What is automation?
It seems like automation has been the talk of the town for some time now – and for a good reason. In fact, automation has actually been around for a long time, but only recently is it starting to make waves in dentistry. Its presence in almost every industry certainly makes it a topic worth exploring, but what exactly is it?
Automation is a process by which technology can replace manual human efforts when performing certain tasks. In a nutshell, it means that technology will do our work for us instead of us having to do them manually. Automation can make processes faster, more efficient, and more accurate than what we can achieve with our efforts.
What role does automation play in the future of effective practice management?
You’ve probably heard that the future is coming, but it can be hard to predict exactly what that means for your business. The dental industry has been slow to adopt new technologies, but fortunately, there are many tools available today that can help improve your practice.
Automation can take many different forms, however, we’ll be focusing on the one we know best – automated appointment software. As we all know, scheduling appointments is a time-consuming process for any dental practice and it can be easy to overlook the importance of this task until your staff faces difficulties. But when they become overwhelmed with appointments, it can hinder your staff’s ability to stay on top of tasks while providing quality care for the patients they have booked in.
Automated appointment software is an effective practice management solution that allows you to manage appointments, schedule them, and keep track of patient information. This makes it easier for you to see what patients need and when they need it. This is why automated appointment software is the future of practice management. It’s not just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have for any successful dental practice, and here’s why:
Benefits of automated appointment software
Improved patient experience
A neat little tool to look for when searching for automated appointment software is a two-way chat feature. This allows you and your staff to chat live with patients to let them know when you’re ready to take them in or answer any questions they may have. This can help ensure that patients aren’t enduring long waiting times or staying on hold waiting for quick questions to be answered.
Additionally, with an automated system, patients can receive key pre-appointment instructions within their confirmation emails, text, or voice messages at least 24 hours before they are due to come in. This way, they’ll know exactly when and what they need to arrive at your dental practice on the day of. This means less stress for both your patients and your staff!
Reduced human error
Humans are fallible — we make mistakes, we lose track of time and we get distracted by other jobs or tasks. Automated appointment software eliminates manual processes from the equation so that your patients never have to worry about having their appointments rescheduled due to scheduling errors.
Automation technology can also reduce the amount of stress that is placed on your staff members. This is because your staff will no longer have to make hundreds of phone calls a day chasing patients down for appointment scheduling, confirmations, recalls, or payments due on accounts. The automated system will handle all of this so that they can focus on providing the best possible care for the patients who are in the practice! In fact, research shows that automation solutions can actually lead to a spike in staff satisfaction levels and a decrease in turnover rates.
Improved operational efficiency
Increase practice efficiency by ensuring that the automated appointment software of your choice can integrate with your existing practice management system. This ensures that your staff doesn’t have to spend time manually entering patient data back and forth between both systems. Having an automated appointment software in place allows you to manage your practice’s workflow better so that everything runs smoothly from start to finish!
As an added bonus, dental professionals who own multiple locations can use this software to manage all their appointments and communications remotely. This allows them to run each location more efficiently and increase productivity across the board.
Data breaches are a very real thing that can happen to dental practices due to their valuable patient data. Automated appointment software can help you protect your practice by providing extra layers of security that prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. Some systems also provide HIPAA and PIPEDA compliance, ensuring that your dental records are safe and secure at all times.
As a dental practice owner or practice manager, your practice relies on technology to provide the best possible care for your patients. But introducing new technology can be challenging.
If you’re one of the many professionals who are thinking about automating their processes, this section is for you. We’ll touch on the hurdles you might face and give you tips on how to introduce them into your practice!
Staff resistance to change
The automated software market is saturated with a wide range of software options to choose from, but many dentists are still operating their practice manually. This is partly due to the fact that automation isn’t always easy to implement and staff can be resistant to change in general, but in this case – to learning how to use automated appointment software.
In order to help make the transition easier, here are a couple of ways you can get started on automating your practice:
Set a goal. It’s important that you set a clear goal for what you want out of your new system. This will help keep your end goal in mind as you navigate through the process of choosing an appointment scheduling software and implementing it into your office.
Be patient. As mentioned earlier, the world of dentistry has been slow to adopt new technologies and as a result, some staff members won’t exactly be jumping for joy at the thought of new technology. But don’t worry, If you want your staff to buy into the idea of automation, then they need to understand why it’s so important for your business. Explain how it will save them time and increase efficiency, as well as how much easier it will be for patients to book an appointment online. They’ll be more likely to embrace change if they feel like there’s a tangible benefit for everyone involved.
Set aside some time to properly train your staff. For staff that aren’t the most tech-savvy, learning new technology can be overwhelming and feel counterproductive. Don’t make the mistake of expecting them to learn it in a few minutes, and set aside time when the practice is quiet to give your staff the training they need. This will help them feel comfortable using it alongside their normal workflow – and give them the confidence to embrace new technologies moving forward.
One of the most common challenges that dental professionals face when investing in automated appointment software is cost. Many practices spend thousands of dollars on their current scheduling system — sometimes even tens of thousands — and they’re hesitant to spend more money on another system that may not be as effective as they hope it will be.
Here are two ways automation will help your dental practice overcome cost challenges:
Reduced labor costs. You may have noticed that labor costs have been rising steadily over the last few years. One reason for this is that fewer people are entering the workforce and more people are looking for jobs. The result is an increased demand for skilled workers who can handle more complex tasks than ever before. Automation takes some of this pressure off by removing repetitive tasks and freeing up some time for your staff to focus on more valuable work.
