In my March newsletter *, I talked about implementing electronic forms and patient engagement. With dental practices moving towards a digital environment, we have to look at ways to engage our patients in a digital world, create better patient experiences, and connect with them using new technology. There are many ways we can enhance our patient experience even for our older patients. In the most recent Pew Research study * on “Older Adults and Technology Use,” it finds that (for the first time) six out of 10 seniors are using the internet and 77% have a cell phone. If your office is equipped with computers in the treatment rooms, there are some things you can do in your practice right now to step up your level of patient engagement.
- Forget about handing the patient a clipboard with a paper form when you can sit the patient down in your treatment room, pull the computer monitor right up to the patient, and say, “Here is the information we had documented from last visit. Does this all look accurate?” Patient forms, health history, and consent forms should be a conversation between the clinician and the patient, not a form you scan into the computer.
- Have personal information about your patient right at your fingertips. Even though I help dental offices go paperless, I do like Route Slips or some kind of communication form for the team. On the Dentrix Route Slip or Patient Visit Form, you can enter personal information (vacations, hobbies, pets, etc.) in the Patient Note box and it will print on these forms. If you have to bury your face in the computer to find information, you will break that relationship with your patient.
- Set up a way to communicate with your patients, family members, caregivers, referring doctors, and physicians via e-mail or the Internet. You can write language into your HIPAA manual and include it in your HIPAA Privacy Rule regarding how your office communicates electronically with other parties. Put security measures in place so you can take advantage of online communication.
- Send the patient treatment plan estimate to the Document Center so it can be sent electronically to a parent, caregiver, or to the patient. Many patients now are asking, “Can you just e-mail that to me?”
The future of the dental practice is “information now.” This concept of “information now” does not have to be technology first and patient second. The two can coexist.
* Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy of the full study or would like to sign up for my newsletter.
Dayna loves her work. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental industry, and she’s passionate about building efficient, consistent, and secure practice management systems. Dayna knows that your entire day revolves around your practice management software—the better you learn to use it, the more productive and stress-free your office will be. In 2016, Dayna founded Novonee ™, The Premier Dentrix Community, to help cultivate Dentrix super-users all over the country. Learn more from Dayna at www.novonee.com and contact Dayna at email@example.com.