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Dental practices have not escaped the rapid shift in consumer expectations toward digital engagement. Payment and communication options that are standard when ordering groceries or paying a wireless bill are now must-haves for today’s modern dental practice.

The upside for your office is that the same technology that can enhance the patient experience can also help streamline office workflows and give you and your staff more time to focus on other priorities, each day. Whether you’re struggling to find time to finish up lingering projects, taking a professional development course, or just eating lunch, automated solutions can help.

Short-staffed and overworked

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people are quitting their jobs in record numbers. Across all industries, the U.S. is averaging over 4 million resignations every month. The healthcare sector lost 2.7 million workers through May 2022 at a devastating rate of about 2.7% per month.

The dental industry has been equally hard hit by the Great Resignation. A poll conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) Policy Institute in March 2022 found that 26.5% of dental practice owners are recruiting administrative staff. This percentage is higher for larger practices — 35.3% of practices with two to nine dentists and 57% with 10 or more dentists are recruiting administrative staff. Nearly half of all dental practice owners are reporting that hiring administrative staff for their practice is “extremely challenging” in this current environment.

If you’re operating short-staffed and feeling overworked, finding more time in a day has never been more critical. Here are three ways technology can enhance office efficiency and help you reclaim control of your day.

Timesaver #1: Automated payments

Administrative costs are a continuing burden to the U.S. healthcare system. The Brookings Institution estimates that the healthcare industry spends up to one-third of its costs on administration. Billing and insurance processing is a significant portion of these costs.

Automated payments are one way to reduce the time you spend chasing down patient payments. Best practices for automated payment processing include:

  • Card on file stores payment information so you can automatically process payments at the time of visit or when insurance balances become due.
  • Contactless payments such as digital wallets and mobile wallet apps offer convenience, efficiency, and security.
  • Flexible payment plans help patients settle their balances with more manageable payments.
  • Online and mobile payments are fast, convenient, and automatically post to the ledger.
  • Patient financing allows patients to receive the care they need now and pay for it over time.

And if you need another reason to embrace automated payment processing, patients also prefer it:

  • A CWH Advisors survey found that payment preferences are shifting toward online and digital wallet options. Among respondents aged 18 to 34, 57% prefer using debit cards or digital wallets like Apple Pay.
  • A survey by PYMNTS and Rectangle Health found that 56% of healthcare consumers would like their providers to offer payment plans.

These survey results show that the dental industry is moving towards digital options as a primary source of payment.

Timesaver #2: Digital registration forms

If you’re still using paper forms and typing in patient information manually, you’re not as efficient as you could be. Digital registration forms can be a real timesaver.

Consider this streamlined workflow:

  • You text or email your patients a link to your registration forms from your workstation. Whether you send forms out via email or have patients complete them in the office, this step bypasses paper packets entirely.
  • Patients complete the forms at their own pace instead of being rushed at the office. This improves accuracy and allows you to collect insurance information and payment preference before their first visit.
  • You upload the information directly into your practice management system. There’s no need to key in data or scan in stacks of forms.

For a busy dental office manager struggling to keep up, digital registration forms are an easy win for your staff and patients.

Timesaver #3: Customizable messages

How much time do your office staff spend on the phone — leaving messages, retrieving messages, or listening to a chatty patient’s weekend plans? Text communications are a reliable and efficient way to communicate with patients about:

  • Appointments
  • Bills and payment options
  • Important practice announcements

You can also combine communication and payment solutions for additional time savings. By including a payment link to the text, you eliminate the need for paper statements and manual posting of payments. Because patients can access these online capabilities when it’s convenient for them, your office is essentially functioning 24/7.

Organizations that have adopted digital communication tools attest that their patients have responded positively. According to Daniela Borello, Patient Relations and Treatment Coordinator at Lerner & Lemongello Dentistry, their patients “have really loved the fact that we’ve put all these consent forms digitally and then can text back and forth with us.”

Let Rectangle Health help you get more done

As a leader in patient technology solutions, we understand the friction points in your administrative processes that drain valuable time out of each day. We’ve designed our innovative work and cash flow platform, Practice Management Bridge®, with ease and efficiency in mind.

By modernizing and simplifying practice operations, our system saves your staff time while helping you achieve faster payments, higher revenues, and improved patient satisfaction. Contactless payments, text to pay, online payments, and card on file gives patients the payment options they want while eliminating the need for checks and paper statements. Other features include digital registration forms, custom text messages, automated payment posting, streamlined workflows, and creating an effortless user experience for both staff and patients.

We know that security and compliance are some of the top concerns in healthcare practices. With that in mind, our software uses standard web protocols with the highest level of security to safeguard your patients’ health and financial information, making sure you meet today’s standards of healthcare compliance requirements. We take care of compliance so you don’t have to.

To learn more, contact us today.

Resources

  1. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. (2022, June 1). Table 4. Quits levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted. Economic News Release. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.t04.htm.
  2. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute. (2022). Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry; Week of March 14, 2022. American Dental Association. Retrieved July 8, 2022 from https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/mar2022_hpi_economic_outlook_dentistry_report_main.pdf?rev=b9c85094cbef448a8ff733a14137ed87&hash=315A22CB8F259B31BDAEAAD1F71C49F1.
  3. The Brookings Institution. (2020, March 10). Reducing administrative costs in US health care. Retrieved online July 8, 2022, from https://www.brookings.edu/research/reducing-administrative-costs-in-u-s-health-care/.
  4. CWH Advisors. (2021, August 12). PatientPayÔ CWH Advisors. Retrieved July 8, 2021, from https://www.cwhadvisors.com/gated-article/patientpay-study.
  5. PYMNTS, Rectangle Health. (2021, January). The Healthcare Payment Experience Report. PYMNTS, Rectangle Health. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.pymnts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/PYMNTS-The-Healthcare-Payment-Experience-Report-January-2021.pdf.
  6. Becker’s Healthcare and Rectangle Health. Self-Service Capabilities to Enhance the Patient Experience. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.rectanglehealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/rectangle-health-ebook-december-2020.pdf.

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