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Practice Management vs. Patient Engagement Software For Dentists

By Planet DDS
January 26, 2022

By Dr. Greg Grillo

Some things just go together: fresh-cut hay on a summer morning, apple pie with ice cream, or dental checkups and prophys. Practice management software and patient engagement software fit the same way. They’re essential tools that go hand-in-hand to maximize the service we provide to our patients.

What Is Patient Engagement Software?

In today’s world, every practice has Practice Management Software (PMS), but not every practice sees the need for Patient Engagement Software (PES). That’s a mistake that we can’t afford to make. Consider the difference between these two sets of tools. PMS puts all essential day-to-day business operations into a single, convenient solution. It’s hard to imagine a healthcare entity operating without this software, but dentists did so for many years. Today, our teams click and scroll to schedule appointments, file forms, process claims, generate treatment plans, and more. The best systems streamline the patient’s flow through the office from check-in to check-out with centralized digital management of all records. PES makes it possible to engage with patients in multiple ways once they’re beyond our physical space. The best single-platform software creates seamless two-way communication channels that help us serve patients at the next level. Plus, paperless solutions, patient portals, online bill pay, and online scheduling avenues create efficiencies that everyone appreciates.  Bottom Line: You need Practice Management Software to run your practice. But you need Patient Engagement Software to grow your business .

Top 5 Underutilized Uses Of Patient Engagement Software

Our dental practice discovered more than a dozen ways that the Legwork patient engagement software worked alongside our practice management software, and that’s not even using the full suite. Legwork Reminders integrate with our PMS schedule to call, text, and email confirmations for appointments. But this single-platform powerhouse offers much more in addition to appointment reminders for our medical offices. Consider how these additional components can create a more memorable “wow” patient experience:

Opportunity #1: Open Virtual Visits

A recent survey revealed that only 20% of respondents had experienced a teledental visit, but over 60% said they planned to use it in the next five years. Innovative dentists see the trend, and they’re discovering ways to make virtual visits part of their practices.  Legwork Teledentistry makes virtual visits simple, cost-effective, and immediate. With a secure, HIPAA-compliant interface built into the PES dashboard, a variety of visits are a click away. Appointment notes, screenshots, and other records are stored inside the PES, and scheduling communicates with your PMS. This module demonstrates the integrated power of both software systems working together.

Opportunity #2: Send Comfort Surveys

Fear keeps some dental patients from seeking care, and pre-appointment anxiety can also result in short-notice cancellations. By asking people what they fear, what they need, and how we can help, we set ourselves up to provide exceptional service. Plus, we can help decrease our no-show rates and drive referrals through glowing reviews highlighting patient satisfaction and enthusiastic word-of-mouth referrals .  Legwork Comfort helps us care more and serve better with a modern communication tool. Patients receive a pre-appointment survey sent from the dashboard based on scheduling information bridged from our PMS. Our team gains a service advantage by learning about their anxiety, concerns, and priorities. This proactive step reassures patients who may be considering canceling and helps drive better case acceptance, too.

Opportunity #3: Salvage Cancellations

Despite our best efforts, patients cancel and leave our dental teams scrambling. Trying to find another patient to fill a gap takes time, energy, and creativity, but it’s vital. A 5% no-show rate sounds manageable, and it’s a healthy target since many practices run at 10-15%.  But when 5 out of every 100 appointments fail, we lose a full year of production for every 20 years of practice!   Incremental success and failure affect the bottom line. Legwork Fast Fill helps minimize the negative impact and keep productivity moving. This module bridges directly with your Practice Management System’s ASAP list to notify those patients via email or SMS when an appointment slot opens. The Fast Fill feature is like having another staff member contact patients immediately regarding last minute appointment booking, and the efficiency means more than ever in today’s environment.

Opportunity #4: Discover Unfinished Treatment

What’s your monthly new patient count? Most of us know that number and follow the trend in our practices. But do you know how much unfinished treatment sits dormant in your charts? I had no idea, and I was stunned at the 7-figure finding the first time we looked. If the average new patient is worth $1000 of annual production, how many new patients do we need to match the treatment we’ve already planned? Acquiring new patients requires an investment, but we must finish more of the treatment we recommend.  Legwork Treatment Opportunities helps us solve a significant productivity drain. With a bit of digging, we can probably find reports showing unfinished treatment plans within your dental practice management software. But Treatment Opportunities streamlines what happens next. We can generate procedure-specific resorts, isolate results, and send personalized email and text messages from the same dashboard. These workflows are designed to help remind patients to take action and schedule.

Opportunity #5: Enhance Phone Calls

Patients appreciate the convenience of online appointments, but the phone still serves a critical role in conversion and service. Nearly 90% of healthcare appointments are scheduled by phone, and these interactions leave a significant impression on callers. A full-featured PES platform enhances phone calls in multiple ways, especially with integrations with our PMS. Legwork Phones harnesses VoIP technology with a plug-and-play solution that’s ready to go in minutes. Thanks to integration with the Legwork PES,  features like Call Pop-Up create an all-in-one patient communication system. Call Pop-Up pulls patients’ details like their name and last visit, so the team’s ready to impress when answering the call. Two-way texting, faxing, cloud-based call routing, and so much more elevate the service.

Dental Patient Engagement Software Brings Out Our Best

Dental Patient Engagement Software brings out the best in our Patient Management Software with dozens of additional features. While many vendors sell components for partial solutions, Legwork is an all-in-one patient engagement platform that takes comprehensive service to another level. A smooth bridge to our practice management software helps streamline communications, supports our efforts to help people, and keeps operatory chairs filled. Plus, it’s nice to know that a team dedicated to our success is just a call away for every component; you don’t need to call multiple vendors or stress about elements that aren’t on the same page.  Still not sure if patient engagement software is right for your dental practice? Request a Legwork demo.