How to simplify patient communication

January 19, 2018

How one dental office is using Solutionreach to improve patient communication as well as practice efficiencies.

The team at Northside Dental in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is always looking for ways to improve communication with their patients - which is why they decided to invest in Solutionreach

Solutionreach helps them better educate their patients about the importance of maintaining their oral health and enables them to deliver the highest level of patient care, Service Coordinator Aurora Linehan says. Through automated appointment reminders, patient education tools and a variety of other features, the software streamlines patient communication and makes the office more efficient. Linehan describes it as like having another front office person who is there to make sure nothing ever falls through the cracks. 

We recently spoke with Linehan about the many benefits Solutionreach offers both the practice and the practice’s patients. 

Related reading: The evolution of patient communication

What Solutionreach features do you like best? 

We use just about all the features in the software, but I do have my favorites. For instance, we have a large Spanish-speaking population, and Solutionreach allows us to customize the reminders to be in Spanish. We also enjoy Conversations, which is a feature that lets us text any number and lets any number text our office phone number. We can communicate with patients about appointment times, health history and any questions we have for them or any questions they have for us. All the information shared is protected, giving us another way to communicate with patients while staying HIPAA compliant. 

Related article: 9 important tips for communicating with your patients

How has Solutionreach benefited your practice? 

Solutionreach has benefited us in many ways. It has made our office more efficient and helps us focus more on what’s going on in the office instead of calling to remind patients of appointments. Solutionreach emails, calls or texts every patient automatically to remind them of an appointment, and it automatically sends continuing care reminders to patients who are past due. This allows us to focus more on treatment and the patients who are here in the office, rather than making phone calls. 

How much time does Solutionreach save you each day? 

Considering I have to call from multiple lists, it saves me quite a bit of time. I’d say two to three hours a day at least. I’m able to use that time to do other tasks, such as charting, preparing for future appointments and making other phone calls. 

 

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How does Solutionreach benefit the patient? 

Our patients love having different options to communicate with us because they all have busy lives. Most don’t have time to call the office, or they can’t be on the telephone at work. They like to email us or text us directly to schedule an appointment or ask questions. 

There’s also an online scheduling feature that lets patients pick a day and time for their appointment without going back and forth with us. With this feature, they can view past or future appointments or pay bills online. 

A few patients have mentioned they really like the text reminders. They don’t realize it’s automated, so they feel like we’re personally reaching out to remind them of their appointment. They like the personal touch. 

We can customize reminders to go out as often as patients would like to be reminded. They’ll get one reminder at least two days before the appointment, so they’ll have time to call and make a change or reply to the message directly to reschedule if they need to, allowing us to fix the schedule. We have found that patients show up more often when they get more constant reminders through their communication method of choice. 

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How does Solutionreach help improve patient education? 

We love to make sure our patients are educated about everything going on in their mouths so that they can make better, more informed decisions concerning their dental health. Through Solutionreach, we can send newsletters to specific patients based on what’s in their treatment plan and educate them more on why it’s a good idea to get the recommended procedure done, or just broaden their dental knowledge overall. Most patients don’t know too much about how the mouth affects the rest of the body, and providing information through a newsletter helps with that. 

Why would you encourage other offices to invest in Solutionreach as well? 

It will help them improve communication with their patients and provide patient education in different ways. It also boosts productivity and office efficiencies. 

Also, the customer service with Solutionreach has been on point. Everyone we’ve communicated with has been very thorough, knowledgeable, kind and willing to help. Solutionreach provides community blogs, webinars and educational sites, so there are places we can go to ask questions and get answers. The learning tools and discussion boards have been really helpful.