How Dentists Can Use Text Messaging to Engage Patients

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How Dentists Can Use Text Messaging to Engage Patients


Here is a fact you most likely already know – dental practices ought to be textual content messaging their sufferers. Why? It’s what the sufferers need! Studies have proven that texting is the popular communication channel for a lot of sufferers. According to a survey performed by TTAG Systems at Dx3 Canada, 89% of respondents use textual content messaging for each day communication. Additionally, 75% % of respondents mentioned they may use textual content messaging to speak with trusted manufacturers. Practices should adapt to those tendencies, or they are going to be susceptible to turning into antiquities.

This article will spotlight the worth of textual content messaging in dentistry. We will talk about the final advantages of textual content messaging, what dentists and sufferers textual content about, and the method of selecting the perfect textual content messaging software program.

How Does Text Messaging Benefit Dental Practices? 

Increases Communication Volume 

As we talked about earlier, many sufferers desire texting to different types of communication. Using desired communication channels sometimes will increase communication quantity and improves your relationship along with your sufferers! 

It’s apparent that texting is a perfect option to have interaction a youthful demographic. However, once we spoke to Dr. Daniel Balaze, a dentist working towards in Southern California at Balaze & Gregg Dentistry, we found that texting can be a helpful option to attraction to senior sufferers. “I reside in a zipper code with a excessive senior citizen inhabitants. Senior sufferers love with the ability to talk via textual content,” he says. We dug deeper into Dr. Balaze’s statement, and located research that confirmed his expertise was not an anomaly. According to Twilio’s Global Mobile Messaging Consumer Report 2016, 24% of individuals older than 55 selected texting as their most well-liked customer support channel. 

Reduces Patient No-show

We will talk about this additional in our overview of appointment reminders, however textual content messaging is a helpful option to scale back affected person no-shows. Your sufferers lead busy lives, and should not prioritize dental appointments of their schedule. Texting your sufferers to remind them of upcoming appointments is an efficient means to make sure they present up!

What Do Dental Practices and Patients Text About?

Text messaging is a helpful option to talk along with your sufferers. Some ways in which dental practices use textual content messaging embrace reminding sufferers of upcoming appointments, resolving scheduling conflicts, and addressing pressing affected person wants. 

Appointments Reminders

A helpful use case for textual content messaging is sending appointment reminders. Practices can use affected person communication methods to ship automated textual content reminders to sufferers with upcoming appointments. Once sufferers reply with a affirmation, most affected person communication software program will robotically replace your calendar in your observe administration system. Texting your sufferers appointment reminders is an efficient option to scale back affected person no-shows, the bane of each dental observe. 

We spoke to Laurie Spitz, the director of promoting, public relations, and operations at Smileboston, to learn the way she makes use of textual content messaging to cut back no-shows at her observe. She makes use of textual content messaging to schedule appointments along with her sufferers six months prematurely. She then sends textual content reminders to contact unconfirmed sufferers just a few days earlier than their appointments. Most importantly, she sends out textual content reminders the day of the appointments to substantiate the sufferers’ availability. Laurie Spitz discovered that partaking sufferers at these time intervals allowed her observe to chop down affected person no-shows by a major margin. 

Measuring the efficacy of textual content reminders for lowering affected person no-shows is a troublesome process. It is difficult to find out whether or not a affected person would have been a no-show, if an automatic reminder was not despatched. However, affected person communication distributors have performed a number of useful research to find out the effectiveness of automated textual content reminders. Lighthouse 360 claims it reduces no-shows by a mean of 40%. AnswerReach claims that the common observe has a no-show price of 10-20%, and it’s software program may scale back no-shows by 30-40%

Scheduling Conflicts

Practices are typically pressured to make emergency schedule modifications. Being capable of mass textual content everybody in your calendar is far more environment friendly than calling every affected person. 

Laurie Spitz instructed SoftwarePundit of an incident when she used Lighthouse 360’s textual content messaging function to assist her remedy a scheduling conundrum. “There was a state of affairs the place our physician was rushed into an emergency appointment, and we have been operating late. We have been capable of instantly contact the affected person to ask her to reach 20 minutes later. With Lighthouse, they will textual content again with any questions or points. This is nice, so that they don’t have to attend within the foyer longer than they should,” she says.

Emergencies 

An efficient means to enhance affected person relationships is effectively addressing any considerations your sufferers have. By making your observe textual content pleasant, you give your sufferers a simple option to contact you if they’ve an pressing query. Dr. Daniel Balaze seen that distressed sufferers have been extra comfy contacting him when he began utilizing Weave’s textual content messaging performance. “When I used to be utilizing my private cell quantity, sufferers wouldn’t textual content me as a lot,” says Dr. Balaze, “I feel it’s as a result of they know the Weave telephone quantity is an workplace telephone. They comprehend it may very well be me or the entrance workplace, if it’s after hours, sufferers comprehend it’s me.”

How to Get Started with Text Messaging Software 

Key Concept: One-way Texting vs. Two-way Texting

Before we dive into particular software program choices, you will need to spotlight a distinction in texting capabilities. There is a distinction between one-way texting and two-way texting by way of its usefulness to dental practices. One-way texting means that you can ship texts to sufferers, and obtain easy affirmation messages. Two-way texting is extra strong, and permits your observe to have full-length conversations along with your sufferers. Two-way texting is a a lot much less restrictive communication channel. Here is an instance that highlights the distinction between one-way texting and two-way texting when used for automated appointment reminders: 

  • Smile Dental texts Jordan a message stating, “You have an appointment at this time at 4:00pm. Please reply (sure) or (no) to substantiate your appointment.” Jordan replies “no, however can I reschedule for 4:30pm.” If Smile Dental’s software program has one-way texting, the software program will cancel Jordan’s appointment. If Smile Dental’s software program has two-way texting, the software program won’t solely cancel the appointment, but in addition open a chat session with a front-office workers member to assist Jordan reschedule his appointment. 

If two-way texting is vital to you, maintain a watch out for this function when conducting your analysis.

How to Find the Best Software for Your Practice

Below, we’ve outlined greatest practices for researching and choosing the right software program on your observe. This course of sometimes takes about two months from preliminary analysis to accomplished software program implementation. 

  • Make a listing of Potential Vendors

Craft a short-list of the distributors that curiosity you probably the most. We advocate Weave and Lighthouse 360 to get began.

  • Conduct Research for Each Vendor

Now that you’ve a listing of distributors, it’s time to start researching them! Keep a lookout for vital qualities in every vendor, comparable to worth and options. SoftwarePundit offers in-depth critiques on many distributors that supply textual content messaging. Check them out!

 

  • Contact Customers for Each Vendor

Reach out to prospects who’re presently utilizing the software program you need. Their perception could be a helpful useful resource that will help you make the proper determination. If you need assistance discovering prospects, take a look at SoftwarePundit for Dentists, a Facebook group created to function a platform for dentists to debate dental software program.

Contact the distributors you might be most focused on, and begin the gross sales course of. In common, the method includes a sequence of steps together with:

  • Introductory name
  • Product demo
  • Product testing
  • Contract negotiation & signing
  • Software implementation and workers coaching

About the Author

How Dentists Can Use Text Messaging to Engage Patients 1Bruce Hogan is Co-Founder and CEO of SoftwarePundit, a know-how analysis agency that gives recommendation, info and instruments to assist dental practices efficiently undertake know-how. From highlighting industry-specific tendencies to delivering intensive software program guides, SoftwarePundit helps dental practices choose the perfect software program for his or her wants.


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