Improving Patient Retention

modern practice podcast

On episode 5 of DentalCast Productions’ “Live with John” podcast series, John Stamper will host Rectangle Health’s Manager of Product Training, Matthew Morrobel to discuss how dental practices can meet the expectations of patients and increase retention.


John Stamper 00:00

Good evening, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Live with John. Super excited to be with you this evening. And we have reached episode five. It is the final episode of what has been an awesome learning series with the team from Rectangle Health. And as I was sharing with my guest, Matthew Morrobel, who is the product training manager at Rectangle Health, that when you get to episode five, this has to be the epic peak of all of this. Now, as we go back, Matthew knows that the prior four have been awesome. They all have been unique in their own right.

And we’re going to do our best to kind of wrap everything up today in regards to improving patient retention. If you remember episode one, we talked about alleviating the pains of payment capture. Patient payment capture, that is episode two. We talked about setting your practice up for success in 2022. So hopefully a lot of the things that you learned on that you’re implementing, we then got to episode three where we discussed presenting the modern dental practice. A lot of things are changing. Technology is adding to the experience for patients. And so we touched on that. And in our last episode, we focused on compassion in care. And so this last piece of the Learning series, Matthew, I’m really excited about, and that is around patient retention. And so welcome to live with John. It’s great to have you.

Matthew Morrobel 01:46

Oh, it’s such a pleasure to be here. John absolutely overjoyed and really, it’s going to be a summation of the last four episodes and just really putting it all together and seeing what we come up with.

John Stamper 01:56

Yeah, I love it. So when I think about patient retention, I feel like every business, every company and every industry would always come out and say that patient retention or customer retention is important, right? Everybody knows that if you can keep a customer, keep a patient happy for as long as possible, that’s a positive thing. However, doing it is a whole different story, especially building it into the fabric of your organization. So I know you’re going touch on that today. But before we do, I would love to have you share with everybody. How did you get to Rectangle Health?

Matthew Morrobel 02:28

It’s been a beautiful journey, I’ll tell you that right now, john coming from the finance industry and doing sales in the financial sector, it’s definitely a change of pace, right? Being in the healthcare industry and healthcare technology particularly. But I think Sam said it best last episode, where it’s really being able to fulfill your purpose and looking to do greater good for us as human beings, quite frankly, is what brought me to Rectangle Health. And being able to live up my purpose each and every day, having something to reflect on, having something to get inspired by and having something to look forward to. That’s what keeps me at rectangle health.

And it’s nice to know that this is not only a job, but rather a career for me and what I get to do on a day to day basis in terms of helping people and helping practice realize how they can make the patient experience more enhanced and better. That’s what keeps me going. John.

John Stamper 03:17

Yeah, I love that. And on episode three, as you know, Matthew, we touched on the modern dental practice and looking at it from that perspective with Michael Paluso. My first question for you is when you speak with dental practices, talk a little bit about their thoughts on the modern dental patient in today’s world.

Modern Dental Patients in the Digital World

Matthew Morrobel 03:38

So the modern dental patient, right? I think that’s you. I think that’s me. I think that’s our families, I think that’s all of us, quite honestly, and we are the catalyst that’s driving healthcare innovation right now in 2022 and beyond. Just think about the way we consume knowledge, the way that we educate ourselves, the way we shop, the way we interact. It’s all technological and demeanor and through mechanisms, right? From our banking to our retail to our communication. Like I said, it’s all digital. And especially for folks even like my sister, who’s 23 and a Gen Z. She’s lived her whole entire life through a phone, tablet or computer screen. And those are things we have to start taking into consideration when we are talking about the modern patient, because their expectations and what they’re realizing in the real world, it’s ever evolving.

And our retention efforts as it relates to the modern patient also need to be ever evolving to meet those expectations. I think about someone even like myself, right, being 30 years old, being self sufficient, right, paying my own rent, paying my own utilities, still paying off student loans. I’m the modern patient too, and there’s tens of thousands of me out there, right? So there’s definitely some altered expectations in the healthcare space and that’s really built off the backs of what we are experiencing in the retail space and through our day to day communications.

John Stamper 05:01

Yeah, I feel like retention, again, a very powerful word, something that every dental practice strives for. However it feels like, Matthew, that in today’s world, the more options there are, regardless of you’re a consumer or you’re a patient. In this case, obviously we’re talking about dental practices, other dental practices in the community, but the more options there are, the more difficult and challenging it can be for a practice in regards to having a high retention rate. So I would love to talk to you about maybe some of those challenges that you see and hear about of what the dental practice really faces when they’re trying to establish a high retention.

