As your practice grows, keeping up with patient files, appointments, and billing will get harder. You will start to spend more time managing your office than actually helping people improve their dental health. Outdated processes and poor systems can prevent patients from paying their bills while increasing the number of no-shows each week. You need a software solution that keeps all of your tasks under one umbrella.
Dental practice management software is designed specifically to help dentists keep up with the day-to-day operations of running an office. It streamlines patient management and billing under one tool, rather than forcing your staff to use different solutions for various tasks.
Every practice has its own struggles, but the right dental software can provide the solutions you need. Here are a few benefits of investing in a software tool to manage your entire dental office.
Save Time for Staff
One of the main benefits of investing in dental management software is saving your team time. If your staff members are overwhelmed by the number of daily tasks on their plates, it’s time for them to work smarter, not harder.
The right software system will keep your employees working with one platform throughout the day, rather than requiring them to juggle between different apps and programs. They can also navigate your patients through each part of the appointment from one central hub. An effective software tool will cover appointment scheduling, payments, insurance claims, and patient consent forms all in one place.
Also, look into systems that automate existing processes. For example, automatic appointment reminders can keep your staff off the phone throughout the day while still alerting patients about upcoming procedures and cleanings.
Save Time for Patients
Patients also benefit from offices that invest in dental software programs. They can gain access to patient portals where they update their information, complete forms, and process payments with just a few clicks. This creates a smoother experience for patients and potentially increases their retention rates.
For example, electronic registration forms can save patient information from one visit to the next. Instead of filling out the same form each time, patients can complete annual reviews to update their files if anything has changed. They can modify their addresses if they move or add new medications they are on. If nothing has changed, your patients will only need a few minutes to fill out these forms.
Time is a small but precious gift you can give to your patients. Saving a few minutes on forms or payment with each visit can create positive experiences and highlight how efficient your office is.
Enhance Patient Communication
Digital tools make it easy to streamline patient communication – both for offices that want to reach out to patients and for people who have questions about their care. For example, your dental software can send alerts to patients about upcoming appointments, reducing the rate of no-shows.
According to a survey by the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, no-shows and cancellations were the biggest factors preventing practices from having full schedules in November 2022. Almost 83% of dentists said no-shows and cancellations within 24 hours of the appointment window kept them from running a full office.
Text alerts can help patients remember their appointments or cancel them in a timely manner. Your staff can then keep a list of “ASAP patients" who would be happy to step into the first available appointment. These messages can also communicate important information like pre-appointment preparation and aftercare requirements.
There are several benefits of going paperless in your dental practice, both for your operating efficiency and time savings goals. Ken Choi at Record Nations listed several costs that come with using paper in your dental practice. A few reasons to go paperless include:
- Time: employees spend up to two hours each day looking for files. That adds up over the year.
- Security: on average, large businesses lose a file every six seconds. Even if your team only loses a file a day, you could put patient data at risk.
- Space: free up your cabinets and drawers with digital systems. Use that storage for more important items.
- Cost: add up your total paper and ink costs each year. Dental software is much more affordable when you realize these costs could be nearly eliminated with online tools.
Improve Dental Payment Processing
Another service your software can provide is improved dental payment processing for patients and staff. If your team has to call patients to complete payments and stay up to date on their bills, they are losing precious hours during the day. This form of payment acceptance also might not be secure if your team members are taking credit card numbers over a standard phone line.
The right software will make it easy for patients to receive and pay their bills in a variety of ways. They can cover the bill upfront or sign up for a payment plan. These dental payment solutions also accept a variety of transfer formats, including credit cards, eChecks, and digital banking tools.
Integrate Dental Charting and Imaging
Your practice software can also improve dental charting and imaging so you understand the needs of your patients better. You can look at your notes before meeting with a patient to check for sore spots that caused problems during the last appointment. You can also keep detailed x-rays to track tooth health over time.
These charts can make your appointments more efficient. You can spend less time reviewing patient data and more time focusing on their current oral health.
Easily Meet e-Prescribing Mandates
Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) requires dentists to digitally record and upload prescriptions into an online system that sends the orders to pharmacies. Change Healthcare created an interactive e-prescription mandate map that highlights which states require this format.
The right dental software tools will help you meet your e-prescription mandate deadlines without introducing major changes to how your office is run.
Cut Costs and Increase Revenue
Each of these benefits that come with dental software can cut your overall costs and increase your revenue. Better communication reduces the number of no-shows and empty slots in your schedule. Improved billing means more invoices get paid on time. Better organization and a paperless system can save countless work hours each year.
A well-run office creates positive customer experiences, which can increase retention and cut down on your marketing costs. You may notice that your patients are happier and more satisfied with your office workflows. They will no longer be kept waiting as your staff looks for files or checks through appointment books for available windows.
Don’t view dental software as an extra system your staff needs to learn and manage. Instead, focus on the benefits that come with these tools. Look for solutions that can make running your practice easier so you can spend more time caring for patients.