Online engagement is a must for your patients
Online engagement of customers is essential for any modern business to grow. For the clinical and dental sector this is even more of an issue. Once they have joined a practice, patients are not generally casual shoppers, but clients with whom we develop a relationship that will ideally last for years and grow to include entire families.
In this context online is crucial. Now more than ever, we spend so much of our lives online. We expect to be able to do all of our banking, deal with our phone and utility suppliers, and do ever-increasing amounts of shopping over the internet.
Online is trusted as a secure and convenient platform, and mobile has put the internet into the palm of our hands. If your Clinic or Practice has the tools to engage your customers with a seamless, accessible and unobtrusive online experience, then you can become a trusted and positive source of knowledge and support for your patients whenever and wherever they need you.
Building these relationships takes time and a consistent approach, but it is not difficult with the right tools and the right strategy.
The key tool that you will need is a high quality Practice Management Solution that offers a Patient Portal with rich functionality and the ability to share and digitally sign documents.
The initial step with using a Portal for online engagement is to get your patients registered to use it. You can sell it to them through sheer convenience, but you may also wish to offer a small discount on online appointment bookings, or entry into a draw, to encourage rapid adoption from your patients.
Even for an increasingly digitally savvy population change can be hard, so an incentive for them to add your practice app or link to your portal can be influential in nudging your patients online.
Once you have established your online connection with your patient then you need to consider the services that you are going to offer them. Online appointment bookings and payments are a must, but managing the process needs some thought. It may be advisable to require a deposit for appointments booked online to reduce FTA’s and to allocate certain times in the diary for online bookings.
You will need to consider how far in advance online bookings should be taken to achieve a balance between convenience for your patients and allowing you enough time to ensure that you fill your appointment books, and you will need to work out the best use of online payments for your practice and your patients.
The real new value of online engagement can be found in the added value that you can offer to your patients, and the potential revenue streams that you can develop.
A natural progression from appointment bookings and payments is to use your Portal to securely share documents with patients. Pre-appointment questionnaires and consent forms can be processed online at the convenience and comfort of your patient, whilst reducing your administrative burden.
With Treatment Plans, online engagement can offer real value to your practice. Treatment options can be discussed and outlined in clinic, but then a range of potential treatments can be shared with a patient through the Portal. With extra time and information, better informed decisions are made and the full implications of each option are better understood.
This supports improved patient outcomes, but also opportunities to ensure that patients focus on the treatment required and the benefits to them, rather than just the potential cost.
With all patient forms, consents and Treatment Plans, digital signing is a key element of online engagement. E-signing supports compliance, is more secure, more convenient, and more efficient for you. It also promotes your Clinic as a modern, switched-on business to your patients.
These functions all offer real value to your business by streamlining and enhancing existing functions, but a well planned online engagement strategy can also help you to develop new revenue streams and the kind of added value that helps you to retain and grow your patient base.
Once you have established a secure and trusted online connection with your patients you can begin to target them with educational information around oral hygiene, preventative care etc.
This may be free for them to access as an added value offer that builds your brand, or it may be offered with promotional offers for services and equipment, or it may be a paid extra that you create bespoke content for and offer a high-quality experience to your higher-value patients.
If you are using a good quality Practice Management software system then you will also be offered online video consultation through the Portal - this is a powerful tool for patient engagement. Beyond the obvious use as a triaging tool for emergency treatments, video consultation allows you to build rich relationships through pre and post treatment in-person support - checking in with your patients to advise and explain and give them a high level of care and attention.
Through the enhanced relationships that these services develop with your patients you are then able to use your online engagement strategy to understand key patient behaviours, needs and spend patterns. With this information you can tailor offers and promotions to your patients which meet both their clinical needs and your business needs, a win/win for everyone!
As we’ve seen, online is now the key place to be for your patients. They are there already and expect you to be too. A well thought out online engagement strategy, supported by the right online tools, will keep your business ahead of customer demand and help you to keep your existing patients and attract new ones, whilst adding value across your Practice.
