How Patient Communication Software Can Help You with Staffing Shortages

intiveo happy dentist with female patient

The New Reality for Dental Offices

Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, we have seen a drastic number of changes in the workforce, in almost every sector. Dentistry is no different. The pandemic has meant debilitating staffing shortages for many dental offices. This is not limited to dental hygienists and dental assistants but extends to administrative staff and associate dentists as well.

Many factors contribute to these staffing shortages. The pandemic has placed a number of pressures on dental offices. Not only must they strive to give great oral health care, but they also have to follow the due procedure to keep patients and staff safe from Covid-19.

In this blog post, we will explore how patient communication software can help navigate these staffing shortages so that your practice can get back on track in the new normal.

The Current Context of Recruitment

Dentistry staffing shortages have presented some serious hurdles for dental offices. The ADA (American Dental Association®)’s Health Policy Institute conducted a poll on hiring trends in May of this year. The results of this poll indicated that, since October of last year, there has been a significant rise in recruitment. The HPI poll showed that for owner dentists:

  • More than 1 in 3 were seeking dental assistants
  • Almost 1 in 3 were seeking dental hygienists and administrative staff
  • Over 1 in 10 were seeking associate dentists

These numbers become more meaningful when we consider the poll’s other major findings. HPI found that, of the owner dentists currently engaged in recruitment, 80% “are finding the recruitment of dental hygienists and assistants to be extremely or very challenging”. This trend continues with administrative staff, as well as associate dentists, where we see that 70% are finding recruitment extremely or very challenging. This trend is also present with the recruitment of associate dentists, with 50% of owner dentists saying that they were finding recruitment extremely or very challenging.

An article from ADA News further expanded on these findings, identifying that one of the most challenging parts of hiring new employees is the training challenges presented by the pandemic.

Specifically, on-the-job training becomes a lot harder when you have to account for things like supplying everyone with PPE, social distancing, or the number of people in the office. Navigating a time-consuming training period in this context is challenging for many dentistry practices.

Finding ways to decrease the time spent on training your new employees can go a long way toward making your onboarding process more efficient. Plus, it makes your office a great place to work!

Staffing Shortages & Your Bottom Line

One of the important elements of this staffing shortage is that it’s affecting the bottom line for many dentistry practices. Because of the scarcity of new employees, many dentists have headhunted new dental hygienists, dental assistants, administrative staff, and associate dentists.

What this has meant is that the salary for these positions is becoming increasingly competitive.

As the pandemic has worn on, many dental offices have been impacted by lower numbers of patients – not to mention, the rising costs of keeping a dentistry practice safe in the middle of a global pandemic. Pairing this with offering staff a competitive wage has presented a serious challenge.

In addition, many employees are looking for part-time work. This means that dental offices have to take on more employees – which means more training time, more PPE to buy, and so on.

To mitigate some of the costs and barriers present in this situation, finding time savings and efficient ways to work becomes paramount.

How can patient communication software help with this?

Patient Communication Software & Your Office

One of the main ways that good patient communication software can help is by cutting down on training time. 

Since taking time for training is a hurdle in this context, having user-friendly patient communication software is a huge asset. It increases efficiency, to begin with – but utilizing it in this context increases that efficiency that much more.

For example, think of these hypothetical scenarios:

  • introducing a new hire to your manual system of calling patients for appointment reminders
  • planning out time to train your new hire on a complex software system that does not offer customization
  • using a manual paper filing system that you have to teach your new hire

Now, compare these with the simplicity of having software that is intuitive, that customizes and maintains the flexibility needed to keep up with the many demands of your practice.

This not only helps with training. It is a long-term investment in time savings for your dentistry practice.

Not only does good patient communication software enable you to connect with your patients more effectively, but it will also show your employees how much you value them. You are giving them a useful tool for doing their best work.

So what does that look like?

At Intiveo, for example, we create a user-friendly interface that allows your employees to just drop into the software and start using it. It’s quick for you to onboard the software. Sharma Oral Surgery reported that Intiveo’s onboarding process was “the best in the industry”. Lakeside Pediatric Dentistry reported that Intiveo’s software was user-friendly and decreased their no-shows for appointments by 80%. With Intiveo, you get a chance to adjust to the new normal. You get your time back.

Interested in seeing it for yourself? Book a demo to see what Intiveo can do for you.

Your Efficient Dental Office

No one has the answer to what will happen to dentistry staffing shortages as the pandemic goes on. However, what we do know is that we have your back as you navigate these challenges. Finding the right software that works for your office gives efficiency back to your staff. It contributes to the efficient onboarding of new employees. Being able to drop a new employee into your software and they’re set to go aids in that onboarding process.

If you want to learn more about how Intiveo can benefit your dental office, check out our website or book a demo to see what Intiveo can do for you.

We wish you luck as you navigate these challenges as a practice!

Click here to book a meeting, and discover how our patient communication software solutions can improve care for your practice!