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): Now you talked about the phone still being a vital part of the practice, still something that obviously we need to use, but is the phone that a practice can use today the same as the one that you might have been using when you were managing a practice?
Andrea Gallimore (AG): It is so different now. You know, when I managed it definitely, you know, you could call it and get it automated attended and route to places, which was great. But now these phone systems and things that we offer within Henry Schein One and tie into our communication service Lighthouse 360+ allows for when the patient to call in, if they do happen to not get an answer, because they're so busy in their practice seeing patients as they're checking them out, seeing them in the door, the newer phone systems and the newer technology tied to patient communications that you're wanting to look for as a practice, is those that will tell the patient through a text message back to the patient, "Hey, we understand you called our office. We want to, you know, take care of you. We're with another patient, you can go ahead and text me what you need." And now the conversation's already started. Instead of waiting for me to check a voice message to see who I missed, I've got a text message already going back and forth. And you can get started communicating much more efficiently, much more streamlined. So having those more robust phone systems are just bringing another layer of communication into your practice with your patient.
NL: Now, it sounds like you know, today's practices have a lot of tools at their fingertips practices working with Lighthouse 360+, obviously have a whole number of things available. But none of that is worth anything. If the staff isn't making use of resources, how do you make sure that your team is taking advantage of the tools that they have at their disposal?
AG: So that is really a good point. Because, you know, we can buy all the services we want, we can buy all the practice management software we want. But if we can't get our team members in the office to utilize the tools, then we're just really having a bunch of screwdrivers and wrenches and all that in our tool chest that we're never pulling out to fix anything. And so one thing we do at Henry Schein One and with our services is we offer training to the team members, that is part of our package of when you purchase one of our services. So if we encourage the teams to get involved, get the training, because then they understand how does this tool that I'm going to pull out of my toolkit actually helped me be more efficient in the practice and take time away that I don't have because I'm so busy. And so really helping the practice understand the importance of the training, the importance of change management within their practice, because it's a difference between what you've been doing. And really helping the team understand, this is going to help your life. So you don't feel like you're writing 50 directions at one time. If you're using your tools properly, you're going to get more efficiency and have more happiness within your job. And within the practice.
NL: Turning back a little bit to the patients and the fact that we've already discussed there's so many different ways that a practice can connect with them. Different messaging might use a different channel, but how do you make sure that the patient has any say in this? Can patients be letting you know, what's the best way to reach them? And should you be asking them that?
AG: And they can. And that's something that's really important. And one thing that I love about Lighthouse 360+ is it's a tool that can communicate with the patient in the way that patient prefers. And that's really important. We talked about not over communicating at the very beginning. Like it's great. One of the best things to do is communicate but one of the worst things we do is over communicate while understanding what's the best method to reach Noah, for the different types of communications that I'm sending out is important. And so having that tool to be able to say Noah prefers text message. So when I send appointment reminders, text messages, my first way to send and he's gonna get a text message. So I'm not gonna send him an email and a phone call. But Andreea doesn't have a cell phone and she doesn't like text messages. She prefers email. And so I would get an email that tries the system can see that kind of information and know the preferred contact method of a patient. So it's really important to get to them that way and then they're going to respond to you because otherwise like we said in the very beginning, they're going to just say why are you contacting me all the time?