As a practitioner in the dental industry, it makes sense for you to take advantage of new technology when it presents itself. Growing your practice with whatever means possible means finding new and novel ways to take care of your patients, especially in a post-COVID culture. New ideas such as automated appointment software, two-way text chat, automatic reminders, and more, are becoming a part of the landscape.
Many older adults have moved increasingly digital. They own more devices and are entering the online space at a higher rate. Teledentistry is a burgeoning field. This makes investing in technology that engages them on that level more important than ever.
Finding the right appointment software that suits your needs is the first step, but it is by no means the only one. Once you’ve chosen, you have to make sure your patients understand it as well. For some patients, this might be a breeze. The younger generations are right at home with technological advances, but getting your older patients on board might be a more difficult task.
Common Concerns of Older Adults
Even as older adults are embracing technology more, they still have reservations. In general, there are two main concerns that they have when it comes to embracing new technology. These are;
- Difficulty understanding and navigating
- Concerns about privacy and security
Difficulty Understanding and Navigating Technology
In the academic field of future studies, the term “accelerating change” is used to describe the phenomenon of how quickly technology is advancing. In recent history, technology has advanced at an exponential rate. In many cases, such as for a dental practice, this is a good thing.
On the flip side, this fast-paced change can also be very difficult to keep up with. Many older adults end up being left behind by the constantly evolving technology. As a dental practice, it is very important to make sure that your patients are not falling behind due to unfamiliarity with technology.
Concerns About Privacy
It’s no secret that, in 2023, cybersecurity is at the top of everyone’s minds. It seems like high-profile cyber attacks are increasing in number and personal data privacy is vanishing. For someone who already feels a little out of touch with modern technology, these factors lead to even more concerns about the security of modern technology.
These two big concerns often lead to a fear of technology and a hesitancy to implement it in their lives. However, you can ease their doubts and help usher them into the digital world.
How Can You Help?
As the dental provider for these patients, it is in your best interest for you to help ease the transition for them. However, there is one thing you should keep in mind.
Ageism is a big problem that many older adults face, especially within the healthcare industry. They will often feel like they are being treated as if they are old, irrelevant, and foolish. When you are conversing with them and guiding them, it is best to make sure you’re doing so respectfully.
The first hurdle to address is their difficulty in navigating the new software. While most of the technical work will be done from your side, there might still be some change for your patients. And even if there is no change for them, it never hurts to keep your patients in the loop.
A few tips on how to get older adults on board with new tech;
- Explain the benefits
- Be patient
- Keep it simple
- Listen to any concerns they have
- Let them try it out for themselves
- Talk about security
Make sure you take the time to soothe any worries they have. Your patients will appreciate the effort.
Another way to help make the transition more seamless for older patients is to use more personalized communication. Sending a personalized message with their name and a greeting has a much better impact than sending a generic greeting.
This can be a big pleaser for your patients, but can also trigger anxiety about privacy. Patients might not be used to being addressed by name in communications like that. In these cases, you can reassure them about the security of their data.
Benefits of Engaging Older Adults
An engaged patient is a happy patient. No one likes being left in the dark about anything, especially not their health care. This is especially true for older adults, who often feel increased loneliness and isolation.
Reaching out to them with these newer methods of communication has a big impact on them. They’ll feel like you truly care about them and their health. This improves their engagement and satisfaction with your practice, and it means a better overall outcome for their health.
And an increased patient engagement tends to improve the efficiency and productivity of your practice. Your staff will not have to spend so much time trying to reach out to each patient.
It is important to not leave your older patients behind as you transition to a newer technology. Many of them will be happy to see you’re trying hard to take care of them. All it takes is a little effort in helping them understand to create a seamless transition.
Treat them with respect, explain patiently, and address any doubts or fears they may have, and you will have happy and engaged patients for years to come.
You don’t have to be afraid of new technology and neither do your patients.
How Intiveo Helps
Intiveo is a very user-friendly automated messaging software that is built specifically for dental practices and their patients.
As older adults get increasingly familiar with the new technological horizon, having Intiveo as a tool in your cupboard is a great advantage.
You will be able to easily engage your older patients in the way that is most comfortable for them – be it phone calls, email, or even text messages. Perhaps you can even help some of them understand new methods.
Take action now and help lead the way for your older patients into a new digital age, with Intiveo at your side. Book a demo with Intiveo today.