5 Fool-Proof Ways to Implement a Contactless Patient Communication Strategy
By Dr. Greg Grillo
Healthcare providers in every field continue to work through a challenging year with more uncertainty than most of us have ever known. At the same time, patient expectations are evolving based on both established trends and new dynamics. It seems like a difficult time to implement more changes in our offices, but these adjustments are essential right now.
While this may not be the right time to add a new CBCT machine, it’s definitely time to meet patients where they’re at psychologically. For example, 75% of patients expect to do a virtual healthcare visit in the future. Removing physical touchpoints simply makes sense to them.
As dentists, we’re juggling more dynamics than usual: we’re doing more with less staff, and we’re handling patients with extra concerns. We need contactless patient communications, and we need to get them in place now. The right strategy and execution will make our patients more comfortable, our teams more efficient, and our bottom line more profitable.
Here are five ways to implement a strategy immediately that transforms our practices from 2019 into the world we live in today. Best of all, we can leverage a platform built on two decades of experience in dentistry with the best support in the profession.
1.Convert to Paperless
Many practices have trudged towards paperless solutions over time, but many of us end up with a hybrid model. We open digital charts with nice odontograms and perio charts, but we ask our patients to grab a clipboard and fill out their intake paperwork. That space between the past and future has worked, but it doesn’t make so much sense today. Less paper helps everyone feel more secure, more productive, and less frazzled.
HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN: Building a paperless forms system from scratch isn’t for the faint of heart. We’re not going to get it done without serious technology on our side, and it needs to work right for dentistry. Make life simple and put Legwork Paperless into action in 2021 with just a few clicks. It’s this simple:
- Create drag-and-drop custom forms that gather the precise information you want.
- Let your patients access their forms securely online at home or on a mobile device.
- Automatically find finished forms in your Legwork Dashboard .
- Need to do an in-office intake? A mobile device will do!
2. Open a New (Virtual) Office
The rush to telehealth accelerated during the COVID-19 shutdown, but the trend started well before that. At the start of 2020, virtual visits had risen 33% over the previous year. Now, 83% of patients plan to use telehealth after the pandemic fades. You can add a practice within your practice by opening the digital doors to patients.
HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN: We don’t have to build a new virtual office; some brilliant people have done it for us. We simply open the doors and start taking care of our patients. We can’t place a MOD composite online, but there’s a lot we can do. And since teledentistry will soon be tied into the Legwork platform, offering this service will allow us to shift our paradigm and connect with our patients in more ways, such as:
- Meeting patients online to discuss teeth straightening, implants, and smile makeovers
- Consulting an existing patient with current x-rays about a broken tooth, and scheduling appropriately
- Interviewing and examining patients with infections, and deciding if antibiotics would help keep them out of the ER
- Consulting with homebound, elderly, or quarantined patients
3. Add Pre-Planned Comfort
75% of patients report anxiety about their dental appointments, and too many people completely avoid care. Anything we do to help decrease stress for our patients also reduces stress for us. Happy patients spread the word about our offices, and word-of-mouth remains a priceless way to engage new patients. Contacting patients about their comfort before their visits send impactful messages about the value we place on them.
HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN: Personalized care starts with our philosophy to treat people, not just teeth. Despite our best efforts, we need a system to provide first-class service consistently. Legwork Comfort allows us to automate a critical step in our relationship with patients. And consistency matters. Otherwise, Ed hears about the “wow” experience of his neighbor, but he doesn’t find it himself. Your reputation can soar by adding a contactless step to the delivery of care. Consider this scenario: