If you ask any dentist about the biggest problem they have in running their practice, invariably the answer will point, in one way or another, to staffing issues. Add the COVID-19 pandemic to this reality, and we take the already significant challenge of having a well-trained team filled with positive team members, and we have a critically monumental issue for the average practice to attend to.
While the obvious answer to most teams is to place ads and step up recruiting efforts, I would argue that there is a much more effective way to fill this gap. In almost every dental practice the most laborious, mundane tasks that suck up a large volume of your team’s time can be automated by low, or even zero, cost solutions. Automating tasks like processing new patient information, triaging after-hours emergencies, medical prescreening, and curbside check-ins relieve your overburdened team members to be able to do what they do best; take care of patients.
A 2020 study that emerged just after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown was over showed that 53% of patients said they would switch medical providers if it meant they could get access to touchless patient intake and registration tools. This means more than half of all your patients would leave your practice for a different practice if they find out that you do not use paperless forms, but the other practice does.
Despite the clear evidence many offices are still in the dark
Yet, thousands upon thousands of offices still have not made the switch to paperless forms.
The ability to process patient information through messaging and on your website isn’t just for your patients’ convenience, however. It is also incredibly productive for offices and prevents the spread of disease.
You become massively more productive because you streamline the process of having to collect information multiple times, every time you see a patient. You prevent the spread of disease because there are so many less touch points on surfaces that do not get adequately disinfected in most offices.
The time savings adds up quickly for your office
Let’s examine the time savings you would achieve leveraging secure online information processing from the average patient visit:
First the appointment must be scheduled. This can be done automatically online in a number of ways, saving your team the time of a phone call or email exchange. This adds up to a very conservative 3 minutes.
I won’t even include in our calculation the over 5 minutes per patient you save using automated patient reminders, as most offices have a patient reminder system in place that is quite effective.
Before the appointment, you should be doing a medical pre-screening to make sure the patient is not sick prior to coming into the office. This should be done by the patient at home either from an automated message or on your website. This became necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic, but I believe this protocol should continue indefinitely.
Doing this simple step is not only saving your office from either losing production from having a sick team member or being the next epicenter of a pandemic outbreak, it saves your office 2 minutes of form intaking and processing.
Remove bottlenecks, reduce stress and increase team productivity
Next, consider having the patient check in virtually. Removing the need for patients to stop at the front desk removes a huge bottleneck in processing every appointment, frees up crucial capacity at your front desk and will save you another 4 minutes.
During the appointment you must update the medical history (2 minutes), obtain signed consent for whatever you are doing (2 minutes) and then make financial arrangements (2 minutes).
Paperless forms will, therefore, save you at least 15 minutes every time you see a patient. And this doesn’t even include all the extra costs and time associated with the printing, processing, scanning and shredding of those pathogen transporting documents.
All the while creating a much better, more convenient way for your patients to receive higher quality care.
Implement OperaDDS Paperless Forms in your office
Bottom line; one of the best ways to improve your bottom line is to hire OperaDDS Paperless Forms as the 24/7/365 employee that is always working for you and never gets sick. OperaDDS is constantly out there working on your behalf to convert new patients and communicate with your patients regardless of time of day, even on holidays.
Learn how your practice can optimize team communication and productivity with OperaDDS by calling 800.294.8504 or visiting pattersondental.com.
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