Matthew Morrobel 05:36

Rate when we’re talking about retention, especially in dentistry. John I think the first thing for us to kind of really understand is what’s the front door to our practice, because the front door is not the literal front door anymore. The front door is really your website and your reviews nowadays, right. Again, thinking about how we’re consuming knowledge, how we’re educating ourselves as, again, consumers in the dental space, right? Yeah, I’m a patient, but I’m still a consumer. At the end of the day, just ask my card issuer, right? That’s what they would say. And it’s really understanding how you are receiving care in terms of where you’re going. The first thing I do is I open up my phone, right? Just the other day, I was looking for a dermatologist.

The first thing I did, it was open up Google Chrome right, from my phone, and I searched dermatologists in my area. And what I did is I kind of went down the docket in terms of just reviewing not only their reviews, but their websites to see what they’re offering inside the practice. Are they technologically savvy? Right. I know what I do for a living, so I know what I’m looking for when I’m in the healthcare space. So understanding that, yeah, payment flexibility is one thing, right. But also having digital registration forms is another thing because for someone like me, I have a lot going on in my life.

And not to say that other folks don’t, but spending 15 minutes in a chair or 20 minutes in a chair filling out the clipboard, I mean, I’m spending more time in the waiting room half the time, John, than I am in the actual chair with my provider. And that’s something that we need to kind of reengineer and think about and take a step back, especially if you’re working at a practice, taking a step back and thinking of yourself as the patient as well. Are there some changes that need to happen? Are there some opportunities to streamline some of those inefficient workflows within the practice? And more importantly, are you harnessing the power of good reviews? Because that’s still the thing nowadays. John, believe it or not.

I know we’re utilizing technology as the means of communicating these things, but word of mouth is still the thing. And word of mouth just happens through technological means nowadays rather than just me talking to you face to face. So if we’re able to really harness the power of good reviews and our websites and really being able to communicate more effectively and be more transparent right from the get go with our patients, you’re going to be more successful because that’s going to turn into a snowball effect of, again, positive reviews, brand exposure, right? SEO, search engine optimization with your brand, that’s really important stuff. And then, of course, the options you provide to supplement that branding is also going to be pretty impactful for today’s patient, especially the millennials and Gen Z.

And even if you think about it, generation X and the Boomers as well. I’m the one who sets up my grandparents on recurring payment plans and does the research online for them. My mother, who’s 53 and a Gen Xer, she’s posting more on Instagram and Facebook than I have in my entire life. So these are things that we have to start taking into consideration in today’s day and age, especially as we think about retention, especially in dentistry.

John Stamper 08:39

I have a feeling that after this episode, your rectangle health team is going to coin a new phrase, which might be the new front door. I love how you positioned that right when you talk about reviews and how patients learn about dental practices, how they get in there. More importantly, like you talked about retention, the other thing that you may not be aware of, Matthew, is that before we came on here, I had a chance to speak with the other six colleagues that did episodes for this Learning series, and they all said it was absolutely okay for me to put you on the spot for this next question. So I’m going to do that if you’re okay. Right, so just want to let you know, we are all about creating some action items for everybody that is watching.

I think more importantly around setting expectations. So you got practices out there listening, they’re saying, okay, we know retention is important, but when I think about meeting expectations for patients in 2022, it can seem very overwhelming. So I have a feeling that you’re the guy that can at least give people watching three, maybe just three things, three action items that they can do in an effort to help them meet the expectations of their 2022 patient.

3 Action Items For Patient Retention

1. Automation

Matthew Morrobel 09:48

I think that’s a great question, John, and I guess I am the person, so let’s get right into it. I want to start with automation. I know it’s something that we’ve talked about on previous episodes, but let’s really kind of get a little deeper because when you’re talking about being able to see more patients, when you’re talking about being able to enhance the patient experience, right. The patient experience and the modern patient aren’t just buzzwords anymore. Right again, it’s the catalyst that’s driving healthcare innovation in today’s day and age. So automation needs to be in place in order to again serve patients better, provide that elite care that we’re accustomed to, especially in dentistry. I want to get into some stories here in a little bit about even me and my dentist and what I experience because of automation.

When I go into my dentist. It’s one of those things where it’s kind of a safe haven in a vault for me to kind of vent a little bit and for my dentist as well to do a little venting back to me. But it’s kind of that rapport that we’ve built because of the automation that’s in place, right? I get text messages when it’s my appointment time. I have digital registration forms with my dentist. I have my card on file with my dentist, which, by the way, that’s really the only person I kind of do card on file with because I’m actually incentivized as the modern patient to pay with NFC. I get more cash back when I pay with Tap to pay than I do when I use a physical card.

