When you run a business, a lot can change over the course of a year.

If there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s change. And that is true for the daily work life within a healthcare practice. It can be tough to stay on top of current trends and best practices when you’re trying to focus on patient care. In this helpful article, we’ll discuss some of the latest trends that have been seeping into 2020 that show no signs of slowing down.

1. Improve patient experience

In short, this term describes an individual’s experience of illness/injury and how healthcare treats themPatient-centered care has been a movement that provides transparency with individual patient’s desires and their involvement. There has always been a divide between the doctor and patient, but this approach aims to mend that gray area through improved satisfaction rates, overall quality, safety, and most importantly, cost-saving. Both parties benefit from this practice and to be frank, it’s something that should have been there from the beginning. Many dental practices are beginning to understand the impact of patient experience toward their practice and are making changes to their approach with technology.

With the help of the latest technology, like patient experience management platforms such as NexHealth, dental practices are finally able to communicate with their patients in a stress-free manner. There are communication platforms on the market that do not integrate with your current practice management software and those are the ones to stay away from. Providing quality patient experience starts before the patient enters the door. It starts with the first interaction and ends on last for the day. This is where technology comes into play like real-time online booking, recalls, reminders, two-way messaging, email campaigns, and more. When patients are involved, communication is solid, and the service is great, you have the perfect recipe for providing a premium patient experience.

Key stats on patient experience:

  1. About 30 percent of healthcare organizations survey have instituted tools or practices in customer experience.
  2. 72% of dentists consider generating referrals to be their most significant source for new patient appointments.
  3. Roughly 9 – 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear.
  4. 64% of providers said EHRs have failed to deliver many critical value-based care tools.
  5. About 81% of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience.

2. Embrace social media

This might not be news for some, but social media is still one of the most powerful tools to help dental practices grow and reach new heights. Many dentists and dental practices have been focusing more on social media to create awareness and build a sense of community. One of the leading social platforms for dentists has been the use of Instagram. Instagram is all about sharing quality imagery and this is how dentists have been showcasing their work. A great example of quality imagery is “before and after” shots for dental work. This has been a recent trend that raises awareness for new or existing patients on what they could achieve if they took the time to come in. Take a moment and follow your favorite dentist and follow the type of content they post. If you don’t have a favorite, then check out accounts like Dr. Jennifer Plotnick of Grand Street Dental or The Smilist. These are two prime examples of how you can achieve success through Instagram.

As the new year begins, add Instagram to the list of social platforms to focus on. Start by creating a theme around your Instagram profile. Discuss with your team how you want to approach your new and existing patients. It’s also important to utilize every feature on this platform such as stories, hashtags call-to-actions, and more. To fully utilize Instagram, ask yourself what type of quality imagery will you provide? Will your content be actionable? A general rule of thumb is to always provide actionable content to your audience. You will be able to see the difference for yourself as patients begin to respond to your content.

Key Instagram stats:

  1. 80% of accounts follow a business on Instagram.
  2. 200 million instagram users visit a least one business profile daily.
  3. Instagram stories have more than 400 million active daily consumers.
  4. Brands see engagement rates 10x higher on Instagram than they do on Facebook.
  5. Having at least 1 hashtag will get you 12.6% more engagement.

3. Update your tech

In recent years, technology has grown rapidly within the medical field and so should the technology in your office. Many dental practices are changing the way they normally approach and communicate with new and existing patients through technology. People generally work 8-10 hours a day and juggle a million different things within a typical workday. Since the implementation of new technology, dental practices have been able to stay on top of their patients with ease. Automation is the key to providing a premium experience for both the dentist and the patient. Today’s patient wants to have their questions answered within minutes, so if a new patient reaches out after “working hours,” the practice could be missing our on more businesses because they did not have the technology in place for situations like that.

Instant gratification is more in demand than ever and this is why automation with technology is so impactful. By updating their technology, dental practices are helping their office managers or marketing associates to become even more successful at their job. Dentists are acknowledging this and have been continuing to provide their team with the tools to succeed even further than intended. a practice management software only take you so far, but, when adding a patient experience management platform with features that integrate such as real-time online booking, email campaigns, or text message billing, you have a recipe for success.

Many dental practices have been consolidating their technology by using multiple vendors so that they are also not wasting any money. Many dental practices have been known to use one vendor for one specific purpose, leaving them with five different vendors at times. This leads to wasted money and time. Dealing with multiple vendors is a hassle. So moving into 2020, dental practices have been focusing their efforts to reduce wasted expenditures and have been going with a solid vendor that can achieve more than one feature like real-time online booking, recalls & reminders, 5-star reviews, text-message billing, two-way messaging, reporting, and more.

4.  Improve your website

As the year continues, the need for online presence does too. As a business, people search for you online, whether through mobile or desktop. They’ll use search engines like Google and Bing or use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Yelp to find out more information. This is also why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) goes hand-in-hand with an online presence. When someone types in “looking for a dentist near me,” you want to make sure your practice will pop up first with a clean homepage.

A successful website gains a lot of traffic through different mediums. Traffic is key data that can be used to improve your practice and gain more patients. When your website is clean and modern, patients will feel more at comfort because you are “up with the times,” for example. Patients are used to seeing sleek and modern websites, so it’s only natural that they expect the same from your business. You want your website to be ranked well when it is not, then your website will fall short from the competition. The digital marketplace is becoming more competitive by the day, so the sooner you can tackle your online presence, the sooner you can attain a positive growth rate.

Key stats on online presence:

  1. 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
  2. 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on the website design.
  3. More than 64% of smartphone users seek healthcare recommendations online.
  4. 90% of people use search engines to find local businesses in their area.
  5. 63% of clicks are on the first 5 organic results on Google.

5. Stay active

One of the most important things to focus on in the coming year as a practice is to get active. When your practice is active, your patients are active. Positive people want to be surrounded by others that are positive. The same goes for people that are miserable, but let’s not go there. Many practices are focusing on the positive and are taking steps toward bridging the gap between the patient and practice by getting active. Getting active is more than just doing the bare minimum, it’s about getting involved and understanding your patient’s wants and needs. It’s about contributing to their health and wellness so that both parties can benefit in the best of ways.

A simple way to start getting active with patients is by dropping a random email or text after the patient’s procedure. Simply asking ” Hi, I just wanted to drop in and see how you are feeling today? I hope you’re doing well.” This can go a long way and it only takes a few moments out of your day. Simple gestures can go far when it’s presented at the right time. Getting active on social media is also a prime example of how one can connect with their patients on a mass scale. Simple things as to comment on one’s photo or creating a story and sending it to a patient can go a long way. Another way to get active is by throwing fundraisers and getting your practice out there in the open so people can see you loud and clear. You get what you put out, so the more you put yourself out there as a practice, the higher your odds of succeeding.

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