4 Ways You Can Educate Your Patients with Patient Engagement Software

patient engagement software

The New York Times recently published an article as part of their wellness newsletter entitled “5 Things You Do That Keep Dentists in Business”. It outlines several lesser-known habits that keep patients in poor oral health, including chewing ice, consuming energy drinks, vaping, and using fluoride-free toothpaste. The article includes an interview with a world-weary dentist who wishes that patients would take better care of themselves.

But, the existence of an article like this raises an important question – what would happen if dentists, dental specialists, and other dental professionals were leveraging educational materials to talk about these very subjects with their patients?

After all, it’s not as if patients making poor choices for their oral health is really what’s keeping dentists in business. What fosters great patient loyalty is a good relationship with an oral healthcare provider. While that has many facets, one key element is showing your patients that you care by providing them with educational materials.

This is where patient engagement software can be a huge support. In this blog, we’ll discuss how!

First of All – Why Should You Educate Your Patients?

The Why

Educating dental patients is a crucial responsibility for any dentist. By providing patients with knowledge about proper oral hygiene practices, potential dental issues, and the importance of regular check-ups, dentists empower individuals to take an active role in maintaining their oral health. This education helps prevent common dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay by encouraging proactive care habits. Additionally, informed patients are more likely to follow through with recommended treatments and maintain a positive relationship with their dental providers. Ultimately, patient education not only enhances individual health outcomes but also contributes to a more informed and health-conscious community.

The Barriers

Educating dental patients presents unique challenges due to a combination of factors. Firstly, dental health is often overlooked compared to other aspects of overall health, leading to a lack of awareness and understanding among patients. Many individuals only seek dental care when they experience pain or discomfort, making it difficult to impart preventive education during routine visits. 

Additionally, dental terminology can be complex and intimidating, causing confusion and disengagement. Fear and anxiety associated with dental procedures further hinder effective communication, as anxious patients may struggle to absorb information. 

Cultural and language differences also play a significant role, as these can affect the patient’s ability to comprehend and follow dental advice. Finally, the fast-paced nature of dental practices often limits the time available for thorough education, compelling dentists to convey essential information in a condensed and sometimes rushed manner.

The Takeaway

Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done! Creating an effective education strategy will have to include considering each of these challenges. Finding a way to educate efficiently, while reaching as many patients as possible, while also not being a burden on your front-of-office staff (who will be sending out the educational materials) will be crucial.

This is where patient engagement software can be incredibly supportive.

Let’s explore four examples of how patient engagement software can be leveraged to educate, so that you are not that world-weary dentist in the New York Times article who is so desperate for their patients to stop damaging their oral health! 

#1: Automated Educational Emails and Newsletters

Automated emails and newsletters are a fantastic way to stay connected with your patients and provide them with valuable oral health information. By regularly sending out tips, articles, and the latest advancements in dental care, you can keep your patients informed and engaged. Topics can include:

  • Proper brushing techniques
  • The importance of flossing
  • Dietary recommendations for healthy teeth
  • Innovations in dental treatments and technologies

This consistent communication helps reinforce good oral health habits and keeps your practice top of mind.

#2: Appointment Reminders with Educational Content

Appointment reminders are a routine part of patient communication, but they can be so much more. Enhance these reminders by including educational snippets that provide value and context. For example:

  • A reminder about a dental cleaning appointment can include information on why regular cleanings are essential.
  • Explain what patients can expect during their visit.
  • Offer tips on maintaining oral hygiene between appointments.

Remember, you can leverage the use of different types of media! Conveying these ideas to your patients in the context of an appointment reminder can be done in with several different types of attachments, including:

  • Videos – either your own or one that you source
  • Brochures – a link to PDF version
  • Podcasts focused on dental information
  • And more

By adding educational content to appointment reminders, you not only keep your patients informed but also reduce anxiety and improve the overall patient experience.

#3: Interactive Text Messages

Interactive text messages are a quick and engaging way to deliver educational content to your patients. By sending links to videos, infographics, or short articles, you can provide valuable information in a format that’s easy to digest. Examples include:

  • A video demonstration of proper brushing and flossing techniques.
  • An infographic on the effects of sugary foods on dental health.
  • A short article on the benefits of fluoride treatments.

These interactive messages can make learning about oral health fun and accessible, encouraging patients to take better care of their teeth.

#4: Patient Portals with Educational Resources

Many patient communication platforms offer portals where patients can access their health records, appointment schedules, and educational resources. By curating a library of articles, videos, and FAQs about oral health, you provide a valuable resource that patients can access anytime. Consider including:

  • Articles on common dental issues and treatments.
  • Videos explaining procedures and preventive care.
  • FAQs addressing frequent patient questions and concerns.

These resources empower patients with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their dental care.

Patient Engagement Software is Here to Support You

Patient engagement software offers a multitude of ways to educate dental patients and improve their oral health. By utilizing automated emails, enhanced appointment reminders, interactive text messages, and patient portals, dentists can provide valuable education that enhances the patient experience and encourages better oral health practices.

And So is Intiveo!

At Intiveo, we offer a number of resources, from blogs to guides and more, to support dental practices and oral surgeries across Canada and the United States. If you’d like to get resources like this one straight to your inbox, subscribe at the top right of this blog!

Or maybe you’d like to get started on your patient engagement software journey! Book a meeting today to speak to a member of our team.