But I do sacrifice my cash back for my dentist because of the relationship that we have, right? I can sacrifice that 2% for him. But what automation also does is that it allows you to kind of really be more patient centric and be more focused on kind of the ins and out of the visit rather than kind of the manual processes that are involved. And by the way, those manual processes, what they’re really doing, John, is just creating more overhead, right? You want to talk about being more profitable? Well, build in some automation into your day and kind of talking about a second action item, talking about a little bit about revenue. I think increasing cash flow is another one, right?

2. Flexible Payment Options

Being able to provide multiple options to your patients for them to satisfy payment, that’s the way to go because that’s what folks like me are looking for. Can I pay online? Can I pay with tap to pay? Can I leave a card on file? Also to get a little selfish and to continue talking about myself? Just a couple of years ago, I actually was experiencing some health issues, right? And I had to come out of pocket for $4,300, John. Now, could I have gone to my savings account into my rainy day fund and committed to payment that way? I could have, but it was a lot more beneficial, especially from a fiscal standpoint, for me to spread that payment out over time with my provider. But not all providers are offering payment flexibility in the terms of payment plans or recurring payments.

What we call care now, pay later here at Rectangle Health. And what that did was it gave me peace of mind. It gave me peace of mind knowing that my provider is taking my financials into consideration. They’re worried about providing me care and we’re not having a friction built payments conversation. So just allowing for patients to pay in more manners than just one at the point of care, right? Incorporating some Precare and post care payment initiatives that’s increasing cash flow. And what that does for the practice at the end of the day, it allows them to start conceptualizing and implementing some other business patient and revenue growing initiatives. And I think that’s important, right? We just talked about the front door to the practice, right? Enhancing your website, right.

Incorporating some more digital tools into your operations, being able to get that other imaging X ray or utilities in the practice, right? So I think increasing cash flow would be another action item as well as unification of data. I think that’s another big one. There’s a lot of providers out there, especially dental providers, who are paying multiple services or have multiple systems that can be a little disjointed at times. So really, being able to bring all of those services under one roof, right. Online bill pay, registration forms, text messaging, and being able to customize those messages, reporting aspects, being able to bring that all under one roof, I think that’s what it’s all about. Pulling reports that should happen in a matter of seconds, right. Being able to go through the refund process, that should just be a couple of clicks of the button.

Being able to kind of have visibility and transparency into what your staff is doing at the practice, that should be second nature and shouldn’t have to be going through different loops and different systems in order to get that information. And if I just had to throw maybe another one out there, I guess I would have to maybe jumble it in for a fourth one. It’s really the security, compliance, and accessibility of a system. You have to make sure that things are secure nowadays. Right. And that’s the beauty about something that we offer here at Rectangle Health. Being point to point encrypted. It’s huge, John, especially if you think about the way people are communicating nowadays. Think of WhatsApp its biggest selling point is. End to end encryption. Right. So we’re even communicating through applications that are basically fostering and promoting security.

And I think we need to do that, especially as it relates to not only phi information right. Health information, but also our payments information that needs to be protected and beyond a system that’s compliant and encrypted. Yes.

3. Consideration

John Stamper 15:13

All right, so you put out there that you’re of the Gen Z generation, right. Maybe on this next learning series that we do with Rectangle Health, like, all of our guests will have a T shirt based on what their gen is. Gen Z kind of like just a new way to show what generation you are. But Gen Z, er, you walk into a practice, you visually see the practice management bridge that you guys have available. And what’s the first thing that comes to your mind as a patient in 2022?

Matthew Morrobel 15:43

As a patient? You know what? Consideration. Consideration. We just talked a little bit about accessibility. Knowing that my preferences are top of mind for these providers, that’s important for someone like me. And when you want to talk about retention efforts, that’s something I’m passing along to my buddies, right? That’s something that I’m also promoting online through social media, through reviews. I’m letting folks know, hey, you know what? I had such a streamlined experience going to this dermatologist, going to this physical therapist, more importantly, going to my dentist. Right? We’re speaking about dentistry. It’s important, especially if these are folks that providers that you’re going to be seeing a couple of times a year. I want to have a relationship. I want to also make sure that they’re garnering some exposure because of the experience that’s being levied off to the patient.

