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SmartAssist: The New Interactive “Smart” Checklist in Denticon

By Planet DDS
September 20, 2021

SmartAssist is the new Denticon feature that will change the way you work. Included free with a Denticon subscription, this “smart” checklist reminds you and your staff of incomplete tasks for patient appointments and lets you track and check them off in real-time. For a busy dental practice, it’s not easy making sure all forms and tasks are completed for every single appointment. And previously, there wasn’t a great way to keep track. So, we created an interactive and “smart” checklist that would enable efficient processes for a better experience for your patients and staff.

The Need for an Interactive Safeguard

It’s 2 pm. A few appointments ran late today. The patient in the waiting room has been waiting for over 45 minutes. She’s in a frantic rush to pick up her kids, so she forgot to check the box in the sign-in sheet that says she has new insurance. When you, the dentist, finally get a chance to see her, she’s upset with more delays spent checking insurance eligibility for her new insurance. You meant to complete the progress notes right away, but the next appointment is already 45 minutes late, so you forget. At the end of the day, you realize she left without scheduling her next appointment and didn’t sign the COVID consent form, either. Now, about those progress notes…

Sound familiar? On busy days, it’s easy for multiple things to slip through the cracks. That’s why we saw the need for a real-time interactive checklist, which can act as a built-in safeguard in Denticon to help you and your staff stay on track while providing a more consistent patient experience.

SmartAssist is designed to call attention to key tasks that need to be completed for each appointment. This includes collecting payment so you can reduce the need for collections, updating contact information, checking insurance eligibility, updating medical history to confirm that the patient’s health history is up to date, completing consent forms and entering progress notes to stay in compliance, and scheduling next appointments to boost your recall appointments, among other customizable tasks.

Why a “Smart” Checklist?

When we first investigated the need for a checklist, we heard from our clients that some practices use lists written on post-it notes, checklists in Excel, and some were finding workarounds to track their “to-do” lists. Each of these types of checklists are used with varying degrees of success to help practices be more consistent, but at the end of the day, they are all static lists. They weren’t designed with the day-to-day flow of a dental practice in mind. We realized there had to be a better way.

“The beauty of SmartAssist is that you and your staff can instantly visualize and update everything you need for a patient appointment in real-time,” said Chae Kim, Senior Vice President of Product at Planet DDS. “By highlighting incomplete tasks, SmartAssist helps refocus your attention to overcome distractions and get things done. You don’t have to worry about forgetting to update contact info, collecting payments, updating health history, or missing consent forms.”

5 Ways SmartAssist Helps Your Practice Stay on Track

  1. Quickly Visualize Your Tasks

Pilots use them before takeoff. NASA uses them before a shuttle launch. In high-stress environments, checklists help ensure that every part of a process is completed. It also means that each individual team member isn’t tasked with remembering everything every single time.

On a day when everything is running smoothly, it’s easy to stay on track. But on hectic days like the scenario above, where patients are upset, and you and your staff are stressed out, it’s far more likely that things will go wrong. Studies show that under stressful situations, it’s harder to concentrate, and we’re less likely to be able to use our short-term memory to remember day-to-day tasks.

SmartAssist takes on that mental burden. With the SmartAssist interactive list, you and your staff don’t need to keep track of tasks. Instead, you can focus on your patients to deliver a smooth patient experience. Why is an interactive checklist so much more effective than a static list? We as humans process visual information 60,000 faster than just text. With SmartAssist, you can instantly tell which tasks are not yet completed. It frees up the mental load for staff members completing the tasks, reducing the possibility for mistakes and allowing for a consistent patient experience.

“You’ll see that it’s a very intuitive checklist. Anyone looking at it can immediately understand what it’s telling them and begin using it with no training,” said Product Manager of Planet DDS, Greg Duchon.

  1. Save Time with an Interactive Checklist

Another advantage of using SmartAssist as a feature within Denticon is that it works with the data in Denticon, so there are no issues with syncing data, and you always know that the checklist is the most current information on the patient’s file. “Denticon already knows what you haven’t done yet, so it’s smart enough to tell you what you’re supposed to be doing now,” explained Chae.

You don’t have to go into a patient’s file to figure out what’s missing, you can complete all the tasks right there in SmartAssist. For example, if the patient’s cell phone number is missing, you can click on “Cell phone” and enter it to instantly accomplish two things: 1) update the patient’s file and 2) check it off in SmartAssist.

You can also quickly text patients a direct link for the tasks that have the “SMS” icon next to them. For instance, you can send the patient a link to the payment portal if they have a balance, or you can send a HIPAA form via text message. This way, the patient can easily complete these on their own devices at their convenience, and it instantly gets updated in Denticon and checked off in SmartAssist.

  1. Customize Your Checklist for Your Office’s Needs

We also designed SmartAssist to be highly customizable. Because it’s a customizable list, the list can be specified per location. It also allows the practice owner or manager to decide what tasks should be part of the standardized process for each appointment. Going further, the tasks that appear in SmartAssist can be customized based on different frequencies. For example, certain consent forms can be set to appear once a year on the SmartAssist checklist, while other tasks can be set for a higher frequency.

  1. Leverage SmartAssist Insights with Reports

Unlike post-its or other siloed workarounds, SmartAssist works in harmony with Denticon. That is, the data collected provides insights for practice owners and managers for increased oversight and accountability. For each office, you can run a report card on what percentage of appointments had all tasks complete versus what percentage had missing tasks. Management can also see which tasks are most likely to be completed and which are not. Without this feature within Denticon, there’s no way to audit the entire appointment process, making it impossible to identify and correct problems.

“With Denticon’s report card, practices can not only look at past data to see where there are opportunities to improve; they can even use the report to look into the future. If you know ahead of time that some patients need eligibility checks, you can get those done even before the patient comes in,” said Greg.

In another scenario, a report might show that 25% of patients coming in that week might have to update their medical history. With a click of a button, your staff can send a link to the medical history form via text message to those patients. By the time they arrive, the patients will have completed the form, and SmartAssist will show them as complete in Denticon.

You can also leverage these insights to set future goals for your practice. If a specific office is completing 70% of the tasks listed in SmartAssist, you can: 1) set goals for higher task completion, and 2) identify which tasks are most likely to be overlooked and help your team focus their attention accordingly.

  1. Provide a Consistent Patient Experience

Have you ever wondered how consistent the patient experience is for all your patients? How often do copays forget to be collected or next appointments forget to be scheduled? Did a consent form get signed, and where did it get saved? It’s not easy getting it right every single time when there’s no central way to track things, and it makes for a very inconsistent experience for your patients.

For private and smaller practices with a lean team, SmartAssist provides a valuable safeguard to ensure that all tasks are being completed efficiently while the patient is still in the office. For larger DSO and group practices, SmartAssist ensures that patients have a consistent process that is repeatable at each location, every single time.

Practice Smart with SmartAssist

SmartAssist is the must-have checklist for any busy practice. It helps ensure that all tasks are completed consistently and efficiently for every appointment and helps practices reach their goals while delivering a seamless patient experience. Try this interactive and free feature, now available for all Denticon subscribers.

Ready to see SmartAssist in action? Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more.