Improved productivity. Once you’ve invested in automated appointment software for your practice, you’ll likely notice an immediate increase in productivity, confirmations, and glowing reviews for your practice — which means more patients being seen per day and more revenue coming into your practice!
Automating your dental practice is a great way to save time and money. But, while the benefits of automation are clear, integrating automated appointment software with your existing technology can be a challenge. And when it comes to productivity, it only makes sense that you’d want to find a system that works with all other systems in your practice.
When searching for appointment scheduling software, you need to consider how it will integrate with other systems in your office. Your practice management system should be able to share data with your practice management system, which will ensure that all patients have up-to-date information about upcoming appointments and treatment plans. The same goes for financial software like invoicing and billing — these systems should be able to communicate with each other seamlessly so that your patients don’t run into payment or insurance troubles.
Pro tip: When interested in software, always ask for a demonstration of the product to see the software in action. This can give you an idea of what to expect out of the software, and also gives you the opportunity to ask some questions.
The most important question you should ask is, “Can this software integrate with my current ___ system?”.
Is there such a thing as perfect software?
There are many different types of appointment software on the market today and it can be difficult to choose which one is right for you. However, it is important that you make the decision carefully because your practice will be relying on this software for years to come.
So how do you pick the perfect automated software? Here are some top considerations:
Ease of use. How easy will it be to learn how to use this software? How long will it take? Is there a learning curve? Will there be any training or support available? If not, what will you do if you run into problems or lose interest in using the system after a few months?
Automated features. What automated features does this software offer that make your life easier? Do these features require additional purchases or upgrades? Are they available at no extra cost as part of your subscription fee?
Security. How secure is this software from hacking or data breaches? Does it protect your patient’s information from being stolen?
Our top 5 picks for automated appointment software
Automation is the future of effective dental practice management. The dental industry has experienced a lot of changes over the years. From new technologies to changing business models, there have been many things that have helped practices run more efficiently and keep up with the competition.
The need for automation is no different, especially in this day and age where everyone is trying to find ways to save time and money. The good news is that there are plenty of solutions out there that can help you automate your dental practice management.
That’s why we decided to put together a list of our top 5 appointment software for dental professionals. Let’s take a look:
Image credit: RecallMax
Best for: Getting patients back with recall reminders
Staff can use RecallMax to manage treatment plans, collections, fill short-notice cancellations, and many other tasks.
- Organizes and simplifies key tasks
- Customer recall reminders
- Appointment reminders
- Collection reminders
- Online booking
Image credit: SolutionReach
Best for: Appointment reminders
A customized text, email, or voice reminder can be sent out at your patient’s convenience by using SolutionReach’s automated appointment reminders. As a result, you can reduce no-shows and late cancellations, increase confirmations, and fill your schedule more consistently.
- Appointment reminders
- Text messaging
- Patient Education
- Phone system
Image credit: Lighthouse 360
Best for: Keeping your schedule full
In order to assist dentists and other dental professionals with practice management and patient communication, Lighthouse 360 offers a cloud-based solution suitable for small to large dental practices.
- Appointment reminders
- Reactivation Outreach
- Treatment Plans
- Cancellation Fill-Ins
Image credit: Weave
Best for: Patient-focused interactions
With Weave, you can automate more tasks, fill schedules, get paid faster, collect more reviews, and manage your company’s communication tools all in one place.
- Missed call text
- Digital forms
- Automated appointment reminders
- Online scheduling
- Call analytics
Image credit: Legwork Software
Best for: Growing your practice
From prospect to the patient, Legwork’s dental communication software supports the entire patient journey.
- Appointment reminders
- Text messaging
- Dental fast fill
- Paperless forms
- Patient portal
The automated appointment software we know best
At Intiveo, we are committed to forging long-lasting relationships with your patients. We offer a cloud-based patient communication software that provides automated and customizable patient communication tailored to your practice. As a complete patient journey software, Intiveo optimizes communication across each touchpoint your patient has with your practice. Intiveo helps you seamlessly communicate with your patients via text, voice, and email, from practice updates to filling missed appointments so that you don’t miss a chance in getting those critical positive reviews.
Our flexible solutions focus on:
Tailoring communication to the needs of each patient. Your patient can decide the best way to get in touch with them, via SMS, email, or voice.
Connecting with your patients at every stage of their journey. Keep in touch with your patients from the initial booking to post-care follow-ups. Create a feedback loop by requesting reviews using our Social Reviews feature and make sure they’re getting their forms filled out with Intiveo Forms.
Helping boost your practice’s overall efficiency. Streamlining your workflows with our software can ensure that both your patients and staff have the best of experiences. Plus, it will save you time and money – which is always a bonus!
Customer service you can count on. Our customer experience team is unmatched! When you sign up with us, you can count on a dedicated onboarding representative that walks you through the process and can answer any questions you may have. Feel confident in knowing we will always have your back.
Our favorite features are:
Appointment reminders. Our appointment reminders are tailored to your patient’s messaging needs, whether they need to come in for a cleaning or an extraction, which is why we’ve built an entirely customizable reminder tool. That’s right, you can customize everything from the messaging, specific instructions and attachments, the sending timeline, and delivery mode.
2-way chat. We offer a chat feature that lets you text patients from your office number, use chat templates for your most commonly used messages, set up custom auto-replies for messages received outside of business hours, and message patients across multi-location practices.
Forms. Our forms feature helps you organize and manage all the patient forms you need in one place, simplifying your patient intake process and saving your staff time.
Get started today by booking a meeting with one of our representatives to discover how our intuitive software can improve care and set new standards for your practice.
Lastly, we want to wish you a good luck with your appointment reminder journey!