Admittedly, there are more financial barriers to dental care than other kinds of healthcare, and, consequently, an estimated 37 million Americans don’t have dental insurance.
But as technology improves over time, so do the possibilities for dental innovation. This is expected to improve dental issues through fewer clinic visits, making dental care more accessible and affordable. And with COVID-19 encouraging more industries to automate labor-intensive tasks, it might be time for your clinic to follow suit.
What is automation, anyway?
Automation involves technology that accomplishes things with minimal human input. By taking more manual tasks off your mind, you can focus your energy on other responsibilities.
Consequently, you and your staff become more productive, and your patients gain a better experience with you, too! But, of course, it’s important to research how to make the most of it in the specific context of your clinic.
Ask yourself: What bottlenecks are your team facing, and what processes can be streamlined? In this instance, business analysts, which are some of the top roles for business graduates, should be able to help you. Their training in data analysis and management can help you make critical choices on asset allocation and policy changes, so you can make sure that your investment in automation technology pays off for both your staff and your bottom line. It’s also worth sitting down with your management team to consider all of their viewpoints when it comes to your operations.
That being said, we’ve compiled a list of tasks to consider automating, which fall into four broad categories: workforce management, promotions, education, and patient care.
1. Workforce management
There’s a variety of software that can do everything from arranging work schedules to organizing the payroll. And they’re designed to automatically adjust when changes, like sick or vacation leaves, need to be worked in.
By eliminating laborious paperwork, you’ll have plenty of time to do other things. Instead of making a to-do list, apps like Todoist can automatically prioritize your tasks and send daily reminders, too.
If patient numbers have been dropping lately, try growing your presence on social media. While activity has to be consistent to gain traction, many programs can schedule your posts for you, so you can plan entire months of content in advance.
You can also automate recall and reactivation campaigns. Simply set the timespan of the campaign, and the software you choose will automatically send out postcards, emails, and text messages to your patients without you needing to lift a finger.
Lack of awareness is one of the biggest barriers preventing people from realizing the importance of oral health. Here, automation can help by playing educational dental programs in your waiting room.
Such programming helps provide information on the various treatments you offer, so patients don’t go into your clinic only half-knowing the procedure they’re getting. Plus, they’ll be better positioned to ask you questions about it.
4. Patient care
Automation can streamline almost all aspects of patient care, so consider taking advantage of it! Electronic patient forms, for example, centralize all data in one place for easy access, and save time by eliminating the need to redundantly input written data into a computer.
Automation can also help organize appointments, fill in canceled slots, and even send appointment reminders via text or email. As an added bonus, our own automated reception service Emitrr service can take calls on holidays and weekends, and answer questions automatically via chatbot.
Other tools can aid with post-appointment tasks, like patient recall and sending follow-up instructions, as well. And, finally, you can combine all these automated services into one convenient patient portal.
The human touch
One thing that automation can never truly replace is the human element. As it is, most people are already scared of the dentist. By using automation to focus on improving patient experience, you encourage patients to visit more often, and bring America one step closer to having better smiles and holistic oral health.
Article written by Justine Ridley
Exclusively for emitrr.com