For more information about AeronaClinic’s online engagement tools, get in touch with our team today!
Patient Portal? Five good reasons why!
A Patient Portal is a key weapon in any modern Clinic’s armoury for patient engagement and retention, business growth and efficiency. A well designed Portal will make your day to day patient management easier and streamline business functions across your team.
Once considered a useful extra, a Patient Portal is increasingly seen as a core tool for any modern practice. The rise in popularity of Portals has been driven in part by technology making everything so much easier to execute for any Practice, and part by consumer behaviour driving high levels of adoption by patients seeking convenience and security.
However, the key reason that they have become so popular is because of the significant benefits that they bring to both the clinic and the patient alike.
The ability to develop a presence right in your patient’s pocket, through their mobile phone, gives you a huge advantage in engaging them with clinical information, sales & marketing and essential business communications. The portal is a dedicated linkage between you and your patients that you can use to really develop a trusted relationship and become a positive influencer for your target markets.
Ease of use
Accessed via an app or web app, a Patient Portal puts your patient in contact with you with one click of an icon. No more waiting for the phone to be answered or having to call in office hours. A well set up Patient Portal will allow patients to perform a range of tasks with their Clinic anytime and anywhere they want to. Just the sort of convenience that attracts them to join your Clinic and then encourages them to stay with you!
One Stop Shop
A good Patient Portal provides a one-stop-shop for all of the everyday patient functions. Online appointment booking, confirmations, payments, consent forms and treatment plans can all be completed via the Portal and this can be supplemented with Patient Education and video consultation tools also bundled in.
Security - for patient and clinic
With full data encryption and round the clock data backups delivered via the cloud, the best Patient Portals offer high end security and full data trails of all online activity to ensure that communications are secure and traceable as required. Automation of communication removes the potential for human error and provides a digital footprint of all interactions.
Up to date
Using a Portal is a powerful demonstration to your patients that you are modern, up to date and comfortable using technology to improve the patient experience and outcomes. This messaging is critical to engage and retain the tech-savvy modern patient. If you are up to date with your practice management tools then it creates a powerful sense that you are also likely to be up to date with clinical tools & techniques right across your practice.
These key advantages are all on top of the general time and money savings that an online Patient Portal brings to your Clinic. Time saved on the phone & processing payments, as well as the resources saved in printing, posting and filing documents all add up to a genuine impact on your bottom line.
It is clear to see why so many Clinics have already adopted Patient Portals at the heart of their patient management strategies. There are really no downsides to adoption, if you have the right tool at your disposal.
For more information on the AeronaClinic Patient Portal, please contact our expert team.
Developing a contactless Patient Journey
Most practices have been digital for some time now, but not all digital solutions are the same. Unless you have a Cloud-based practice management solution which allows you to access every aspect of your business – from a patient’s entire clinical history; your ADY by practice or treatment; treatment plan uptake; cashflow breakdown; or an analysis of your appointment book performance – then you cannot really control or direct your Practice remotely.
Cloud-based means seamless access from any device in any location. As remote working and social distancing embeds itself in our lives for the foreseeable future this functionality is essential for any effective business operation.
Teledentistry is here, and here to stay.
The willingness and ability of patients to accept online consultation and triaging will be a key legacy of the lockdown within the sector.
For the protection of yourself, your staff and your patients, Teledentistry will be the emerging trend of the next year.
If you have invested in a platform that supports a digital relationship with your patients then the shift to Teledentistry will be smooth as part of the integrated offer of technology driven platforms such as AeronaClinic. If you haven’t then it is time to upskill and invest now in the software and the training to enable you to stay ahead of patient needs in a competitive market.
Contactless is King!
Teledentistry is just part of a suite of tools that you need to be adopting across your Practice.
