Digital solutions for improved access

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  Posted by: Dental Design      15th February 2024

As many patients across the UK continue struggling to gain access to dental services,[i] it’s important to ensure that appointments are not going to waste. With many patients being added to waiting lists that are two years long,[ii] it is frustrating for patients and dentists alike when a patient cancels last minute, or fails to attend their appointment. Because of this, it is crucial to keep a steady flow of patients in the dental chair, and the solution may be digital.

What are the current challenges?

Traditional patient management methods present a number of complex manual processes which could otherwise be more efficient. Day-to-day, this can put strain on the dental team as tasks are time consuming and prone to human-error. This results in low efficiency and productivity, high call volumes and long patient wait times.[iii]

Benefits of digital patient management

A digital waiting list creates a virtual queue of patients waiting for their turn and replaces traditional methods for managing dental appointments, check-ins and wait times. When adopted, practices no longer need to rely on sign-in sheets, or manually track patient flow. Plus, digital management solutions are often more efficient, helping to streamline processes throughout the entire practice, increasing convenience for patients too.iii

When a patient books their appointment, traditionally they would phone the practice during working hours to speak to a member of the practice team. However, with a digital solution, appointments can be booked online at any time that’s suitable for them. This helps to relieve the strain on the team, while making it easy for patients to get booked in.iii

To further reduce the responsibilities of the practice team and help to maintain a steady flow of patients, patient reminders are a key feature of digital appointment management. Digital systems are able to automatically schedule reminders to send to patients before their upcoming appointments. And, patients would ordinarily have to arrive early to an appointment to spend time filling out pre-appointment information. However, when this is managed digitally, patients can complete these forms from a virtual waiting room, for a more convenient and efficient solution.iii

Convenience is key for improving patient flow in your practice. Patient management tools simplify the appointment scheduling process. Rather than patients trying to find time in office hours to call the practice, online booking portals offer 24/7 access, with the ability to schedule their own appointments easily. This helps to save time for both you and your patients. Digital practice management also allows you to centralise patient data. This makes accessing data when it’s needed far easier, as everything is in one place. If the solution is cloud based, this means that clinicians will be able to securely access patient information and edit schedules at any time, and from anywhere.iii

Automation capabilities can offer more than benefits to individuals, enhancing efficiency across the practice as a business. By issuing automated appointment reminders, gaps in the appointment schedule are minimised and patient flow rates are increased for improved productivity. Integrating digital solutions also allows practices to access detailed business data and advanced analytics. Management systems allow the team to track patient flow rates and financial information, allowing you to monitor the practice’s performance. Further to this, reports can be generated which recommend appropriate actions to improve day-to-day functioning. With so much information in one place, including patient feedback and reviews, it becomes easier to make meaningful improvements.iii

All of these features can have a significant impact on the patient experience. From the ability to book appointments at their convenience and communicate easily, to reduced waiting times and access to virtual waiting rooms, digital patient management aims to improve satisfaction in the practice throughout their entire journey.iii

Choosing the right digital solution

For maximum advantages, it’s important to choose the right platform for you. It should have a user-friendly interface, integrate with existing software, offer 24/7 access from the cloud, allow you to customise messaging, and ensure all data is secure.iii

The Sensei Cloud practice management platform from Sensei is the ideal solution for your practice. The all-in-one platform allows you to boost engagement, streamline administration and improve efficiency in the practice. Patient Bridge, a Sensei product, offers automated scheduling tools for optimised workflows and delivers alerts and reminders for enhanced communication with patients. The comprehensive solution aims to improve outreach and retention, helping to build and maintain positive relationships with your patients. Choose Sensei Cloud for online scheduling, virtual waiting rooms, smart messaging and reputation management.

While many patients across the UK are struggling to access dental care, optimising operations within the practice by implementing digital solutions can help to make it easier than ever for patients to book in. This, in turn, helps to reduce the number of patients who fail to attend, ensuring that minimal appointments go to waste.

For more information on Sensei Cloud visit gosensei.co.uk  

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[i] British Dental Association. ​Dentists: 4am queues for NHS care risk becoming the new normal. Accessed Sept 23. https://bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/Pages/Dentists-4am-queues-for-NHS-care-risk-becoming-the-new-normal.aspx

[ii] British Dental Association. ​Dentists: 4am queues for NHS care risk becoming the new normal. Accessed Sept 23. https://bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/Pages/Dentists-4am-queues-for-NHS-care-risk-becoming-the-new-normal.aspx

[iii] https://gosensei.com/blogs/news/why-your-dental-practice-needs-a-digital-waitlist

 


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