Should My Dental Practice Have a Mobile App?

April 5, 2021
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S

Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" style of presentations and writing will make you smile or just shock you into taking some action. Either way, she is very effective at empowering others to reach their goals and feel better about themselves. Her entertaining workshops are available for national and international audiences. Writing for the dental industry since 2010, she uses an alterego (Diana Directive) to illustrate her points in a sarcastic but effective way. Presentations can be scheduled by contacting Lisa at www.discussdirectives.com/dental.html.

Mobile apps make it easier to increase efficiency and simplify communication between dental practices and their patients.

Absolutely! I want my dentist, periodontist, and TMJ specialist to all get apps. With the pandemic, it makes even more sense. As you know, technology has skyrocketed this past year. The reality is if your practice is not keeping up, you will be left behind.

Let us elaborate. Healthcare has apps. Here in Cleveland, Ohio, we have two major hospital systems. There is the MyChart app for The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and FollowMyHealth® app for University Hospitals. This is how we communicate with our doctors. It also allows for the patient to be more accurate with their healthcare history. Why? Because it is all literally at their fingertips.

Why hasn’t every dental practice jumped on this bandwagon? Price may be a reason or maybe it is the lack of time for a thorough investigation. Make the time to learn how an app can benefit your practice. Maybe you have not given it any thought. Leave it to the consultants to get that ball rolling. It is coming…mark my words. We have dental websites. Now is the time to take the next step and improve your efficiency even more by exploring what an app can do for your practice.

Here are some perks…

  1. Increased convenience to schedule/reschedule appointments.
  2. Notifications automatically pushed for last minute openings.
  3. Reminder texts for upcoming appointments.
  4. New patient paperwork completed prior to appointments.
  5. Spanish speaking guide to address a language barrier.
  6. Efficient communication between dental professionals and patients.
  7. Ability for the patient to send photos in a crisis.
  8. Ability to send out videos of the procedure the patient is going to have ahead of time.
  9. Dental wellness information.
  10. A before and after image for cosmetic procedures.
  11. Medication history.
  12. Summary of the visit.
  13. Treatment plans.
  14. Products that will benefit the patient.
  15. X-rays.
  16. Payment collection 24/7.
  17. Mental health information to address any anxiety issues with visiting the dentist.

I am not a tech-y kind of person nor someone even remotely connected to the app business, but I see their value. An adult child can look at their parent’s app and be in the loop for treatment recommendations. Think about it. There really is an unlimited opportunity for how these apps could be applied that will save money, improve efficiency, and benefit both your practice and the patient.

If an app is not feasible due to the size of your practice and the expense, investigate software that allows a patient portal where patients can access appointments, bills, records, etc. It is not quite as put together as an app, but giving patients access to their information in a self-service manner can be accomplished many ways. If this is what your patients want, then it is worth researching to see how you can meet their needs.

If you have an app and can share your experience, please email me at diana2@discussdirectives.com