05. 13. 21
Pandemic-era dentistry helped jump-start a lot of technological resources that were on the verge of development or that simply had to evolve out of necessity. From virtual dental appointments to adjusting state legislature on how insurance affected teledentistry, we’ve seen a significant shift in traditional office policies.
Making processes “contactless” was another powerful shift. By eliminating touch-points throughout the dental care experience, offices were able to develop a safer environment for both patients and their staff to return to the practice. In turn, contactless actions help to create a smoother process for patients and dental practitioners alike. No more wiping down clipboards and pens between every guest. Fewer touch-points became safer but also quicker for everyone.
One of the biggest benefits of contactless processes is the impact it has on dental office managers and front desk staff. Instead of manually having to input patient records and post payments, new options — that are HIPAA compliant and cloudbased — were adopted. Patients are now presented with the opportunity to input their own data, which in turn makes the office staff’s workload more streamlined. And patients don’t mind doing it because it saves them time as well.
Ryan Merriman, a practice management consultant with Rectangle Health, knows the former pain points all too well. His father-in-law was a dentist for over 30 years, and his mother-in-law was the office manager. According to Merriman, digitized practice management and payment platforms build a bridge between pre-pandemic processes and new streamlined, compliant, secure patient registration and payments. The old way required “extra effort to do the same job” he says, as what cloud-based, secure systems now have to offer.
Today, patients can sit on their couch or in their car and upload their information and preferred payment method into their records. There’s nothing to wipe down or for the staff to input. The patient can even take a photo of their insurance card and upload it. With payment on file, even a stop by the front desk upon checkout can be bypassed, so long as the patient knows or completes a pre-authorization for their card to be charged any remaining balance up to a certain dollar amount.
“Everybody wants to shop online,” with Amazon and Grubhub storing your credit card on file, Merriman says, “why can’t the dentist be online too?” Especially, he emphasizes, with security measures and the right protocols in place.
“Paper billing has a low collection rate,” Merriman shares, whereas Text to Pay, web payment, and emailed statements tend to be paid more quickly. In one example, he shared that Text to Pay resulted in 3 out of 4 statements being paid on time, whereas it would have otherwise taken closer to 90 days to collect as much through paper statements.
Investing in office technology saves money in overhead, since office staff is no longer having to follow up on past-due amounts. Beyond that, it makes office managers’ lives easier, improves ROI, and patients don’t even have to remember to bring their wallets to an appointment. Options like Google Pay™ or Apple Pay® allow patients to process touch-free payments with their phone or other smart devices. “There are no more shoeboxes with receipts in them,” Merriman reminisces, noting back to the old way of keeping up with paperwork.
Even when patients have a large balance that isn’t covered by dental insurance, payment collection can be expedited. One solution is to have pre-approval authorization of certain amounts to be paid in installments. Perhaps there’s an estimated balance of $1,200 on a crown. “You can’t repo a crown”, Merriman says, so instead the patient is set up for automatic charges to their card on file at specific points each month to “break it up however needed.” Staff doesn’t have to call or attempt to collect; the payment is automatically charged.
Rectangle Health’s Practice Management Bridge solution makes office managers’ and dentists’ days more efficient by posting payments automatically and interfacing with existing practice management software. Rectangle Health consultants are dental office experts; they thrive on working with dental practices to find ways to efficiently improve their revenue and overhead. Merriman assures office managers that they won’t have to listen to pushy salespeople. Instead, they have consultants who guide them through the platform and show them how it works.
You can schedule a complimentary online demo or request in-person training (if you are comfortable, given COVID protocols) to find out how Rectangle Health can help your office streamline and improve your office revenue.
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