for them and expecting them to even listen to our message or respond to that message. image, we now with the many ways that we have to contact them. And especially with texting because we all are have our phones in our hands and we're all looking at that text when it pops in and we're all answering it pretty much instantaneously. It has made the patient, really at your fingertips now for the practice because technology is in their hand. They're utilizing it daily, or every minute of the day almost and you know, and they're right. They're responding because they see it pop up in their face, basically.