No one questions the setbacks in dentistry caused by COVID-19. There’s also no question that you’ve been forced to strategize how to maximize your dental practice in the current and post COVID era.
Phrases like “the new normal” give the impression that what we once relied on for success has experienced a reboot of sorts. And while that’s not altogether a bad thing it’s certainly not what was expected.
Trends that got “tripped up…!”
At the end of 2019 dental industry data was favorable for the new decade starting with 2020. Who would have imagined that within the first quarter of the year we would be where we are.
“Before COVID-19, the dental industry was expected to have one of its best years, with projected dental spending tagged at $150 billion. Now, spending is projected to be about one-third of the initial estimate: $52 billion.” This stunning loss of $100 billion in dental spending touches everyone. To accelerate your recovery and ensure the survival of your practice, you need a growth strategy with real teeth in it.”
The time for “teeth” is now. Start by realizing you’ll feel the impact of COVID-19 regardless of its hoped for disappearance.
For the foreseeable future the pandemic has rebooted routine processes from safety protocols to patient interaction and more.
Five Tips for Maximizing Your Dental Practice in the Current and Post-COVID Era
1. take “inventory” of where you are now
The world as we know it is in constant flux. That reality puts a certain spin on planning for your future.
With the future in mind do a realistic assessment of your practice’s health.
- Where are you financially? Run the numbers on case acceptance, scheduling, and overall production prior to the pandemic shutdown. Compare current collections data to those pre-COVID trends. Allow key data to frame your strategies.
- What’s the emotional health of you and your team? Get in touch with your fears regarding yours and your team’s health. Give yourself and your team “permission” to heal and recharge via counseling, exercise, and whatever is emotionally renewing.
2. Re-engage with your patients and your team
Patient communication probably lagged a bit during the shutdown or a reduced schedule. Now that you’re reopened your patient relationships might feel somewhat distant or strained.
- Reenergize your text (SMS) and email communication. At first, make it more about your concern for them and their health before blatantly asking them to schedule. Share useful oral health tips, how you’re assuring their safety during COVID-19, and what new protocols you’re implementing in this new era of dentistry.
- Prioritize team development and communication. Let them voice their fears, concerns, and hopes for the future. Confirm your commitment to their roles and overall practice success in spite of challenges.
- Automate and digitize your patient communication systems. This adds a layer of contactless safety and convenience for patients and efficiency for your team - especially your front office crew.
3. Audit your financial strategies
It’s safe to say that everyone is feeling the financial pinch. The pandemic magnifies what was already a reality for many. Don’t be surprised that your patients are guarding their out-of-pocket costs.
- Explore payment options. Your patients could be taking a more conservative approach to their dental spending. Provide them long-term financing options so they can immediately begin to prioritize their dental care.
- Evaluate your insurance providers. Scrutinize those accepted plans that have low reimbursements compared to collection costs. Value your patient’s time and your team’s time and expertise by eliminating poor paying plans.
4. Deploy or upgrade technology that improves your patient care, operational systems, and team efficiency
Patients have a strong awareness about safety as they return to your practice. At the same time your team and systems are strained having to step-up your safety protocols.
Technology can serve both you and your patients.
- Use contactless strategies to provide safer, convenient access to your dental services. Virtual waiting rooms, teledentistry, paperless solutions, and online patient portals are innovative solutions you can use.
- Upgrade to a cloud-based dental practice management platform. The capabilities of remote, cloud-based access can give you and your team improved, secure access to patient data in and out of the office.
5. Renew your dental marketing strategies
As your budget has perhaps tightened a bit after reopening you might be tempted to halt marketing. But you still need to promote your services as patients are returning to dental care.
- Consider a shift to organic marketing solutions rather than paid advertising. Create useful, search-friendly content that answers your patient’s specific questions about dentistry. Share it on your website.
- Connect with your patients on social media platforms and blog/article pages on your website. These platforms can be populated with relevant, useful content at less cost than traditional paid or direct mail advertising. And you can update them in real-time with information as necessary.
- Communicate something of value to your patients via text and email. Go beyond promoting your latest deal-of-the month and give them links to helpful dental information (e.g. your blog) along with a compelling message about your services.
Maximizing your dental practice during the COVID-19 era and beyond requires strategic planning and effective resources. That process is much easier when you have a streamlined organizational system for patient care.
The Dental Dashboard streamlines IT operations and reduces hardware costs.
See these applications and more in action now through…
An Inside Look at How Denticon Can Help Your Dental Practice Standardize, Centralize, and Grow
Contact us for more information about how Denticon can safely streamline your systems and operational tasks to build and renew dental patient relationships now and in the future.