Why Patient Engagement Matters for Work-Life Balance

most common dental software

A Secret Ingredient

What if we told you patient engagement was the key to work-life balance at your dental practice?

This is not as counter-intuitive as you might think. After all, time savings is a significant factor in enjoying your job – and in a good patient engagement strategy. We’ll talk about how and why in this blog. Specifically, we’ll see how you and your patients can benefit from appointment reminder software. 

First of all – what even is a good work-life balance? How do we define that?

What Work-Life Balance Means

Before we get started with patient engagement: let’s start with how the team at your dental practice feels about their work.

A lot of people, whether or not they work for a dental practice, have a picture in their head of what a good work-life balance looks like. For most people it will include:

  • That their work has a manageable emotional weight
  • Work tasks that they can complete within both the work day and the work week, without needing to work unpaid overtime
  • The ability to spend time with family and/or friends
  • The ability to spend time on hobbies or favorite activities

Let’s think a little analytically about this list.

The Road to a Satisfying Workplace

The key to work having a manageable emotional weight is not having endlessly smooth, easy workdays, with no challenges and no mishaps or mistakes. We all know that that’s not how the world works!

When we are talking about having a manageable emotional weight, we mean that the emotional impact of work does not hinder finding contentment in your life. This can include:

  • Positive relationships with co-workers
  • Positive relationships between different parts of the hierarchy, aka, managers, business owners, etc.
  • Tools to manage the emotions of the people you serve
  • Tools to do the job well, so that frustration and dissatisfaction are mitigated

When you do not have the right tools, or when you have toxic relationships between co-workers or within the hierarchical structure of a practice, this makes it difficult to enjoy being at work. It can take a toll on your life outside of work, as well.

Let’s think about how this can look at a dental practice. Managing anxious or frustrated patients, especially if staff may not have the right tools, can result in work taking on an unmanageable amount of emotional weight. Challenging relationships with co-workers or within the hierarchical structure of the practice contributes to this as well. The good news is that a patient engagement strategy can help lessen this emotional weight – as we will see!

How Time Savings Relies on Patient Engagement

What do you notice about the other three points on our first list, regarding work-life balance? All three of them involve time. As we will see, this is where a patient engagement strategy becomes relevant. 

What makes it challenging to either manage time at a dental practice? What can take up extra time? Challenges can include:

  • Patients coming unprepared for appointments, meaning that patients cannot complete the appointment and time has to be taken to book a new appointment 
  • Patients’ appointments are delayed because they need to fill out paperwork before their appointment
  • Paperwork is written illegibly and takes some time to type up for an online file
  • Long hours are spent on manually reminding patients to come in for their appointment by phone
  • Inefficient office processes cause run-of-the-mill tasks like filing or organizing paperwork eat up a lot of the day

Of course, mistakes always happen, and so do delays. Nothing is perfect! However, many dental practices aren’t able to offer work-life balance to office staff and dental professionals alike, because there simply isn’t time in the day to get everything done.

Something else to notice about these challenges is that several of them revolve around reminding patients to come for their appointment. This is what is so valuable about appointment reminder software!  As we’ll see below, the ability to automate and to customize appointment reminders has a powerful effects on time efficiency at your practice.

Patient engagement is a key way to shift this for your practice. Let’s see how.

Appointment Reminder Software: How Technology Can Help

In our modern age, one of the ways to deliver on a patient engagement strategy is with the right tools. Remember, having the right tools to complete daily tasks brings us closer to work-life balance for your staff.

Different types of patient engagement software, including appointment reminder software, can help you get closer to achieving your practices work-life balance goals. 

With software, you can:

  • Automate patient reminders, saving staff time on manual reminders
  • Include appointment instructions in these reminders, increasing the likelihood that your patients will come prepared
  • Send paperwork in advance, giving them the opportunity to fill it out at home and not on staff time
  • Send digital forms, eliminating the problem of illegible handwriting

In addition, consider what kind of messaging cadence applies to which appointment type. For a teeth cleaning, you may only need one reminder – for a specialist procedure, you may need more reminders about fasting or medication. With patient engagement software, including appointment reminder software, this kind of reminder cadence becomes possible.

With the right tools and the right strategy, your dental practice can give your staff back that most precious resource: time. It is time that allows them to enjoy their work day and to spend on their life outside work.

Plus – an engaged patient is generally a satisfied one. The emotional weight of managing patient frustrations or anxieties can be mitigated with the right strategy.

Patient Engagement in the Field

The integration of patient engagement software into dental practices can have a transformative effect. This is something we see all the time at Intiveo. For instance, Wayside Dental Centre dramatically improved their patient experience by leveraging automated reminders and customized messages, directly resulting in an 80% confirmation rate. Similarly, Altoona Dental Clinic harnessed the software’s powerful capabilities to streamline appointment flows and fortify patient relations, contributing to a 95% uptick in patient reviews.

Taking all of these statistics into account, we can see how patient engagement improves when practices utilize tools that work for them, contributing in the end to work-life balance.

In addition to case studies, Intiveo offers a number of resources to support dental practices across Canada and the United States. Subscribe to our content via the link at the top right!