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How to optimize patient communication in today’s technical dental practice environment

In today's digital age, patient communication has certainly become more convenient, but is it truly effective?

Team Wisdom
With the rise of patient communication services offering texting and email options, it's easy to see the benefits. Texting is a fantastic tool for dental offices, especially in the midst of a busy schedule. It can help with last-minute cancellations and reconnecting with patients who haven't been in touch for a while. If the office doesn't already have this feature, it's highly recommended to consider it. There are plenty of excellent companies that offer this service, and it's essential for maintaining effective communication with patients in today's world.

The concern, however,  is that dental offices might become overly reliant on texting alone, neglecting the personal touch. Making phone calls can sometimes feel daunting, especially when it comes to tasks like collecting payments or scheduling overdue appointments. It may seem like there's never enough time to make those calls. While texting is undoubtedly convenient for the team, it wouldn't necessarily be called the best form of communication. The ideal approach is a balanced combination of all available methods: text, email, phone, and even traditional mail. Taking a moment to assess the office's current communication methods is crucial. 

Are you leaning heavily on one approach over the others? Consider mixing things up, especially if there are high aging reports or struggles to fill appointment slots.

Let's consider an example of this approach in action for overdue accounts receivable:

  • Contact 1: Send a letter by mail and follow up with an email.
  • Contact 2: Make a phone call and send a text message.
  • Contact 3: Send another letter by mail and follow up with another email.
  • Contact 4: Make another phone call and send another text message.

Think about it – patients are inundated with texts and emails all day long. Eventually, messages might get lost in the shuffle or end up in the spam folder. By embracing personalized phone calls and handwritten letters, the office can set itself apart from the noise. Remember the last time you received a handwritten letter in the mail? It made you feel special, didn't it? Strive to make patients feel just as valued and stand out from the crowd of digital clutter in their inboxes. This approach can be particularly effective for collections and reaching out to unscheduled patients.

So, what can be done today? Start by sending handwritten letters from the hygienist or a team member to all recare patients who are six months overdue. Mix up the communication styles and utilize all four avenues: texting, email, phone calls, and good old-fashioned mail.

Wisdom offers full dental RCM - from insurance verification, to insurance collections, to patient collections, we have you covered every step of the way.

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