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Digital Tools can Help Dentists Improve Personalized Engagement with Patients

October 19th, 2018 | Internet Marketing for Dentists

Given the increasing competition in the medical and cosmetic dentistry sector, patients have plenty of choices when planning a visit to the dentist. Also, the easy access to online information ensures that the patient is aware of what they want from the dentist. A large number of patients prefer dentists who provide a personal touch despite busy schedules and ensure individual care and attention.

Risk of Losing Personal Touch for Large Dental Care Providers

Ensuring personalized attention to patients is more challenging when it comes to bigger groups of healthcare providers under a single banner as opposed to single-provider practices. While this approach of consolidation can be useful in controlling expenses, patients might find it a dampener owing to lesser personalization and familiarity. Patients can find a big dental practice intimidating and this is something that prominent dentists need to pay attention to.

Digital Tools for Patient Engagement Gaining Popularity

Internet-based methods are popular with a large number of patients who makes use of these to self-manage their dental care. However, they would not want to do so at the expense of their time with a dentist.

According to a survey of 1,100 patients in the U.S., conducted by global management consultancy firm Accenture, around 90% of patients favor online tools for certain functions like making appointments, examining medical records, and self-managing their healthcare. At the same time, an equal number of persons also state their preference for maintaining their personal interaction with their physician or dentist when required.

As per this survey, patients choose technology to expand their choices and not restrict them. While being appreciative of the efficiency, convenience, and lower cost associated with efficient use of technology, they are not ready to give up on personal interactions with the dentist.

Some experts state that technology must be used to supplement the services of a dentist instead of substituting personal care. The patient can follow up a visit to the dentist’s office with a variety of online activities. For this, the dentist must also have the required technological support from experts to enhance the patient-dentist engagement.

Empowering Patients with Online Self-Management Tools

With the help of online technologies, dentists as well as other medical professionals can attain a significant advantage besides providing better value and empowerment to patients at lesser expense. Providing patients online self-management tools can be beneficial in empowering the patients but it is essential to first educate patients about how to use such tools and their availability.

By advising patients on completing certain online tasks, a dentist can help improve their empowerment and thus, enhance the effectiveness of their office visits. For example, the dentist can guide the patient on accessing their dental records online and study them before the next scheduled appointment. This will ensure that the patient’s queries and concerns are addressed much more effectively during the appointment.

This applies to laboratory results too and this can enable patients to have a fruitful discussion with the dentist during the office visit. It is essential that dentists see online tools and technology as something more meaningful for a patient than just a method of securing an appointment.

The advent of mobile technology and its assimilation with the internet have brought forth plenty of opportunities to revamp the entire patient-care experience. Mobile apps when combined with personal health care and monitoring gadgets can enhance the engagement levels connecting a patient and a dentist.

This can eventually result in efficient and better care at reduced expenses. A lot of technological organizations are involved in creating medical applications that will improve the value and efficacy of personal health devices.

Advantages of Online Appointment Scheduling

Competitive dentists are eager to adopt Internet-based technologies in all ways that can help enhance the patient experience without increasing the expenses incurred by patients. Automated scheduling of patient appointments through the internet is one fundamental and extremely significant area where online technology can improve the experience of patients. Both the patient as well as the dentist can benefit from a systematic online system of arranging appointments.

There are quite a few dental practitioners who think that they will compromise on the personal experience right at the outset by turning to online appointment facilities. Hence, they stick with the traditional methods of fixing appointments without thinking about the efficacy and practical convenience that the online system affords. But recent studies indicate that a greater number of patients now prefer online appointments to the traditional method of using paper and pen.

In one way, the full control that the online system affords the patient makes it more personalized than the traditional method. With the help of the online system, a patient can fix an appointment with the dentist at any time of day or night which is one crucial point in favor of this system.

It eliminates the frustration of patients waiting for their calls to be answered. Such online methods are also suitable for patients who are hearing-impaired. It is also possible to reduce the number of no-shows with the help of automated schedulers which can send out patient reminders.

Personalized Engagement with an Interactive Website

A dental practice can relish an improved overall image once it implements an efficient online technological system. The efficiency of patient-dentist communication is enhanced and the daily protocols of the practice are better organized.

Setting up a professional dental website is now a basic requirement nowadays. A website is a good means of attracting new patients and it can also help strengthen the perception among current patients that the practice is high-tech.

The dentist can use the website as a reference, if necessary, during discussions with patients so that there is a ready reference accessible to the patient. It enlightens the patients about the dental practice and specific, related treatments and procedures. An impressive and informative website is likely to create a favourable impact on prospective patients who are assessing various dental practices.

It is possible to ensure that the dental website will get a continuous flow of intended local patients by using current SEO techniques in a creative manner. The website is what creates a first impression among patients about the practice and provides a glimpse into the practice standards followed. A review of the website will help the patient form an opinion about the branding, experience, quality, reputation, and service of the practice.

It can be helpful to use digital videos and images of different dentistry procedures on the website as a means of promoting the practice. Before and after visuals can also be an effective promotional tool. A website that is informational, interactive, and enriching can prove to be a virtual personal touch that the dentist can offer prospective patients and prompt them to interact with the practice better.

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