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Streamlining Workflow to improve Treatment Plan Acceptance

mConsent

November 29, 2023

mConsent

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streamlining-workflow-improve-treatment-plan-acceptance

A top goal for every dental practice is getting more patients to say "yes" to recommended treatment plans. But achieving higher acceptance rates relies on more than just strengthening your consultative skills. You must also streamline administrative workflows to enable staff to focus time on building rapport with patients.

When dental teams get bogged down managing paperwork, insurance claims, schedules, and other logistics, less time is available for patient interaction. Staff get distracted away from activities that directly impact treatment plan acceptance like education, relationship building, and addressing patient concerns.

By smoothing out your office operations and eliminating friction points, you free up your dentists and staff to devote their full attention to optimizing consultations. The right workflows minimize non-essential tasks and enable uninterrupted time with patients.

This blog outlines strategies for streamlining dental office systems and processes to enhance focus on treatment plan presentation. With the right workflows in place, your team can drive higher conversion results.

Go Digital to Reduce Administrative Tasks

Go Digital

One of the biggest workflow impediments in many dental practices is reliance on paper records, forms, charts, and files. Manual administrative processes waste substantial time that could be better deployed nurturing patients.

Transition fully to digital dentistry by investing in:

  • Digital imaging: Intraoral cameras, 3D CBCT scanners, and digital X-rays eliminate film development and simplify sharing. Images integrate directly into charts.
  • Dental practice management software: A unified platform simplifies scheduling, charting, treatment plans, imaging, and billing - everything in one place for easy access by staff.
  • Paperless records: Scan existing paper files into digital formats. Transition patients to paperless intake forms, documentation, and billing. Reduce clutter and filing time.
  • Cloud-based access: Storing patient records and practice data in the cloud allows quick access from anywhere by authorized staff across devices. No lost charts or delays locating information.  

Digitizing core systems cuts down the manual administrative work associated with paper files and disjointed software while making information instantly accessible to enhance patient interactions.

Automate Follow-Ups and Appointment Reminders

Dental offices spend significant time on routine follow-ups and reminders via phone, email or mail to prompt patient actions like scheduling or insurance follow-through.

Automate these recurring tasks using built-in practice management software functionality like mConsent.

Features may include: 

  • Customizable email/text/voicemail appointment reminders at desired intervals
  • Automated recall messages when patients due for consultations, cleanings, etc. 
  • Surveys requesting reviews after visits
  • Thank you and nurturing messages after consultations

Configuring these automated workflows eliminates the need for staff to manually send reminders and follow-ups. Patients get consistent timely messages without staff hours consumed.

Set up triggers like sending appointment confirmations 2 days prior or contacting no shows 2 hours after missed bookings to reschedule. Automate the routine outreach process.

Offer Convenient Online Booking

 

Offer Convenient Online Booking 

Enable existing patients to independently book appointments online 24/7 through your website or patient portal rather than calling the office and waiting on hold. Scheduling systems integrate with many dental software systems to:  

  • Allow patients to self-schedule across providers based on open appointment slots
  • Update appointments via drag and drop rescheduling  
  • Complete registration, health history and consent forms online
  • Receive automated confirmations and reminders for bookings

Promote online scheduling options on your website, emails, and when confirming appointments to give patients added convenience while reducing front desk call volume.

Self-service functionality improves the patient experience while freeing up staff phone lines for more valuable personal outreach like treatment plan consultations.

Go Paperless with Digital Intake Process

  

The paperwork and clutter of traditional patient registration done on paper is full of friction. Transition to paperless processes:

  • Email online intake forms for new patients to complete prior to first visit
  • Transfer current patients to digital forms accessible through patient portal
  • Install tablet kiosks for quick signature capture and form updates
  • Scan any remaining paper documents into digital patient charts 

Digitizing forms like medical history, consents, HIPAA documentation, insurance info, etc. makes data easily accessible without shuffling through files. Registration at check-in is faster when information is already populated.

Patients can readily update details like contact info, insurance, and medication changes through their secure portal account vs. completing paperwork. Less data re-entry and manual file maintenance for staff.  

Paperless processes mean no more wasted time searching charts or lost documents. Staff stay focused on meaningful patient engagement from the first interaction.

Leverage Integrated Systems and Equipment

  

A disjointed digital ecosystem with multiple logins and disjointed programs introduces speed bumps in accessing information and completing tasks.

Seeking complete integration, invest in connected equipment and interoperable technologies like:  

  • Intraoral cameras, digital radiograph sensors, and imaging equipment that sync directly with your practice management system and patient charts.
  • Dental laser devices, CEREC CAD/CAM systems, and other IoT technologies that integrate for streamlined treatments and documentation.
  • Patient portals, automated messaging, and reminders linked to scheduling and billing software. 
  • Electronic dental claims filing that pulls data from billing and EHR for one-click submission.

Fully integrated systems minimize extra steps to re-enter data or juggle multiple platforms. Complete connectivity saves time and speeds data access so staff can pull up patient information quickly.

Incorporate Team Communication Tools

Incorporate Team Communication Tools

Lack of coordination leads to patient delays and workflow interruptions as staff play "phone tag" or waste time tracking each other down.

Install practice management tools that enable real-time team messaging, shared calendars, and status indicators showing who is with a patient vs. available. Staff can quickly:

  • Get answers from dentists or other clinicians 
  • Efficiently hand off tasks and appointments between team members
  • Update schedules and patient status without calls and emails back and forth
  • See where co-workers are located and when they will be free

Clear real-time communication reduces miscommunications and delays getting patients roomed while also documenting conversations. Staff productivity improves.

Optimize Consults by Grouping Appointments

 

Don’t dilute patient consultation time with cleanings, fillings and other routine care booked the same sessions. Instead:

  • Group hygiene, restoration or other standard visits together on schedule blocks
  • Reserve dedicated appointment blocks for comprehensive exams and treatment planning
  • Allow sufficient openings for new patient exams and consults  
  • Have auxiliary staff handle re-care visits while dentists focus on consultations

Consolidate minor procedures into dedicated hygiene and restorative care appointment days. This ensures adequate time for unrushed diagnostics, treatment planning and consultations without schedule conflicts.

The goal is to maximize continuity during consults and prevent splitting focus. Smart scheduling optimizes use of dentist time solely for treatment presentations when possible.

Improve Workflows with Daily Staff Huddles  

Improve Workflows with Daily Staff Huddles

Miscommunication and lack of role clarity between team members often complicates workflows. Institute quick daily team huddles:

  • Start each day with a 10 minute staff meeting 
  • Review schedule, patient concerns, follow-ups needed, assigned tasks
  • Discuss anticipated patient issues and how to best serve their needs
  • Identify areas of possible bottleneck and delegate accordingly
  • Clarify individual responsibilities and handoffs for the day

Meeting briefly before patients arrive aligns the team, sets priorities, and gets everyone on the same page. This coordination is invaluable for smoothing patient flow and ensuring the right focus on treatment plan consultations.  

Daily preparation eliminates confusion and keeps the team synchronized. Consistent alignment through huddles enhances execution.

Conclusion

Streamlining workflows enables staff to focus more time on optimizing consultations and nurturing patients, which directly improves treatment plan acceptance rates. 

Leveraging integrated technologies, automating administrative tasks, and implementing team collaboration best practices eliminates bottlenecks. Smooth operations translate into higher functioning patient relationships and increased treatment plan conversion.

Tools like mConsent can further optimize acceptance by automatically sending treatment plan reminders on a schedule to prompt patient decisions and follow-through. Automating follow-ups is key for driving higher conversion rates.

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