Encouraging patients back to practice
Guy Meyers, Customer Success & Marketing Director, Software of Excellence

Now more than ever, it’s essential to keep all your communication channels with patients active and relevant. With the public still concerned about the threat from coronavirus and the possibility of a second wave of infection, many still regard the dental practice as a high-risk environment.

Because of the nature of mandatory safety measures, patients are spending less time in the practice, which presents less opportunity to communicate as previously. This is compounded with clinical staff having to wear PPE; with masks, face visors, and Perspex screens at reception – all of which makes the usual social interactions with patients more challenging.

Be pro-active
If patients don’t rebook for routine appointments after lockdown – keep recalling them. Use automated recalls, reminders, and emails to communicate with targeted groups of patients and ensure there is the opportunity to book online. Let patients know which treatments are available using social media platforms or by posting regularly updated information on your website.

As both dental professionals and business owners, you need to welcome patients back and reassure them that their safety is the number one priority. This includes making patients aware of why new measures are in place, how the new journey through the practice works, and how you are setting a new standard for safe patient care.

It is also an idea to record a video walk-through of the practice for your website, illustrating the new safety precautions and how the team is working hard to ensure the patient journey is smooth, efficient, and safe.

Virtual communication
If you haven’t already done so, consider offering virtual consultations, something more anxious patients especially may welcome, rather than risk leaving home or travel on public transport. This system can be used for triaging patients, cosmetic treatment consultations, offering oral health advice, as well as converting existing treatment plans into booked appointments.

Tele-dentistry is likely to play a big part in the post-COVID-19 era. Since lockdown, people have become used to video conferencing and this is considered a new, but perfectly acceptable way in which to see people face-to-face. This remote approach to initial patient consultations is also recommended in the BDA’s Standard Operating Procedures published 4th June 2020.

Looking to a positive future
The dental profession is having to adapt to a lot of change, but progress is being made. With the right tools in place, you can revolutionise the way patients engage with your practice, show how safety is front of mind, and promote the new patient journey to minimise personal interaction and renew confidence.

Outstanding customer service is essential to encourage patients to return, alleviate their fears and to build trust. Using the new tools available in dental software you can improve patient communication, streamline workflows, and provide support that will help you communicate a new way of safely delivering dentistry.

For more information about how Software of Excellence can help you transform your patients’ experience visit https://softwareofexcellence.co.uk/contactless-patient-journey/

TOP TIPS: Patient Communication
• Use automated recalls and reminders to make sure patients continue to attend appointments
• Send automated emails to targeted groups full of up-to-date information
• Consider virtual consultations for all patients, particularly those considering new treatment plans
• Send electronic treatment plans and follow up emails direct from your dental software to keep track of levels of treatment uptake and fill the appointment book

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Keeping in touch with your patients during lockdown
The UK national lockdown that was introduced earlier this month is a perfect opportunity for you to reach out to your patients, reassure them, and build strong relationships.
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