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Increase Your Dental Practice Production by Implementing Online Scheduling

By Planet DDS
May 10, 2021

Could your dental practice production be a timing issue? Thanks to technology the answer could be “yes!” And it’s related to increasing production using online scheduling.

Back to timing – it’s basically narrowing the gap between a current or potential patient’s thought about a dental appointment and the convenience of taking action.

Online scheduling fills that gap.

The curse-of-busyness and the remedy of immediate access

Schedule overwhelm. Maintaining balance. Keeping-the-plates-spinning. Those only begin to describe the pace of life most (including your patients) experience.

It’s no wonder that oral health decisions can easily slip between the cracks of already overloaded schedules. It makes sense to provide patients an easier option to act when dentistry crosses their mind.

Our on-demand culture has created a shift in how we interact, schedule our time, access services, and more. People reflexively reach for their smartphone or device for information, to check availability, and often to schedule an appointment.

And…

You want to be in that zone when dentistry comes to mind!

Why online scheduling is moving from trend to norm

No doubt, digital access to scheduling has trended upwards. It will likely become a benchmark for how dental practices interface with patients.

It’s difficult to argue with the data.

RevenueWell reveals a comparison trend in a related survey:

  • Online appointment booking was preferred by 70% of their survey respondents
  • Phone scheduling (by comparison) was preferred by 20%
  • The inconvenience of phone scheduling was highlighted by 60% of those surveyed
  • Canceling or rescheduling an appointment was preferred by 50% of respondents

Healthgrades confirms,

“…organizations with online scheduling options see a 24% increase in call volume.” [1]

And Accenture agrees with them in their report,

“…77% of patients said that the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online is important in their choice of a healthcare provider.” [2]

So, it appears that patient preference is tipping toward the ongoing development of online scheduling solutions.

The essence of online scheduling and its potential to increase your dental practice production

Online scheduling improves your patient experience

First things first: patients prefer to self-schedule (59 to 70 percent according to survey data).

Online scheduling portals align with the digital preferences of the public…and your patients. Think of it as one less “hoop” they have to jump through to access dental care. That’s a thumbs-up for your patient experience.

Online scheduling helps maintain appointment schedule consistency

Open schedule blocks or no-shows create frustration…and opportunity. The opportunity arises when a patient happens to view a same-day or next-day schedule opening via online access.

Imagine them having to attempt to access your office on the phone. There’s the potential for being placed on-hold and having to wait. Online scheduling maintains their sense of control of their time.

The ability to schedule online also gives them an immediate view of an appointment opening. Urgency can naturally follow as they’re able to schedule in the moment.

Online scheduling provides 24/7 opportunity to take action about dental care

Hours of operation are when treatment typically occurs. But a patient’s thoughts and/or decisions about their care can happen anytime day or night.

An after-hours call to an answering service is a convenience. But again, there’s the added dependence on someone else’s availability.

Compare that with being able to hop on your dental practice’s online portal. Patients will likely appreciate the flexibility and feel more in control of their decision to schedule an appointment or consultation.

Online scheduling helps with your team’s productivity

Voicemails, text and email replies, and answering service messages are part of your team’s daily workflows. Online scheduling eliminates another to-do item by giving patients access to schedule openings pre-designated by you/your team.

Being able to click on an online appointment block, select a time, and receive an automated reminder maximizes time for your patients and your team.

Online scheduling makes an impression about your digital maturity and relevance

We’ve discussed being a digitally mature solo practice or digitally mature DSO. Again, according to earlier mentioned data, the majority of practices (up to 66%) are prepared to provide online scheduling for their patients.

Being relevant (digitally speaking) has dental marketing value. A secure, online, self-scheduling option is another patient-facing tool that sets you apart from the competition.

Increase your production potential with forward-thinking technology solutions

From online scheduling options to cloud-based solutions Planet DDS is a leading technology provider among emerging and sustained dental trends now and in the future.

Planet DDS’s Denticon is the proven cloud-based Dental Practice Management Software in today’s market among solo private practices, private group practices, and top DSOs.

Contact us for more information about how Denticon can streamline your workflow systems and operational tasks that can help you stay productively on trend now, in 2021, and beyond.

[1]               https://partners.healthgrades.com/blog/digital-self-scheduling-improves-the-healthcare-consumer-experience

[2]               https://partners.healthgrades.com/blog/digital-self-scheduling-improves-the-healthcare-consumer-experience

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