Today we are releasing a first-of-its-kind report, State of Dental 2022: The Year of the Patient. You can find the summary results and get the full report here.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused — and, as of this writing, is still causing — major disruptions in the dental industry. Safety concerns dramatically lowered the number of patients coming through the dentist’s door.
To get a better understanding of how the Dental industry is changing, we surveyed 1,271 dentists, owners and office managers and compiled their feedback into a new report: State of Dental 2022, The Year of the Patient. The report will give your practice insights into the biggest trends in patient experience coming in 2022, an understanding of how to evaluate dental software, and where you’ll see the best returns on tech and marketing investments.
Here, we’ve laid out some of the State of Dental’s highlights, but if you’d like to jump straight into the full report, you can access it here.
Who we surveyed
To get a comprehensive look at the state of patient experience in the dental industry, we surveyed 1,271 people. The respondents were mostly dentists but also included office managers, operations leads, and marketers. The full breakdown is:
- 58% dentists
- 29% practice owners
- 9% office managers
- 3% operations
- 2% marketing
- 6% who didn’t fall in those categories and self-identified as other
70% of respondents were single-location practices, and 30% were multi-location practices or part of a larger dental group.
Key finding #1: Dental practices are optimistic
Yes, you read that right. This finding was both exciting and encouraging to hear from the surveyed practitioners. After two years of turmoil, dentists are saying they expect patient volumes to return to normal. In fact, 94% of practices expect the same or more patient volume than before the pandemic.
This optimism underlies the primary argument of our report, which is that the time to invest in your patient-practice relationship is now. We expect patients to return to the dentist’s chair in droves, and in order to be ready for them, your practice needs to modernize and digitize. This means offering online booking, sending appointment reminders via text and email, and using online billing and payment collection.
Key finding #2: Customer satisfaction is the #1 priority
This is in line with both the return of patients to the office and more practices introducing technology to make the patient-practice relationship stronger. Survey respondents were given a list of objectives for 2022 and asked to assign a score from least to most important. The top objective — by a wide margin — was Improving Customer Satisfaction.
Key finding #3: Patient experience software adoption is ramping up
Our survey shows that more and more practices are implementing patient experience software, which offers tools like messaging, reminders, waitlists, and recall campaigns. Higher volume practices make up more of the early patient experience software adopters.
We predict that soon practices of all sizes will want to start investing in this technology for their practice because of the success larger volume practices are having.
Per our survey, the five most common patient experience software used by dentists were (alphabetically):
- Lighthouse 360
The benefits of this type of software are multifold. To name one example, let’s look at patient consent forms. Only 23% of practices allow patients to submit forms online. Patient experience software lets patients complete this in advance, so they can spend less time waiting in your office. This one improvement can contribute to an overall more positive patient experience.
Download the full report to learn where to invest to grow your practice
We think we’ve made a convincing case for why 2022 will be the year of the patient experience. Choosing the best software will be crucial for capturing new and returning patients seeking treatment in your community.
In our full report, you’ll learn how practices are selecting the right software and the four software deal-breakers to avoid when choosing yours. Download it here to learn more.