Integrated cashless payments should be a standard feature of your Practice Management software. AeronaClinic partners with GoCardless and Stripe to remove all cash handling from your business and streamline your financial reporting.
Patient portals and digital signing are also essential tools for developing rich online relationships with patients that allow you to understand their needs and interests, process consents and patient assessments without any physical contact or even visiting the Practice. These tools not only reduce contact but also provide you with rich patient data for targeted engagements and promotions.
Time to act
With the digital realm already replacing the physical realm in so many aspects of life under COVID, it really has never been more important to ensure that you have the very best quality, up to date and most innovative software in place to run your business.
We’re here to help you with that. Contact us today, to prepare for tomorrow!
How do patient portals improve patient engagement?
Patient Portals have become a feature of Practice Management Software in recent years, with many suppliers offering versions of them to their customers. Since 2020 and the impact of COVID on patient behaviour, a Patient Portal has become a core essential of any clinic’s offer to its patients.
But what actually is a Patient Portal and how should they actually be used as business growth and patient engagement tools?
Put simply, a Patient Portal is a direct online connection between a patient and your practice that allows them to access whatever services you have made available to them, and allows you to access them with targeted communications. The Patient Portal is a secure, privileged connection that is not available to the general public and shortcuts a call to reception, emailing or messaging.
For the patient, the key advantage is of convenience - they can make fast and direct contact with the Clinic and, the more services that you make available through the Portal, the more convenience they can enjoy. This access is 24/7 - whenever they need it, rather than just whenever you are open.
For the Clinic, a quality Patient Portal can provide a powerful tool for improving the customer experience of patients, delivering improved outcomes, and ultimately retaining and growing your patient base. With a critical mass of patients using a Portal, it will also save admin time and money in appointment booking, payment processing and other functions across your practice.
The key to real and deep patient engagement through a Portal is the range of services that you are able to offer through it. The more that you can offer, then the stronger the relationship you can develop through it.
- Appointment booking
This is the core service that any Patient Portal should offer to a clinic. The ability for a patient to book an appointment online at any time offers real convenience and is a powerful incentive to get patients signed up to your Portal. You will need to manage factors such as diary blocking and taking deposits to reduce any FTA risk, but once you have a smooth online appointment booking process you will never look back.
- Payment processing
Not only very useful for taking deposits for online appointments, online payments offer huge convenience for patients and clinics. Patients should be able to make payments for treatments, plans and products through the Portal. You can also alert them to overdue payments and set up payment plans for large treatments.
- Secure signing
A good quality Patient Portal will offer secure e-signing of documents, allowing patients time to review treatment plans, complete medical histories and return them as legally signed documents to the Practice - all from their own device in their own time, with the time and space that they need to give accurate information.
- Update information
A simple but very useful function of a Patient Portal is to allow patients to keep all of their details and clinical information up to date - never lose contact with a patient again. You can also use the portal to inform patients of changes at the practice - whether to the practice team, contact details or in the case of emergency measures such as has been the case with COVID opening hours and services.
- Video consultation
The best Patient Portals will use the secure connection with the patient to offer built in video consultations for triage, pre & post treatment care and patient education. These services offer real added value to patients, improve outcomes and give real competitive advantage to your Clinic.
- Targeted sales and business growth
The more functionality that you can offer to your patients, the deeper the relationship that you can develop with them through the Portal. Using the business metrics and data analysis tools on your Practice Management Software, you can identify patient spends, trends, and behaviours and use the Portal to target them directly with specific offers, promotions, and services of value. The trusted relationship that effective use of the Portal fosters makes this a powerful sales channel if used appropriately.
Patient Portals were already a key tool for any progressive Clinic, but in the COVID and Post-COVID era they have become essential for safer, quicker and cleaner working practices that really offer high levels of care and connection for patients, wherever they are. Optimised correctly, a Patient Portal is probably the most important tool for practice growth that any Clinic can have.
Find out more about the AeronaClinic Patient Portal here