With so many recent advancements in the dental industry, between new technologies and machines and new ways of reaching patients, it can be a challenge to determine what investments are worth it for your dental practice. Many dentists find it difficult to get the most out of their technology and with some purchases being thousands of dollars, it is so important to make sure that the products you buy are being used to their full potential.
Dentists can often find themselves in a cycle of buying a more expensive product and hoping that it will change the direction of their business with increased revenues and higher efficiency. But by not keeping up with the technology it can be difficult to learn the ins and outs of each product. Then when they are unable to fully utilize these products, they can become encouraged to do it again with another big-ticket item, hoping for a different result.
Many also understand the importance of having modern technology but fear the transition of a new technology that involves a big investment of both time and money. So when they do decide to transition, they often attend the first few training sessions. But then slow down during the initial implementation when they are faced with a high price tag and productivity is lost during training. Many end up with the pain of the investment, without making it to the point of return where the investment becomes worthwhile for their practice.
Overall, one thing that everyone in the dental industry can agree on is that the future is entirely digital. All aspects of the dental practice have seen a transition to digital from paper: practice management, digital x-rays, cone beam computed tomography, CAD systems, and so much more. As the dental industry and technology continues to advance, it is predicted that even more things will be transitioning to a more digital approach.
First, there are a few ticket items that should be addressed. At this point, all dental practices should have a few modern technologies, to overall improve the practices return. These include digital x-rays, digital charts, intraoral cameras, and recall systems. These few things should be used and implemented in all practices for a standard and more modern practice to thrive.
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The first investment that dental practices should focus on for the best return is their website. With the majority of the world moving towards an entirely digital focus, this is often the first experience that patients have with your business. This makes it imperative that your website have information that is easy to find and follow, in both a web browser and mobile view.
A great start to making things easier for the patient is by making it possible to schedule appointments virtually. This again saves time for the office staff and the patient, but also minimizes the chance of patients having a poor phone conversation.
Research suggests that having a great website can almost double your number of patients. A few great ideas to set yourself apart from other websites is giving patients the ability to complete all new patient forms online in some sort of fillable capacity.
This allows them to complete their forms in their own time and makes it easy to reinforce that all forms should be submitted before the appointment. Ultimately this helps to save time for your office staff and shortens the appointment length time as well.
2. EASY PAYMENT OPTIONS
Another great optional website tip that could increase return is making it possible for patients to make payment directly from the website. This makes it easier to pay and generally bills that are easy to find are easy to pay.
If your dental practice wants to go above and beyond in this area, it could be a good idea to have an automated system that sends patients their bills through email and text as well, since many are quicker to respond this way.
This investment has a great return because making payments easy for patients means that they will be more likely to pay on time. It also has great capabilities for office staff to send mass texts or emails to all patients who have not paid yet.
Finally, another great investment that dental practices can make to experience the best return is by giving patients the ability to complete virtual consultations. This can be an excellent option for both cosmetic and emergencies, by giving patients a quick and easy way to get a very fast response about the severity of the situation from the comfort of their own home. Of course, ultimately saving both the dental team and the patients time by limiting the amount of time each patient spends in the office.
The first steps in getting your dental practice on the right path towards the greatest ROI is being current on all of the latest technology: digital x-rays and charts, intraoral cameras, and recall systems. Once your practice has been updated to this point, the next steps are relatively simple and luckily aren’t costly.
If you haven’t already dissected your website, it can be good idea to start there and confirm that the user experience is up to the quality standard. It is also important to always remember that a large portion of web users are using their phones, so be sure to check the mobile view.
In line with having a great website, giving patients the chance to upload their new patient forms and documents can help save time for everyone. Plus, having easy digital payment options on your website and via text or email also make it easier for patients to pay.
Finally, a great idea for some specialties like cosmetic dentistry and different emergency situations would be offering virtual consultations. This gives patients the ability to either upload or speak virtually with a specialist, saving time in the clinic and allowing the patients to get answers quickly about severity.
The benefit of these three simple dental investment tips is that there are whole companies that have been created to help solve these issues. For small fee in comparison to some of the technology found in dental practices that can tens of thousands of dollars. With such a small fee, these three simple changes are easy to implement and offer a very small (to no) risk with a significant return to your dental practice.