Someone like me, I want folks to know about that. And also it’s something in terms of consideration, especially with care now, pay later, because that’s something that really hits home for me, I think about even some of my other buddies who are experiencing life having difficulties in terms of even like IVF john right. That can be a pretty hefty balance that needs to be paid off. Right. $13,000, and that’s demanded up front. What if there was a down payment that was able to be made? Right. And then you can spread out the remaining balance over time, especially in Orthodontics as well. Right.

$6,000 procedures that if we can break that out and spread that over time, it’s going to be so much more beneficial, not only for the patient, but for the practice, because you’re able to keep that in house as well and not have to offshore that to a collection agency or to a third party financer. Being able to keep those transaction and fiscal relationships in house only enhances and really preserves the doctor patient relationship. And that’s something were founded on back in 1993, right. Being able to preserve and enhance that doctor patient relationship and technology has only made that more effective, more easy and more secure. So when you talk about consideration can be quite a few things.

And I think first and foremost, it’s how you’re positioning yourself out there to the world as a dental practice in terms of what you’re offering and how you’re branding yourself and what’s going to be important to you and patients alike, which first and foremost, it’s being considered as a human being, right. Having your life taken into consideration. And that’s what I’m expecting when someone’s using practice management. Bridge I’m like, oh, golly, you are someone who cares for your patients and who’s offering flexibility, accessibility, a better experience. And with automation, with the unification of data, with increasing your cash flow, ultimately what you do is you set yourself up for success in the long term. Right. And being able to adapt to new environments. Because right now we’re currently experiencing a pandemic. Right.

It’s thrown us many curveballs, but who’s to say what’s going to throw us a curveball in the next five years, right? In the next ten years. So it’s really about setting yourself up for success in the long term.

John Stamper 18:59

So I think that’s another word I’m hoping. I would imagine it’s being used a lot at Rectangle Health and that’s consideration, and I think it’s kind of interesting. Matthew who would have thought were going to do a learning series on technology and a lot of the great solutions that all of you guys are offering for dental practices and we would close out the Learning series with something as human, as consideration. I love it. I think more people need to think of it like that. And I know at the design of this Learning series, that was the goal. The goal was to bring together all the great work that you guys are doing at Rectangle Health, highlight the technology aspect of it, of how you can streamline things, become more efficient in a dental practice, but add more of a human level.

And I think you just did a great job to really kind of put a bow around this Learning series. And I want to give a big thank you to Brian and Micah and Michelle and Tasha and then Michael and Sam. Did I say Micah? I think I did. So we have a Micah and we have a Michael, right? And then, of course, she goes by Ty and Michelle, Brian, Sam and yourself. This has been an absolute pleasure. And I would encourage all of you that have watched this to think about what the team at Rectangle Health has done, to not only put together technology solutions for your practice, but they’ve taken time. Their whole entire team has taken time to really build out these episodes so that you can get a little window into who they are as a company.

Not just the solutions they provide, but the people, which we know in dentistry is what it’s all about. So, Matthew, this is the last episode, so you get the final word to close us out. No pressure.

Moving Forward

Matthew Morrobel 20:41

I know they say technology kind of takes away the human aspect of things, but you just said it, John. Look at what we’re doing right now, right? What’s more humanitarian than being able to talk about how we can not only help practices out, right, help these elite health care providers out, but also enhance the patient relationship? I think when you talk about technology, it offers so much good, and we tend to only talk about the bad because I think of how instant kind of gratified we are nowadays with the technology. We’ve gotten a little numb to it. But look at what we’ve done with this series, right? Education is key.

And I’m so thankful to have this opportunity to be working with a company, working for a company like Rectangle Health and the vision that we have and all the good stuff that’s still on our roadmap for this year and beyond. I mean, we’re really building this thing out to be an ecosystem the same way that our iPhones kind of manage any and everything related to our lives. That’s what practice Management bridge is going to do for dental practices. It already is. And we’re only going to continue those efforts. So I’m truly excited for where we’re going and where we’re currently at.

John Stamper 21:49

Absolutely. Well, again, I want to thank you for coming on, taking the time to be inspirational. Also share with everybody a perspective from a gen zer in regards to how the dental practices should be taking some action items to meet those expectations. Want to let everybody know. If you look right below in the comments live that’s live. Be sure to click on that. A lot of the things that you have heard, not only Matthew mention, but all of our guests on this learning series mentioned. They’ve put together a really nice landing page there where you can learn more about taking advantage of these technologies. And again, as we look to Wrap this has been an absolute pleasure to Work with such a great Company.

And Matthew, I want to thank you and Everybody That’s been a part of this and wish you the best of luck as you continue to move Dental Practices Forward. So thanks again.

Matthew Morrobel 22:41

Thank you so much, John. Appreciate It.

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