We cannot remember a more consumer-impactful innovation to hit dentistry since the introduction of the electronic insurance claim. The ability for a patient to schedule with a dental office, 365 days a year, 7 days a week, and 24 hours a day, is having an ENORMOUS positive impact on patients and dental practices.
To give you a little back story, if you have been following our words of wisdom the past 5 to 10 years, you know how adamant we are about tracking calls. Not just to judge the quality of staff/patient interaction, but to visibly see the impact of missing new patient phone calls. About 4 years ago, across all of our offices, clients were missing 20% (19.8% to be exact) of the incoming calls from new patients.
We tried everything with our clients. We tried suggesting. We tried to help them implement relatively easy systems of phone forwarding. We basically tried everything we knew – but we barely moved the needle toward overall improvement. So, off we went. We were on a quest to find a solution to this problem.
We researched, interviewed, and received demonstrations from half a dozen technology providers. We weren’t even going in the online scheduling direction. We were looking for extensions of the call tracking apps, which would seek out and find a capable/connected human who could engage and make the appointment on behalf of the dental office. All of that crashed and burned during the financial analysis. Sure, it could be done. But would dentists be willing to pay for it? The answer was no. So, we kept looking.
Then A Possible Solution Appeared
One day, a man named Tom Brown from a company called LocalMed™ called our office and spoke to Mark Dilatush about online scheduling. Admittedly, at first, Mark couldn’t think of any dentist anywhere who would allow a patient to make an appointment online. We even asked in open dental forums if dentists would be pro or con on the idea of online scheduling. We received an almost unanimous thumbs DOWN on the idea. So, we kept looking for cheaper ways to construct the phone answering model.
Then, about 10 months later (this is about 3 or 4 years ago), Tom Brown called Mark again. He wanted to show Mark the progress that had been made with the software product. It was at that moment in time when the solution to the problem became clear. We shouldn’t try to build a cheaper phone answering service. We should simply allow patients to make appointments at THEIR leisure, at THEIR convenience. What a concept! You know, sometimes you just have to look at the same thing from a different angle to see the real possibilities.
Now that we saw exactly how it worked and how it integrated, getting a dentist and staff to embrace the idea seemed possible. But you know us. We had to test it. We have to test everything. Before we would offer it to our clients as a whole, we had to run it through our testing group of client offices.
After the normal operational bumps of getting the installs done, the widgets installed on the client websites, and social media pages we discovered that it actually WORKS! Not only did it work, it was very affordable, required almost zero maintenance, and the staff ended up LOVING it!
What an exciting time. FINALLY! The same clients, same marketing, same volume, same deployment timing – are getting 3, 5, 7, and more ADDITIONAL new patients each month from the SAME exact advertising efforts! And we can WATCH IT HAPPEN! You might not be a marketing nerd like we are, but this was a really exciting time here at New Patients, Inc!
Fast forward to 2019
The company has 4,000 installs in the US and Canada. This is a fully vetted, tested, implemented platform that works with all the major general and ortho practice management software on the market. You might be asking; Well, if it’s that good, why don’t all dentists use it?
The short answer is fear. Fear of losing control, specifically.
But the solution to the fear is to simply see it in action. We’ve had existing clients (and their staff) HANG UP ON US (their marketing company!) just for suggesting the idea of real time online scheduling integration. We understand. We get it. But…
Some do not hang up or immediately dismiss the idea. Some give us (or the folks from LocalMed) 20 to 30 minutes to show it to them.
Then EVERYTHING makes perfect sense. You just have to see it in action for the fear to fade away. Once the fear is gone, more new patients flow through. Everyone is happy.
This is the hottest patient service-centric technology to hit the dental market since the electronic insurance claim. Electronic insurance claims saved time and money. Real-time online scheduling integration ADDS PRODUCTION to the appointment book with more new patients, while saving time and money with existing patients.
We (as a marketing firm) cannot possibly recommend it enough.